Wild Dog Adventure Riding

Riding: Plan, Report and Racing => Ride Reports => Topic started by: sidetrack on January 04, 2016, 11:35:55 pm

Title: Sidetracking
Post by: sidetrack on January 04, 2016, 11:35:55 pm
Limpopo 2016

Holidays is a wonderous time untill you have to go back to work and realize you never got around to riding your bike like planned. Decided to stop watching videos of guys going on trips on youtube and do some myself. Boxing day I went to Limpopo, decided to go look for a pass I rode back in 2006 on my DRZ. Found it 725km round trip. Then new year off to the Vredefort dome which I also last visited in 2007, shorter but still managed to add 500km to my odo  :thumleft:

Limpopo
It was May 2006, on my trusty DRZ I navigated through some Limpopo backroads and rode over some poor guys field. Totally lost thanks to my Etrex with a loose connection - it was the best !

http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=7514.0 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=7514.0)

Found a great mountain pass so fast forward 9 years and I decided to go look for it again, this time I was armed with a slightly more modern Quest - awesome  :biggrin: Well I found it, still just as beautifull and yes Limpopo still has it's fair share of donkey's and goats. Dont know where or near what town, it's all Greek to me. Just followed some tracks to the waypoint I had stored.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_6122_zps7rjab1ss.jpg)

Bit greener in summertime, nice.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_6124_zpsombplsvm.jpg)

Saw these rock formations and outcrops for the entire trip, some are cracked right down the middle and seems as they can roll down the mountain at any moment. Some crazy / brave goats were jumping around on the koppie above.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_6126_zpsml0igplk.jpg)

Eventually made it to the pass and parked off at the top admiring the view. Noticed a Baberton daisy growing at the foot of some boulders and a Agama lizard running for cover. Hot as hell but worth every kilometer.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_6134_zps4oolyg5n.jpg)

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_6140_zpsrlbezefl.jpg)

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_6138_zpsos53suvs.jpg)

The track snakes down the mountain and is about 4km in length, rocky in places but still an easy but enjoyable ride.

Rock Fig ?

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_6144_zpspmmbfzso.jpg)

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_6146_zpsmsa2qljo.jpg)

Like the good (foolish) old days I took  no spares with, confident I would have a trouble free ride - which I did. I was back home just before dark.

Vredefort / Parys

I decided to head Southwest, have not been for ages yet Parys is quite close to GP. Bummer as the first bit is highway but an hour later and the worst bit was over as I got on the dirt near Randfontein. Past Baragwanath Airfield where I admired a Harvard and a Impala (I think). Then onwards, the river called.

Straight and fast but all good as this was all new to me ! To the side I spotted the railway service road, worth taking a look next time.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_6239_zpsdnwpyuzy.jpg)

Through Parys just after 9, I was making good time and now entered the Vredefort dome running next to the river. One mother of a rock landed here many moons ago, biggest meteor impact site in the world I believe it to be. The valley is a joy to ride as it zig zags between the koppies. Some parts tight others wide open, nice contrast. I was busy riding a loop posted by Kydaar back in 2010.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_6243_zpskvuzw2om.jpg)

Old farm building seems to be abandoned.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_6244_zps7irsyteu.jpg)

Look at this peach must be a 1190's dream :)

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_6246_zpsdrbwlw5p.jpg)

Met a fellow WD'er - Roughdog and his buddy. Chatted a bit and they headed off, told them I would catch up later down the valley at the local pub. First pub was closed - bummer was really looking forward to a beer !

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_6250_zpsabveymgm.jpg)

But then around the corner like an oasis in the desert I found a pub that was open along with Roughdog allready enjoying a cold one.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_6253_zpsun1joetd.jpg)

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_6251_zpshav9hgpl.jpg)

Well we chatted and shared some motorcycle adventures before we went our seperate ways. I had about 30 - 40 km's to do back to Parys where I refilled and headed off home. Another day well spent. The next day would be back to work .... but at least I gor to ride my bike !

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_6121_zps6hj8dofp.jpg)
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on January 04, 2016, 11:50:45 pm
Vredefort tracks attached
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: VaalBaas on January 05, 2016, 06:10:55 am
Lekker trip, mooi fotos. :thumleft:

Is daar nog?
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: JonW on January 05, 2016, 07:14:53 am
Nice  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: skydiver on January 05, 2016, 07:24:24 am
Mooi fotos  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: Gecko on the rocks on January 05, 2016, 07:54:18 am
Nice  :ricky:
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: Laban on January 05, 2016, 08:57:43 am


... :thumleft:
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: DUSTRIDERS on January 05, 2016, 09:21:27 am
That first pass and area looks stunning :drif:
Why you never use the sidestand?
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: husky28 on January 05, 2016, 09:30:11 am
When I stayed in potch I did the vredefort loads of times cycling.
Cant wait to go there with the bike one day.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: ClimbingTurtle on January 05, 2016, 09:31:33 am
Very nice!

Any chance you could post the route/track for the Limpopo section - looks like a great days ride, I would love to have a go at it!!

Thanks !
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: edgy on January 05, 2016, 09:39:09 am
Awesome looking Tenere! :thumleft:
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on January 05, 2016, 10:13:09 am
That first pass and area looks stunning :drif:
Why you never use the sidestand?
Must say it's very handy indeed (centre stand)  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on January 05, 2016, 02:39:06 pm
Lekker trip, mooi fotos. :thumleft:

Is daar nog?
Waterval district leaving MP for Limpopo
(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_6119_zpsagkm1obv.jpg)

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of November,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_6125_zpstfim0kj1.jpg)

Summit of the pass

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_6131_zpsq3szaygf.jpg)

Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: Toothless on January 05, 2016, 02:45:09 pm
Mooi fotos!
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on January 05, 2016, 02:47:38 pm
Very nice!

Any chance you could post the route/track for the Limpopo section - looks like a great days ride, I would love to have a go at it!!

Thanks !
Pass attached
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: LionBuell on January 06, 2016, 10:58:49 am
Good morning sidetrack

Could you possibly post the Vredefort/Parys maps as .gpx format? Pretty please! Then i can have it on my phone as i do not use a gps.
Thanks for the RR the Limpopo pics looks awesome.
Regards,
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: 0012 on January 06, 2016, 11:19:03 am
lekker pics, lovit   :thumleft:

mooi bike ook  ;)

dankie vir die deel    :ricky:
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: Yam XT660Z on January 06, 2016, 11:23:48 am
Nice one
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: alwyn_gs on January 07, 2016, 08:02:23 am
Yes yes... Awesome trippies... Mooi Foto's...

Sien jy het dieselfde probleem as ek, jou XT bly in jou fotos inspring!  :imaposer: :imaposer:
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on January 07, 2016, 08:28:00 am
Yes yes... Awesome trippies... Mooi Foto's...

Sien jy het dieselfde probleem as ek, jou XT bly in jou fotos inspring!  :imaposer: :imaposer:
Net in so 40% van hulle  ;D
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: Kykdaar on January 07, 2016, 07:20:58 pm
Te minste het jy gedoen waarvoor ek te sleg is deesdae - maak my skoon jaloers ;D

Bly jy geniet nog die ry en die fotos is great soos altyd :thumleft:

Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on January 07, 2016, 07:36:03 pm
Te minste het jy gedoen waarvoor ek te sleg is deesdae - maak my skoon jaloers ;D

Bly jy geniet nog die ry en die fotos is great soos altyd :thumleft:


Daai Vredefort roete was baie aangenaam  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: lj111 on January 08, 2016, 01:56:46 am
Thanks for the RR :thumleft:
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: ClimbingTurtle on January 08, 2016, 07:12:04 am
Very nice!

Any chance you could post the route/track for the Limpopo section - looks like a great days ride, I would love to have a go at it!!

Thanks !
Pass attached

Shot for that!!

Looks like a really nice section - and it's on the way to Legalameetse, 30km or so north, which is STILL on my to-do list - I think I can combine them.....

 :thumleft:  :thumleft:  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: Sidpitt on January 08, 2016, 10:25:24 am
Thanks, lekke RR and flippen awesome looking scooter :thumleft:
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: spoedvark on January 10, 2016, 09:08:35 am
Great pics and enjoyed your RR. Thanks for sharing!

SPOED :snorting:
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on January 10, 2016, 09:16:10 am
Very nice!

Any chance you could post the route/track for the Limpopo section - looks like a great days ride, I would love to have a go at it!!

Thanks !
Pass attached

Shot for that!!

Looks like a really nice section - and it's on the way to Legalameetse, 30km or so north, which is STILL on my to-do list - I think I can combine them.....

