The north-eastern part of the Eastern Cape arguably spawned the finest collection of big gravel passes in South Africa. In the last decade various magazines and publications have touted these passes as the "The Big 8 Passes Challenge" and perhaps a little more dramatically "Riding the tail of the Dragon" with the dragon part being a reference to the last south-westerly segment of the Drakensberg. Yet other sources call this place "Wild Mountain Country"
Whatever the terms of reference are, there can be no doubt that the great passes on offer are all gravel with a single exception - the Barkly Pass. The others are Naude's Nek Pass (often misquoted as the highest pass in South Africa, which honour actually goes to the Sani Pass), Baster Voetslaan, Otto du Plessis, Volunteershoek, Carlislehoekspruit, Lundin's Nek and Joubert Pass.
We bring you one of these passes today in the form of a triple video set, which provides the viewer with a realistic asessment of whether they would try driving the pass or not.
From the bushveld in Limpopo we drive clean across South Africa to the wonderful Namaqualand, where the flowers turned this arid landscape into an explosion of colour this spring. It's a short season, so visitors need to get up there quickly whilst the show is still on. During our recent filming trip through the Northern Cape towards the end of July, the flowers had already started erupting in small pockets, so we had a good idea this year would bring on a spectacular display.
This week we feature one of the great gravel passes in Namaqualand with a big altitude drop, waterfalls, shiny granite outcrops in the mountains and surprisingly green vegetation. You can drive this one in a normal car, but it's a slow route with several farm gates to open and close, but the rewards are worth it - with roads to Leliefontein and Paul's Hoek all offering dazzling displays of flowers.
Welcome to the official first day of spring! A wonderful time of the year when the earth puts on a show with new blooms and magical displays of wild flowers along the West Coast and in Namaqualand, but it is into the far northern tip of South Africa that we head this week, to showcase a beautiful and substantial pass that few people know about. Not only is it peppered with corners and fairly steep gradients, but it offers a fabulous curved bridge and sublime views of the surrounding mountains. Take a drive with us, as we take you over the Limpopo escarpment!
We are off on yet another trip to capture some of our beautiful passes on video.
You've all heard about the major gravel passes of the Eastern Cape, with names like Jouberts Pass, Lundin's Nek, Carlisleshoekspruit Pass, Naude's Nek, Bastervoetslaan Pass and the Otto du Plessis Pass. But staying out of the limelight amongst these big bad gravel boys, there are several minor passes - each with its own unique bit of history.
Our featured pass today is a perfect example of one of these quiet little gems, waiting patiently to be discovered. Drive with us today as we take you up and over a pass (not far from Rhodes, Elliot and Barkly East), that you've probably never even heard of, as we explore it's name and its origins, which will no doubt come as a big surprise to you, as it did to us.
We are back in the Western Cape this this week and bring you something very different in terms of mountain passes. This one is not for anyone suffering from acrophobia and you'll need to be in a high clearance 4x4 with low range, but having said that, this one can also be walked, but at 8,8 km and an altitude gain of 919m you'll need a certain level of stamina, good knees and a sturdy pair of boots!
Our featured pass lies completely within a private nature reserve and it's gravel travel all the way as we take you with us to one of South Africa's most spectacular view sites, offering breathtaking views over rugged ridges and a 400m deep canyon with near vertical sides.
This is our largest video set we have ever produced on a single pass and the page contains no less than eight videos. Sit back, relax and cyber drive with us as we take you up the second highest mountain and into the biggest snowfields of the Western Cape.
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.