Our December ’18 Road Trip was based on the Ben 10 Eco Challenge where you have to complete 10 Mountain Passes in 7 days.

The challenge of doing 10 great mountain passes each with their own unique character, was something Ann & myself just could not let go by unchallenged. So at a sparrow’s fart on Saturday morning, 22 Dec ’18 we waved good bye to Durbanville and set course for Middelburg (Cape).

The death toll on the roads at that time was an all-time high and understandably so because every few kilometers there would be a broken taxi trailer next to the road – some totally off the road, others still partially on the road and dangerous. Luckily as we hit Beaufort West we turned away to Middelburg and encountered a large amount of taxi & trailers and funny enough, lorries. More lorries on this road than on the N1.

In Middelburg our overnight stop was Tortelduif Cottage.

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Highly recommended place to stay but rather enjoy a braai here than trying to find a restaurant in Middelburg to eat. The restaurant we went to had recently opened on the same premises as a guest house with the son managing the guest house and the Dad running the restaurant. What a joke, as the father is dressed in a chef’s jacket parading up and down and claims to hail from Mauritius where he fine tuned his culinary skills. Say what? He won’t be able to make you a slice of unburnt toast I reccon. The Garlic & Cheese Pita we ordered was rock hard, one could not bite it off let alone chew and digest it.

We ordered fillet steak with mushroom sauce and o yeez, that mushroom sauce was a blob of light brown gel of something. Tasted crap and not worth a cent. So out of curiosity I asked the staff if our parading chef knows anything about food and in one voice they all said “no”, he just likes everybody to think so. That explains the crappy food.

Sunday morning we left for Lady Grey where we stayed the evening at Millers Wood Cabins. Lazed in the jacuzzi, just chillin…. brandy & coke…  A very nice place with excellent hosts.

The next day saw the official start of the 10 Passes, i.e. Joubert’s Pass. A very nice Pass to drive – eazy peezy in the Jeep off course, others might find it challenging….


Nearly at the summit
Dr Livingstone I presume..
My faithful navigator with Lady Grey in the background

With the first pass completed we are heading for Rhodes which will be our base for the next 4 days. We crossed the Kraairivier and Kraairivier Pass, through Barkly East and then the gravel road to Rhodes.


Barkley East was the final stop for petrol, fire wood and everything you might need as there is nothing in Rhodes – we never thought it could be for real. In Rhodes we offloaded at Little Leeds and quickly settled in with a quick swig of Melktertjie.

Kry vir jou

The next day was Christmas so we were out of bed at a Sparrow’s fart and heading for Tiffindell via the steep Carlisleshoekspruit Pass.

Say what?
Now this was nice and challenging and I think the steepest pass we have ever done since we had the Jeep.

Heading for Tiffendell Resort for some coffee and then on to Ben MacDhui.

Tiffendell Resort

Whilst having coffee at Tiffendell Resort the bartender mentioned that the drive up to Ben MacDhui is very steep with loose sand and gravel. By saying that Ann went into a crazy fit and started foaming at the mouth – she and steep climbs with loose gravel are not friends at all and that meant the end of Ben MacDhui drive for me. Because it was Xmas and I am a very considerate guy, I did not push the issue and made peace with Ben MacDhui. So now we are off to Volunteershoek Pass. But we had to drive past Loch Ness – not in Scotland.

Check the Xmas headgear…

Volunteershoek is in the top 5 technical passes we have done and I really enjoyed it although I cannot say the same for Ann. Poor girl suffered a bit. We eventually found our Xmas lunch spot, somewhere up the Lesotho mountain range and out of site of civilisation.

Our menu consisted of 3 salads, stuffed pork belly, apple jelly and rice. Don’t forget the Xmas crackers, champagne and the works.

And old Father Xmas who has been with us for each and every Xmas since 2001.

Dik gevriet en ons moet aanskuif, die son trek water en ons moet nog Lundin’s Nek Pas gaan ry. Hierdie pas lei op na ‘n grenspos tussen SA en Lêsoontoe, sorry Lesotho. Pad is erg verspoel na die reens so alhoewel dit ‘n kort pas was, was dit hectic.

Was erg warm maar gelukkig was daar lafenisse agter in die cooler box vol ys.

Nou is dit terug Rhodes toe maar eers weer deur ‘n hek waar ‘n donkie vir Ann staan en wag. Ou Vaaltyn wil net deur die hek en padvat.

O gonna, toe ons by die hek terugkom, het Vaaltyn wragties deurgebreek en is pad af. Soos ons terugry Rhodes toe sien ons al die groot rotse wat weggebreek het en tot onder in die riviere gerol het. Dit lyk weird.

So interessante enkelbrug oor een van die riviere

Boxing Day (26 Des) was ons dag af so ons het lekker holgehang in Rhodes en daardie aand potjie gemaak. Die volgende dag is dit aanskuif en Naude’s Nek Pas gaan verken.

Nog nie eers begin klim nie en kyk hoe hoog is dit al.

Naude’s Nek het ‘n stukkie interessante geskiedenis. Blykbaar het twee Naude broers gatvol geraak om so ompad dorp toe te ry toe bou hulle Naude’s Nek pas om vinnig anderkant die berg uit te kom. Twee broers, perde en arbeiders – dit wil gedoen word.

Ek sê mos, hulle was nie van hier nie, hulle was gestuur
Die familie begrafplaas langs die pas.

En terwyl ek vir fotos poseer, pak Anna klippe…

To be continued….