 :thumleft:  :thumleft:  :thumleft:
Yes back in 2006 I did the first part of Legalameetse past the river but it was getting late and I had to backtrack. Too far for a single day from Gauteng. Plenty of passes and great scenery in that area !
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: Morokai on January 14, 2016, 12:48:16 pm
Excellent  :thumleft:
Pragtige wereld daai
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on May 05, 2018, 08:36:58 pm
Really must start riding more, rode the area between Kwamahlanga and Cullinan today. Was nice to get out.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: MRK Miller on May 06, 2018, 09:58:09 pm
Cannot see phodies.what pass was the limpopo pass named
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on May 07, 2018, 02:26:38 pm
You need to use Chrome with the photobucket plugin, Photobucket decided last year that you need to pay to have your pictures be embedded on the net. That pass has no name as far as I know
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: Scalpel on May 07, 2018, 04:46:46 pm
Ry jy nou 'n Rally?. :ricky:
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on May 09, 2018, 07:59:42 am
Ry jy nou 'n Rally?. :ricky:
Ja jong try maar alles
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: Scalpel on May 09, 2018, 08:12:55 am
Ry jy nou 'n Rally?. :ricky:
Ja jong try maar alles

En? Wat dink jy van die Rally??
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on May 09, 2018, 09:55:24 am
Ry jy nou 'n Rally?. :ricky:
Ja jong try maar alles

En? Wat dink jy van die Rally??
Ek dink the hoeveelheid plastic wat Honda op die bike gegooi het net om te kry dat hy soos n "Rally" bike lyk is effe belaglik. Moes gistraand plastic parte afhaal net sodat ek die bike op n mx stand kon kry om die agter shock te stel. Dan het hulle nogal van daai brittle superbike plastiek ook gebruik. Ek reken die fiets was by verre meer ontwerp met die gedagte om te commute en soos Joan Barreda te lyk ipv die XR styl van bikes bou met regtre offroad ryery in gedagte. Ek dink wel as mens van die plastiek kan verwyder en n goeie bashplate opsit sal hy capable wees. Ry maklik, gemaklik, lig op petrol en die vurke is nie half bad nie. Ek dink ek is nog in twee gedagtes oor hom, gaan die Baviaans side entry doen so either gaan hy met hope gebreekte plastiek terugkom of ek gaan sÍ dat ja die klein bike kan alles doen al lyk hy so mooi met al sy blink vieterjasies.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 11:31:28 am
Val - July 2018

It was time for a solo Sunday ride. I previously made some notes for roads heading south towards Val and around 2012 I rode some of them with Rooi as well on the way to the bash. I decided it was time to check it out again, it is not an area I rode a lot previously. Also partly inspired by Armpie's history lesson I was hoping to see some Boer War sites along the way. I only left Pta around 8:45 or so, the weather looked good though at 23 degrees. The first bit up to Delmas was all tar, from there I got onto the first dirt and promptly rode through a colliery and in the process black facing my bike  :o

The country side was rather flat and mielie fields all over. Very flat.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 11:33:35 am
Along the way some abandoned farm steads, the palm trees must be a good 50 plus years old. Most likely planted when the house was built. From here I followed a winding dirt road loosely following the Wilgerivier, I was coming up to Holfontein a small farm holding on my right. I saw only Willow Trees growing in the low lying areas with Bluegums here and there almost no other trees. Wonder if it's the climate or type of soil ?
Modify message
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 11:34:18 am
In the distance I could see two church bell towers, I was coming up to the small town of Eendracht situated on the hill. The last bit of dirt road into town was a rocky affair with plenty of evidence of wheel spinning and sump bashing for the 4 wheel kind. The town was quite small but had three churches : Gereformeerde, Nederduitse Gereformeerde and a Afrikaanse Protestant. It was now 10:30, the Gereformeerde church had a sign "dienste 10 uur Sondae". There was no soul in site, only on closer inspection I noticed no one had visited the church in quite some time. It was locked, closed up no congregation to speak of with the clock on the tower stuck at 8:25 maybe forever. Across the road the Protastant church had about 5 cars outside and the same for the NG church down the road. This might have been Eendracht but it seems everyone chooses his / her own church !
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 11:35:02 am
Leaving Eendracht towards Greylingstad, I heard it has become a ghost town so wanted to have a look. The track was nice and flowing the dirt roads being in quite good condition. Coming to a T junction I remeberd the bit from 2012, I past a row of Willow trees then up a slight hill through some Bluegums. The weather was perfect for a days ride.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 11:36:53 am
Greylingstad, in it's heyday a busy place as it was close to the NAZSM railway line that ran from KZN to Johannesburg. I smiled as I read up on the town with one person recalling the Natte and Sappe having frequent brawls in the Greylingstad Hotel (at the bar I would guess) whilst someone was playing his concertina in the backround. Like most towns it was now pretty run down. I wanted to ride up into the hill, there was a SR (Scottish Regiment) sign clearly visible from below built with stone and recently painted white by some local folk who are trying hard to keep things together. I had no luck with most dirt tracks being dead ends or locked gates. I would not say it's a ghost town yet but it's close.

From a M&G article :

A regiment of Scottish Rifles took several artillery pieces on to the hill overlooking the town and built themselves a warren of walled fortifications from the remains of a Stone Age settlement that had stood there, undisturbed, for thousands of years.

The action between the British and the Boers was brief and inconclusive. The Boers would hurry down off the hills opposite the British fortifications on their ponies and harass and make mischief, often to ambiguous ends, and the British dragooned the local black population into a nearby concentration camp, making them repair the damage to the railway line caused by the Boers. The graves of the black concentration camp dead number several hundred. They are tucked behind a clump of bushes not far from the town itself and have only recently become the subject of curiosity.

The town did offer one big surprise and that is the NG church built on the hill close to Willemsdall overlooking the town. It was truly beautifull and well kept, one of the best NG churches I have ever seen. The style was more like the ones normally found in English churches. Built from sandstone and completed in 1913, even the clock on the bell tower was still working. After reading up on it's history it became quite evident as it was designed by an English architect taking part in a competition overseen by Herbert Baker. I could not help but wonder for how long this lovely building would still be here in this condition, let us have faith.
Modify message
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 11:38:22 am
I followed the track towards Val from Greylingstad. Past a family grave from the 1920's, Vermaas. Now sticking close to the railway line I had a waypoint marked that indicated some type of battle that took place, well that is what the Google earth image indicated anyway. I stopped and there it was next to the road, no signs whatsoever except for a plaque I could make out against an old small railway bridge about 40m from the road. If not for the waypoint I would have missed it completely. Well turns out every year the Val Hotel stages a Boer and Brit re enactment of the "Whisky Train" bombing. Not sure it was such a light hearted event as the plaque makes it out to be but who knows, maybe everyone was gatvol of war and just wanted to have a good time if only for a couple of hours. Besides the bridge and some ballast on top of it there were no sign of the old railway line anymore.
Modify message
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 11:39:04 am
Next stop Val for a well deserved beer and something to eat ! Even in the early 1900's it was a popular stop and place to rest for all. Apparently the town was called Waterval first then shortened to Val for whatever reason.

Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 11:40:01 am
I planned a small loop from Val heading south east then coming back to end in the town again. I crossed the railway line and followed a dirt road to the east. To my right I could see the old sandstone pillars for what I imagine was the original bridge that took the railway line accross the river and then continued to Val and eventually onto Johannesburg. The river was quite beautifull here.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 11:40:53 am
All to soon the loop was done and I had to head home, the idea of riding home through Leandra and Delmas in the winter with the sun setting was not very appealing. I took some tar shortcuts on the way back and arrived in time to give the bike a quick wash. In total 420 enjoyable kilometers and some history lessons along the way as well. Thanks for reading.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: Dwerg on June 03, 2020, 11:40:53 am
Lekker ken daai paadjies goed. Kyk by 3:25 op die video vir daai klip plaat waar jou foto geneem is

Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 11:50:40 am
Lekker ken daai paadjies goed. Kyk by 3:25 op die video vir daai klip plaat waar jou foto geneem is


Lekker, lus en ry weer die naweek Val toe  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 11:52:09 am
Kalahari 2017

Photobucket jou ma  >:(

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8671_zpsp3ap6ka4.jpg)

So there I was sitting at the Van Zyls Hotel watching what can best be described as oil mist coming from the oil filter cavity instead of a gush of fully synthetic. My worst fear was confirmed, the pump was either blocked or close to being junk. I was now some 700 odd km's from home. But lets rewind a bit I have always wanted to ride to that little point that sticks up from SA towards Botswana, not sure why but it was something to aim for. Askahm was the obvious destination.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/green-kalahari_zpsl1gxpama.gif)

The basic route would be Pretoria - Marico - Zeerust - Bray Vostershoop - Mcarthys Rest - Van Zyls Rust - Askham - Hotazel - Vryburg. Well something like that, I had 4 days only. The idea was to stick as close as possible to the Botswana border. The first stretch to Zeerust I have done many times before not much to report although the Bokkekraal valley near Marico is a beautifull ride.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8634_zpsadlmatlw.jpg)

Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 11:52:47 am
The road from Zeerust to Miga was washed out here and there from the recent rain but still easy going. I did manage to get caught out in one of the few corners and ended up in the tall grass next to the road, luckily still on two wheels  :dousing: It was very green and looked totally different from when I was last here in 2015 if I remember correctly, almost looked like a desert then.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8638_zpsw4lubzn5.jpg)

The first section from Miga towards Mogobistad is a great little sandy tweespoor, by far the thickest sand on the whole trip. Twisting and turning through the veld at one point a local was even waiting to open a gate and wave me through. Very enjoyable riding. It was bloody hot though but still like Zeesrust very green and lush. 

