The Massive Eastern Cape Passes 500 Challenge involved riding the Massive Adventures Great Eastern Cape Passes Loop of approximately 530 km in distance over some of South Africa’s highest and most spectacular mountain passes.
The route began and ended at Lady Grey, leaving the town and climbing 556 m in altitude to the top of the 2,234 m high Joubert’s Pass. Thereafter, the route snaked its way up to the Tiffendel Ski Resort, via a few minor passes and then the impressive Volunteershoek. Volunteershoek is a pass in poor condition, which means hardly ever any vehicles, it gains 662 m in altitude and is the second-highest pass on the route, peaking at 2,581 m.
Shortly after passing Tiffendel Ski Resort, Branko descended the 2,563 m high Carlisleshoek via cement tracks, so steep was this one. The town of Rhodes offered a welcome resupply and rest and then he tackled the Great Escarpment, including South Africa’s second-highest pass, Naude’s Nek, at 2,590 m, Baster Voetpad at 2,240 m and the 2,115 m high Otto du Plessis Pass, amongst a host of others.
Branko then returned to Lady Grey via Joubert’s Pass once more for a superb, largely gravel 530 km road with a massive 10,560 m cumulative vertical ascent. The route was very quiet, very low on human habitation and vehicles which made it rather relaxing in a strange sort of way.
There was no prize money, no medals or any memorabilia for finishing the challenge. Only fun, free bragging rights, great memories of the adventure and, of course, a place on the Great Eastern Cape Passes 500 Challenge Role of Honour on the Massive Adventures website!
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