E-tollers be warned, Cape roads are off limits

2013-12-04 13:10
We’re going to block the Huguenot Tunnel.

We’re going to stuff it with beach sand, wine farms and coffee shops. We’ve got more than we need.

Get your latté on that side of the mountain because we’re not letting you e-tollers through.

Here in the Cape we look at roads and see freedom. You look at roads and see “ka-ching”.

No doubt you want to scope our glorious passes for gantry points and monetise every meter of tar. Well, it’s not going to happen.

They finished that new toll gate on Chapman’s and look what happened: An avalanche of mud and dassie turds. An “Act of God”? More like a crafty bit of sabotage by some well meaning Cape patriot to preserve the sanctity of our favourite stretch of tar.

You can’t have it. You’re not even going to get close because we’re blocking every pass into Cape Town this festive season.

Du Toitskloof Pass? Forget it.

We’re wedging a truck across that one, a 20-ton hauler loaded with barrels of pinotage: French oak; wood fired; aged 2 years. And yes, it does taste better in the Cape. The dregs we send north are crushed by the feet of pensioners. You can’t have our wine. You can’t even gaze down at the vines that stretch to the golden horizon on other side of that venerable pass.

Du Toitskloof is decidedly Du Blocked.

You’ll take Bainskloof Pass, you say? Ah, you’ve studied your map. But you’ll find the bridge "washed away" by the Cape’s crystal clear waters.

And that sound coming from high up on the inaccessible pass? That’ll be us, oohing and aahing at the view.

Just turn around and head for Tulbagh. Go through that town and you’ll find Nuwekloof Pass just beyond it: your gateway to the Cape - if there weren’t actually a gate across it.

That’s right, we’ve got the keys. And those dogs on the other side? Trained in Iraq.

By then it’ll be late so you might want to overnight in Tulbagh. Sorry, it’s booked. And so’s Franschhoek - it’s been that way since the Huguenot’s arrived. And steer clear of Franschhoek pass because it’s been taken over by bikers: caffeine fueled hipsters on Vespas.

But there’s hope.

You can get to Cape Town via Sir Lowry’s Pass or the beautiful R44 along the coast - the poor-mans Chapman’s Peak, they say. But you won’t survive the traffic lights before Strand, more numerous over a 6km stretch than all the e-toll gantries of Gauteng.

If it’s Christmas lights you're after you’ll certainly be happy, if you like red.

There’s only one more option and we’ll leave the pass to Ceres open, and the road to Citrusdal too. It’s a real treat with two more open passes and very good views. But I’m afraid all the really good stuff - the best views, the lattés, the wine farms and Louis Vuitton - they're all beyond the mountain range to the west.

And that very last pass, the unfortunately named Piekenierskloof which twists and turns like a velvet rope before opening up on a gorgeous green vista stretching all the way to Table Mountain: Closed for a name change. Sorry, holiday’s off.

It’s back to the Highveld for you.

The truth is you’d be mad to drive on these roads over the festive season. Stay at home where you’re safe and save your money for those e-tolls. Rather sneak down in the off-season when there are fewer nutters on the roads.

We’ll open every pass for you then, for free.

Anton Crone, is a freelance writer and photographer based in Cape Town, South Africa. Check out his blog Bright Continent or follow him on twitter @antoncrone
Read more on:    cape town  |  johannesburg  |  e-tolls  |  travel south africa

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