The first serious cold front swept over South Africa this weekend, with the Western Cape taking the brunt of it. There were decent snowfalls on the mountains around Ceres, the Cederberg and as far east as Swellendam. That meant a complete revision of our filming itinerary and the video capturing of two big Karoo passes with lovely snow covered mountains in the background. We should have those two produced and online in about 10 days time.
Today, we visit a major historical pass dating back to the 1800's as well as a little known pass on the Garden Route where we can discover the settler roots of Barrington. We finish off our trio with a small gravel pass near beautiful Greyton.
In less developed countries motor vehicles are made to work hard and earn their keep - as our cover photo shows!
We bring you another historical road this week north of Knysna in the Southern Cape as well as a quick jaunt up to the Northern Cape for a very interesting 4x4 drive through the Namaqua National Park and then we finish up in the lowveld near Barberton's historical gold fields.
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Brrrr! Winter has arrived in the Western Cape. That spells good news for trips into the countryside and new mountain passes to discover. We have an absolute gem for you this week - the historic Attequaskloof Ox-wagon route. A road that was the N1 for wagon traffic between the coast and the Karoo for 180 years. The history is captivating and the 23 km long pass had to filmed in three videos to give you the complete picture. Unfortunately it can only be driven in a 4x4 as you will see in the video. It will give you a new appreciation of how tough life was in the 1800's. Our cover photo by Zane Erasmus shows the middel section. The little cottage in the photo can be hired from Cape Nature when you book for the 3 day hiking trail in the kloof. It doesn't get more picturesque or isolated than this.
We then do a U-turn and head all the way to Mpumalanga to discover a tough gravel pass high up in the mountains - The Shiyalongubo Pass (the pronunciation takes a little practice!) and we finish off our weekly trio with the much more gentle Skaapwagters Pass on the R539.
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Our cover photo today features the southern approach to the amazing Seweweekspoort. The photo captures the spirit of gravel travel. A certain yearning that many of us have to escape the city life with all its trappings and find our souls in the simplicity of time travel. And what better way than feeling the crunch of gravel under your tyres?
Today we wander far and wide over South Africa, as we introduce you to some new and old passes. We recently did a complete revamp on our most popular pass, with over 7,000 views - The Gamkaskloof / Die Hel, incorporating that most revered pass, the Elands Pass with its dizzying switchbacks. Discover who Cordier was, the giant Hollander, clad in sheepskins, who ran the show in Die Hel for a long time. And how about Gustav Nefdt, a true Klover, who carried a Dover coal stove strapped to his back over a treacherous footpath from Prince Albert to Die Hel.
On a more gentle note, we visit two new passes in Mpumalanga, the Witklip and Uitkyk passes.
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We recently re-filmed one of our Top 10 passes and re-produced a new two part video series on Chapmans Peak Drive - probably the most written about and controversial pass in South Africa. The videos contain a fascinating insight into the history of the pass (both old and recent).
We then take you on a long, slow drive through the Tankwa Karoo to take you down the breathtaking and rugged Gannaga Pass. Finally we head south to the small town of McGregor and introduce you to a lovely and little known gravel pass that borders on the Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve - rich in flora and fauna.
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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.
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.