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Trygve Roberts

Trygve Roberts

We look at the rebuilding of the Anenous Pass in the Northern Cape through the eyes of the late Dr. Graham Ross.

Listen to the interview:

Wednesday, 20 May 2020 16:11

Latest News! 21st May, 2020

The week that was 

* Unlocking

* Influencers

* Podcast

* Pass of the week

* Words of wisdom


UNLOCKING OUR LIVES

The time has come to start living a normal life again. Around the world and in South Africa, the tedious process of unlocking has commenced. Now the question is, when will we reach Level 1? From our point of view, it is time to start planning the rest of our collective lives. It is unwise to live life too prophylactically and this can lead to mental illness (Joking, of course!) The message is PLAN A TRIP - with or without us.

We have made good use of the past 8 weeks and expanded our commercial offerings considerably and come up with at least one brilliant idea, which would probably not have happened without the time and space that lockdown provided. We are planning ahead with a positive attitude and our tours are back on track in the best possible way.

Speaking of tours, we had a cancellation for our Wild Coast Tour. We put that ticket on our Facebook page two days ago and it was snapped up within 20 minutes. That's a very healthy sign. We have similarly also had a cancellation for our Ben 10 Tour in September and will be advertising that spot after you have read this newsletter. In other words our subscribers can have first option on taking the available ticket.

If you're interested get all the details here:

BEN 10 ECO CHALLENGE V3 TOUR


INFLUENCERS - Dr Graham Ross

In today's newsletter we pay homage to the late Dr. Graham Ross, who has had a considerable influence on the style and content of the MPSA website and with particular attention paid to road engineering. In 2012 shortly after having launched the MPSA website, I received an email from Dr Ross. In keeping with an engineer's economy of words and astute mind, the introductory sentence was kind, but brief.

Graham's fascinating book

The second paragraph was what it was all about. He wrote:

"If you're going to complete a project of this magnitude, you need as much help as you can get. There are several inconsistencies in your use of engineering terms, which I would like to correct, if you would allow me"

He went on to explain that camber was different to side slope, and super elevation was the same as cross flow. And so on.

I chose to accept the criticisms in a welcoming manner and who better to have on my side than a seriously qualified roads engineer? A long series of emails followed, with me cross referencing much of my research with Graham. At that stage he insisted I dispense with titles. He would answer each email meticulously, quoting references, page numbers from his thesis and some very technical information which I didn't fully understand then - and still don't now.

It did give MPSA a whole lot of credibility in those early years and Graham's guidance and suggestions are evident in many parts of our website, which we continue to emulate to this day. I then decided to meet with him in person at his home in Somerset West. There I met the kindest, respectful and thoughtful person, where I was presented with a signed copy of his book 'Romance of Cape Mountain Passes'

I remember making reference to his book in one of our newsletters and soon received an email from him which read: "Thank you for mentioning my book in your news letter last week. I don't mean to be pedantic, nor ungrateful for the free advertisement, but the title is not 'Romance of the Cape Mountain Passes' . It is 'Romance of Cape Mountain Passes' 

[More lower down]

 

Thursday, 14 May 2020 09:37

Arangieskop Mountain Road (Private)

This spectacular and very steep pass is well known to many locals who have been up to the top of the mountain on the popular Protea Farm Tractor ride. This takes place on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but on any other day of the week, it's possible to book a self-drive trip up the mountain (at a fee).

The views are some of the best you will experience anywhere in the Western Cape, where from the summit you can look down on the town of Robertson and eastwards towards Worcester. The opposing view is over the Keisie Valley with its backdrop of tall mountains and neat orchards.

The road is mostly concrete strip paved, so traction is not a problem and it is possible to drive up in a normal car, but a reasonable level of ground clearance is important.

The statistics are impressive too. You will climb 540m over just 4.1 km which produces an average gradient of 1:8 but there are some sections which are as steep as 1:4

This road is not recommended for inexperienced drivers or acrophobia sufferers.

We journey from De Vlugt to visit William Burchell’s original oxwagon route.

