Latest News! 2nd February, 2017

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Ben 10 Eco Challenge - the official logo Ben 10 Eco Challenge - the official logo - Photo: Lisa Roberts

Just when we think it's safe to go in the water........ Records are made to be broken. We've had some astonishing numbers come across our desk this week, surpassing by a long margin any previous highs we had achieved. During December 2016 we logged over 100,000 page views. What makes this remarkable is that our readership was steady between 55,000 and 60,000 for the last 6 months of 2016. Also during December, a single Face Book post on the Sani Pass logged a fraction under 160,000 views over a period of just 3 days. Once everyone went back to work, we expected the numbers to return to late 2016 levels, but they have pegged in at 80,000. We have just passed the 10,000 LIKES mark on our FaceBook page as well. A massive thank you to everyone for this throroughly rewarding support.

The Ben 10 Eco Challenge which we've been talking about for over 3 months, was launched last Saturday. Entries are streaming in and already the number 1 spot has been claimed by Mr. Rudi Pieters, who completed the challenge on a BMW R1200GSA motorcycle. The gauntlet is down!  We've had a few questions about the dates of the challenge.

The challenge is open ended. There are no closing dates. Every time we reach 20 completed challenges, there will be a prize drawn. This will continue as long as our sponsors are willing to donate prizes. The Ben 10 Eco-Challenge is about discovering the Eastern Cape and the inner you. Need to know more? Take this link directly to the official challenge page.


As promised, we are featuring another of the challenge passes this week. In the late 1800's the Naude brothers who farmed at the eastern head of the fertile Bell River Valley, were unimpressed with the lack of roads to get their cattle to the markets in Maclear. There was no love lost between Boer and Brit at the time and the enterprising farmers decided to build their own road over the mountains. Using very basic farming implements they went up the mountains on horseback and meticulously plotted the lines of the astonishing pass we know today as the Naude's Nek Pass. None of the construction team had any engineering education. They simply followed the maxim of "n boer maak n plan"

The pass has remarkably good gradients and it's also very long - at 32,7 km, making this one of the most sought after 'trophy' passes in the country. The good news is that it can be driven in a normal car (carefully!) but only in fair weather. We refilmed this historical pass, which is a national monument, on the 16th December, 2016 and have produced three brand new videos, covering all aspects of this wonderful mountain pass.

Take the cyber drive by clicking the link below.


New passes added this week:

Boesmanspoort (P1450) Western Cape

Mount Paul Pass Free State

We need YOUR support!

Next week we are switching over to the new subscription module as mentioned in earlier news releases.

To explain things....everything on the website will remain free, including the newsletter. Anyone wanting the more detailed pass information, the videos, Fact File, Route File and Phoca map with directions, will need to subscribe. The subscription payment of R 200 per annum, is a simple process and is 100% secure and fully automated. Each time you expand a pass page to read the rest of the content, you wll be invited to either log in or register. In a year's time the system will automatically contact you to renew. On each visit you will only be required to log on once regardless of the length of your visit.

For our existing subscriber base, we are giving you completely free access as a special thank-you for your loyal support till the end of February and for all new subscribers, subscriptions will commence next Thursday 9th February, 2017. As explained last week, it is an unsustainable model to keep a website of this size and content completely free.  You all know the quality of the content available and you will be able to continue accessing the site for less than the cost of a loaf of bread per month. We think it's the best deal in town!

In addition, all paying subscribers will qualify for a 10% discount on any item in the online shop, including the tours. 

Trygve Roberts

Thought for the day: "Tough times never last - but tough people do" - Lydia Sweatt

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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.

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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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