Mountain Passes News

To the gentleman and his wife in the silver Volvo Station Wagon, who stopped me in traffic a few days ago to tell me how much they love the website : Thank you! It's people like you that make me enjoy getting up at 4 am to produce passes for all South Africans.

The positive news this week is that the price of fuel is dropping by 65c per litre. Hallelujah! It is arguably the best of time year to got into your car and head out into the country. Take a break from city life and experience our magificent outdoors. Use our Master Map on the Home Page to plan a route and include a few passes. The wild flowers are in full bloom all along the West Coast. Why not head off to the Postberg Nature Reserve at Langebaan lagoon or head a bit further north into Namaqualand. Weather permitting, our filming crew will be heading to Vanrhynsdorp on Sunday to film passes (and flowers).

You will notice that on some of our pages, we have moved the video clips to the top of the page. This is a process we have started, based on reader demand and it will take several weeks for the entire website to be adapted. We have already completed all the provinces other than the Eastern and Western Cape.

We bring you a diverse range of passes again this week with our main feature being on the Northern Cape.

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This week we focus on the land of wild-flowers - the completely unique Namaqualand. It's a place of miracles - a wild landscape that is achingly dry in summer, yet transforms into a floral wonderland each August. The winter of 2014 has been cold and wet - the harbinger of excllent wildflowers. Our mountain pass this week takes us on a dusty little road between Springbok and Hondeklipbaai as we explore life in the 1800's - when copper was the Cape Colony's second biggest export - where convicts were brought by ship from Robben Island to the tiny and rocky coastal inlet dubbed Hondeklipbaai and made to walk the 70 km from the harbour to the site of the Messelpad Pass. We learn about Patrick Fletcher - another unsung roadbuilding hero.

This is also the very first reader video submission from Johan Buys of Durbanville, who did a great job of capturing the footage just the way we like it. All three passes featured this week are gravel passes. Go get some some dust on your tyres!

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Last week we posted a picture of the wild-flowers in Namaqualand on our FaceBook page. Social media is such an interesting phenomenon. To prove a point, that photo had  23,288 views; 734 Likes and 274 shares. It just goes to show, ladies never grow tired of flowers! Whilst on that topic, our FaceBook page is hugely popular and we have recently topped the 1000 Likes mark. Thank you to all of you for the support!

Our recent foray into the mountains around Sutherland unearthed some great footage and unusual things along the way. Make sure you watch the video on the Karelskraal Pass - it's something special and we are priveleged to be able to get to these amazing places as we complete the final series of passes in the Northern Cape. The sincereity of the Karoo people is earthy and their hospitality knows no bounds. We produced a short video on Sutherland itself which includes its history, people, architecture and astromical achievements.

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It's that time of year again. Reports coming in from the Vanrhynsdorp and Springbok areas indicate a fantastic explosion of wild-flowers this year. It seems that Mother Nature is more reliable than some of our African banks! The next four weeks offer the very best of the wild-flower routes. Use our master map to plan your journey into these unique floral wonderlands.

Last weekend we filmed several passes in the Sutherland area including Amandel Nek, Ouberg, Rooipoort, Verlatenkloof, Rooikloof, Bloupoort, Die Poortjie, Karelskraal, Allemanshoek and Rammelkop passes. All of these will be live on the website in the next fortnight or so. We will also be producing a short video on the town of Sutherland itself - the history, the struggle, the cold and the famous night skies and all the little Karoo town has to offer.

Our featured passes this week are:

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Someone once told me that the maximum number of degrees that a road can turn is 180 degrees. Our cover photo this week, proves otherwise. Magnifique!

The Western and Northern Cape wild flowers have already begun blooming. A sure sign that spring is around the corner. Our 'discovery of the month' is featured this week in the form of the Droelandskloof Pass - a 16 km gem well hidden in the folds of the mountains about 45 km north of Ceres. This is a road less travelled and is best not driven if time is an issue. It's long, slow and beautiful and will leave your senses tranquilised. Highly recommended. But watch both parts of the video carefully and take notes if you intend driving it.

[Expand this page to access the links, by clicking the photo, the title or the green READ MORE button]

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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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