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 Post subject: Why can't Bloukrans Pass be opened again?
Unread postPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 7:55 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Somerset West
I am NOT sure if the forest and river around Bloukrans Pass is actually part of the Tsitsikama National Park, but feel this is the best forum to ask a very important question:

WHY CAN'T THIS STUNNING SCENIC ROUTE BE OPENED TO THE PUBLIC AGAIN?

I can't remember how many times I have driven past that ROAD CLOSED sign on the N2, thinking of the wonderful memories that road brings!

So last month when I took a Hi-Ace with 10 school children on a photography tour to Addo, we slept over at the Bloukrans Khoisan Village's wooden chalets for a weekend. The locals volunteered the info that the road was quite passable if you took it slowly...

We noticed a car coming through that valley the morning, and I stopped and asked them -- they rode the length of the pass! While having worship at the picnic spot at the top of the pass, at least 3 other vehicles also did the same trip!

So on Sabbath afternoon I took the kids on a hike down that beautiful road, down to the bridge and weir at the bottom of the pass....

The other teacher slowly followed us while we had a stunning walk. I expected huge landslides, sections of the road missing, etc. But NOTHING of the sort!
Yes, a small rockfall or three on the road, but very easy to negotiate!

We spent a stunning evening in this deserted bit of paradise, and in about 2 hours, 1 other vehicle, 2 motorbikes and a cyclist came through from Nature's Valley side...

QUESTION: WHY DOES SANPARKS NOT OPEN THIS ROAD AS A RESTRICTED ACCESS VERY SPECIAL SCENIC ROUTE, DRIVEN/CYCLED/WALKED 100% AT YOUR OWN RISK!?

I am convinced that a few days' work by a few Sanparks labourers would remove 90% of the rubble on this historic national heritage!

If you don't believe me, go and look for yourself! -- AT YOUR OWN RISK!

Just asking....

God bless,

Friedrich von Horsten

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``God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on your heart'' -- E. St V Millay


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 Post subject: Re: Why can't Bloukrans Pass be opened again?
Unread postPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 11:38 am 
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Guru
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Location: Groenkloof
I will find out for you Friedrich von Hörsten :thumbs_up:

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Lesego Nko
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 Post subject: Re: Why can't Bloukrans Pass be opened again?
Unread postPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 1:23 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Somerset West
Thanks Lesego!

Friedrich von Hörsten

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``God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on your heart'' -- E. St V Millay


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 Post subject: Re: Why can't Bloukrans Pass be opened again?
Unread postPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 2:57 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:21 pm
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Location: Cape Town
From my memories of the pass (admittedly from very many years ago now), while being stunningly beautiful for the most part, there were one or two parts where the road had collapsed down into the valley below. Perhaps this was the reason for the road being closed? As no one could guarantee when or if another chunk of tarmac would disappear out from under a vehicle?

With the N2 not being all that far away, perhaps there was a thinking that the cost of repairing, stabilising and maintaining the road was not worth the expense?


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 Post subject: Re: Why can't Bloukrans Pass be opened again?
Unread postPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 3:52 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 486
Location: Somerset West
Hi Orange

I thought EXACTLY the same thing -- on the Eastern side of the pass on sharp bends there had been problems in the past.

Funny thing, when I walked down there, there were a few OLD cracks in the road right on the edge. I peeped over, but saw no signs of any rockfalls/deterioration below this part, and would comfortably drive on it any day.

The only problems were rockfalls from above in other areas, but after nearly 2 years of neglect/no servicing/maintenance on road, this looked like a minor problem -- WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT YOU DO IT AT YOUR OWN RISK -- looked much safer than Chapmans Peak before the major repair done on it....

Go and look for yourself!

If they don't want to, why not open it as a lovely day walk/cycling track with picnic spot or two at the bottom, as it used to be?

God bless,

Friedrich von Hörsten

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``God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on your heart'' -- E. St V Millay


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 Post subject: Re: Why can't Bloukrans Pass be opened again?
Unread postPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 4:07 pm 
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Distinguished Virtual Ranger
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Location: Johannesburg - where they cut down trees and name streets after them.
We love that old pass. :)

Years ago (obviously in our much younger days :twisted: ) S.O. and I did a tour from Johannesburg to Cape Town via the Garden Route and back on a motorbike. One of our fondest memories are driving that pass slowly with the visors up just to "feel" the trees and right now I can vividly remember the smell of the forest.

The road was so narrow and full of hairpin bends and one could hear the trucks coming from the opposite side hooting for everyone to make way because they took up the width of the road and a bit more around the bends.

Wonderful, wonderful memories. :)
We always say that once the kids have outgrown us, we'll get another bike and do it again, just to drive down that pass again.

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 Post subject: Re: Why can't Bloukrans Pass be opened again?
Unread postPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 2:04 pm 
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Guru
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Location: Groenkloof
Hello 'mites :)

The Bloukrans Pass road is under the management of SANRAL, who is currently in the process of fixing/ and or upgrading the road, following extensive floods. SANParks is represented on the Environmental Committee as the road edges/ verge fall within the park and due Environmental diligence has to be followed.

Unfortunately motorists and hikers disregard the “closed for Maintenance” signs and has been using the road for some time. Admittedly the road is passable, but SANParks can neither authorize the use of the road, nor guarantee anyone’s safety on it.

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Lesego Nko
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Lesego.nko@sanparks.org
Tel: (012) 426 5202


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 Post subject: Re: Why can't Bloukrans Pass be opened again?
Unread postPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 2:10 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 486
Location: Somerset West
Lesego

Thank you SO MUCH for going to so much trouble. I saw NO signs of maintenance/upgrading anywhere, but lets hope they are going to do this some time soon!

Looking forward to taking my wife down that road again!

God bless,

Friedrich von Hörsten

_________________
``God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on your heart'' -- E. St V Millay


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 Post subject: Re: Why can't Bloukrans Pass be opened again?
Unread postPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 10:22 am 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Cambridge, MA (and home from home in Darling, WC)
While the road is marked as closed from the northern end (both at the N2 and at the picnic spot), when I took the chance to drive it -- after seeing another car emerge from it -- from the southern end, there was no actual sign indicating that the road was closed (altho the name of the town at the other end of the road was crossed out on the sign). It is a beautiful road and I'm very glad that I took the chance to drive it, albeit very slowly and carefully. It was especially nice that I saw only a very few other vehicles and my impression was that it was mainly used by locals avoiding the toll gate on the N2. I would hope that if this lovely road IS upgraded, that use of it would be restricted to ONLY passenger vehicles. I'd think that it would be VERY dangerous (as well as unpleasant for 'tourists' using the road) for larger vehicles such as trucks and busses to use it? As it is, the locals using this road to avoid the toll gate drive it WAY too fast! :evil:


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 Post subject: Re: Why can't Bloukrans Pass be opened again?
Unread postPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 10:35 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2006 8:24 pm
Posts: 486
Location: Somerset West
Arks

Very valid points -- the idea is not to make it an alternative route again for heavy vehicles, but rather a scenic National Parks limited access road....

God bless,

Friedrich von Hörsten

_________________
``God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on your heart'' -- E. St V Millay


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