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/Bots_zpszbapndtq.jpg)

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8641_zps5mi2ipc0.jpg)

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8642_zpsetrnf58e.jpg)

The track up to Mokgobistad is a very nice ride, it runs along the border for about 50km. I guess the road is used for patrolling the border but it was very overgrown. In some places it was difficult to see where it went. The thorn trees are also starting to take over so not sure how often this road is used anymore. Was just hoping to avoid a anthill or hidden rock.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8644_zpsor0m6bdr.jpg)
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 11:53:28 am
The track is a tweespoor in most places. Quite green as said before.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8645_zpsw8npeid7.jpg)

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8646_zpsczkut7hl.jpg)

The track was submerged in some places and one had to look for ways around which involved some bundu bashing.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8647_zpsbliiry91.jpg)

Maybe this way ...
(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8649_zpsfm1uwpbb.jpg)

No this seems more like it

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8650_zpsvmyuntxq.jpg)

Then I crossed the Molopo, yes that is what the GPS said I checked it twice. During drier times there is no water at all only a riverbed. I got a wet boot and parked of for a lunch stop. I noticed one rear spoke had snapped, luckily it would be the only one for the whole trip. Cable tied it to the others and all seemed good.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8652_zpskksq2afj.jpg)

Then a quick stop at Mokgibistad, although it was Sunday the locals made the most of the local shebeen. Was way to crowded so I headed on and stopped at a small shop for a cooldrink.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8654_zps00wqpsrr.jpg)

I now had quite a long straight run to Bray where I would camp for the night at Tapama lodge. Being gatvol of oil dissapearing from my dipstick I emptied the whole 500ml I carried with me into the bikes frame, it was weird the level would drop in as little as 300km. For that amount of oil usage the bike would have smoked like a chimney only it did not. The exhaust was nice and clean as well. I decided I would check again at Bray where the level stood. The road itself is quite fast with patches of sand here and there but besides a small amount of head shake the stretch went well.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8658_zpseegml59r.jpg)

Stopped at the same place on my previous trip here, they have added a beetle in that time.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_5356_zps4qcjebcb.jpg)

I arrived at camp just short of 600km for the day, as it was Sunday the camp site was quiet with no one around. Eventually a care taker came by and helped me sort out the accomodation. The lapa's looked inviting but I opted to camp for the night. Couple of Castles and a quick swim in the pool I felt much better. Had a nice braai and setup camp for the night. Was very quiet with no other campers or riding buddies around. Watched the sun set and listen to the sounds of nature. This beat any day at work that is for sure ! Unfortunetly the level on the dipstick did not even register  :-\ I decided to turn in early and went to sleep around 8pm. The next day would take me to Van Zyls.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8665_zpsdvghbjjy.jpg)

Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 11:54:17 am
Another camp pic for good measure  8)
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 11:54:39 am
Ok day 2 would take me to Van Zyls Rus, this would be new roads for me as last time we only went to Bray. The day before I spent adding oil and I was now out of supply. Plus on the dry sump motors you need to do a rain dance before checking oil level as well. As XT owners would know you need a babies arm just to get to the filler plug and then you need a small funnel otherwise half the oil runs down the side of your frame, wiring harness and radiator. I did not have a funnel ..... I stopped at the filling station in Bray to fill up and try and buy some extra oil. As I was running fully synthetic bike oil I knew my chances would be slim to get something simular so imagine my surprise when the guy came out behind the shelf with the excact same oil I was using ! This would certainly be a good day. I know had spare oil and new roads to explore.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8667_zpseivgeh2g.jpg)

I would take the road up north on the border.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/Bray%20to%20Vostershoop_zpswceiw3bt.jpg)

The last bit of road leading to Bray is a bit sandy so I imagined heading west would become more sandy but it turns out it was good gravel, what I would imagine those dirt highways in Namibia will be like. The scenery was nice and I saw plenty of game next to the road especially on the Botswana side. Springboks, Oryx and Giraffe to name a few. Was quite something to see an Oryx in it's natural habitat.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8675_zpskkfygisy.jpg)

Iphone on maximum zoom  :P

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8678_zpssus800oc.jpg)

Vorstershoop I almost rode straight past, it was now midday I bought a colddrink and ponder my missing oil.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8680_zpsuwqnvz5c.jpg)

I had signal and googled XT low oil level, one thing that came up was that the older model Z's had a different crankcase breather catch tank that let some oil passs into the airbox. I knew I had the later design tank but low and behold the breather was full of oil. I opened the cap at the bottom of the drainage pipe and lots of oil run out of it. And this oil you could see spent some time in the motor not like the frame oil which was always looked brand new. It now seemed to me that whatever oil I added would gravity feed into the motor running of the dipstick creating too much pressure in the crankcase and pushing into the airbox via the breather. It seemed no oil was being pumped back into the frame though. I decided that I would rather have a closer look at the hotel later that evening instead of getting sand everywhere.

The track up north from Vostershoop was a nice one, at one point you turn right it looked like a farm road but I followed the GPS and it was indeed correct. Not deep sand just enough to be fun with nice scenery.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8683_zpsnpks3vfa.jpg)

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8681_zpsvfqphzrf.jpg)

I will check later on Google Earth can't recall the name but it was some pan or another. Eventually you get to a 3 way split that leads to Molopo game reserve, Vorstershoop I came from and Mcarthys Rest where I was heading too. This too was really good riding as it had some sand and even a little bit of rocky sections where it climbed out the valley.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8684_zps5xpspv0w.jpg)

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8686_zps0de0fpsp.jpg)

And I think this was the road to Alastairpan just after Mcarthys Rest. It is the Kuruman riverbed you cross.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8688_zpsnorxz2ch.jpg)

Pretty far west by now still green with some famous red dunes appearing

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8687_zpsyuk4dlij.jpg)

I was now at Van Zyls and would overnight at the hotel in town. Shower first then to the bar, man that cold beer was good.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 11:55:08 am
So day 3 I decided to get up early and see what is going on with the bike, I set the alarm for 5am as I had planned to head north do the Molopo 4 x 4 track then further west to Askham before tuning back and down towards Hotazel (which I heard afterwards is actually hot-as-hell). Well 5am it was still dark so I snoozed a bit more and eventually at 6am I went out with tools in hand. Airbox had oil in but the filter was still ok not blocked. I then removed the oil feed going from the motor back to the frame and started the bike, well bugger all. No oil circulating. It is as I thought either the pump feed is blocked or the pump failed. Thing is I have been riding the bike like this in a previous Marico trip and now for 1000km allready. I did decide however to that I would not make it to Askham, what a bummer as it was the furthest point I was hoping to get to. The motor actually sounded ok considering it was only getting oil from the camchain I would guess ? I could leave the bike there and try and get back to GP someway else but decided I have made it this far I will just try and ride it back gently.

So off I went towards Hotazel then tar all the way back to GP, going to be a long stretch ! Well after about 40km I was bored allready and saw a nice looking dirt road heading in between some koppies, it was the Tswala nature reserve road. I did not have this section on my GPS but did have some waypoints in that direction and was hoping it would lead back to Hotazel. Went through a gate and spoke to some rangers, they did not seems convinced that this would be the best best to get back to Hotazel and my GPS showed no tracks here. They said it would lead to Deben but the only Deben I know was by the sea. I decided to continue for a bit and have a look from  on top of the hill, not sure what I was hoping to see  :biggrin: Man what a fun road, after mostly open flat stretches before this little road zig zagged through the koppies and had some fun rocky sections. Not knowing where I was going I decided that I'm pushing my luck know and eventually decided to turn back to the tar and do this road another day.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8695_zpshu0nlhlc.jpg)

At Hotazel's OK Bazaar I did find a funnel eventually and I was now scavenging the oil from the airbox every 50km and putting it back into the frame. It was tedious but worked. I decided to keep to my original route which had me taking dirt from Hotazel to Vryburg.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8698_zpsm5eendkz.jpg)

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8700_zpsq3hesign.jpg)

This was my basic oil scavenging setup, water bottle to catch oil from the breather and funnel to chuck it back into the frame.

