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Mountain Passes News

The week that was...

* Trips & Tours

* Wild Coast - the movie

* Wild Coast Day 7 - In the jungle

* Pass of the week


Trips & Tours

First things first. Let's get the bills paid! We still have a few spots open on both our Wild Coast Tours. If you have not visited the Wild Coast before, Here is the opportunity to experience it in the safety of a group, where you will visit all the best points of interest. The links below will provide access to the full itinerary, pricing and general information.

WILD COAST V4 TOUR (PONDOLAND)

WILD COAST TOUR V5 (MBASHE)


The Wild Coast MPSA full length video

We will soon be releasing a 35 minute video (produced and filmed by Derick van Eeden during our last Wild Coast Tour). Besides the full video, we will release it via social media and on our MEDIA page on the MPSA website in 11 separate clips of roughly 3 minutes each. It's a monumental amount of work editing a video of this nature; sifting through hours of footage and selecting the scenes that will capture the public's imagination. We have been privy to previewing some of the chapters and I can assure you, they are really worth waiting for. Our thanks to Derick for doing the hard yards.


Ben 10 Eco Challenge V5

We will be heading off to the Eastern Cape Highlands early in March to take our guests on 5th official Ben 10 Tour. This tour is fully booked. If you want to add your name to the waiting list in case of a cancellation, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Wild Coast V3 Tour - Day 7 - The story continues...

The Haven bowled us over with their delicious food. The wild oysters served up were of the finest quality I have tasted - and plentiful too. After breakfast it was time to saddle up our (proverbial) steeds and get ready for a day of fun and exploration. The idea was to do a west-east traverse of the Cwebe Nature Reserve. It looked so easy on the map, but we were in for a few big surprises.

(Read more...)

The week that was

* Weather watch

* Trips & Tours

* Tiffindell is for sale

* Wild Coast V3 Tour (Day 6)

* Revisiting the Oceanos

* Pass of the week


Some like it hot!

Whilst Gautengers are complaining they've been robbbed of their summer with cool temperatures and a vast amount of rain, those in the Western Cape are experiencing a heatwave of note. I guess it's nothing more than life in Africa. On January 22nd temperatures soared along the West Coast where Hopefield and Vredenburg recorded new record highs. It was slightly cooler in Cape Town at around 40C.


Trips & Tours

We still have some tickets open for May Wild Coast Tours. Check the itineraries and prices on the link below:

https://shop.mountainpassessouthafrica.co.za/product-category/tours/


Tiffindell for sale

Tired of life in the city? Why not buy yourself some high altitude real estate in the Cape Highlands and become the owner of a ski resort. Isn't that a cool idea?!


Wild Coast V3 - The story continues

Day 6 - Coffee Bay to The Haven

It was time to say farewell to the charms of Coffee Bay and go in search of new adventures. Convoy ready to rumble with radio checks done and heading back towards Hole in the Wall, where we took a right hand fork and then very carefully negotiated our way into a very dense local forest with an unpronounceable name - Mgxotyeni. The forest is a mix of indigenous trees as well as gum plantations. The very rough track we followed is used as a service road for a water pipeline; and then mainly by trucks. 

The track is basic at best and consists of rocks (some of them quite sharp as we found out), mud, leaves, branches, lots of shade and many spiders (drive with your window open at your peril!). Derek van Eeden had the misfortune of being the first vehicle to pick up a puncture on Day 2 of the tour and in a cruel twist of fate the dreaded sidewall snake bit his Discovery a second time on this tour. He handled his misfortune with aplomb.

[Read more...]

The week that was...

* Meiringspoort closed (again)

* Trips & Tours

* Wild Coast Day 5

* Pass of the week


More Crazy Weather

Heavy rain, storms, floods and tornadoes have inundated large parts of the interior with welcome rain in the grerater Karoo area as well as the normally bone dry Northern Cape. Gauteng, Mpumalanga and KZN have all had plenty of rain. On the morning of 16th January Meiringspoort was once again closed to traffic as floodwaters had coursed through the poort, overtopping the road and leaving behind mud, debris and tree trunks. The Karoo National Park was forced to close all its tourists routes (except the main road) as the park received a huge amount of rain over a short space of time. In the Western Cape heatwaves have been the order of day with temperatures above the mean average being recorded for January


Trips & Tours

We still have a few spots ope on our two Wild Coast Tours in May, which is a great time to tour with lovely sunny weather being the norm at that time of year. If you want to join us on either of the Wild Coast Tours, you can read the full itinerary and pricing at this link: MPSA WILD COAST TOURS


Wild Coast V3 Tour - Day 5

Coffee Bay - Mapuzi - Hole in the Wall - White Clay

The good weather just kept following us (and we weren't complaining!) Local Xhosa guide, Mzo was ready and waiting to take us to some of the local points of interest. Mzo drove up front with us in the Land Cruiser and we handed the mike over to him. He is quite a character - full of good humour, knowledge and enthusiasm. 

Our first destination for the day was Mapuzi. Its only a few kilometres to the north-east of Coffee Bay, but the road getting there is well - to put it mildly - quite rough. The route traverses a few Wild Coast villages and then suddenly an amazing view opens to the right as a landscape filled with Wild Coast wonders is spread out at your feet. The Mapuzi river lazily flows into the blue waters of the Indian Ocean in the distance, but closer there is a dramatically steep cliff dropping straight down to thunderous surf some 60 metres lower down. The wind was pumping and photography was difficult trying to hold cameras steady in the strong updraft up the cliff face.

