fbpx

Mountain Passes News

WHAT'S INSIDE?

* New Tour - Bedrogfontein-Zuurberg

* Back to back tours - Ben 10 to Sani via Lesotho

* Cederberg Tour - Chapter 3

* South African History - Chapter 20

* Pass of the Week

* Words of Wisdom


Fresh off the griddle

The Bedrogfontein-Zuurberg Tour (22nd to 24th November)

Set in the Suurberg Mountains north of Addo and Kirkwood, this tour will start in the west in the Wolwefontein area at a game farm which will include a game drive (weather permitting) on the day of arrival. The next morning we will set off up a series of steep sided poorts to cross the Darlington Dam below the wall and then connect with the R400 for a short while before heading back into the scenic northern side of the mountain range. The Zuurberg Pass will the highlight of the first day with it's many sharp corners and amazing views, culminating with an overnight stay at the summit of the pass in a lovely hotel.

Day 2 involves a descent of the Doringnek pass towards Addo and Kirkwood and then the Bedrogfontein 4x4 route will take up the rest of the day with its thick bush, kudus, warthogs, monkeys, baboons and bristling birdlife. The route ranges between a Grade 1 and Grade 3, but 90% is fairly easy driving with just enough of the tricky stuff to keep drivers honest. The overnight stop will be at another bush lodge near the Darlington Dam, close to the starting point.

Day 3 is at leisure with the choice of a game drive or an early departure for home. Bookings opened on Monday and already the first tickets have been snapped up. We can only take 10 vehicles, and obviously 4x4 with low range is prerequisite. This will be the final tour on offer for 2019. Sign up and discover why more than 50% of all our bookings are repeat business.

For more information and online bookings CLICK HERE.


On Tour with MPSA

On tour for two weeks - As you read this newsletter we will be heading up towards Elliot for the start of the Ben 10 V2 Tour on Saturday 21st September. The weather forecast is looking fine and our local lady on the spot reports very little snow during the winter with conditions being dry. A light drizzle before we get there would be nice to keep convoy dust levels down, but rather dry than muddy!

On the 25th we drive up to the Free State town of Clocolan to meet our next group at Zuikerkop Lodge departing on the 27th September for the Lesotho-Sani Tour and a beautiful drive to the Katse Dam (which is extremely low at the moment with only 13% water levels). From Katse we head north over some of the highest passes in Africa (higher than 3000m) to spend our second night at the Oxbow Lodge and our 3rd day takes us down the Sani Pass - the highlight of the tour where our final night will be spent at the Sani Hotel.

Both of these tours are fully booked.

There will be lots to report back on when we return, but in our absence the newsletters will continue and of course our Face Book page will feature photos on the go and a few short video clips to let you know how things are going.


Cederberg Tour Report back (Wupperthal to Clanwilliam)

Descending the very steep and bumpy Eselbank Pass and being able to see Wupperthal for almost 30 minutes from the top of the pass, lends credence to the saying "Distance lends enchantment to the view" for as we crossed the low level bridge and entered the town from the south, the harsh reality of the recent devastating fires was something of a shock.

[Read more lower down]

 

What's inside?

* Cederberg (Part 2)

* Upcoming Tours

* South African History - Chapter 19

* Pass of the week

* Podcast

* Words of wisdom


 Cederberg Classic Tour (Part 2)

Eselbank to Wupperthal ~ The highlight of the first day was undoubtedly the Eselbank waterfall. The access road is normally from the northern side, which doesn't allow a full view of the falls, so we managed to find a longer, but very rewarding access road aproaching from the south. The plateau area is quite flat and the sudden appearance of the deep gorge, caught us all by surprise. The views of the waterfall and gorge are spectacular, so we spent a fair amount of time taking pics and enjoying the unseasonally warm spring weather.

It was time to continue our journey as we traversed the little village of Eselbank with its quaint old buildings, rickety fences and peaceful people - to cross the river via a wet (but not deep) causeway and up towards the Rooibos plantations, where the track is often subject to some soft sandy sections.

Soon we were at the summit of the Eselbank Pass. This very steep pass is also sometimes called the Kerskop Pass, presumably because some rock in the area looks like the top of a candle. For those doing the descent for the first time and especially passengers sitting on the left, the steep drops-offs and narrow width can be quite intimidating, but with most of the steep parts having been concreted, the traction is good and it can be driven in almost any passenger car - but carefully!

[More lower down...]

What's inside?

* Ben 10 Eco Challenge latest

* Cederberg Classic Tour (report back)

* Limpopo Tour (report back - Part 2)

* South African history - Part 18

* Podcast

* Pass of the week

* Words of wisdom


Ben 10 Eco Challenge update
The winter months always see a sharp decline in Ben 10 Eco Challenge entries and results, but each spring, all the adventurers return and this spring is no exception with a flurry of new entries coming in. The total numbers stand at 210 at present and of those 109 have successfully completed the challenge. That's a 52% success rate and goes to show that the challenge is a lot more difficult than what most people think.