(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/mordies/IMG_8702_zpsmgoxzayx.jpg)

Well I rode the XT all the way back to GP and I arrived home at 23:30 that night but I made it, will now investigate and see what has caused the oil problem. I could not find a single incident of XT oil pump failure so I'm betting on a blockage somewhere. So XT owners rest assured even if your oil pump stops working the bike will still run, must be one hell of a tough motor  :o

Thanks for reading
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 11:57:07 am
The oil pump inspected at home, gears installed wrong way round not meshing. Mystery to this day but we know now XT's are moerofa strong running for 1000's of km's with little oil flow  :o
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:00:32 pm
Badplaas Mpumalanga February 2019

Was high time to do a ride again however 2-3 day trips are a rarity due to work and family so I decided to go see a place that I have never visited before but the catch being I only had 1 day. So I prepped Saturday and early Sunday morning I was off at 6am. I knew it was a push so decided to take the dreaded tar up to Middelburg to save some time. From there the N35 until the dirt started. Lots of rain the last couple of months so everything was green and dust minimal, perfect for riding. First stop somewhere between the R542 and the N11, ones mood quickly changes once the dreaded tar is left behind. From here I headed north east, the whole area covered generously with water and power stations ! The views were starting to get better and better with dirt roads as far as the eye can see.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:01:37 pm
I was heading to Badplaas then back via Chrissiesmeer, places I have never visited before. I was using a basic app called Maprika over which I just overlaid a route I imported from Gmail. This worked really well. The basic map is pre loaded so you use no data to scroll around and the phones GPS shows you exactly where you are. Now I just need a good phone mount. The further I went into Mpumalanga the more scenic it got. First rolling hills then mountains started to appear. This track was getting better and better. In the distance I could see it snaking through the mountain, to my right a small river running through the valley. At one of the bridges I decided it's time for a break, a 2nd breakfast so to speak. It's never a bad time to have some droewors and watch nature in it's green splendour. I saw some swallows diving scooping up some water from the stream no doubt getting ready for the trek to the Northern Hemisphere soon.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:03:29 pm
After a 30min rest I was off soon crossing another bridge before heading towards a place I have read about on the forum a long time ago, the Hamlet of Bonnefoi. On my way there another farm building of a bygone era. Bonnefoi certainly sounded interesting however I did not have it marked on my phone and almost rode straight past luckily I got a glimpse of the buildings to my right after a t junction turn off. Time for some exploring. Most buildings it seems dates from the late 1800's to early 1900's. The post office is closest to the road with the main house some way in between the trees, there was a locked gate so I could not get close to the house. I always try to imagine what the atmosphere must have been like back in the day, the post office it seems is built out of sand stone with cast iron pillars supporting the roof on the stoep. Inside not much left except for a small round table attached to a supporting beam. Some more info here

http://www.everard-group.com/page3.htm

The house garden still had some flowers in bloom most likely survivors from the original garden, colour in a sea of green.

Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:04:48 pm
More
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:05:50 pm
From here I dropped into the valley heading south. I followed a track heading east through some plantation roads then heading up for some very nice vistas at the top. The weather could not have been better. From the plateau the road split left towards Badplaas right towards Chrissiesmeer. I would ride the same pass twice coming back, it was only about 32km in length so worth going through to Badplaas. I had no real plan for going there only to fill up fuel and get a bite to eat. Riding the pass towards Badplaas I saw some of the biggest Kudu's I have ever seen, never knew they liked hanging round the forestry plantations. Slowed the pace a bit imagining one jumping out in front of me ! Badplaas well I made it,  also it has a new name eManzana which explains why the heck I saw very few signs for it. The town itself quite small and well known for the hot springs.

The spring became very popular when gold was discovered in the De Kaap Valley (near Barberton). Prospectors would visit there on weekends to get away from their strenuous work of digging for gold. On 6 November 1893, the government claimed the springs to develop a health resort for public use in perpetuity.[3] It was proclaimed in December 1947.[3] The Protea Group managed this Aventura Resort for a time, but the resort has now been purchased by the Forever Resorts Group.[4]
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:06:52 pm
The Mpumalanga like most of us knows it with rolling green hills in every direction, beautiful and so good to be out and about on the bike on new roads. Keeping an eye on the clock it was now 12:30 and I knew it would take another 6 hours to get home. Bit of a rush but I was off again up the pass past Kudu Mecca towards my next stop Chrissiesmeer. The whole area is a natural wetland with about 270 lakes in total. It was not too long before the first lake came into view. I left the mountains behind and were now back on the plains again. Chrissiesmeer a small town with a NG Church and yellow clivias / Afrikaner flowers in it's garden. Does not get more SA than that for just about any rural town. One or two little shops in town where people put in some effort to make it look good and do some business while the majority of folk hang around in the street blink gedrink, quite sad.
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Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:07:51 pm
More at Chrissiesmeer
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:08:40 pm
From Chrissiesmeer it was a fast straight road along a massive lake towards my next turnoff which would take me back west. The last couple of good tracks before I would once again hook up on the dreaded tar towards Pretoria. I stopped at the house on 700km for the day exactly. Good day out and managed to see some new places, but really need more time to take it in. Thanks for reading.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:11:22 pm
Badplaas again January 2020

*This one was semi solo as Neo_Za joined me but he opted not to do the muddy roads so most of the trip I was on my own*

Last weekend Neo and myself headed east to do a 700km loop. Unfortunately the weather was not ideal on Saturday morning but Sunday was bliss. Just after 8 we left Pta and headed east, we were riding in a light drizzle just enough to make it unpleasant as I did not have waterproof pants. Wet boots and underpants are no fun  :o The first bit of dirt close to Hendriena and Neo the wise took one look at the slippery mess and decided to hightail it on the tar towards the closest town for some well deserved lunch. Notice the idiot deciding to stick to the route and ride the mud  >:D So a plan was made to meet up at the overnight stop Rooihoogte Guest Cottage off the R38 in the Sappi green belt. If anyone needs a stopover here I highly recommend it

http://rooihoogtecottage.co.za/

The rest of the day I would stick to the dirt and the first 50km  or so was scary, super slippery and easy to get it sideways. I could only manage very low speeds which meant it turned out to be a long day in the saddle but as the day went on the sun came out and the track apart from some patches became very enjoyable. The last 50 - 60km through the mountains were perfect, no dust at all.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:12:07 pm
As I headed further east I found more and more rolling hills with green valleys, the rain was now gone and the bike was eating up the track ahead. Life is good ! In the second picture I was working my way up the mountain side with the Nooitgedacht dam in the distance. This was a really fun bit as the dirt road followed the escarpment with some great views to be had.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:12:55 pm
The abandoned hamlet of Bonnefoi, I have been here once before and it is a lekker little stop to rest a bit, some info on google on the place.

It is only then that you find out that this was a town, a town called Bonnefoi and was in its day a missionary church, a post office, a hotel, auction yards, postal horse stables and a giant mansion of a house now silent and brooding with the remnants of an English garden and strangely enough, an antique car still standing in the garage. Then the story comes out, it is a place of romance, a place of determination and the grand home of an art family that made their mark on South Africaís art history.

I decided to push on as I did not want to get to the overnight spot too late. I will never get tired of the smell of a pine plantations, closer to Rooihoogte I rode through some scenic spots stopping here and there for a photo. We ordered some braai packs for the night and by now was getting lekker hungry, the end of day 1 was close  :ricky:
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:13:44 pm
Nou gaan ons braai, ok so small and basic but what more can one ask after a day in the saddle. Neo arrived much earlier already and went to Badplaas to buy some provisions. He had no close calls sticking to the tar  :biggrin: Meanwhile myself and the bike was dirty as heck but it was worth it, I had a great days ride. Neo is an avid bird watcher and he attempted to spot a Piet My Vrou in a massive pine tree nearby but the little feathered creature knew one or two things about camouflage. The weather looked promising for the next day as the stars were out.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:14:41 pm
Day 2 the weather was just perfect, the sun was out and not too hot. The tracks were dry now as we made our way over a mountain pass which would eventually lead towards the wetlands of Chrissiesmeer for a late breakfast. Home to more than 270 lakes in a 20km radius area.  The roads were quiet being a Sunday and we did not see any other soul on them.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:15:33 pm
Now time for a gripe, sometimes I don't know what people are thinking when they do a mod. After buying the bike I noticed it was a moerse mission to get it onto the centre stand I installed only to realize lowering links were fitted, now nothing wrong with that as the 660Z is a tall bike. But these lowering links took it to the extreme, so long in fact that I bottomed the bike out twice where the back wheel made contact on the seat tray over two average ruts ! Right above the tray sits the CDI and various other electronics, I could see this happened before as well as there is a small crack in the plastic  :( Needless to say the links needs to go, if you want a lower bike the XT660R will be a better bet.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:16:32 pm
Then Chrissiesmeer for breakfast, last time I went through here it was late on a Sunday and everything was closed but now we caught he Billiard Room open. Omelettes were good and we learned a bit of history of the town, it was occupied in the late 1800's by the British soldiers who had the building as you see it today shipped to Chrissiesmeer from England via Cape Town and then on an Ox cart  :o
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:18:12 pm
More information at hand, it seems the main reason for the town was to be a stopover on the way To Barberton / Moz and Durban. Many of the houses in the main street still dates from the early 1900's. Neo pointed to the one picture of British Troops marching off to battle. "Imagine that was your lot, kill or be killed". Suddenly having to brave a slippery muddy road seemed quite mundane  :P
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:19:19 pm
A quick ride around the town before we left and headed west following the dirt road next to the Chrissiesmeer dam. After the dam a shot right on a path leading between some farms to rejoin the tar section N17. From here it was basically Breyton then onto Middelburg and the N4 again. Nothing to exiting to report here but certainly the dirt roads around Buffelspruit / Badplaas made it all worth while  :ricky: No issues whatsoever on any of the bikes just a nice enjoyable trip. Neo Za thanks for coming along, untill next time  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:21:37 pm
Central Freestate March 2020 pre lockdown

