This week we have a range of new material covering some fairly hectic offroad driving in the Eastern Cape on the aptly named Ongeluks Nek Pass (open this page scroll down to the bottom for the 'one click' hyperlink) , plus a nice easy tarred pass in the Great Karoo on the N9 north of Graaff-Reinet. . We have also produced a feature on the Eastern, mountainous part of Lesotho covering some exquisite scenery between Mokhotlong and Ramatselitso. Much of the footage on this clip is supplied by one of our co-travellers, Kobus Vlok. (Dankie Kobus!)
2014 promises to be a BIG year for the production team at Mountain Passes South Africa, as we plan on having every publicly accessible pass live and featured on the website by mid-year. Our FaceBook and Twitter pages are doing very well with subscribers and "Likes" increasing daily. Associations with companies like Tracks4Africa are now in place and more are on the cards in the next two months. Watch this space! We would like........
How is it possible to publish a public statement this week without paying tribute to Madiba? The doomsayers predicted a crash in the currency and the failure of the JSE. Instead the currency improved and the JSE gained several points. The population have somehow been reinjected with Madiba's value system - a time to refocus on positive things, on forgiveness, understanding and "holding hands with the enemy".
With television programs covering every possible recorded part of his life this week, perhaps the most touching and poignant scene (for me), was him shaking hands with Betsie Verwoerd in Oranje. He was a true statesman and will probably go down in South African history as the greatest South African of all time.
Speaking of greatness on a different scale, this week we have produced a 2 part video series on the Naude's Nek Pass - built by 2 farmers in the late 1800's with only pick and shovel, they completed the well planned pass of over 30 kms,
Mountain Passes South africa has just passed the 4000 page views per week target. That is over 200,000 page views a year. Our Google ranking is soaring and we now rank in position 3171 amongst all South African websitesWe are the number 1 website for mountain passes in South Africa. For those not "into" internet statistics, this is a remarkable achievement for a website that is less than two years old. We would like to thank all our viewers and especially our subscribers for your support. For subscribers, we have something super lined up just in time for Christmas!
There is plenty of new material to view this week. The hyperlinks are provided when you expand the page. I have received a personal phone call from Lesotho's Minister of Tourism. He has given an unreserved apology for what happened to us and he has informed me that the two policemen who took the bribes have already been identified and that "suitable action will be taken against them". I have been invited to return to Lesotho to complete our flming work. The minister assured me that he would keep me updated via email. He also said that he has launched a national campaign amongst law enforcement officers and educators going right down to school level that tourists should be welcomed and not harrassed. That includes stone throwing. Maybe I have made a small difference after all?
As the year of 2013 winds its way inexorably towards the Christmas season, we have been very productive in the production of a range of videos following our Lesotho/Eastern Cape trip. Of interest is the enormous popularity of the Lesotho Police Corruption video, which has just passed the 5,000 view mark this morning. That is 5000 more people who know how best to deal with Lesotho road blocks. The video has drawn wide attention and I have had been informed that government officials in Lesotho are taking it seriously - despite the fact that they have not yet made any contact with me. A large hotel and lodge group within Lesotho have contacted me and promised to escalate the issue high up in local government. So, it would seem that the pen is indeed mightier than the AK47.
We have produced a range of videos covering some interesting places. Hyperlinks are provided below (scroll down) : There's lots more to look forward to over the next few weeks with some major passes waiting in the wings for your enjoyment.
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.