[Read more...]

 

The week that was....

* More wild weather

* The Misunderstood Dam

* Tours & New Tours for 2022

* Wild Coast Story - Day 3

* Pass of the Week

* New passes added

* Upgraded videos added


Wild Weather

This summer has produced a lot of rainfall with most of the country seeing overflowing dams and some torrential downfalls. Aughrabies has been massive and other videos have surfaced (Karkloof in KZN comes to mind) showing enormous amounts of water flowing in most rivers. All the Vaal and Orange River dams are more than 100% full, as is the Katse Dam in Lesotho.


The Misunderstood Dam

Even more surprising is the Beervlei Dam near Willowmore which never seems to have water in it, is now very close to being full. In fact has filled twice between November and January) This dam has an interesting story which many people don't know about. The dam was built in the 1950's as a flood control dam and it's meant to be EMPTY. When the Grootrivier floods, this is the dam that contains the inflow (it can hold 86 million cu.m.) and prevents flood damage further downstream. As the water in the catchment area is high in salinity, the Beervlei Dam was never designed to store water for irrigation due to the water contamination with salt. When the dam fills up it is quickly released in a controlled manner for irrigation downstream before the salinity has a chance to contaminate the water. 

The dam must be one of the most maligned infrastructures in SA and most people are critical of it as it is mostly empty. Urban legends have flourished about long term droughts, a poorly built dam wall, and bad planning by the DWA. Of course we now know that those stories are all hogwash. Water flowing into the dam is fed by the Grootrivier, which drains a large part of the Karoo.

There's always something new to learn!


Tours Update:

Ben 10 Eco Challenge (5th to 9th March) - Fully booked
Wild Coast V4 Pondoland Tour (6th to 15th May - 1 ticket left)
Wild Coast V5 Mbashe Tour (16th to 24th May) - 2 tickets left)


Garden Route Saunter (NEW!!)

We are busy adding the final touches to a brand new tour - the Garden Route Saunter, which will start in Riversdale and end at Storms River Mouth. This 5 day tour will be open to normal vehicles and include a mix of about 70/30% gravel and tar. The route will cover many passes including all the famous ones in the Garden Route like Garcia's Pass, Robinson Pass, Montagu Pass, 7 Passes Road, Prince Alfred's Pass, Grootrivier Pass and the Bloukrans Pass. Points of interest will include a forest walk, the Big Tree, Spitzkop, Jubilee Creek, Millwood, De Vlugt, World of Birds, Natures Valley, Storms River Bridge and the Storms River National Park.

The tour is scheduled to take place in July.


The Wild Coast Adventure

Day 4 - Port St Johns to Coffee Bay

The rain forecast didn't materialise, much to everyone's relief. We departed promptly after breakfast from The Spotted Grunter, heading along the new R61 towards Mthatha, traversing three passes in quick succession. These were Isinuka Poort, Butybuse Pass and the Mngazi River Pass, after which we turned south at Tombo. The R61 is in beautiful condition with a wide, smooth surface and adequate emergency lanes. The only negative are the speedbumps (or traffic calmers, as they are called these days), which appear regularly and speed has to be dropped from 100 kph all the way down to 30 kph. The minibus taxis with their very low front clearance have to cross them dead slow - and often at an angle. It makes driving on the R61 a bit frustrating, but with the high number of taxi accidents in the region, I suppose the authorities had little choice but to go that route.

[Read more]

The week that was

* Goodbye 2021 / Hello 2022

* Tours

* Swartberg Classic Tour - Final chapter

* Wild Coast V3 Tour - Day 4 Waterfalls

* Pass of the week 


Happy New Year!

Just when we all collectively heaved a sigh of relief that 2021 was written into the history books, the very first thing that hit the headlines in 2022 was parliament being set on fire in Cape Town - and that under a bizarre and strange set of circumstances. As you all know we don't do politics here, but it does make one think.

Despite that, we wish you all a healthy and prosperous 2022. May your travel wishes come true.

We have a drawer full of plans for the year ahead with some innovative new ideas which you will see unfold as the year progresses. 

On the social media side we grew our followers by just over 40,000 on Facebook to reach 93,000 by the end of December, 2021. The growth has been phenomenal. Likewise our Instagram followers have increased by a whopping 112%. The formula we have developed of good quality photos coupled with interesting topics seems to have attracted the right audience of likeminded people. The amount of man-hours put into our social media efforts amounts to around 4 hours per day, seven days per week.


Tours Availability

To see the full itinerary, pricing and online bookings click on a link below:


Swartberg Classic Tour - The final leg

Uitspan Pass

This was the highlight of the traverse of the P1649 route. There are three passes that traverse the Gouritz River. From south to north these are the Gouritz River Pass on the N2 national road, the Jan Muller Pass (Gravel) which bridges the river some 32 km further north (as the crow flies) and lastly the Uitspan Pass, which crosses the Gouritz River another 16 km northwards. The latter is the pass we selected for the tour.

The Gouritz River is an interesting river which has caused farmers and road and rail builders many problems over the years. Its gorge is deep and wide, yet for most of the year it is dry and dormant, but when the rains come, this river can be savagely lethal.

[Read more...]

 

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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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