I have never ridden the Free State much, normally one just passes through the well known areas like Golden Gate and Memel to get somewhere else. On my last work trip to Bfn I marked interesting service roads leading off the N1 and set about using Google Earth to plot a route to link them all and I must say I had a fantastic weekend of riding. Almost endless dirt with many more to explore at a later date. It's Covid 19 everywhere you turn with no telling how long we need to stay at home so I knew it was now or never. My route started in Kroonstad, getting there I had to ride from Pretoria via Parys adding a significant distance to the trip and bringing the total to 1070km for the weekend. Maar n Yamaha is nie bang nie, never touched a tool for the whole weekend not even a puncture for which I'm very thankful for. Some scenic roads and a bit of history, lets go.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:23:00 pm
I have done the Parys route about 3 times before and have never seen so much Cosmos around and the veld nice and green another good reason to do the trip now before the winter browns appear. Just after the Baragwanath air field road I pass four other dual sport riders checking out some tracks next to the mountain. It's a nice sunny day and little dust around, I'm making good progress but only left home at 7 and have no idea how long the route will take me. Only thing worse then serious muddy roads are those dried up ones with huge ruts you have to dodge. It can make a journey take a lot longer. Luckily whatever rain there was previously only removed the dust and I can make some good time. My overnight stop will either be camping at Aldam or a B&B at the small town of Winburg. I have not decided yet and made no booking, we will see how the wind blows.

Parys still has a lot of people stopping by for the day, Corona thankfully has not reached it yet ! I fuel up get something to drink and ten head for Kroonstad. This first part does not have a lot of dirt so that I can get to Kroonstad where the route starts with some time in hand. Kroonstad surprises with it's architecture. Lots of nice sandstone buildings abound with lots of history, I take a couple of quick photos. In front of the NG Church Sarel Cilliers is depicted delivering the Blood River Vow, the town it's said is named after his horse who drowned in the river nearby.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:24:10 pm
I navigate from the N1 onto the R34 and then from there take a left onto dirt. I miss the service road turnoff but backtrack quickly. Ah yes this is more like it, lekker quiet back roads with quite a lot of shrub around this is sure to change as I head further south. After a couple of km's a notice a tall fence to my left and the next thing I spot a moerse lion ! Bit further I see some warning signs, seems to be a breeding farm for lions as I spot about 8 or so in an enclosure. I try to take some pictures but they are too far away. They are very aware of my presence and look on intently. When the bike starts one runs for cover. Beautiful animals, I hope they don't end up being shot. The track runs into a low lying area almost marsh like with plenty of water around. I stop for a quick break.Plenty of water bird species around, where is Neo_za now my bird watching friend !

The GPS says I must turn right but the service road sign says straight on, I double check on my phones app as well and I'm on the right path. I follow a nice little sandy twee spoor heading east. No fences or gates just some very enjoyable riding where I eventually rejoin the S1162. Just across from the S181 service road there is a railway crossing at Holfontein after which I turn right heading down into a very scenic tree lined perfect dirt road. The leaves are turning yellow, autumn is creeping up on us but it makes for perfect riding weather. Free State where have you been all these years  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:25:29 pm
The route now turns south west and I ride through a valley heading towards Henneman, just before the town I take a left onto the R70 for a short stretch before getting back on the dirt. The ensuing 40 odd km's is just bliss. it will eventually end up at the N1 on one of the waypoints I marked. Just shows you what could lay hidden just off the dreaded N1 ! The track comes off a mountain into a lush valley then turns into a  twee spoor before crossing the Sand Rivier. Roads hugging moutains always makes for nice riding. I make it up to the N1 and watch the suckers doing 140 km/h racing off to Jhb or wherever.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:26:17 pm
I was now approaching Aldam, one of the options to stay over night. They have a stand but being school holidays at R540 ! Heck travelling alone I cant share the stands cost so seems a bit steep for one person for one night, there is a B&B in Winburg with a family room avaliable for R370. I have never been good at math but the latter makes rands and sense. Also looking at some clouds forming who knows having a roof might be a better choice  :biggrin: I don't mind camping actually prefer it sometimes just makes you feel even more like you are on a bike trip.

From Aldam I take the S463 for a 23km dead straight heading to Winburg. See those mountains in the background, well the road starts even beyond that. The thumper is turning 4000rpm, it likes those revolutions. I look in the mirror and a reassuring dust tail streaks out from behind me. Winburg and a well deserved cool drink here I come.
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Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:29:24 pm
Winburg sits just off the N1 most people will only know it for the informal settlement which you see from the road but just on the other side of the hill is the little town itself. I approach it from the eastern side. There are only two paved roads. It's a typical small town which time has forgot but I made this my stop as I have seen photos and read up on the impressive church in the center of town. I settle into the Danke Schon guesthouse. Brunhilde and her husband runs the accommodation. Well priced and neat all that is needed. I meet a family that's driving up from George and would continue all the way to Kruger, I briefly think about telling them that lions can be seen just outside Kroonstad which will significantly shorten their trip but decide to not be a smart ass  :lol8: I ride into town but everything except the OK is closed. I manage to get a couple of snacks, no beer after a hard days ride. When I get back to the guesthouse the Georgians are having a braai and enjoying some Castle Lite but I stay strong and enjoy my Coke  ::)

Late in the afternoon I decide to go for a walk about taking some pictures. Some houses are quaint others have been poorly neglected and quite a lot of them are for sale. They must surely all date from the early 1900's. The town is the oldest proclaimed in the Free State although I have seen this being disputed with Philippolis being older. There is no doubt just like many other small towns that things have definitely taken a turn for the worst. I cant imagine how the most people make a living here, social grants ? If only this little town can become a Parys or Dullstroom. It has the potential for sure but not likely to ever happen  :(
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:30:30 pm
By far the most beautiful building in town is the NG Church, construction started in 1899 it is an imposing sandstone building. The bell tower's roof is made completely of stone and not slate or tiles like one normally sees. Lots of detail on the stone work which as I understand is quite difficult to achieve with sandstone as it's hard on tools. I wonder how many people still attend services on a Sunday, must be a much smaller congregation than years past. Really wanted to go and have a look inside but the gates were all closed and only open on Sundays.

I spot a place marker on my maps "Concentration Camp", 10 minutes away and I start walking. I arrive at the grave site, it's eerily quiet like a place everyone has forgotten about. Both British and Boer's were buried here. Some dates predate the war. The place is unkempt and overgrown, what a sad site for those who gave their lives. I read the names and places of birth on the head stones - Holland, Scotland and Ireland to name of few. Would these people have known that one day they will come to rest in a small forgotten little town thousands of miles from their place of birth. Did they have a better life compared to the places they left, would they have made the same choices ?
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:30:51 pm
At 11pm I awoke to a thunderstorm and heavy rain. Thank goodness I did not opt to camp, my poor boney was outside though but never fear it wont let me down. I rolled over and went back to sleep. Tomorrow is another day to explore.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:32:04 pm
Day 2

After the previous nights rain I was worried what the rest of the day will hold. We had 40mm plus so quite a bit of rain. Looking at the GPS it was clear that day 2 would be quite a bit longer than the first. I did not feel like battling mud the whole day especially on my own, I decided to do the first dirt bit and if things looked dodgy I would revert to taking the tarred back roads home. So I left early fueled up and got on my way. Well the dirt was just perfect, seems this area has lots more hard pack gravel (gruis) then mud and it was a joy to ride. It was a bit overcast but no dust and good grip. Glad I decided to check the dirt roads first. The scenery now definitely changed to wide open grasslands.

The route would take me about 40km south of Winburg then turn back and run in a north west region heading up to Erfenisdam. In about 100km of riding I saw one farmer and his 3 dogs !
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:32:43 pm
I follow the S474 for 81km towards Verkeerdevlei. The track snakes into a valley and I cross a small river with autumn leaves appearing on the bank. I decide to stop here for elevenses and break out some droewors and some other snacks. Looking around complete tranquility, only the birds near the water going about their daily routine. This is a big part of why I ride a DS bike, to get to places like this where you can just be and relax. I spend a good 30mins there before heading off, I really wish I had another day to stretch out this ride.

