Latest News! 10th May, 2018

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Eye popping views from the summit of Clivia Pass Eye popping views from the summit of Clivia Pass - Photo: Trygve Roberts

For the next few weeks our focus will remain on Mpumalanga as we start the production process of many new videos. Today's feature is a pass of drama and danger. It has a summit altitude of 1970m ASL and descends 1065m over 27,4 km via 117 bends, corners and curves, of which 8 are full hairpins and a further 12 bends have angles greater than 90 degrees. It ranks as the 3rd biggest altitude gaining pass in SA after Sani and Mariepskop passes and also ranks as the 10th longest pass. In short, don't take this one lightly!

The mountains are prone to heavy mists which can reduce visibility to 3m. Add into that recipe exceptionally heavy rainfall, potholes, badly cambered corners and the big baddy is/are the massive logging trucks that ply this route. We take you through all the do's and don'ts and guide you over the entire route via a brand new 4 piece video set.

We considered ourselves fortunate to have had a sunny day for the trip - a rarity in this part of Mpumalanga. The main player in this huge valley carved out by the Elands River is SAPPI's paper mill at Ngodwana. We explore the good and the bad angles of commercial forestry and the effects on the region. [More lower down....] 

THE YOU TUBE PHENOMENON

You Tube is a powerful medium that produces amazing results. It's predicted to double it's viewership in the year 2018. The total number of people who used YouTube in 2017 were 1,300,000,000. The numbers defy belief. Five billion videos are watched on YouTube every day. In the four and a half years since we started the MPSA project, we have amassed 1,4 million views with 1618 people subscribing to our channel at a rate of around 10 new subscribers per day.

Many of you might have noticed in recent times that we have switched our video hosting platform from YouTube to Vimeo, when you watch our videos on the MPSA website. The reason is that YouTube compresses our videos to such an extent that they reduce the quality standards that we produce them at (1080HD) causing unpleasant pixellation issues, whereas Vimeo offers superior quality with the bonus that there are no ads. In an effort to keep our YouTube followers happy, we upload every video to both servers. That's dedication!

 

SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE SPOTLIGHT

FaceBook has been under the kosh recently with head honcho Mark Zuckerberg being in the hot seat and apologising to the world for some serious security breaches. All the negative news aside, the FB social media platform continues to be a dominant force world-wide and SA is no exception.

Our FaceBook page attracts on average a walloping 600,000 page views per month and is the principal publicity tool we use to promote the main website. We post at least 30 times per month and sometimes more. It seems that there is an insatiable appetite for knowledge amongst the public.

We go to great lengths to keep the tone of our posts upper end IQ and we stay away from anything negative - and especially politics. We posted one slightly political post about 5 months ago, which drew such vitriolic reaction, that we had to withdraw the post at 2 in the morning. We have learned our lessons well!

This week our FaceBook followers will top the18,000 mark! Thank you for the support and endorsement!

 

ADVENTURE TRAVEL IS VERY MUCH ALIVE

The Ben 10 Eco Challenge continues to inspire and we share with you a copy of an email from Mike Braun, director of Top Gear Driving Academy, who has recently completed the challenge:

"Many thanks to MPSA for being an integral part of the Ben 10 Eco Challenge. This was for all of us concerned a truly unique experience. We commenced the trip on the 26th travelling to Lady Grey and then via the various passes. We were under time pressure from the word go as a result of the breath-taking views and vistas, requiring endless stops to take in the sights sounds and amazing beauty of all 10 passes.

Some passes took us more than double the prescribed times of various other peoples experiences. (Bastervoet was over 6 hours alone). Some of the passes are more spectacular on foot so our trip consisted of driving and walking the various passes.

Well, we commenced on the 27th onto Jouberts pass and completed the Challenge on Volunteershoek on the 30th April. To say the trip was epic was an understatement…. We completed 2 days well into the evening (TTT and Lundeans Nek back to Millards). But hell, what a rush and experience."

During their trip Mike came across a VW Caddy that was struggling from lack of traction on Naude's Nek Pass and they were able to tow the Caddy to the Tenahead Lodge near the top of the pass - in extremely slippery conditions. Well done on helping a fellow motorist!

Taking the Caddy in tow on Naude's Nek / Photo: Mike Braun

 

 





 

 


At this stage there are 77 entries of whom 33 have successfully completed the challenge. Remember that everyone who has completed the challenge is entitled to get our decal "I completed the Ben 10 Eco Challenge". Pop us an email and we'll give you the details. Send to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Driving the TTT at night. Not for sissies!

Remember, that conditions on these extreme passes can change rapidly and drivers should be prepared for every eventuality or emergency.

Have at least one other vehicle in your team in case of a breakdown, lots of warm clothing, a medical kit, adequate recovery gear, emergency food and water, a well prepped GPS with T4A loaded as well as all your waypoints.

As was the case with Mike, they found a bridge washed away on one of the passes, but after scouting up and downstream, they found a spot where the local farmers had crossed earlier. Always be prepared for a Plan B and most of all take your sense of humour with you! The Ben 10 Eco Challenge is not nearly as easy as it sounds, as can be attested by the 50% attrition rate. Those that have completed the challenge and those that have failed, all say it is the best adventure they have yet undertaken. So, the big question is - Are YOU up for the challenge?

Enter here: https://mountainpassessouthafrica.co.za/find-a-pass/ben10.html

Grab your popcorn and a mug of your favourite brew, sit back and relax and enjoy our featured pass of the week. If you can't get to drive this pass yourself, at least you can cyber drive drive it right now.

* * * * *    C L I V I A    P A S S   * * * * *

Upgraded videos added this week:

Lugogoda Pass - a short, but scenic tarred pass near White River, Mpumalanga. 



Trygve Roberts
Editor

Thought for the day: "The best time to start is right now ~ procrastination really is the thief of time"

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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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