In two weeks time, we head back to Elliot and Rhodes for our second official Ben 10 Tour which starts on Saturday the 21st September and ends on Tuesday 24th September. We can still accommodate 1 vehicle, but entries close tomorrow afternoon at 1700 (Friday 6th September). If you have any questions please refer to our tour booking page for pricing and other details. If you want to know more about the actual challenge, please visit our Ben 10 Eco Challenge page.

Cederberg Classic Tour (report back)
Day 2 of the tour required an early start as it was going to be a full day. Despite the forecast of 30C as a maximum temperature for the day, it was quite chilly early in the morning as the convoy rumbled northwards towards to the historic Matjiesrivier farm. The Wegener family graveyard is right next to the road and a bright display of orange daisies contained within the thick old stone walls of the cemetry created an instant photo opportunity. The site is lovingly tended and well worth stopping at. This tough settler family owned this farm for almost 200 years; the inscriptions on the tombstones reading like a history book.

[Read more lower down...]

What's inside?

* Upcoming Tours
* Limpopo Tour - continued.
* Cederberg Tour - Part 1
* Podcast - Gravel Travel Tips Part 3
* Pass of the Week
* New passes added
* Words of wisdom

UPCOMING TOURS
We will be offering a few one and two day tours during October and November. You will be the first to know about them and we have a few delicious surprises in store for you. The only tour which still has a few tickets available is the Ben 10 Eco Challenge V2 Tour. If there is one mountain pass tour you have to do, it's this one. Four days of awesomeness > from the biggest mountains, to the greenest valleys; tumbling waterfalls; technical driiving; mind blowing scenery; great country food and new friendships made. Get all the info and sign up on this link: BEN 10 V2 TOUR.

Limpopo Tour - the story continues

The next two passes, Papstraat and Tarentaalstraat, followed each other back-to-back in quick succession. After a short stop to photograph an old building, we headed along a gravel link to Sandrivierspoort, then along the tarred R33 to Vaalwater. As we were running slightly ahead of schedule, it was decided to detour off of the planned route to visit one of the attractions near the town, a quaint little church on the farm Twenty-Four Rivers.

Designed by Sir Herbert Baker (he also designed the Union Buildings in Pretoria and many other prominent buildings in South Africa), the St. John the Baptist church was built using local materials and stone quarried in the area. It was dedicated on the 15th of July 1914 by the Right Reverend Michael Furse, Bishop of Pretoria at the time. The grounds are immaculately kept, and the complex consists of the church itself, as well as a few other buildings which were added later, all of them in the same style as the original construction. Sean, our photography fundi on this trip, was soon happily immersed in capturing images of the church from every conceivable angle, whilst the rest of us took the opportunity to relax and stretch our legs, a welcome break from the concentration of driving. [More lower down...]

 

What's inside?

* Lighthouses & Shipwrecks - a new branch of MPSA

* Face Book followers tops 20,000
* Droughts & Floods
* Bain Tour - The final chapter
* Limpopo Tour - Report back Part 1
* South African History Chapter 16
* Pass of the week
* New passes
* Words of wisdom


Lighthouses and Shipwrecks of South Africa
As a natural extension of our passes project, we will be launching our brand new project on lighthouses and shipwrecks of South Africa. Content for the site will be provided by Mike Leicester, who has been actively studying this subject for many years and has accumulated a vast amount of knowledge. The new site will be launched in September and you will be the first to see it. Initially the site will be structured around the 50 lighthouses along our coastline and the shipwrecks (which number several thousand) section will be added as time permits. We believe the site will be a winner.

Face Book
Yesterday the counter ticked over onto 20,003 followers. Why do we put so much effort into our social media? It is far and away the best way for us to attract new subscribers to the MPSA website, yet the conversion rate is less than 1%. Those of you that follow our FB page might have noticed that we have gradually morphed from a pure passes page to embrace a far wider range of topics, yet each day will always take us back to our mountain pass roots. By posting on a wider range of interesting topics, whilst sticking to our formula of positivity and avoiding politics and religion, we have rapidly accelerated our follower group in the past 6 months. 

Droughts & Floods
The Mother City breathes again - After an agonising and prolonged drought of 4 years, the drought is now officially broken, with the dams serving the greater Cape Town area standing at 81.7%. However, whilst Capetonians have reason to celebrate, there are still large parts of the interior that are far from out of the woods. Water is our single most precious resource. At MPSA we think that the use of potable water must never go back to where we were a few years ago. Get rid of the water hungry lawns, English plants and get those succulents going. So many people have created exceptional gardens that use hardly any water at all. It simply has to be the way forward.

The Bain Tour (Cableway to Patensie)
This tour has so many fond memories and the lasting friendships that have been forged by the 25 people who shared this thoroughly enjoyable trip. We are already planning our next Baviaans excursion! [More lower down]


Subscribe to our Newsletter

Sign up to receive our weekly newsletter with News and Updates from Mountain Passes South Africa

Subscribe to our Site

Subscribe for only R300 a year (or R210 for 6 months), and get full access to our website including the videos, the full text of all mountain passes articles, fact-file, interactive map, directions and route files.

Register

 
 
 
 

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.

View Master Orientation Map...