Despite the Long Tom Pass's beautifully engineered corners, the road carries with it a lethal cocktail of impending dangers, which include exceptionally dense and frequent mountain mists that can reduce visibility to less than 3m. Drivers who fail to adjust their speed to the visibility stand the very real possibility to driving into the back of a slow moving truck or stationary vehicle.
Many Mpumalanga drivers have resorted to driving with their hazards on. When we posted this snippet on our FaceBook page there was an instant rash of responses (mainly against the practice). One of the problems is that if you have your hazards on whilst underway, it means you can't indicate to overtake. Other comments are that drivers behind find it distracting. Whatever your opinion (including the legality issue) is that we found it quite effective in maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front in low visibility conditions and found the practice to be worthwhile. You can chip in your 2 cents worth in the comments section on the bottom of this page.
With the pass connecting Sabie and Lydenburg, the road carries both logging and mining articulated trucks. It is unlikely that on any day of the week, that you will be able to traverse this pass without coming across at least 6 of these big trucks crawling up or down the pass. This causes impatience with drivers of normal vehicles, and they often take huge risks, overtaking on double barrier lines and blind corners. These big trucks are also the main culprits for the rapid deterioration of Mpumalanga's roads.
But the real attraction of this pass is a twin pronged bonus of majestic Drakensberg scenery coupled with pioneer and Anglo-Boer War history that will astonish viewers who take the time to stop at the various historical view sites. Just as a small example - one (of the four) Long Tom cannons that were once hauled up these big mountains to bombard and control the English military in 1899, weighed an immense 5700 kg and was 7,5 m long, requiring a span of 16 oxen to pull it.
Take the hyperlink below and read up on the powerful history where the big cannons once boomed their 40 kg shells for almost 10 km across these beautiful mountains. We have opened all three of the adjoining passes which should be viewed in the order listed for the complete story to unfold. Enjoy!
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Thought for the Day: "Quality is not an act - it's a habit" ~ Aristotle