Our Excel expert, Mike Leicester has just released the latest version of our passes planning spreadsheet, which now contains just over 1100 meticulously researched passes and poorts. We have 816 indexed on the website, so the variance is what we still have to produce. The planner can be used offline (i.e. on a device like an iPad or laptop in your vehicle) but with basic functionality. As soon as you are connected to the internet, the full power of the planner comes to the fore. This invaluable document is available from our online shop at R285. FACTS & STATS PASS PLANNER
Ben 10 Eco Challenge update
Towards the Christmas holidays each year and continuing through to April, we have an upsurge in Ben 10 entries. It seems that this challenge (dreamt up whilst filming the Volunteershoek Pass way back in 2012) has become so popular, as to have become THE adventure challenge in South Africa.
All sorts of records have been set up. The first lady on a motorcycle; the youngest person (passenger); the first dog; the first parrot; the oldest driver; the first MTB; the first lady MTB rider; the first father and daughter cycling combo; the first on a homemade bicycle and perhaps the most bizarre one - the first person to complete all 10 passes in a single day. This is of course not in the spirit of the challenge as we never intended it to be a race, but it is nonetheless one heck of an achievement. There are still two vacant titles going begging: The first trail runner and the first walker.
To date 120 people have entered the challenge, but only 51 have managed to successfully complete it. Most people struggle with Bastervoetpad and Ben MacDhui passes and many motorcyclists come short on Volunteershoek. The challenge is not nearly as easy as some people think. Are you up to it? There is no closing date on the challenge, so make the decision and enter. You only have one life, live it!
Check the roll of honour and entry list here: BEN 10 ECO CHALLENGE
The Official Tour
The Ben 10 Tour remains fully booked and although we have had one cancellation, the available spot was immediately taken up. 12 vehicles and 2 motorcycles plus two guide vehicles will make up a 16 strong team, which will be split into two groups, each driving different routes over the four days. The motorcycles will ride ahead and independently of the 4x4's. The excitement is building as this promises to be a tour of note. We will be watching the weather forecasts with bated breath!
Our Face Book page continues to remain hugely popular amassing around 50,000 views per month. We try to be as innovative as possible and vary our content over a range of themes in an effort to remain topical and interesting. The face of social media changes rapidly with new ideas emerging almost weekly. Last week we decided to feature a theme called "Only in Africa" - a series of humorous photos of all the silly things that we all see daily in Africa. The posts proved enormously popular, achieving results about 5 times better than our normal posts, but with it came some criticism, which only goes to show that you simply cannot please everyone all of the time. I suppose to expect 100% smiley face rate, would be abnormal.
Listen to the podcast
This week we manged to coincide our featured pass of the week with the podcast. A 10 minute conversation focused on the Piet Esterhuysen Pass.
Pass of the Week
Our pass of the week is the Piet Esterhuysen Pass - a short pass (north of Op die Berg) at 2,4 km , but it packs an almighty wallop into that distance. It's narrow, rocky, rugged, slow, gravel and offers sensational views. It's also a dead-end and leads down to a camping site on a private farm - Balies Gat. Check it out and try the cyber option via our 3 videos filmed just two weeks ago. Then draw that bucket closer, get your camping gear ready and grab yourself some quality leisure time (with a dollop of adrenaline thrown in). The pass is suitable for off road caravans, but only if towed by a 4x4 with low range.
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New passes added this week
Flouhoogte - a moderate gravel pass in the Overberg near Stanford (Provisional video)
Kleinrivier Kloof Pass - a moderate gravel pass close to Flouhoogte Pass above (Provisional video)
Thought for the day: "Jobs fill your pockets. Adventure fills your soul" ~ Roy Dromgoole