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Latest News! 16th June, 2022

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The face that launched MPSA into the hearts of the Wild Coast locals The face that launched MPSA into the hearts of the Wild Coast locals - Photo: Charon Roberts

The week that was....

* Snow

* Notalubani but her friends call her Noma5. 

* Trips & Tours

* Wild Coast Tour V4 - Day 3

* Podcast - Tulbagh

* Pass of the week


Snow!

The first real cold snap of the winter has arrived with widespread reports of snow from the high lying areas. As always we advise snow deprived South Africans not to go snow-hunting without adequate preparation. Imagine a worst case scenario and pack accordingly. Last year several snow hunters had to be rescued from their vehicles from the Swartberg Pass. Don't be that driver.


The story of Noma5

During our Wild Coast V5 Tour, whilst passing slowly through one of the villages on a very muddy road, we spotted Notabulani standing by the roadside, immaculately dressed, regal and proud. We asked if we could take a photo. The result is what you see on the cover of this newsletter. When we got back, I set to the task of sorting and batching the trip photos. This pic caught my eye and I visualised it as a way of bridging the divide between rural and city and to present the face of the very essence of the Wild Coast. 

Her photo has had over 351,000 views (at the time of writing) in the space of 4 days and will undoubtedly continue to increase over the next few weeks. Even locals have responded saying they know her well. She apparently has a wicked sense of humour and is a great story teller. Our readership has increased dramatically and for the first time in our 12 year history we have exceeded 2 million post views in a 28 day cycle. We are learning some serious lessons about social media and the power within. We'll make a point of tracking her down on our next Wild Coast Tour and present her with a hamper.


Trips & Tours

JULY - The upcoming Swartberg Tour in July promises to be a freezing affair. The tour is fully booked.

SEPTEMBER 2022 - Garden Route Tour (5 days)  - 5 places left. 

OCTOBER 2022 - Seven Sisters Tour (2 days) - To be launched next week.

OCTOBER 2022 - Novice 4x4 training day (1 day) - To be launched soon 

NOVEMBER 2022 - Kouga-Baviaanskloof ( 4 days) - To be launched soon

MAY 2023 - Wild Coast Tour (11 days) - 3 places left

Read more....

Wild Coast Tour V4 - Day 3 & 4

The fourth day dawned with a spectacular Wild Coast sunrise into a pastel blue sky, promising good weather for the hike to Waterfall Bluff. The drive from Mbotyi to Lupathana to the start of the shorter version of the hike is a full on 4x4 route and takes about 2 hours each way. Our regular local guide Armstrong, was there to guide the guests to the falls. Whilst we were negotiating the badly deteriorating road and with Armstrong sitting wide eyed in the passenger seat in total wonderment of what the Land Cruiser could negotiate, he calmly said: "Eish - this one is the elephant. It goes over everything". So we have now added 'The Elephant' to the Land Cruiser's many nicknames.

Not all the guests were up to the walk and remained behind at the lodge to enjoy a relaxing day. Whilst the guests set off down the coastline with Armstrong, I retraced the route back to Lupathana to film the pass that drops down the coastal escarpment. Some research revealed that the road's name is 'Ghanja Road' and no surprises with that name, as this is the heart of cannabis country.

This lovely waterfall is seen when ascending the Ghanja Pass / Photo: MPSA

The height loss of the Ghanja Pass is 144m of just 1,6 km. It's not as steep as it sounds as the average gradient is 1:11, but it's the state of this road which raises eyebrows and one's heart rate. Close to the summit there is a pretty cascading waterfall which is only seen when ascending the pass. According to Armstrong, the locals have requested the authorities not to repair the road as it apparently keeps the rogue elements away from the area. That raised my eyebrows!

We are featuring this as our pass of the week lower down where you can get the full story. Once you have reached the southern end of the pass, the track levels off along a plateau for some time, before reaching the final section down to the coast. The Easter storms that wreaked such havoc in KZN, also affected the Wild Coast in a diminishing sequence from north to south, but the roads and bridges have certainly taken a hammering. The day before we arrived at Mbotyi there had been another two days of heavy rain in the area, leaving us with plenty of mud to contend with. 

On at least one occasion on this tour we arrived at a washed away bridge, which meant turning the convoy around and finding an alternative route. This is all part of the Wild Coast adventure - never knowing what's coming next.

Later in the afternoon a tired, but contented MPSA hiking group arrived back at the holding point, ready for the bumpy ride back to Mbotyi, where the vibe was relaxed and social as we enjoyed a great meal in the dining area with a magnificent view over the lagoon and ocean. The swaying palm trees in the warm breeze and a full moon, completed an evening of perfection, somewhat enhanced by adequate quantities of Bacchus' beverages.

Next week: Msikaba - Bridges & Vultures 


PODCAST

We chat about the history of SA's oldest towns. This week it's Tulbagh. Click to listen.

 

PASS OF THE WEEK

The newest pass added to our website is the Ghanja Pass. You can cyber drive it via the link below and see why it's so tricky.

 

 * *   G H A N J A    P A S S   * *

 


Trygve Roberts
Editor

Thought for the day: "The proper office of a friend is to side with you when you are in the wrong. Nearly everyone will side with you when you're in the right" ~ Mark Twain.

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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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