The week that was
* MPSA - VOX LAUNCH
* VOICE MAP - An exciting new concept.
* SOCIAL MEDIA
* Pass of the Week
* New Passes added
* Words of wisdom
Here we are in the merry month of May and still very much restricted under the lockdown rules, but our imaginations can cross mountains, oceans and continents, if we allow it. This week we have completed all our tour report back stories, so we begin looking at new ideas and ventures.
MPSA VOX - Launch
Lockdown has dealt a heavy blow to the touring side of our business, so we are in the process of innovating some new ideas and concepts. The first of these is a new product called MPSA VOX.
Vox is of course Latin for 'voice' so the new product we will be offering is a professional voice over service for videos or presentations. For the vast majority of people doing a voice narration is a daunting and almost impossible exercise and so instead they add a music soundtrack, which in 95% of cases is inappropriate. Now your videos can be beautifully presented on social media or any business presentation.
We are busy producing our first 'virtual tour guide' mountain pass (Chapman's Peak Drive). This is new technology, whereby you purchase a virtual tour and download it to your phone. Using GPRS positioning, your phone will automatically activate the guide's voice at each point of interest. This allows you to drive hands free and get maximum enjoyment as each point along the pass unfolds precisely at the right time with your virtual tour guide giving all the information as if you were on a normal tour with us. Yes, it works even if you stop. We are very excited about this project (not only to keep us busy during lockdown) but into the future as well.
Each download will cost roughly $4. Initially we plan to produce the top 20 most popular passes in South Africa and we will expand the service according to demand. VoiceMap does not require internet connectivity to operate and works on the same technology as Google Maps. Exciting? We think so! Watch this space.
Social Media is an unpleasant place to be these last few weeks. South Africa's mood has changed alarmingly. Conspiratorialists are everywhere - each claiming his or her point of view to the holy grail to finding the best way out of the pandemic. I am quite frankly, embarrassed at how many smart people I know are climbing onto this bandwagon, whilst allowing their minds to be consumed by negativity. Of course (inevitably) the race card has been hauled out and the old polarization of our society is busy happening as I write this.
Part of running this website requires me to have my ear to the ground. My experience over the last fortnight has been that 95% of everything coming through on my FaceBook feed has been Corona related and outright negative and mostly inaccurate. Here and there a bright splash of humour brings a wan smile to our virus battered senses.
[More lower down]
Astonishingly for those of us that have chosen to remain positive, our MPSA followers have increased at double the normal rate. In three weeks we have gone from 25,000 to 27,000 followers on our FaceBook page. Clearly there is a need for people to read uplifting, positive posts and that's exactly what we try so hard to do.
This week we visit the Village of Hope - an imaginary place anywhere you want it to be. The message is to find new ways for you to earn income via the internet. We hope our story is inspirational to you.
Pass of the week
Our pass of the week is the Gwangxu Pass. Never heard of it? Well neither had we, until we started poring over large scale maps of the deep valleys and soaring hills of the old Transkei mid 2019. We added this pass with an animated video a few months ago, and finally managed to film it in early February when we did our Wild Coast recce trip.
This massive pass of just under 30 km is majestic in it's lofty scenery, yet something of an adventure as the road is not in a great condition. It's most certainly going to punish any normal car, so we suggest at least using a high clearance commercial vehicle (bakkie) and if its raining hard, a 4x4 is the only option. Your navigation needs to be precise as roadsigns here are virtually non-existent.
Views along the northern descent of the Gwangxu Pass / Photo: Trygve Roberts
I had been looking forward to driving this very remote pass for many weeks ahead of my trip, and was disappointed to find the road barricaded with large rocks near the final 1.5 km of the northern descent towards the Umzimvubu River. Based on my assessment of the road beyond the barricade, its been in that state for a long time, possibly several years, as there were no vehicle tracks on the far side at all. My assumption is that either the road has been damaged by a rockslide or the bridge over the river has been damaged. At some stage we will return and explore the southern side, which might reveal the reason for the road closure.
Our 3 part video series covers the northern descent as far as the barricade. It will give you a sound idea of what to expect and if you have a sense of adventure and are willing to drive it as an out and back route, then make a note of this one. I suspect that it might be possible for adventure motorcyclists to ride the rest of the route, as they could squeeze through the barricades.
You'll need 15 minutes to cyber drive this pass and a bit longer if you want to read the text. Make yourself a cuppa; sit back, relax and lets go exploring!
* * * * * G W A N G X U P A S S * * * * *
New Passes added
Keiskamma River Pass - An easy pass through the Keiskamma River gorge in the Eastern Cape. This beautifully engineered pass is on the N2 between Peddie and King William's Town.
Keurboomsrivierhoogte (N2) - Another easy, but steep pass on the N2 between Plettenberg Bay and The Crags.
Thought for the day: "When you replace ‘lose’ with ‘learn’ in your vocabulary, the thought of failure becomes less daunting and lets you focus on growth" ~ Brian Tracy.