Latest News! 20th April, 2017

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An amazing photograph taken of Elands Pass into Die Hel taken on the night of the 9th April when the Swartberg Pass was flooded and closed An amazing photograph taken of Elands Pass into Die Hel taken on the night of the 9th April when the Swartberg Pass was flooded and closed - Photo: Bipin Prag

To Mpumalanga we go

With the Easter weekend behind us, we can now focus on introducing you to something different in the north-eastern corner of South Africa - in Mpumalanga Province, which is the region of our featured pass this week.

There is still time....

Things are hotting up with the Ben 10 Eco Challenge likely to produce the next batch of successful entrants over the spate of public holidays creating long weekend holidays with enough time for people to complete the challenge. As soon as the first 20 places have been filled, we will draw the first lucky winner for a two day weekend at one of our sponsor's hotels. Watch this space!

That photograph!!

Our Facebook page featuring the news of the floods and subsequent closure of the Swartberg Pass had 76,000 views, whilst an amazing photograph (which we think will still win some awards) of the Elands Pass descending down into Die Hel, taken by Cape Town based photographer, Bipin Prag, was viewed by 151,000 people on the MPSA Facebook page alone. We feature his photo as our introductory photo of this news release. Do visit our Facebook page which has the full story of how the photographer spent the night on the pass, during the fateful storm, where he captured an image unlikely to be repeated in the future.

 

 

 

Bipin Prag is an amateur photographer. He went alone into Die Hel after being let down by two travel companions. With the keen eye of a photographer, and having seen all the usual photos of the Elands Pass, he thought a photo taken under moonlit conditions could work well. That all changed when a huge electrical storm charged in from the west, and suddenly he was trapped on the pass with nothing better to do than to take a photo. A passing 4x4 provided the perfect catalyst, as he set his camera up for an ultra long exposure of 15 minutes. The result was a stunning photograph of the whole pass illuminated eerily - almost appearing as an electrical charge coming up the pass from the distant lightning bolt. We predict this photo will become THE iconic photo of the Elands Pass.

Central Northern Cape

In our never ending quest to film every pass in South Africa, there are a number of filming trips scheduled over the next few weeks. Your Cape Town based filming crew have recently acquired a Suzuki Jimny for its short haul trips as an able and competent alternative to the big Toyota Land Cruiser and also as a way to cut back on fuel costs. Keep a look out for us on the back roads as the branded Jimny starts making a public appearance. Residents in Nieuwoudtville, Garies, Calvinia, Fraserburg, Sutherland and Williston should keep a look out for our camera vehicle between the 26th April and 1st May - we will be filming in your area. Give us a toot and stop and say hello!

The MPSA Suzuki Jimny in actionThe Suzuki Jimny on its maiden filming trip / Photo: Trygve Roberts

Groot Zuikerboschkop Pass

Our featured pass of the week is a tricky, high-altitude gravel pass a few kilometres north-east of Dullstroom with lots of stones, deep ruts and steep inclines. It offers lovely scenery and challenging driving, with the road reaching a maximum altitude of 2102m ASL. At 12,5 km it's much longer than the national average and although the average gradient is a pleasant 1:28 the steepest section occurs at the 6 km mark which has gradients as steep as 1:6.

This fairly rough pass is not really suitable for vehicles lacking ground clearance, but for those who are willing to get some dust on their cars, this is something different to the usual fare. The pass summit lies at 2102m ASL and offers fantastic escarpment scenery, fresh water angling, hiking, horse riding, 4x4 routes, Anglo-Boer War history and wonderful country hospitality.

As is our practise, we keep the featured pass of the week open for 2 days to allow non-subscribers to experience the full value of the website.

 

***** GROOT ZUIKERBOSCHKOP PASS ***** 

 

New passes added this week:

Nougaspoort (Western Cape) -  a beautifully scenic gravel poort, packed with fascinating geology - south of Touwsrivier.

 

Upgraded videos added this week:

Wienandsnek (Eastern Cape) - an easy gravel pass near Bedford offering solitude and great mountain scenery.

Helspoort (Eastern Cape) - a scenic tarred pass between Grahamstown and Bedford.

 


Trygve Roberts
Editor

Thought for the day: "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time" - Thomas Edison.

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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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