Mountain Passes News

We have had a hugely positive response to the six page article in the SA4x4 magazine (October issue) causing our website and Facebook hits to spike sharply. As they say, the show goes on, and this week we introduce you to some old standards as well as some off the beaten track discoveries.

As far back as 1863 the main road between Laingsburg and Prince Albert ran through a rugged valley separated by the Swartberg and Elandsberg ranges. The much underrated Adam de Smidt, who spent most of his adult life in the shadow of his famous brother in law, Thomas Bain, won the contract to build not only the Seweweekspoort pass, but also the Bosluiskloof Pass. We feature this as our No.1 pass this week, not only for its rugged grandeur and long history, but also that as a passenger in our vehicle on that day of filming, we had the honour of having Dr. Graham Ross with us - who at the ripe old age of 90 mandhandled our truck over the Bosluiskloof Pass, whilst we did the filming. We used the opportunity to tap into Graham's extraordinary wealth of road building knowledge.

Our other two passes range from the far north in Limpopo near the Alpine like village of Haenertsburg, across to Free State's beautiful Golden Gate Highlands National Park via the Lichens Pass.

The offroad magazine SA4x4 produced a six page colour feature on this website in their October edition. It starts on page 74 and tells the story behind the website - how it germinated and grew into what it is today. The article also features some of our best photo's of the last few years. Get your copy!

This week we head off to some smaller, lesser known, but no less interesting mountain passes. Lying just to the west of the N7 between Citrusdal and Clanwilliam is the tarred and charming Haarwegskloof Pass. Not many people even know of this pass. It also offers a much nicer alternative to the never ending Stop/Go's on the N7 at the moment (and probably for the next 2 or 3 years). This road later becomes gravel and takes you down the Kransvleikloof Pass to rejoin the N7 right next to the Clanwiliam Dam.

The Free State only has 6 official passes and we are currently working on a very interesting pass which runs right next to the Lesotho border, submitted by a reader, but that one will only go live in a week or two. In the meantime, we head off to the historic brownstone town of Clarens, which is one of the gateways to Lesotho, as well as to the beautiful Golden Gate Highlands National Park. The pass in question is the Noupoortsnek, just outside Clarens.

Finally, it would appear that Mike's Pass in KZN is no longer drivable in your own vehicle, but you can book a trip on one of the reserve's vehicles (min 4 persons) who will take you on a guided tour of this stunning pass. Details are on the pass page.  It's a humdinger!

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Thank you for the tremendous support. This website hit 39,517 page views for the last 4 weeks. Without you we are nothing. We listen to your suggestions and deliver what you want, wherever possible. It is through public support that we have been able to continually refine the website to the best standards. Keep those suggestions coming in.

Last weekend we were in Johannesburg (not filming passes as there aren't many there) and had the experience of having no water supply for our entire stay - And it seems that large parts of the Reef have been completely without water since last week Saturday. As at last night, the situation had not changed. It is quite frightening to consider how quickly things can go pear shaped when basic services don't exist. Those in charge of the Rand Water Board are blaming Escom and they in turn are touting the "perfect storm" scenario. Hot weather; no rain; didn't anticipate the big demand; reservoirs ran dry. What do you think of our civil service?

New and undiscovered passes are being sent in by our readers at an alarming rate. We receive between 4 and 10 new pass suggestions per week. Please bear with us if your pass has not yet appeared in the listings. Each new pass has to be carefully researched, identified and processed. It's many hours of work and we produce (on average) three to five new passes per week. Our stockpile of unprocessed passes is growing faster than our production, but we will check out each and every suggestion  big or small. Our current total number of passes is around 370 and we have approximately another 200 waiting for processing.

Our main featured pass this week is a big, gravel pass in the Cederberg, which we recently re-filmed to our 2014 standards. We then take you across provincial borders to KZN and Limpopo for a look at other interesting roads.

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It's mid month and the time for planning spring trips. As usual we offer a smorgasbord of passes across our beautiful country - something for everyone. We focus for a moment on litter and the ask the question: "Why do so many motorists throw litter onto the side of the road?" And it is not only limited to poor or uneducated people. During our travels and filming we are often astounded at the volumes of litter on the road side - and exactly how does one change the mindset of a nation? Someone once said that it should be seen positively in that it creates jobs for others!

We revisit two old favourites in the Ceres Karoo where we have refilmed two classics to our 2014 standards. We then head to the northern-most pass in Limpopo right into the Kruger - and finally loop down to Mpumalanga for a drive up the beautiful Bouldersberg.

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The Dept of Water Affairs is raising the height of the Clanwilliam Dam wall. The cost of this construction is enormous as not only must engineers factor in the actual cost of the construction but certain sections of the N7 have to be completely rerouted that would have the road under water at the new 100% capacity point. In addition farms, private property and buildings have to be relocated. This stretch of road was long overdue for a revamp and the new road should make the journey a lot safer. The scale of the roadbuilding is impressive, but unfortunately it is playing havoc with traffic on the N7 between Clanwilliam and Citrusdal with about ten stop/go's in operation 24/7. We filmed in the area last weekend and after running out of time, decided to head back to Cape Town via the "fastest time" option on the GPS. That was a serious judgement error as we could have saved a lot of time by heading back on any of the gravel road options. Such is life!

The website is growing and growing with page views heading for the 40,000 per month mark. It makes an ideal advertising platform for any business where you can focus in precisely on your geographical customer base. Check out the advertising tab for details.

Our main featured pass today is the undeniably impressive Ouberg Pass near Sutherland in the Northern Cape. It's a little out of the way, but it is a seriously enjoyable detour. If you haven't driven it, do so whilst you still can. We produced this pass in 2 parts to do it the justice it deserves.

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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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