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Latest News! 24th January, 2019

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A beautiful old home dating back to 1847 on the road to the Dwarsberg Trout Hideaway A beautiful old home dating back to 1847 on the road to the Dwarsberg Trout Hideaway - Photo: Trygve Roberts

THE WEEK THAT WAS

* Northern Cape filming trip report back

* Unveiling of a wonderful newly discovered pass in the Worcester Winelands

* Hanlie Booysens writes about her MTB ride of the Ben 10

* Listen to the podcast

* Featured pass of the week

 

Mike Leicester, who runs our office up north from Johannesburg, has just returned from a successful filming trip covering the last of the outstanding passes in the far north-western sector of the Northern Cape as well as a few stragglers in the Free State. Amongst the many passes he managed to film, he was the most impressed by Charles' Pass - a fairly short gravel pass between Pella and the Orange/Gariep River, where towering tock faces create an eerie sensation as the road weaves its way through a canyon and suddenly opens up on the banks of the mighty Gariep. [More lower down.]

The Cape Town filming crew took a visit to a hidden valley in the mountains to the south-east of Worcester in the Breedekloof region, where we filmed a very long new pass, previously unknown to us. This road runs over private property but it is possible to drive the pass if you are a paying guest at the Dwarsberg Trout Hideaway. The pass is a beauty - long, narrow and quite steep in places offering fantastic views over a narrow valley carved out by the Holslootrivier, which runs swift and clear into the north and later feeds into the Breede. The road terminates at the Stettyn Dam, making this an out and back route. [More lower down]

Hanlie Booysens, a star off-road cyclist and a subscriber to this website, recently completed the Ben 10 Eco-Challenge (on a bicycle of course). We were able to obtain a digital copy of her story as featured in the premier cycling magazine RIDE and with their permission publish the story of her challenge in this news letter. [More lower down]

Our featured pass of the week is an unknown one in the deeply forested part of Mpumalanga between Graskop and Sabie. Did you know that there are three Burgers passes in South Africa? There's one in the Western Cape near Montagu on the R318. There is another on the P308 near Utrecht in KZN and our featured pass is in Mpumalanga near Graskop. The first was named after a local councillor in Montagu and the other two more likely named after president T.F.Burgers who was head honcho of the then Zuid Afrikaanche Republiek from 1871 to 1877. [More lower down]

Surprises and Disappointments - Between Pella and the Orange River there are two passes running almost parallel to each other through similar terrain. Both are fairly short and both end up at the same point on the banks of the Gariep, yet they are worlds apart. Mike Leicester ventured off into the 40C+ heat to film a range of passes we have been wanting to capture on video. The biggest surprise was Charles' Pass - a twisting, winding track dwarfed by near vertical ochre and black cliffs. His route took him back to Pella via the Pella Pass, and as impressed as he was with Charles' Pass, he was disappointed with Pella Pass. Both of these will soon be able to be reviewed via brand new videos.

Breedekloof Valley near Worcester in the Western Cape has a road, which essentially services the Stettyn Dam and irrigation system. The only blemish along this long, sometimes scary, but stunningly scenic road, is the omni presence of the double set of large exposed irrigation pipes, which keep you company all the way to the dam. There are rock pools filled with trout, massive mountains which tower up into the inky blue Boland sky and side ravines with waterfalls and rapids - a hikers delight. We visited the Dwarsberg Tout Hideaway as guests and as such gained access to drive and film the entire pass. The new multiple part video set will be released soon. MPSA are busy obtaining special access where this pass will be come the main feature of a new tour we are busy creating. Watch this space.

Imagine doing the Ben 10 on a bicycle? Several weeks ago we featured the father-daughter story of the Ben 10 being conquered on home made steel bicycles with one gear and back pedal brakes, but today we take a different look at the mental challenge of completing the tough challenge through the eyes of champion cyclist Hanlie Booysens.


This week's podcast covers a chat on SA's most beautiful pass - the Bulembu Pass between Barberton and Swaziland. LISTEN.


Pass of the Week

Burgers Pass in Mpumalanga is to all intents and purposes a forestry road that winds its way over a classic profile and sports a large density of sharp corners, many of which exceed 150 degrees radius. If you enjoy driving through dense forests on gravel roads with your windows open and the sound of birdsong in the air, then this pass is well worth seeking out. It's one of the newest additions to our database. Go check it out and if you like it, bring the bucket closer....


* * * * *   B U R G E R S    P A S S   * * * * *



Trygve Roberts
Editor

Thought for the day: "If the fire in your heart is strong enough, it will burn away any obstacles that come your way" ~ Anonymous 

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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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