Latest News! 7th July, 2016

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Heavy trucks crawling up the pass occupying both ascending lanes Heavy trucks crawling up the pass occupying both ascending lanes - Photo: Mike Leicester

Today we move out of the Eastern Cape and head towards KZN, where our Jhb based film crew have been busy catching up on unfilmed passes mostly near the Drakensberg escarpment. Our featured pass has a long history that goes back beyond both Anglo Boer wars and not surprisingly the basic route of this long and dangerous pass was originally nothing more than a game path formed by hundreds of thousands of migrating animals heading south into the warmer climes of KZN in winter and then back into the Free State for the sweet grasses that the summer grazing has on offer.

The pass takes us through a small village and what is reputed to be the smallest Roman Catholic church in the world - The Llandaff Oratory.

Van Reenen's Pass is statistically South Africa's most dangerous pass. This is not because it is badly designed, but rather a combination of heavy traffic, slow heavy trucks, unroadworthy vehicles, driver error, ignorance, speeding, impatient drivers, ignoring barrier lines and road signs and of course inclement weather which includes frequent mountain mists, heavy rain, hail and snow. 

Despite all the dangers, it is a beautiful, long pass with stunning views and perfectly banked corners and quite reasonable gradients. We recommend taking the turn-off to the village of Van Reenen, where the Llandaff Orotary can be visited, which was built by a grieving father for his son who perished in a mining accident.

The Green Lantern Inn dates back to 1892 and here, with a warm fire crackling in the hearth, one can learn about the amazing history of the pass and the extraordinary snippets of history relating to soldiers, miners, farmers, hunters and workers who passed by this inn to eat, drink and rest. Take the link below and read the full story and enjoy the video shot in the descending mode on a perfect blue sky autumn day by Mike Leicester.

***** VAN REENEN'S PASS *****

New passes added this week:
Wolf River Pass - Eastern Cape

Upgraded videos added this week:
Red Hill Pass (R352) Eastern Cape

Trygve Roberts

Thought for the day: "It always seems impossible, until it's done" - Nelson Mandela.

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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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