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower - Albert Camus
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:34:14 pm
The route now took me north again slowly working my way home, their was soft drizzle but not enough to make one wet or uncomfortable and the roads were still in good shape. I had plenty of fuel so skipped heading into Theunissen and instead hugged the Vetrivier. The proximity of the river made the valley nice and green. Out of the blue I saw an old ox wagon on the side of the road with a sign. I turned around to investigate. It seems this was the old "highway" for ox wagons that lead to Bloemfontein. Looking back up the hill one could still see some clearings showing that it certainly was used at some point. It seems back in 1938 an re enactment of the Groot Trek also took place from Cape Town to Pretoria. I'm not sure if this was a wagon that made the journey but it certainly seems to date from that time or even earlier.

Vetrivier was also where a battle that took place on the 4-5th May 1900. I took a picture of the positions of both Boer and Brit. There is also a memorial with names of those who died at this battle. In fact this whole area is quite rich in history from the late to early 1900's. Interesting none of these places are marked on maps or even Google Earth images that I searched for when plotting the route. One crosses many small bridges with streams running into the Vetrivier. Each little drif had a family of Vervet Monkeys chilling in the road until they heard the XT then they high tailed it into the nearest tree at lightning speed !
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 12:35:36 pm
I'm now closing in on the section that links to Virginia and that will complete my loop. I also find a bit of mud but nothing hectic. The thumper chugs up the snotty little hill without any issue.  I enjoy my last couple of km's on dirt before the dreaded tar arrives. If I had one more day I'm sure one could link some more dirt roads all the way to Parys but with having to do over 1000km in two days it's just not possible. I spot an old bridge to my right spanning the river but something is wrong, yikes it' s leaning over to the side ! I see an overgrown path and decide to follow it for a closer look. Yip definitely on it's last legs. The bridge looks just like many other I have seen around the country built by the British so I'm sure it must be close to a 100 years old. Normally there are markings and names on the steel beams (normally Sheffield) but I cant see anything from where I stand and I do not feel like walking on this skew bridge to take a closer look ! I wonder how long the bridge can still support itself before falling into the valley below ? Piece of history that will be gone forever. Again I searched on Google for any information on this bridge but came up empty handed. The Google Earth image shows it nicely from above.

It is now just after 2pm and I follow the tar that will take me to Welkom - Odendaalsrus and then onto Parys again and home from there. I think back to my short trip and am very glad I decided to do it. As was expected we are going into a lockdown and who knows when we can ride again. I saw some neat places and rode some great roads.

Thanks for reading
Support the small towns
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 01:40:46 pm
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Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 01:43:05 pm
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Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 01:43:35 pm
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Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 03, 2020, 02:02:24 pm
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Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: ROOI on June 04, 2020, 06:47:19 am
Nice
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: Aprilian on June 04, 2020, 07:56:18 am
Lots to read - routes I am unfamiliar with but great new possibilities. Thanks!

Sent from my ANE-LX1 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on June 14, 2020, 01:22:28 pm
Cold today but got to ride a little bit of dirt  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on June 14, 2020, 04:18:14 pm
Always a pleasure to read about your travels. So much history so close to home, one just needs curiosity and some determination, thanks for sharing.
Title: Koro Koro the long way round
Post by: sidetrack on August 30, 2020, 12:29:00 pm
Heading north

I was to meet up with Saddle Up but he could not get away early on Friday so I decided on taking some back roads to Koro Koro to meet up with him later. Outside of town I found the first dirt tracks.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on August 30, 2020, 12:33:12 pm
Route took me through Dinokeng, I did not see any wildlife though. Then the good stuff started by Bonjanala. Proper dirt tracks far away from city life
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on August 30, 2020, 12:45:44 pm
Saddle Up could only meet me at camp late Friday afternoon so I hastliy cobbled together a route for the day, could not get a cradle for my GPS Thursday so had to navigate old tracks with a GPS I had to pull out of my pocket every now and then. Not ideal if you are following bush tracks that run all over the show. Soon enough I was lost but I could care less. This is the way to spend a Friday, lost in the bush
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on August 30, 2020, 12:50:13 pm
By this time I was about 5km off route, I spotted a track that may join up with the planned route, should I take it ? Hell yes, lets try !
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on August 30, 2020, 01:05:50 pm
I run into a fence with the correct track just on the other side, oh well it was a lot of fun doing the 20 odd km just to be stopped short. I back track and at 15:30 decide I should check just excactly where this camp side is. Luckily itís only 25km away with some more dirt I can take. I stop at a road side shop. The dude on the left asks me for R5. I say ok let me just get a Coke, I give him 5 bucks as I walk out. After double checking my GPS and finishing my Coke I walk back in to dispose of the bottle, the same guy asks me for R10  :biggrin: Anyway I can taste the beer at the  Lodge, short run on the Vogelstruispan road and I should be close
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on August 30, 2020, 01:42:35 pm
Just after 4 I arrived at camp and setup tent. Then a B line to get an ice cold beer
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: DUSTRIDERS on August 30, 2020, 02:42:54 pm
Progressive General Dealer!!!! Wa kom die mense aan die name?!!! :o :o
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on August 30, 2020, 05:11:25 pm
Koro Koro Lodge was a great place to camp, everything you could need. I was soaking in the bushveld sunset when Saddle Up and his son arrived, they had to take tar straight from home. We told some bike stories and had a nice braai. The next day we would ride a 250km dirt loop ending back at camp.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: Wolzak on August 30, 2020, 05:54:56 pm
Very cool RR, thanks for sharing. :thumleft:
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: Clockwork Orange on September 02, 2020, 09:31:36 am
Awesome trip and RR :thumleft:
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on September 02, 2020, 10:34:23 am
Awesome trip and RR :thumleft:
Thanks  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on October 25, 2020, 06:26:28 pm
Limpopo and a bit of Mpumalanga

With the end of year rush approaching fast I decided to do a quick weekend ride. Limpopo it would be, the region south of Polokwane.  and do some tracks from years ago and try a couple of new ones. Each day would be about 350km, not bad that wont take long ..... I managed to leave work earlier and got on the road just before 1pm. Followed the tracks east towards Groblersdal, my first (and turns out only) night of camping would be at Arabie Dam. Just before Groblersdal I ran into a bit of rain but it was actually quite pleasant as it was a hot day. The Jacarandas signaled that it can only be October. Quick refuel at Groblersdal and I joined some two track just outside the village of Uitvlugt crossing the most dry Puleng river. Typical tribal land roads, bit sandy in places but fun to ride and tracks all over the show. It was now almost 4pm but I reckon there would be enough time to reach Arabie around 5pm and setup camp.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on October 25, 2020, 06:37:31 pm
I arrived at Matlala Camp just after 5 and quickly booked a camping site and went looking for a good spot. There were a couple of people camping and fishing but fairly quiet. Made a fire and sat down enjoying the sunset. Tomorrow we will be following the Olifants river and ride a pass or two.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on October 25, 2020, 07:04:09 pm
I got going fairly early, weather predicted to be in the 30's so tried to cover some distance before things really hotted up. I crossed the Olifants and joined a dirt track near Elandskraal which followed close to the river, the first part was ok but then it became a bit overgrown and soon I was off track and had to bash through some shrubs to try and find an easier route. I was also a milometer away from loosing balance and diving into a thorn bush but luckily kept it upright.  I lost a lot of time here and eventually ran into a fence as well. I found a guy herding donkeys of all things and asked him if there was a gate nearby. He showed me another small track and said just go that way there is a nice road there without trees. Well I followed his directions but no luck just more dead ends so I ended up making my way back to a village I could see in the distance. Eventually I made it back to a main dirt road and could follow that to the next section of my route.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on October 25, 2020, 07:19:20 pm
I now left the two track behind for the most part and got into some riverbed type trails. At least this was much easier to navigate. I rounded one corner and found a donkey cart coming the other way. We both got bit of a fright, the last thing they expected to see out here I would guess. From here I would go to the old English steel bridge and make my way to the right bank of the Olifants
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: skydiver on October 25, 2020, 08:24:39 pm
Very nice pics.
Looking forward to the rest.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on October 25, 2020, 09:27:39 pm
Crossing the old bridge I would now keep the river on my left. From the village of Apel I followed a track taking me towards Malogeng. Really enjoyed this bit, it was nice and scenic with the river on the left and mountainous to the right. Lots of tree cover helped with the heat as well. I stopped and had lunch consisting of a can of Mackerel, dry wors and some jelly babies  :lol8:. The trail was about 15km in length and I saw no people at all.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on October 25, 2020, 09:32:27 pm
Was tempted cooling off in the river !
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: Xpat on October 25, 2020, 09:37:57 pm
Where is that old bridge? Missed that one. But I believe it is better to stay up north of the river as there aren't any farms just open bush with tracks, while I can clearly see farms south of the river.

I followed the river on the north side all the way to Nkotokwane - a village across the river from where that track between Apel and Malogeng hits mountains, crossed the river in the village where cars cross (no bridge) and then hit that track to Malogeng. Half way through that track my battery died (as I have habbit of using kill switch too often and not switching off the key - well not anymore) and had to walk to that dam where I had to find somebody with car and jumper cables. I found car, not jumper cables, but they took be back to the bike, which by that time (about 7 pm) healed itselft and I rode it out in the dark.

