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Mountain Passes News

Happy New Year!

It is  our great pleasure to wish each and every one of you a healthy, prosperous and adventure filled year ahead. We hope that MPSA will be part of your life during the year ahead and beyond. We have lots of wonderful new ideas and concepts for 2019 as we forge ahead with our plans to run the project on a full time basis. 

New Years Day pass filming

What better way of kickstarting 2019 with an early departure on a pass filming day on January 1st. With perfect filming weather in the Western Cape, the Cape Town crew headed north towards Citrusdal with the idea of refilming some of the passes in that area, and more specifically the trio of passes on the R303 - a long connecting road between Citrusdal and Ceres with a mix of tar and gravel and one of those roads offering incredibly beautiful scenery, but be warned, the road is on the rough side and if it weren't for the 4WD capability of the Suzuki Jimny, we might have had no footage at all.

So with Elandskloof, Middelberg and Buffelshoek passes under the belt, it left just one new pass to locate and film. The pass in question was the Piet Esterhuysen Pass, which is accessed off the R303, but it is one of those passes that falls under that awkward category of a partially deproclaimed road. As is the case with other roads in that category (Sanbona Wildlife Reserve springs immediately to mind) a certain amount of jumping through hoops is required before entry can be obtained. [More lower down]

Tower to Tower Tour

Saturday,12th January - Fully Booked. You can view past and future tours (when booking opens) at the MPSA Shop.

You can also subscribe (free) to receive Tour updates, which gives you first bite at the cherry.

Our next tour is being formulated as we speak and will probably be scheduled for last weekend of January. 

2018 - It's a wrap!

The final newsletter of 2018 is always a time to reflect and take stock of our achievements and failures for the year. We had both of those in abundance and for those of you that read all the way to the bottom of the page, our 'Thought for the day' quote mostly reflects what is happening at MPSA at the time.

This year we have been successful in completely avoiding politics and we have been singularly focused on remaining in a positive space, despite all the doom and gloom that gets fed into our head space on a daily basis. The end of year gives us an opportunity to reflect on where we were a year ago versus today. [But more of that lower down...]

Is this your lucky day?

One of our guests for the Ben 10 Official Tour in March next year, has had to withdraw due to health issues. There is one space up for grabs. Book tour online (Late edit - Sorry, this spot has now been taken)

First tour of 2019

We still have a few tickets available for our first tour of 2019, which is the Tower to Tower Tour between Moorreesburg and Piketberg in the Western Cape. We have amended the entry requirements from 4x4 only to 4x2 with good ground clearance (as we can use a safe escape route for 4x2 vehicles if necessary). This tour involves an ascent and descent of the Koringberg, followed by a visit to a mission station tucked away in a hidden kloof, then down an historic pass where the first concept of a looped flyover was invented 130 years ago by a South African farmer. Book tour online

Featured pass of the week:

We remain up north as we take you for a cyber drive on the gravel surfaced Shiyalongubo Pass. A pass once driven, will long be remembered. [More lower down...]

* Jingle Bells

* Road safety

* How to fix a puncture

* Book on our next tour

* Pass of the week

* New passses added


Our best wishes to you!

In this penultimate newsletter of 2018 we take time out to wish every one of our subscribers, followers and friends who enjoy our passes and poorts across our beautiful country, a relaxing and safe time with your families over the holiday season. More importantly we wish you safe travels and in that process, we continue with our December theme on road safety.

In today's issue we focus specifically on punctures and how best to deal with them and we offer a step by step guide on how to be self-sufficient when your spare wheel has already been swapped and you get that dreaded second puncture hundreds of kilometres from the nearest town.

Abel was very able

For our featured pass this week, we take you up into the northern-most sector of Limpopo province to cyber-drive the  24 km long and absolutely magnificent Abel Erasmus Pass. We take a peek at the man himself who attained some fame as a fearless hunter and earned the respect of locals of all races who gave him the nick-name 'Ndabulu Duzi' for his practice of waiting until the last possible moment before firing on his quarry.

Tower to Tower Tour

Bookings have just opened for our first tour of 2019 - The Tower to Tower Tour - a one day bonanza only open to 4WD vehicles with low range. What sets our tours apart from the rest is that we don't charge per person, but per vehicle. Our tours are normally booked out in a day or two, so grab your spot: BOOK NOW!

