With the municipal and provincial elections behind us, there seems to be a new positivity amongst business leaders and in most walks of life. We make a conscious effort to stay away from the two subjects that cause friction: Politics and religion. Enough said!
This week we head right up into the northern-most part of South Africa into the Limpopo province and more specifically the Waterberg region, which is well known for its natural beauty, pleasant climate and plentiful wild life. When you take the click through to the pass page, please take note of the free download on offer of the official brochure: the Waterberg Meander. This expertly written brochure refers to a series of specifically placed signboards with numbers, which link with the information on the brochure. This will greatly enhance your travels through this region.
Mike Leicester took a careful drive over our featured pass and managed to get some great videography done under difficult conditions. So buckle up, and take a drive with us through the Moepel Nature Reserve as we unearth yet another gem to add onto your bucket list.
We achieved a major milestone this week, with the website attracting 19,286 page views in a single week. Our previous high was just over 12,000, so we are on the move again, climbing ever closer to the magical figure of 25,000 per week. The FaceBook page was also extremely popular this week, with just over 14,000 hits. Thank you - each one of you, for your loyal support. Remember to check out our acknowledgements page on the website, where we publish the good (and bad) things you say about us. Visitor Feedback.
Production of the new Northern Cape passes has commenced and this week we bring you a very short, but rough and steep pass in the heart of the barren Richtersveld thirstland. This one can only be managed in a 4x4. During filming we managed to interview a local park ranger who provided us with invaluable information on our featured pass. A stroke of pure luck, which we would never otherwise have known about. The more we travel, the luckier we get!
So head off with us into the land of the Kokerboom, the Botterboom and the Halfmens as we navigate our way gingerly by GPS, instinct, stone cairns and comprehensive map-reading through the wild and remote mountain desert called the Richtersveld. We also offer a comprehensive guide of safety and other measures to consider when travelling through this harsh landscape.
Winter has truly gripped South Africa with a vengeance with wild weather being reported from all corners of the nation. Imagine a tornado with severe hail in Kempton Park in July, with flooding in KZN and heavy snow clean across all the major mountain ranges. The drought has now virtually been broken nationwide, with overflowing dams to be seen everywhere and even the beleaguered Western Cape has received excellent rainfall which will soon reflect in vastly improved dam levels. Perhaps only the Northern Cape is still under the drought kosh. More about that later....
There have been some issues with some of our subscribers not receiving the weekly newsletter. We traced the fault in that our account with Mailchimp had reached it's maximum level of 2000 much quicker than what we had anticipated. We have temporarily fixed the problem and are investigating alternative methods of getting the newsletter to your desktop without it costing an arm and a leg. We apologise to all those affected and thank you for writing to us to let us know.
Your Western Cape film crew have just returned from a thoroughly enjoyable and fascinating excursion deep into the Northern Cape from Nieuwoudtville to the Richtersveld - in the process capturing 37 passes for the website, which will appear over the next few months.
Our overall impression of the Northern Cape after criss-crossing it from north to south and east to west was a province of stark contrasts. Our routing started at Niewoudtville......
As this news release hits cyberspace, the Cape Town video crew are almost wrapping up their latest filming tour through the Northern Cape. This will bring the website virtually up to date with all of the provinces reaching close to 80% completion and some of the provinces are already at 100%.
This could not possibly have happened without the efforts of Mike Leicester, who joined forces with your editor about two years ago, greatly adding to the technical quality as well as the rate of production which has more than doubled.
The Northern Cape trip routing planning was complicated and will include the towns of Nieuwoudtville, Garies, Kamieskroon, Springbok, Lekkersing, Vioolsdrift as well as the Namaqualand National Park and the Richtersveld, the latter which has no less than six passes within it's borders. In all 35 passes will be filmed over 8 days, bringing the Northern Cape's tally up to the national standard.
Our featured pass this week is however in the Eastern Cape and offers a sublime drive through a beautiful nature reserve and we take a closer look at the Blinkwater Monster.
With Lesotho in our sites for early 2017, the website will eventually display over 730 passes and poorts towards the end of 2017. It is the only website of its kind in the world and we are delighted that we can still bring this huge font of knowledge to our readers completely free of charge. Your ongoing support and an ever increasing readership allows us to attract advertisers to keep this gentle financial balance.
From time to time in our travels across the length and breadth of this great land of ours, we uncover some great passes. Today we feature one of those. This big, gravel pass offers dense sections of indigenous forests, pine and bluegum plantations, steep gradients, exceptional mountain views, a wide range of flora and fauna, waterfalls, dams and a picture perfect rural village.
The pass gives access to some of the finest hiking, walking and MTB trails and starts or ends high in the misty reaches of the Amathola mountains. To add to these multiple attractions, not many people know about it either. You'll have the place to yourself.
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.