Listen to the interview:

Wednesday, 13 May 2020 13:27

Latest News! 14th May, 2020.

The week that was

* Quick catch up on latest media and social media trends

* New product successful in first week - MPSA VOX

* Another new services offering from MPSA - DIGITAL MARKETING

* A step closer to our first virtual tour app. - VOICE MAP

* Podcast - Burchell's Oxwagon Route

* Pass of the week

* Words of Wisdom


 

Happenings on the net

It's been another week of conspiracy theories and conflicting ideology with many people who I regard as being level headed, suddenly having become polarised into various groups wanting to burn their masks on the beaches and streets. There are clear signs that South Africans are fed-up and want their lives and liberties restored. The power of social media is such that government must be taking cognizance of the general mood.

Last night's announcement of Level 3 to kick in at the end of May has not been met with much enthusiasm. It would seem that the majority of South Africans want lockdown to end completely and immediately Today the car dealers have finally been given permission to reopen their doors for business. I'm afraid that many of them will not survive the lockdown financially due to cash-flow issues. 

It's been a weird time for all of us, No science fiction movie could beat what we are currently living through. It's the material one would expect the likes of Stephen King to be writing.

On the home front

Our MPSA Vox service was born from this lockdown exercise. In the first week we received 26 videos for narration. Half of those are already done and back with their originators. We had no idea the concept would be so successful. Remember we can do any video or business presentation in English or Afrikaans. The English option is also available in a female voice. Go to our shop page on the link below (Professional Services) for more information:

MPSA VOX

MPSA VOX - Creativity born out of lockdown


We are full of ideas and are happy to introduce another online service - MPSA Digital Marketing.

Lisa Roberts - Digital marketing guru

We've been doing social media intensively for the past 7 years, having built up a very successful social media presence (27,000 followers) and are in a position to help you build a business brand, group or personal page.

The service includes brand building, Facebook business, Instagram, blogging, vlogging and other digital marketing techniques.

Lisa Roberts is a UCT graduate and experienced social media expert who will be heading up this arm of MPSA's professional services. Details of the service and how it all works will be added to our shop page in the next week. Watch this space.

 


VOICE MAP - We mentioned this new concept in last week's newsletter. We are busy adding the finishing touches to our first virtual tour guide, which will be on sale soon on our shop page and elsewhere. We have spent 80 man-hours (and that number will easily top 100 hours by the time we're finished) on this first effort to make sure it is the very best available.

[More lower down]

"A journey to the Village of Hope” - building new ways to so survive the lockdown on the internet.

Listen to the interview:

Wednesday, 06 May 2020 13:45

Latest News! 7th May, 2020

The week that was

* MPSA - VOX LAUNCH

* VOICE MAP - An exciting new concept.

* SOCIAL MEDIA

* Pass of the Week

* New Passes added

* Words of wisdom


Here we are in the merry month of May and still very much restricted under the lockdown rules, but our imaginations can cross mountains, oceans and continents, if we allow it. This week we have completed all our tour report back stories, so we begin looking at new ideas and ventures.


MPSA VOX - Launch

Lockdown has dealt a heavy blow to the touring side of our business, so we are in the process of innovating some new ideas and concepts. The first of these is a new product called MPSA VOX.

Vox is of course Latin for 'voice' so the new product we will be offering is a professional voice over service for videos or presentations. For the vast majority of people doing a voice narration is a daunting and almost impossible exercise and so instead they add a music soundtrack, which in 95% of cases is inappropriate. Now your videos can be beautifully presented on social media or any business presentation.

How it works, is you send us your video together with your script via We Transfer or DropBox. We add the voice and send your completed video back to you by the same method. Our rate for this service will be R495 per hour. Doing a voice narration on a 5 minute video is approximately one hours work. If you want us to write your script for you, we can do that as well. The link below offers more detail. Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any questions or call us on 083 658 8888.

