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.
On our last day in Lesotho, we got stopped at one of three road-blocks near Leribe, which is on the outskirts of Maseru. All the goodwill over the previous days, where we had smiled and waved to hundreds of thousands of locals, was instantly negated by the greed of four corrupt Lesotho police officers. This is how they snag innocent tourists into their web of corruption:
They set up a small temporary stop-sign in the middle of the road. The officers then stand about 30 meters away. As you slow down for the stop sign, they beckon you to come forward, where you roll down your window for the standard "show me your driver's licence" routine. The officer then asks why you did not stop at the stop sign. Clever!
View the video at the bottom of this page. >>>>>>>
Even the best laid plans go wong. Our 57 passes we scheduled for filming were not to be, but we did get 30 done, including, Moodies Pass, Gysmanshoek, & Muiskraal in the Heidelberg/Riversdale area. The culprit was unseasonal rain. After an overnight stop in Port Elizabeth where we were able to see a privately restored 1937 Bentley Tourer.
The Land Cruiser is packed and the Mountain Passes team is ready to roll on our biggest pass filming expedition to date. We are planning to film 57 passes in 13 days - travelling 4500 km through the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KZN, and Lesotho. If we get sufficient good footage in Lesotho, we might open a new tab on the website under LESOTHO, as we get many requests from viewers about conditions in the high altitude land-locked kingdom. Keep a look-out for our convoy of six 4x4's and the specially branded Land Cruiser in pic. We have the expert 4x4 enthusiast and experienced offroad biker Geoff Russell with us. I probably have the best job in the world!
There will be no updates to the site until early November due to the expedition, but we promise lots of high quality HD footage and new material during November and December. Our target was to have the site 100% complete by December 2013, but.......?????
We would like to welcome all our new subscribers on board. We promise you the most comprehensive mountain pass website in the world and it's made right here in sunny SA!
For those interested in the details, the following passes are on our to do list: (Some nice obscure ones amongst that lot that we dug up from our 1:50,000 maps.)
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.