We were swamped with inquiries about the Ben 10 Challenge which we mentioned in last week's news release. There were so many emails, that we simply will not be able to answer all of them, but for those who want to participate in the challenge, please be patient, as we promise to publish all the relevant details here as well as on our Face Book page as developements unfold.
This week we leave the green hills of Eastern Cape and head into the far north-western corner of the Northern Cape to explore what is probably the best known mountain pass in the Richtersveld. We'll take you over this tricky and slow pass to uncover the fascinating geology, flora and flora of this beautiful mountain desert that we are privileged to have within striking distance from both Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Judging by the number of inquiries we receive at Mountain Passes South Africa, it is clear that the 'silly season' has begun. Families making plans for the school holidays and people from all walks of life gearing up for an affordable local holiday; more and more people are seeking out the back roads - those discoveries we like to keep to ourselves; the roads less travelled. This week we even had inquiries from folk wanting to know which passes were best for viewing the super-moon.
In this world of media negativity, at MPSA we aim to always bring you uplifting, stimulating and positive news.
During mid-December, all our filming crews are heading for the Eastern Cape highlands where we plan on re-filming the Big 8, plus another two passes. The first is a new road (4x4 only) that will become the new highest altitude record holder with an altitude of 3001m, in the process exceeding Sani Pass by a considerable margin. This is the Ben Mac Dhui Pass. Weather permitting we will be filming it on December 16th.
The second is a contour traverse above the 2600m contour line, called the Tiffindell-Tenahead Traverse (TTT), which connects the Tenahead Lodge near the summit of Naude's Nek Pass with the Tiffindell Ski Resort on a rough jeep track (4x4 only) just inside the RSA-Lesotho border, which has incredible scenery.
Come hell or high-water!
The next time someone tells you to "Go to hell" you should gratefully accept, but make sure it's to our featured pass this week. There are a wide range of passes all over South Africa, which venture around the periphery of Hades or some or the other demonic or ghoulish connotation. Most of them were named with a distinct sense of humour and others were actually quite serious.
A few passes that spring to mind are Die Hel at Gamkaskloof (one of our most popular pages on the website); Satan's Nek in the Eastern Cape, Helshoogte near Stellenbosch, Hel se Kloof Pass near Nieuwoudtville, and another two Helskloof passes in the Northern Cape.
Then there are witches in the Hexrivier Pass and the Devils Bellows near Katberg, whilst Garies has the taste of blood (Bloedsmaak) up the Skuinshoogte Pass. There is fraud, robbery and murder at Bedrogfontein, Moordenaarsnek, and Robbers Pass, whilst snakes plague the Slanghoek valley, but in the Overberg life is a little more balanced in the Hemel and Aarde valley. All in all our passes names reflect the trials and tribulations of a hard life, taming South Africa.
Today, we explore one of the passes into the proverbial gateway to hell - and this one is also the most atmospheric and creepy of the whole bunch.
This week we take you into the mountains around Cradock in the Eastern Cape to drive one of the best gravel passes we know of. This one is a tandem pass, consisting of a lovely, winding and beautifully scenic kloof (12 km), which seamlessly transforms into a major mountain pass 8 km), covering a total distance of just over 20 km .
This is the land of mohair, mutton, cattle and local heroes and heroines, where some very famous folk hail from - amongst others Olive Schreiner, Sir John Cradock and in more recent times, Matthew Goniwe.
Travel with us over the big mountains on the flank of the Mountain Zebra National Park, where the Karoo air is fresh and still and the birdsong is the loudest sound you will hear.
The Northern Cape is one of the most unexplored provinces in South Africa. It's also the biggest province covering a massive 30,5% of South Africa's surface area. This equates to just under 373,000 square kilometres. There's plenty of space to find solitude, clean air and places to relax and unwind. There are also a surprising number of great mountain passes - both tar and gravel. In our news release today we have 7 video offerings ranging from a small poort to some big tarred passes.
Our winter filming trip through the province was a voyage of discovery with a new surprise around every corner. Add genuinely hospitable people and you have a winning recipe. Much of the surface area falls under the mantle of Namaqualand and our featured pass today is a fairly new tarred pass which has been labelled 'spectacular'.
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.