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Saba's Road © Eveline De Vree  
 
  Saba's RoadIt's fair to say that not many places in the world can boast a road as an attraction. The Saba people challenge you to take a a 30-minute drive on ‘The Road’ to understand why Saba lives up to its nickname: “The Unspoiled Queen”.

Buckle up when you depart Saba’s renowned airport and enter Zion's Hill (A.k.a. Hell’s Gate). As you wind and twist the chiseled cliff sides you may struggle to focus on the amazing panoramas of the neighboring islands, old fashion villages and varied seascapes. As you carve your way across the island, down the S-curve (pictured above and below), you find Saba’s point of commerce, its only harbor the pulsing, Fort Bay. First gear to get back up to The Bottom (at 1,200 feet) in order to get down to you next stop, the illusive disappearing, reoccurring beach at Well's Bay.

Before the Road life on Saba was much tougher, Sabans faced the arduous task of traversing the island by trail, everything including the kitchen sink, pianos and monarchs were transported by hand and donkey through grueling elevations beneath the unforgiving Caribbean sun on twisting trails... So In the late 1930's the decision to build a concrete road was made. Dutch & Swiss Civil Engineers deemed it a foolhardy task due to the island's extreme topography. Thus the road got its title: "The road that couldn't be built."

Building "The road that couldn't be built".
Josephus Lambert Hassell (A.k.a. Lambee)Luckily for the island it was left to a Saban to make the much needed piece of infrastructure a reality... Josephus Lambert Hassell (A.k.a. Lambee) was clearly a man who had issues with the word "couldn't". Challenged by the word he followed a study in civil engineering by way of correspondence courses obtained by mail. In 1938, with the assistance of his fellow Sabans and no heavy machinery (yes it was all built by hand!) they got down to the business of the impossible. The vital access road from Fort Bay to The Bottom was completed within 5 years! This first stage of the road was inaugurated in 1943. Four years later the first motor vehicle arrived.


Saba "The road that couldn't be built"In 1951, the road to Windwardside and St. John's was opened and seven years later the road was completed. For two decades the islanders toiled to complete the project. Exercise caution before using the word “never” or the phrase "it can’t be done" within earshot of a Saban.

Driving "The Road" is an experience in itself... A plethora of ecological zones await. Meandering from dry tundra up to dense tropical vegetation, winding past many steep drop offs as you go... The views are spectacular! Ascending the "Mountain Road", which ends at the Mt. Scenery trail, brings you to the highest point of the road which is over 1800ft above sea level! So don't be surprised whilst driving (or being driven) on Saba, to slip from bright warm sunshine into cool mystical cloud.

Hiking the road can be strenuous but rewarding, just remember to keep to the outside of the curves and away from inner rock faces and walls when rounding corners - to give traffic plenty of time to see you coming! If you run out of steam, take a seat on the wall and stick your thumb out, before too long someone will stop and offer you a ride.
 
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