Latest News! 2nd June, 2014

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Attaquaskloof historix ox-wagon route Attaquaskloof historix ox-wagon route - Photo: Zane Erasmus

Brrrr! Winter has arrived in the Western Cape. That spells good news for trips into the countryside and new mountain passes to discover. We have an absolute gem for you this week - the historic Attequaskloof Ox-wagon route. A road that was the N1 for wagon traffic between the coast and the Karoo for 180 years. The history is captivating and the 23 km long pass had to filmed in three videos to give you the complete picture. Unfortunately it can only be driven in a 4x4 as you will see in the video. It will give you a new appreciation of how tough life was in the 1800's. Our cover photo by Zane Erasmus shows the middel section. The little cottage in the photo can be hired from Cape Nature when you book for the 3 day hiking trail in the kloof. It doesn't get more picturesque or isolated than this.

We then do a U-turn and head all the way to Mpumalanga to discover a tough gravel pass high up in the mountains - The Shiyalongubo Pass (the pronunciation takes a little practice!) and we finish off our weekly trio with the much more gentle Skaapwagters Pass on the R539.

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1. Attaquaskloof Pass - Discover what a tough life your forefathers had. This 3 hour trip to cover 23 km today, used to take 7 days by ox-wagon. It is mind boggling to think that this was one of South Africa's main roads, before Thomas Bain showed us how to build roads. Allow 15 mins to watch all 3 videos on this pass.

2. Shiyalongubo Pass - This is a fairly serious gravel road pass located in the heart of the gold mining reefs, east of Barberton in Mpumalanga. We recommend a 4WD vehicle when the weather is wet as things could get very slippery in a normal car when these roads become muddy. Watch out for hippos, crocs and disused mine-shafts (seriously!)

3. Skaapwagters Pass - Translates into Sheperds Pass and is also known as De Beers Nek. It's a straightforward section of the tarred R539 between Machadodorp and Nelspruit and forms part of the trio of passes on the Schoemanskloof road.

There is plenty more fresh and exciting material in the editing room, including another major production in about 10 days time - the Antoniesberg Pass in the Northern Baviaanskloof. It's wild, remote, rugged and magnificent.

Stay alive. Drive defensively. Anticipate.

Trygve Roberts

COVID-19 Corona Virus South African Resource Portal

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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.

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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