Kannaland is named after the gannabos or seepbos (soap bush), a shrub much prized for soap making in early times. The tiny hamlet of Van Wyksdorp is the 'capital' of Kannaland, a strip of land hemmed in by the mountain ranges of the Rooiberg in the north and the Langeberg in the south. This is in the heart of the Little Karoo and our featured pass today lies close to this quiet and undisturbed village.
Often regarded as the undiscovered corner of the Klein Karoo, Van Wyksdorp remains a cultural kaleidoscope untouched by the modern hustle and bustle of city life and where tranquility abounds and time has almost stood still. Situated within the Cape Floristic Kingdom (an internationally recognised biodiversity hotspot), Vanwyksdorp is ecologically rich in Succulent Klein Karoo biodiversity. This quaint little village provides a unique charm, warm character and friendly residents. People from afar come here over weekends or permanently to breathe in the atmosphere of a living village. Young and old enjoy themselves while children still play safely in the few streets. More lower down.....
A big thank you to all our FaceBook followers for getting us over the 14,000 followers boundary. We have upped our game and now post most days of the week to satisfy the ever increasing demand for our hugely popular pass quizzes.
Good morning South Africa!
This morning we are featured in Business Day Live. You can read the article here: BUSINESS DAY LIVE
Today we head into the Eastern Cape, as we introduce you to yet another unknown gravel pass near Cala in the Highlands. This pass is fairly rough and traverses the true rural parts of the old Transkei, where life revolves around a much slower clock - where the cattle grow shiny and fat on the good pasturage and the colourful thatched huts speak of a tribal culture ingrained into the timeless mountians and valleys of this traditional part of South Africa, which remains unspoilt and charming to those who dare to tackle the rutted back roads. More lower down........
Just past the halfway mark through the year and we take a look at the statistics and what makes Mountain Passes South Africa tick? Our You Tube Channel has amassed a staggering 1,129,130 views with 1,100 subscribers. The channel now hosts 1,229 videos.
We have some very knowledgable people who regularly crack our FaceBook quizzes which have become increasingly popular, with page views ranging between 5000 and 60,000. Our followers on FaceBook now total 13,897 and we should top the 14,000 mark within the next week. More lower down......
Rain, Snow and Cold.... but not nearly enough
We are past the halfway mark of the winter, yet the Western Cape remains very much on the dry side. We headed into one of our favourite spots last weekend - the magnificent Cederberg. Normally at this time of year the roads are muddy and the causeways are mostly flooded, but this year, although the rivers are all flowing, they are nowhere near their normal levels. For those of us that live in the Western Cape, the warning bells of a long drought are ringing loudly. Saving water is now a way of life.
The new generation of farmers
We visited three farms in the area - Mount Ceder, Kromrivier and Dwarsrivier. All of these farms are managed by forward thinking young people, who are investing in fresh, innovative ideas. Ever thought about living off the grid? Well, more and more people are getting it right and our weekend accommodation at Mount Ceder had every modern amenity, yet everything ran off just two solar panels and a deep cycle battery. That included a big fridge/freezer. More on that lower down......
Our featured pass of the week is in KZN, which is one of two provinces where we still have a lot of filming work to complete (the other being Mpumalanga). Our pass this week is a mix of gravel, tar and concrete and ends at the top of the mountain in a Cul-de-Sac where a range of nature activities can be enjoyed, including trout fishing, hiking and camping. Draw your bucket list closer, as this pass is one every adventure enthusiast must add to their list.
Winter has arrived!
With widespread snow falls recorded across most of the high lying mountains from the Cederberg in the west to the Drakensberg in the east, there have been some great photos sent in from various parts of the country. Whilst it's a huge amount of fun bundling the family into the family car and heading off to find the snow, this can often lead to serious consequences. Snow driving mostly has the following ingredients which make up a lethal cocktail: Inexperience; Over-confidence; Ego and Alcohol. Lower down on this page we take you through a short safety check list, which should ensure a safe snow driving trip for you and your family.
Another Swartberg Pass update
We have been sent information from a business owner in Prince Albert, that SAPS are concerned about the disregard for the road closure signs at the northern end of the pass and have issued a warning to all residents (and by proxy their guests) that they will be patrolling that end of the pass - especially over weekends and will be looking specifically for anyone (including adventure bikers) who disregard the road closure signs. There you have it - plain and simple. Pass it on!
Pass of the week
Our Jhb filming crew headed up by Mike Leicester, have uncovered a great gravel pass, which is bound to have appeal for the more adventurous traveller. This new 'discovery' can be enjoyed via our video, multiple photos and detailed write up. More info lower down....
SOUTH AFRICA - Not passing out yet!
Just when we thought we had the end of the project in sight, we have just been sent a spreadsheet by one of our loyal supporters, Steyn Britz. This spreadsheet contains another 12 new passes. It would seem South Africa has an inexhaustible source of passes! Most of these new passes are in KZN with one each for the Free State and Mpumalanga respectively. These will be added to the database in due course.
The Gamkaskloof feature was hugely popular
Last week's special feature on the Gamkaskloof was a huge success and proved to be very popular with over 67,000 views on our Face Book page alone, which catapulted our following to over 13,700. We had some reservations that we might have put in too much detail, but judging by the even number of views spread over the 10 piece video set, it seems this is not the case at all. Thank you South Africa, for the vote of confidence in our work.
Good news on the Swartberg Pass
Whilst we are skulking around the Swartberg, we have been in touch with a reliable source in Prince Albert, who has provided up to date information on the Swartberg Pass. It appears to be true that motorcyclists can get through the roadworks, but vehicles cannot. There is some good news in that it is anticipated that the pass will be reopened to normal traffic by August 2017 with a stop/go system (one way traffic) in place over the damaged 2 km section near the Prince Albert side of the pass. The completed rebuild of that section is scheduled to be done by August/September 2018. Watch this space for new updates.
Another bucket list pass
Our featured pass of the week is a gravel pass that lives in the shadow of it's more famous sister (Naude's Nek Pass) and forms a wonderful and very scenic short-cut from Naude's Nek through to Mount Fletcher. This tricky and little known pass has two difficult and two easy sections, but the views over the Luzi River Poort are simply fabulous. Here is yet another 'road less travelled' to add to your bucket list.....
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.