MPSA VOX


Voice Map

We are busy producing our first 'virtual tour guide' mountain pass (Chapman's Peak Drive). This is new technology, whereby you purchase a virtual tour and download it to your phone. Using GPRS positioning, your phone will automatically activate the guide's voice at each point of interest. This allows you to drive hands free and get maximum enjoyment as each point along the pass unfolds precisely at the right time with your virtual tour guide giving all the information as if you were on a normal tour with us. Yes, it works even if you stop. We are very excited about this project (not only to keep us busy during lockdown) but into the future as well.

Each download will cost roughly $4. Initially we plan to produce the top 20 most popular passes in South Africa and we will expand the service according to demand. VoiceMap does not require internet connectivity to operate and works on the same technology as Google Maps. Exciting? We think so! Watch this space.


Social Media

Social Media is an unpleasant place to be these last few weeks. South Africa's mood has changed alarmingly. Conspiratorialists are everywhere - each claiming his or her point of view to the holy grail to finding the best way out of the pandemic. I am quite frankly, embarrassed at how many smart people I know are climbing onto this bandwagon, whilst allowing their minds to be consumed by negativity. Of course (inevitably) the race card has been hauled out and the old polarization of our society is busy happening as I write this. 

Part of running this website requires me to have my ear to the ground. My experience over the last fortnight has been that 95% of everything coming through on my FaceBook feed has been Corona related and outright negative and mostly inaccurate. Here and there a bright splash of humour brings a wan smile to our virus battered senses.

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Tuesday, 05 May 2020 21:12

Exploring SA's Mountain Passes

Anyone who has Googled a mountain pass in South Africa would most likely have come across the website Mountain Passes of South Africa. In a new series, founder Trygve Roberts will be sharing his well-researched information with Leisure Wheels readers.

There is a certain joy in giving. It comes in many forms. In my case, it started with a God-given talent for being able to put into words my experiences while travelling in such a way that others could share those experiences. This has always been at the core of Mountain Passes South Africa’s (MPSA) philosophy: giving joy to others.

pdfRead the full article: Exploring SA's Mountain Passes

- May 2020 edition of Leisure Wheels

This lovely country road goes under the official road number P1660. To the locals and on many maps it's labelled as the Kliprivier Road, which is something of a misnomer as the Kliprivier is merely one of the tributaries of the main river along the kloof, which is of course, the Keurboomsrivier. The official name is the Klein Langkloof as it is to all intents and purposes a smaller version of the actual Langkloof, which lies directly to the north. This is technically not really a pass. It's more of a poort as the road more or less follows the course of the river for most of its length.

The road offers exceptionally attractive scenery as it follows the course of the Keurboomsrivier Valley. There are fruit farms, misty mountains, tree filled kloofs and dozens of small streams. Whilst it cannot be compared to the Langkloof section of the Prince Alfred's Pass, it offers a wonderful alternative and in some instances, a substantial shortcut and saving in time.

It's a fairly long drive at 25.3 km and displays an altitude variance of 254m with the higher elevation being at its western end. The primary point of interest along this road is Burchell's Oxwagon Route. The road has lots of sharp bends - 115 in total, of which 14 are greater than 90 degrees and 5 of them are very tight hairpins.

Despite these impressive statistics, this road is much more a scenic drive than a proper mountain pass. It is nonetheless officially recorded as a pass, and as such it is documented and indexed into our database.

We discuss the charms of the R396 route in the Eastern Cape and visit one of the 5 passes in its length - the Barker’s Nek Pass.

Listen to the interview:

COVID-19 Corona Virus South African Resource Portal

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Mountain Passes South Africa

Mountain Passes South Africa is a website dedicated to the research, documentation, photographing and filming of the mountain passes of South Africa.
 

Passes are classified according to provinces and feature a text description, Fact File including GPS data, a fully interactive dual-view map and a narrated YouTube video.
 

Master Orientation Map

Master Orientation Map We are as passionate about maps as we are about mountain passes. A good map is a thing of beauty that can transport you into the mists of time or get your sense of adventure churning. It is a place to make discoveries about deserts and seas, mountains and lakes; of roads leading into places you have not been before; a place to pore over holiday destinations or weekend camping trips. A map is your window to the world.

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