Like our Chritmas Eve news release, this final news item for 2015 similarly falls on Old Year's Eve. We were expecting a low readership due to the significance of the day, but last week's news release was read by over 12,000 people between the website and the FaceBook entry!
On this final day of 2015, we give you a real treat and in keeping with our December theme, take you on a cyber drive with four videos over Thomas Bain's final masterpiece.
We also have a closer look at the road death toll and take an 'out of the box' solution.
[To access the links and read further, expand this page by clicking on the title, the photo or the green READ MORE button]
STOP PRESS 10th April, 2017: The Swartberg Pass is CLOSED until further notice, after a cloudburst on 9th April 2017, where sections of the roadway have been severely damaged on the northern side. The pass can still be driven from the southern side (Oudtshoorn) and access to Gamkaskloof / Die Hel is still open.
The Swartberg Pass is for many South Africans, the rubicon of gravel road passes. There is an allure and a mystique around this old pass, coupled with its status as a national monument, which elevates this pass to the very top of the list. It was Thomas Bain's final and best piece of road building. Most of the historical points of interest are signposted along the pass. There are names like Die Stalletjie (Small Stall), Witdraai (White Corner), Fonteintjie (Small Fountain), Skelmdraai (Devious Corner), and of course Die Top, the latter sign is almost completely obliterated by graffiti by some folk who might feel they have just crested Everest and have this burning desire to paint their name on the well known sign.
The pass is very long at 23,8 km and it takes about an hour to drive, excluding stops. You will be treated to a wide variety of incredible scenery. The pass is not suitable for anyone suffering from acrophobia. It can be driven in any vehicle in fair weather.
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.
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.