There are also some new passes produced this week, so sit back, relax and enjoy the South Africa many people don't know about. [More lower down...]

THE WEEK THAT WAS:

* How to survive the Silly Season

* Water crossings 101 - an essential guide

* Podcast - covering a full version of how to safely cross rivers

* Pass of the Week

* New passes added

Silly Season Safety

They call this time of year the 'silly season' for good reason (that was not intentionally meant to rhyme) and each December as the final school term winds up towards year end, families from every corner of South Africa set out for the modern version of the Great Trek as families unite over the festive season. Every year it's a bit like Russian Roulette.

The roads are packed with bumper to bumper traffic and drivers become increasingly agitated with the slow rate of progress and begin taking risks they would otherwise not normally take. Ignoring barrier lines is one of the most commonly abused traffic laws in South Africa as we observe on each and every filming trip we do shows how drivers right across the educational, financial and social spectrum take the law into their own hands and flagrantly disobey barrier lines and speed limits. It's become a free for all.

In this special issue we consider a number of safety issues that will help you get your family safely to their holiday destination and back home again.

Rivers of Sorrow and Joy

We visit beautiful Mpumalanga where the Drakensberg escarpment plunges more than 1000m down into the Lowveld and take you over a gravel pass ignored by most, but this one is well worth checking out, not only for it's superb scenery, but also for it's rich history. [Read more lower down...]

The week that was:

* 2018 ABF Tour - Langeberg Conqueror

* Corrugations - the one feature of gravel roads that no-one enjoys. We show how how to beat the bumps.

* Podcast - a discussion on a range of topics from tiger fishing to Thomas Bain.

* Pass of the Week

* New passes added this week

Langeberg Conqueror Tour - 30th December, 2018

For those of you in the Western Cape or anyone from inland coming to the Cape for the holidays, we are putting on a spectacular final tour of the year on Sunday 30th December, 2018 that makes for a perfect opportunity to get the family out for the day before the New Year celebrations begin. The tour includes a full ascent and descent of the Langeberg mountains (1493m ASL) on a private road not normally open to the public. We got special permission for this one, so it promises to be a fantastic fun filled family day that will include a range of other passes, mostly gravel, as we work our way through a wide 165 km long loop along the Karoo escarpment. Our last 3 tours were all sold out within 48 hours, so book online right now: LANGEBERG CONQUEROR TOUR

Corrugations and Safety

As many South Africans gear up towards the annual holiday rush to the coast, we are focussing on road safety - not just on the tarred roads, but especially on the gravel back roads. In today's news letter, we have a look at the topic of corrugations and how best to deal with them. Corrugations are abhorred by all drivers (and passengers) and can ruin a great country style drive, but there is a way to reduce the shaking and improve the ride. Corrugations are one of the main culprits causing rollovers.

It won't be the gnarly hills, flooded river crossings or the axle deep sands of Namaqualand that test the endurance of your vehicle, but the gutted corrugations of the roads that lead to many iconic off the beaten track destinations.

It's these corrugations that will see mirrors rattle apart, aerials come adrift, roof racks rub through paint and the contents of your camping kit eventually disintegrate until they resemble nothing of the finely organised packing system that you started with.

There are a hundred theories on how dirt roads become corrugated and they encompass everything from over-zealous truck drivers, to braking too hard before corners, to overloaded vehicles and over inflated tyres. Regardless of how corrugations form, driving on them is uncomfortable and eventually shakes your vehicle to pieces.

If you plan on travelling the backroads of South Africa then you are going to encounter endless kilometres of corrugated dirt roads, but you can take a few measures to reduce their bone-rattling affects.

Get Your Tyres Down and Your Speed Up

It's not often that you're advised to go faster during an unpleasant driving experience but it is fact when driving over corrugations that 60kph may be a lot more comfortable than 30kph and 80kph - 90kph may be even better. We aren't suggesting you belt around the bush at 140 because when you eventually put your car on it's roof - you'll blame us, but there is a distinct speed that is 'right' for every vehicle.

The key is to synchronise all the elements of your car with the corrugations - the pressure in your tyres, the weight of your car and its suspension and handling characteristics. Finding the best speed for your particular vehicle will see these variables all align in some sort of harmony that sees you floating on top of the corrugations rather than rattling between them. [Read more lower down...]

 

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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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