BTW Malogeng is where the Little Kaokoland route starts - heading south east, I'm curious to see if you managed any of that.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: Xpat on October 25, 2020, 09:57:42 pm
OK, found the bridge - it was way further south, I hit the river further north where R579 crosses the river on another bridge. If you are keen I can send you tracks for that section - it might be better than the one you did, as it is deeper into tribal land with minimum private property, unlike more south where farms are all over.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on October 25, 2020, 10:12:39 pm
OK, found the bridge - it was way further south, I hit the river further north where R579 crosses the river on another bridge. If you are keen I can send you tracks for that section - it might be better than the one you did, as it is deeper into tribal land with minimum private property, unlike more south where farms are all over.
Please send the tracks although I must say on the heavy bike solo I tried to limit to interesting but not too difficult riding that is why someday I would like a lighter 690 or the like. If only it came with a 660 motor  :biggrin: By the bridge one can stay next to the river like you said, did that with Dirtwarp but on much lighter bikes.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on October 25, 2020, 10:39:34 pm
The last third of the river track opens up into a bigger dirt road as it heads north towards Dal-Josaphat but it's fantastic riding on the heavy bike with the track snaking through the valley crossing dry riverbeds and nice klip koppies to explore. From here I headed towards the R37 to take me east, the small villages dotted next to the tar sections all have small spaza shops and I must have stopped by almost all of them to stock up on my water supply. Unfortunately they also have a gazillion speed bumps and goats making progress painfully slow. After a while I could not take it anymore and went fully Africa mode, passing cars and bakkies by any means possible !
Filling up a local who certainly did not consume on site came walking up to me with zero social distancing first asking for a job and then failing that for some money. Gave him R10 to cut short the conversation and he was happen as can be. From here I headed to Djata, eventually the route would lead me to the Steelpoort Mountain track which looked interesting on Google Earth at least but never knew about it. First though I had to ride Sidetrack Pass (registered trade mark, all rights reserved), I have done it before on a DRZ and a previous XTZ but each time going west to east downhill, well this time I went up and I guess no maintenance took place in the last 5 years because it was in pretty bad condition. Even my XT's fan came one, it has never come on before, in fact I had my doubts it even worked as per my post in technical section. But now I know it takes a rocky climb and 35 degree weather to activate that sucker. Start of the pass is in the last picture. It's a fun ride and nice views from the top.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: Mother on October 26, 2020, 07:25:59 am
nice....
ur riding reminds me of the days we used to ride in Penge and cross the Olifants go up and camp via the Orrie Baragwanath Pass ..........memories on my Suzuki DR 650

never did it solo back then tho......

thanks for sharing :thumleft:
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: Tman21 on October 26, 2020, 07:58:32 am
Nog 'n Lekker plek om te roof kyk :laughing4: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: roxenz on October 26, 2020, 09:45:23 am
...
From here I headed to Djata, eventually the route would lead me to the Steelpoort Mountain track which looked interesting on Google Earth at least but never knew about it. First though I had to ride Sidetrack Pass (registered trade mark, all rights reserved) ...

I'd like to know where these are, @sidetrack  - some 10 years ago my team of geologists made some drilling roads on the Leolo Mtns. Went from the R37 side all the way to the top of the Leolo Mtns, where it connected with the minor dirt roads which connect the mountain top communities with the Jane Furse tar road. Beautiful countryside, top of the mountain almost alpine flora (and loads of dagga plantations). The one road was from Garatau up the mountain and the other from Eerste Geluk. Not sure if these roads are still traversable.

Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: Clockwork Orange on October 26, 2020, 11:50:52 am
Awesome :thumleft:
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on October 26, 2020, 01:10:01 pm
The pass winds through the valley below then makes a right and gains elevation quickly, it was quite rocky most likely made worse by vehicles trying this route then ending up wheel spinning for most of the way to the top. Couple of rocks had visible marks from making contact with some poor guys under carriage. I stopped to take a picture of the valley below and had some wheel spin to get going again but not too much drama, the XT likes to chug up in first gear. The track can be seen in the one picture from where I came (eastern side). Once at the top I searched for the start of the Steelpoort Mountain track, I hoped it would be a gravel road or twee spoor but alas it was a pretty narrow rocky path roughly following close to some pylons. I decided to see how it goes but after about 1km I quickly realized I would not only run out of time but I would be stupid riding this alone and with only 1.5L of water on me. No cell reception either. On the GPS I reckoned it was around 50km in length, 31km as the crow flies. Looking back I'm really glad I turned around. Xpat confirmed that at the other end of the track it got even worse and very tough going. On a KTM 500 or such this would be a fun ride. As always the camera does not do it justice but on the heavy bike it would have been hard work. I now had a conundrum, the track would have taken me to the R555 to join up on a piece of the TSAT I wanted to try but it was quite late by now. My only option was to backtrack down Sidetrack Pass then back to the R37 or taking into account the time I had left I headed west down the mountain and joined the tar to take R555 and pick up a shortcut towards my next stop at Tonteldoos.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on October 26, 2020, 01:18:55 pm
...
From here I headed to Djata, eventually the route would lead me to the Steelpoort Mountain track which looked interesting on Google Earth at least but never knew about it. First though I had to ride Sidetrack Pass (registered trade mark, all rights reserved) ...

I'd like to know where these are, @sidetrack  - some 10 years ago my team of geologists made some drilling roads on the Leolo Mtns. Went from the R37 side all the way to the top of the Leolo Mtns, where it connected with the minor dirt roads which connect the mountain top communities with the Jane Furse tar road. Beautiful countryside, top of the mountain almost alpine flora (and loads of dagga plantations). The one road was from Garatau up the mountain and the other from Eerste Geluk. Not sure if these roads are still traversable.
Hi the two way points and basic idea of the route
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on October 26, 2020, 01:22:12 pm
Where is that old bridge? Missed that one. But I believe it is better to stay up north of the river as there aren't any farms just open bush with tracks, while I can clearly see farms south of the river.

I followed the river on the north side all the way to Nkotokwane - a village across the river from where that track between Apel and Malogeng hits mountains, crossed the river in the village where cars cross (no bridge) and then hit that track to Malogeng. Half way through that track my battery died (as I have habbit of using kill switch too often and not switching off the key - well not anymore) and had to walk to that dam where I had to find somebody with car and jumper cables. I found car, not jumper cables, but they took be back to the bike, which by that time (about 7 pm) healed itselft and I rode it out in the dark.

BTW Malogeng is where the Little Kaokoland route starts - heading south east, I'm curious to see if you managed any of that.
Little Kaokoland sounds great but if I look for Malogeng it seems I bypassed it by taking the R37 to make up some time  :-\
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: Xpat on October 26, 2020, 02:29:17 pm
Where is that old bridge? Missed that one. But I believe it is better to stay up north of the river as there aren't any farms just open bush with tracks, while I can clearly see farms south of the river.

I followed the river on the north side all the way to Nkotokwane - a village across the river from where that track between Apel and Malogeng hits mountains, crossed the river in the village where cars cross (no bridge) and then hit that track to Malogeng. Half way through that track my battery died (as I have habbit of using kill switch too often and not switching off the key - well not anymore) and had to walk to that dam where I had to find somebody with car and jumper cables. I found car, not jumper cables, but they took be back to the bike, which by that time (about 7 pm) healed itselft and I rode it out in the dark.

BTW Malogeng is where the Little Kaokoland route starts - heading south east, I'm curious to see if you managed any of that.
Little Kaokoland sounds great but if I look for Malogeng it seems I bypassed it by taking the R37 to make up some time  :-\

Yes you did. I refer as Little Kaokoland to the part of that range north of the humbly named Sidetrack pass - and at the north it ends at Malogeng village.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on October 26, 2020, 03:31:35 pm
Where is that old bridge? Missed that one. But I believe it is better to stay up north of the river as there aren't any farms just open bush with tracks, while I can clearly see farms south of the river.

I followed the river on the north side all the way to Nkotokwane - a village across the river from where that track between Apel and Malogeng hits mountains, crossed the river in the village where cars cross (no bridge) and then hit that track to Malogeng. Half way through that track my battery died (as I have habbit of using kill switch too often and not switching off the key - well not anymore) and had to walk to that dam where I had to find somebody with car and jumper cables. I found car, not jumper cables, but they took be back to the bike, which by that time (about 7 pm) healed itselft and I rode it out in the dark.

BTW Malogeng is where the Little Kaokoland route starts - heading south east, I'm curious to see if you managed any of that.
Little Kaokoland sounds great but if I look for Malogeng it seems I bypassed it by taking the R37 to make up some time  :-\

Yes you did. I refer as Little Kaokoland to the part of that range north of the humbly named Sidetrack pass - and at the north it ends at Malogeng village.
D4220 sounds a bit boring  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: roxenz on October 26, 2020, 03:33:12 pm
@sidetrack - The road you have named as "sidetrack pass" is known to the locals as the Djate (or Tsjate) road (not Djata - that's a typo). It goes past the old Sekukune battleground where the locals gave Paul Kruger and his burgers a snotklap.

