Sani Pass Update
The latest news on the tarring of the Sani Pass is that Phase 2 is currently underway, which will see tarring completed up to the SA Border Police checkpoint. Phase 3 will be undertaken and is scheduled for 2020. In essence, the real guts of Sani Pass (that upper third with all the hairpins) will remain gravel for the next two years, but if you are one of those that have hankered after the magic of driving the Sani Pass, but have never been able to find the time, we suggest that you drive it sooner rather than later. Time is running out. By 2021 there will be Corollas, Beetles and Quantums trundling up and down the pass instead of 4x4's. (But when there is ice on the tar it will be much more slippery than gravel, so beware!)
Once the construction of Phase 3 commences, there will be roadworks and heavy machinery around, which will detract from the driving pleasure. Make a new plan Stan - just jump on the bus Gus - and you know the rest. This is rapidly reaching the end of an era which lasted almost 70 years, with Sani Pass being able to comfortably hold onto the number one spot in terms of being the most desirable pass to drive in South Africa. We are willing to predict that even when tarred (and perhaps even more so), Sani will remain as No.1.
To put that into perspective, we constantly log the statistics in terms of page views. The latest check registers the following statistics on the top 5 passes:
1. Sani Pass 99,492
2. Swartberg Pass 82,457
3. Gamkaskloof/Die Hel 60,191
4. Prince Alfred's Pass 53,199
5. Bain's Kloof Pass 41,922
This week's podcast
Listen to the podcast about one of the biggest mountain passes and unsolved mysteries in South Africa
This week's podcast is all about the Mamlambo river monster that reputedly killed 9 villagers near Mount Ayliff in 1997 and was the subject of an international investigation which revealed no evidence of such a creature. The deaths remain unsolved to this day, which all add to the mystique of the legend. This all happened along the Mzintlava River which is the pass giving access to the grizzly terrain.
Featured pass of the week
We head up to Mpumalanga this week to drive one of the big tarred passes, which somehow seems to escape the limelight, compared to the the popular ones like Long Tom Pass, but once you've reviewed this pass, you might be tempted to fuel up and drive this beautiful pass with its sweeping corners and magnificent views from the 2254m high summit - maybe take in a waterfall or two, or have a picnic. It's all there for the taking.
* * * * * S T E E N K A M P S B E R G P A S S * * * * *
New passes added this week:
Erasmuskloof Pass - A long, but easy gravel pass just north-east of Graaff Reinet (Provisional video only)
Braambos Pass - A big gravel pass on the R344 between Tarkastad and Adelaide (Provisional video only)
Jozini Pass - A long tarred pass offering sensational views over Lake Jozini in KZN (Provisional video only)
Thought for the day: "You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream" ~ C.S.Lewis