Mountain Passes News

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]

Our next filming expedition is in the Northern Cape and we will be basing ourselves in Sutherland - notorious as the coldest town in South Africa as well as for its extraordinarily clear night skies - a prerequisite for the study of the celestial bodies. This fame and notoriety has worked in the Karoo town's favour as even trying to book accommodation 2 weeks in advance, proved to be something of a challenge with all sorts of clubs and biker adventure groups heading that way to experience the marrow chilling cold. I was told by several B&B owners in Sutherland that during winter they are often booked out a year in advance! So be a hero - Get Sutherland!

So it would seem that there is a masochistic streak in a lot of us! My excuse is I'm going to film. Our digs for the weekend include standard equipment like electric blankets, hot water bottles and oversized duvets (and home cooked Karoo lamb shank). For the record, we have detailed 19 possible passes to be tackled, of which we might be lucky to nail down 6 or 7, depending on the weather. At the top of our list are the Ouberg, Rammelkop and Verlatenkloof passes.

This week we have some interesting passes for you to ogle - with the main feature being on the great man himself: Thomas Bain. If you have a look at our FaceBook page, you will see that a direct relative of the Bain's is a subscriber to both this site and our FB page. She is Margaret Ruddock Carey. We have asked her to write us a short piece on how the family history and Bain connections unfold. Watch this space.

Our cover pic this week shows how people in the northern hemisphere have to cope with heavy snow-falls. Spare a thought for them!

Our feature story last week on the Rammelkop Pass drew lots of commentary and a lengthy discussion on at least one forum on the merits/demerits of tyre pressures and snow driving. One school of thought is that tyre pressures should be increased to reduce the footprint, so that the layer of ice can be cracked by the weight of the vehicle and so gain some purchase on the road below the ice. This theory is all good and well when the road under the snow/ice is tar or paved, but when you are on gravel, the road below will be muddy, so we stand by our advice of lowering tyre pressures to increase the footprint for all off-raod or gravel situations. Re-inflating to normal pressures is critical as soon as normal driving commences. Driving fast on under inflated tyres is dangerous and can result in a blow out as the tyre overheats due to the higher friction levels.

Winter is a good time for filming with green scenery (well, in the Western Cape at least!), snow, waterfalls and crisp clear air. We take you on a blitz tour of three passes.

[To access the links, expand this page by clicking on 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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