Back­wards on Jou­bert Pass

go! Platteland - - CHITCHAT -

Your ar­ti­cle that show­cased Lady Grey, among other towns, took me far back. In 2004, we were en route to East Lon­don from Lim­popo, where I had tem­po­rary em­ploy­ment. Our kids had spent a night at the Lam­mergeier Na­ture Re­serve and rec­om­mended we visit it too.

I con­sulted the map and saw that Jou­bert Pass, south­west of Lady Grey, has a slope of 1:5. It was go­ing to be a chal­lenge for our 1960 Bed­ford camper van with its Ford en­gine I had to have in­stalled be­cause Bed­ford parts were no longer avail­able.

One peace­ful night at Lam­mergeier later, we headed up the pass… It all went well un­til we were about three-quar­ters of the way up that 1:5 in­cline, and the first gear proved too fast and too weak to get our big bulk any fur­ther. We couldn’t turn around – at that stage it was just a one-way – and re­vers­ing was the only way out. The camper van’s liv­ing area ex­tended 50cm on both sides of the cabin, so we had to re­verse with the help of two mir­rors only.

My wife, Bes, had to get out and guide me from the front so I could nav­i­gate the steep slope with its twists and turns. Re­vers­ing that three-quar­ter-kilo­me­tre stretch felt like an eter­nity.

Four years later, Jou­bert Pass still haunted me, but this time we tack­led it in a 1986 Suzuki Vi­tara. What a won­der­ful trip. You sim­ply can’t beat the plat­te­land and its nat­u­ral won­ders.

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