Mountain Passes News

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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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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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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