Latest News! 28th June, 2018

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Old Joe in yet another guise Old Joe in yet another guise - Photo: Nabana Lodge

Beauty right in front of you

One of the problems with main routes (those with the N prefixes) are that they are almost always frenetically busy and those who ply these routes become caught up in the general traffic behaviour whether they like it or not.

Yet, there are some magnificent passes and poorts on our main routes. A good example is Du Toit's Kloof Pass on the N1 or Van Reenens Pass on the N3. There are many more examples and our featured pass today is one of those gems (on the busy R539 in Mpumalanga) that are often ignored, until you slow down and start looking around.

Today we take a drive along the 20 km Schoemanskloof west of Nelspruit, where we uncover some wonderful places to visit and history that you will find fascinating. In the summer months the kloof is lined with the pink flowering Kapok trees. We have a look at the origins of the trees and how useful they have been to modern man. [More lower down]

Schoemanskloof rules - Stop frequently and enjoy the scenery

There are businesses in the valley that have become household names - like the Viva Service Station - which is much more than a filling station and the Joubert en Seuns Padstal where they serve the finest fruit juices and an array of fresh farm produce. 

We'll take you to visit a narrow guage railway that dates back to 1915 and which crossed the Crocodile River many times as logs were hauled from the kloof to the nearest station. There is a fascinating twist to this railway line, which was operated for a short period of time using manual gangs of labourers to push the fruit laden carriages some 17 km to the next station. One of the original bridges can still be seen near the kloof.

Old Joe Barbas - from then till now

We take a longer look at that fascinating rock known simply as "Old Joe" and unpack its history and current artistic subculture. There's a remarkable golf course called Drakenzicht up on the lip of the escarpment, where golfers can enjoy the finest views of the Schoemanskloof valley and of course, a visit to Schoemanskloof would be incomplete without taking a longer look at the Nile Crocodile, which reveals some eye-opening statistics where examples have been seen up to 6,1m long weighing in at 1090 kg. A remarkable predator that is found across vast tracts of Africa, wherever there is fresh water and warm temperatures.

Knowledge improves your travel experience

Despite the gentle average gradients of the kloof of 1:159 the route is filled with lush subtropical vegetation, steep cliffs, history, things to do and places to visit. Our Jhb based associate, Mike Leicester, visited the kloof a few weeks ago and captured great video footage as well as did all the research on this well known kloof. The next time you drive through Schoemanskloof, take a little time to visit some of these wonderful attractions. We've got it all laid out for you on the link below. Traveling with knowledge makes your trip so much more enjoyable. Know before you go!


* * * * *   S C H O E M A N S K L O O F   * * * * *


New passes added this week:
Karretjies Pass - A short, but very rough 4x4 gravel pass which is part of the Old Postal Route in the Western Cape.

Upgraded videos added this week:

Nelshoogte Pass - A substantial tarred pass on the R38 between Barberton and Badplaas in Mpumalanga.


Trygve Roberts

Thought for the day: "If you want to conquer fear, don't sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy" ~ Dale Carnegie.

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Mountain Passes South Africa is a website dedicated to the research, documentation, photographing and filming of the mountain passes of South Africa.

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