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Latest news! 19th February, 2014

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The Ouberg Pass near Sutherland The Ouberg Pass near Sutherland - Photo: Photo by L.Burger

With scorching heat waves in the Western and Northern Cape coupled with gale force south easterly winds, this is prime fire season for the winter rainfall areas. Please be ultra careful with fires and cigarette butts. Meanwhile the rest of South Africa is having rain, rain and more rain with electrical storms causing havoc to remote communities. Global warming is a reality. Whilst it is easy to rationalise and say the weather is mostly the same as it always has been, a look at the widespread flooding in the UK is of concern.

This week we have another trio of interesting Northern Cape passes for you to cyber-drive. (Click the READ MORE button to expand this page)

1. The Meketaan Poort - a record setting poort both in shortness and lacking in altitude gain. This tiny poort on the R386 has made our record books and lies right at the bottom of the pile with an altitude gain of just 10 meters! No-one we know has been able to idenity who or what a "meketaan" is. We'd love to know. A free Chappies to the knowledgable one!

2. Moordenaarskloof Pass - an interesting gravel road through two substantial koppies just north-east of Calvinia. Despite extensive phone calls and research, we have not found out who got mudered in this poort. If you know, let us know. There will be two Chappies for the right answer!

3. Ottaspoort- another gravel road less travelled and a beaut for the biker and adventure set. This one lies south east of Garies in the heart of Namaqaland - ideal for a weekend getaway.

Plan your route on our Master Orientation Map.

We have been working flat-out to get route files onto our pass pages with the first 20 having just gone live in the past 48 hours. What is a route file and how does it work?

A route file is accurate plot of a pass in the format of a .gdb or .gpx file extension. It can be downloaded from a specific pass page. (Try the Bains Kloof Pass as an example). The files are tiny and take less than 2 seconds to download. Once you have the file on your PC/Laptop/Tablet/Smartphone, it's a simple matter to transfer the file to your GPS. From there you can do 100% accurate navigation of any pass of your choice, without having to copy/paste GPS co-ordinates. Garmin's Mapsource software is the best programme to use to read these files, although there are several others that will also be able to 'read' them. All the passes should have route files by the end of March, 2014. We have placed them universally directly below the map on each page.

The first thing you will notice is that the route files are only available to registered users/subscribers. Why have we done that? We are constantly looking to expand our subscriber base. More subscribers watch more videos and we get more advertising clout that way. You get everything for free and our advertisers pay the bills. Capiche?

Changeover from Google Feedburner to Mailchimp.
We have been experiencing some issues getting our news bulletins through to our subscriber base and have decided to change to the more sophisticated Mailchimp system, which has more powerful features and will serve our subscribers better. Ensuring our communications remain spam-free is very important to us. Those of you who originally subscribed via the Google Feedburner software system, will have received a notice asking whether we may migrate your details to Mailchimp or if you wish to unsubscribe (which would be the worst news we could possibly get!). If you have been happy with what you have been receiving, then do nothing and the migration will take place automatically.

To get to the website from the email prompt, just click on the green titles. In our first Mailchimp news broadcast the READ MORE letterswere not a link, which caused some confusion. We have since created hyperlinks onthe email prompt, so that you will in future, be able to click either the green title or the READ MORE button (which we have also made green). Either of those will take you straight through from the email prompt to the website page of your choice.

The website is currently receiving 20,000 page views per month and still growing steadily. Thank YOU for your support!

That's it for today. As for me, I'm looking forward to autumn.

Trygve Roberts
Editor

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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.
 

Master Orientation Map

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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