Latest News! 28th February, 2019

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The sheer majesty of the Eastern Cape Highlands The sheer majesty of the Eastern Cape Highlands - Photo: Willem Schoeman

There goes the 2nd month of 2019 cascading into the history books. As always we look north and head forth (that phrase lifted from the more robust Afrikaans version of "Kyk noord en f*k voort"). Since we have relocated our offices and are running MPSA on a full time basis, it's as if someone has turned up the heat as everything seems to have suddenly escalated up onto a higher level. Inflows of emails have virtually doubled over the past 3 weeks as have the requests for public speaking engagements, tours and general information. Our days have turned into 13 hour shifts x 7 days per week!

This week our featured pass takes us up into the Eastern Cape Highlands, where we introduce you to one of the lesser known high altitude gravel passes that offers unsurpassed scenic beauty. It's awkward getting there and is without doubt one of those roads less travelled, but watch the video and you will agree that this one deserves to be added to your bucket list (or as someone once mentioned - a "bugget list" - it took me a few seconds to figure it out.)

We have updates on our next tour (coming up in March) and another 1 day tour scheduled for April as well as the hugely popular Great Swartberg Tour in May.  [More lower down]

Ben 10 Eco-Challenge Official Tour: With less than three weeks to go before this much anticipated tour kicks off, both our Cape Town and Johannesburg offices are busy, busy, busy firming up all the final arrangements. For those patiently waiting for a cancellation, unfortunately none have been forthcoming. Those that have booked and committed have already received their daily route notes. Mike Leicester created the routes allowing us to not only complete the 10 challenge passes but a total of 33 passes, which will be driven over the 4 days between March 21st and 24th.

One of the most sought after badges in SA - owned by just 65 people to date.

Our 14 vehicles and 1 motorcycle will split up into 2 groups, each departing in 30 minute intervals, so as to ensure a reasonable average speed and to avoid congestion on the passes with each group operating on different radio frequencies. This also ensures the general safety of both groups as a whole. The group will be based at the Mountain Shadows Hotel which means we have the benefit of travelling light and a fixed base in case anyone wants to skip a day.

Guests will be treated to some of the finest scenery and remote passes with a few surprises thrown in. The daily distances are 382 km, 392 km, 285 km and 296 km; so it will mean getting up early every day and it will be tough going on drivers and passengers alike, but it is after all the Ben 10 Eco Challenge and it is always going to be tough, no matter how you approach it. Every person completing the event will have achieved something very special by the end of the tour and will be able to wear the badge of honour with pride. This is like a mountain pass boot camp. Arrive with a sense of adventure.

During the tour, we will attempt to keep up a steady flow of information to our 19,000 Face Book followers, via short videos and photos on our Face Book and Instagram feeds to keep the rest of South Africa updated on our daily progress. It promises to be an adventure of note.

Great Swartberg Tour: (17th to 19th May) This 3 day tour is proving to be our most popular tour to date with interest from all corners of South Africa. There are just 2 slots open as at today's date. This tour traverses the Swartberg Range several times - starting with Laingsburg in the west and ending at the Rooiberg Lodge in the east. It includes several iconic attractions like Buffelspoort Canyon (a national heritage site); Seweweekspoort, Bosluiskloof Pass, Huisrivier Pass, Swartberg Pass, Gamkaskloof, Elands Pass down to Die Hel, Prince Albert, Meiringspoort and the Rooiberg and Assegaaibosch passes. Book online here.

This week's podcast covers the above tour in more detail. LISTEN HERE.

The Merino Monster Tour: (Sunday 21st April) We are offering a jam-packed one day tour on the Sunday of the Easter weekend in the mountains around Ceres. So if you're not heading away on the traffic congested freeways and are looking for a great way to add something exciting for the whole family during the Easter weekend, then consider this.

The name stems from the mountain biking fraternity who have dubbed the Waboomsberg Pass the "Merino Monster" for its massive altitude gain over a fairly short distance (It starts at the Merino farm, hence the name). Once again, we have been able to get permission to drive this road as a group on a private farm, which will form the highlight of this tour, but that in no way diminishes the savage beauty of the other 5 passes included in the schedule (3 gravel and 2 tar).

The summit views at 1863m are amongst the best we have ever seen. We will be loading this tour within the next week, so for those keen to get in early, check back in 7 days on our 4x2 & 4x4 tours page, or subscribe to the MPSA 4x4 tours mailing list. Or send us an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We filmed this new pass last weekend and it should be published by the weekend under Waboomsberg Pass.



Our pass of the week is one of the bonus passes our guests on the Ben 10 Eco Challenge Official Tour will be driving. Take the link, enjoy the photos, watch the video and ask yourself why you have never been there?

* * * * *   B O T T E L N E K    P A S S   * * * * *

Trygve Roberts

Thought for the day: "You learn more from failure than from success. Don’t let it stop you. Failure builds character.” ~ Anonymous

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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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Master Orientation Map We are as passionate about maps as we are about mountain passes. A good map is a thing of beauty that can transport you into the mists of time or get your sense of adventure churning. It is a place to make discoveries about deserts and seas, mountains and lakes; of roads leading into places you have not been before; a place to pore over holiday destinations or weekend camping trips. A map is your window to the world.

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