I see you have found one of the roads we made ("Eerste Geluk to Moshate" below). From Moshate there is a road along the top of the mountain, that takes you to the Hoepakrants community (rough outline attached below "Moshate to Hoepakrants"). Rough road, but very scenic. Can be very chilly in winter.

We made a road from Garatau ("Garatau (up Leolo Mtn)") from the Garatau community to the top of the mountain at Hoepakrantz. The Garatau community is settled around the Maandagshoek hospital and school, which is a mission settlement that was run by Hans Merensky's farther (Arthur), who was an amateur geographer who drew some of the earliest maps of the eastern Tvl highlands. No coincidence that Hans Merensky discovered our famous platinum deposits only a short distance away at Driekop.

We made another road (De Kom road), which heads north from Hoepakrantz towards Djate. Our road did not go al the way down to the Djate road, but the locals used a footpath to get to Djate. Perhaps that may be navigable with a light plastic.

cheers,
Andre.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: Xpat on October 26, 2020, 03:41:46 pm
@sidetrack - The road you have named as "sidetrack pass" is known to the locals as the Djate (or Tsjate) road (not Djata - that's a typo). It goes past the old Sekukune battleground where the locals gave Paul Kruger and his burgers a snotklap.

I see you have found one of the roads we made ("Eerste Geluk to Moshate" below). From Moshate there is a road along the top of the mountain, that takes you to the Hoepakrants community (rough outline attached below "Moshate to Hoepakrants"). Rough road, but very scenic. Can be very chilly in winter.

We made a road from Garatau ("Garatau (up Leolo Mtn)") from the Garatau community to the top of the mountain at Hoepakrantz. The Garatau community is settled around the Maandagshoek hospital and school, which is a mission settlement that was run by Hans Merensky's farther (Arthur), who was an amateur geographer who drew some of the earliest maps of the eastern Tvl highlands. No coincidence that Hans Merensky discovered our famous platinum deposits only a short distance away at Driekop.

We made another road (De Kom road), which heads north from Hoepakrantz towards Djate. Our road did not go al the way down to the Djate road, but the locals used a footpath to get to Djate. Perhaps that may be navigable with a light plastic.

cheers,
Andre.

I have done most of that last week and the week before (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=250700.120 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=250700.120)) - at least the bits doable on big bike. One cannot get to the Djate pass from the south - there is actually track heading in that direction, but requires plastic, will be back on 500 to finish it.

But most of the south section is perfect dirt highway, except for the southern-most loop to Steelpoort, which is completely washed out (pictures in that link earlier).

North of the Djate pass is much more manageable (lower) even on big bikes and provides plenty of riding opportunities for people who really like to ride - not the tourist bunch tough.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on October 26, 2020, 04:02:17 pm
@sidetrack - The road you have named as "sidetrack pass" is known to the locals as the Djate (or Tsjate) road (not Djata - that's a typo). It goes past the old Sekukune battleground where the locals gave Paul Kruger and his burgers a snotklap.

I see you have found one of the roads we made ("Eerste Geluk to Moshate" below). From Moshate there is a road along the top of the mountain, that takes you to the Hoepakrants community (rough outline attached below "Moshate to Hoepakrants"). Rough road, but very scenic. Can be very chilly in winter.

We made a road from Garatau ("Garatau (up Leolo Mtn)") from the Garatau community to the top of the mountain at Hoepakrantz. The Garatau community is settled around the Maandagshoek hospital and school, which is a mission settlement that was run by Hans Merensky's farther (Arthur), who was an amateur geographer who drew some of the earliest maps of the eastern Tvl highlands. No coincidence that Hans Merensky discovered our famous platinum deposits only a short distance away at Driekop.

We made another road (De Kom road), which heads north from Hoepakrantz towards Djate. Our road did not go al the way down to the Djate road, but the locals used a footpath to get to Djate. Perhaps that may be navigable with a light plastic.

cheers,
Andre.
Thanks that is good info  :thumleft: I actually saw the photo of the King / Chief's statue at the beginning of the pass whilst still in the village on Google Earth but did not stop there. It seems the locals are a bit peeved that the road is so bad nobody can visit the monument site.

https://sekhukhunetimes.co.za/2020/10/05/shocking-d4220-road-continue-to-be-on-the-spotlight/
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on October 26, 2020, 04:04:46 pm
@sidetrack - The road you have named as "sidetrack pass" is known to the locals as the Djate (or Tsjate) road (not Djata - that's a typo). It goes past the old Sekukune battleground where the locals gave Paul Kruger and his burgers a snotklap.

I see you have found one of the roads we made ("Eerste Geluk to Moshate" below). From Moshate there is a road along the top of the mountain, that takes you to the Hoepakrants community (rough outline attached below "Moshate to Hoepakrants"). Rough road, but very scenic. Can be very chilly in winter.

We made a road from Garatau ("Garatau (up Leolo Mtn)") from the Garatau community to the top of the mountain at Hoepakrantz. The Garatau community is settled around the Maandagshoek hospital and school, which is a mission settlement that was run by Hans Merensky's farther (Arthur), who was an amateur geographer who drew some of the earliest maps of the eastern Tvl highlands. No coincidence that Hans Merensky discovered our famous platinum deposits only a short distance away at Driekop.

We made another road (De Kom road), which heads north from Hoepakrantz towards Djate. Our road did not go al the way down to the Djate road, but the locals used a footpath to get to Djate. Perhaps that may be navigable with a light plastic.

cheers,
Andre.
Should send this road (Djate) to @Trygve Roberts , pretty sure it has not been reviewed or listed yet ?
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on October 26, 2020, 05:23:39 pm
After reaching the R555 it was much too late to still finish my route and I headed west passing the De Hoop Dam and taking tar till the Highside Tavern / Tonteldoos turnoff. I initially wanted to camp there somewhere but after finishing my burger I decided to rather head home, I managed to do the remaining dirt whilst I still had some daylight left. I had to do 500km plus on Saturday so was a bit paste but glad I could ride some very nice tracks in LP. I reckon next time I will try and get to the Burgersfort / Steelpoort areas asap and then explore from there. Unless you have plenty of time the breakout rides from GP is just like any other weekends ride. I don't think I will be able to ride soon as work is now quite hectic up untill Christmas and the XT needs a bit of TLC now, front tyre is done, needs front brake pads and I noticed one fork seal starting to leak a bit. Oh well all worth it, thanks for reading.
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: Trygve Roberts on October 27, 2020, 03:48:14 pm
@sidetrack - The road you have named as "sidetrack pass" is known to the locals as the Djate (or Tsjate) road (not Djata - that's a typo). It goes past the old Sekukune battleground where the locals gave Paul Kruger and his burgers a snotklap.

I see you have found one of the roads we made ("Eerste Geluk to Moshate" below). From Moshate there is a road along the top of the mountain, that takes you to the Hoepakrants community (rough outline attached below "Moshate to Hoepakrants"). Rough road, but very scenic. Can be very chilly in winter.

We made a road from Garatau ("Garatau (up Leolo Mtn)") from the Garatau community to the top of the mountain at Hoepakrantz. The Garatau community is settled around the Maandagshoek hospital and school, which is a mission settlement that was run by Hans Merensky's farther (Arthur), who was an amateur geographer who drew some of the earliest maps of the eastern Tvl highlands. No coincidence that Hans Merensky discovered our famous platinum deposits only a short distance away at Driekop.

We made another road (De Kom road), which heads north from Hoepakrantz towards Djate. Our road did not go al the way down to the Djate road, but the locals used a footpath to get to Djate. Perhaps that may be navigable with a light plastic.

cheers,
Andre.
Should send this road (Djate) to @Trygve Roberts , pretty sure it has not been reviewed or listed yet ?

We do not have this road listed yet, but would love to have all the details available. Please send the following to us per email:
1. GPS coordinates in decimal degrees of the start, end and summit points.
2. As full a description as possible of the technical parts of the pass.
3. Any good quality HD video footage
4. History
5. Points of interest in the area.
6. Which places the road connects.
7. Public Road or private road?

info@MountainPassesSouthAfrica.co.za
Mobile: 0836588888
Title: Re: Solo for the soul
Post by: sidetrack on October 27, 2020, 06:05:42 pm
@sidetrack - The road you have named as "sidetrack pass" is known to the locals as the Djate (or Tsjate) road (not Djata - that's a typo). It goes past the old Sekukune battleground where the locals gave Paul Kruger and his burgers a snotklap.

I see you have found one of the roads we made ("Eerste Geluk to Moshate" below). From Moshate there is a road along the top of the mountain, that takes you to the Hoepakrants community (rough outline attached below "Moshate to Hoepakrants"). Rough road, but very scenic. Can be very chilly in winter.

We made a road from Garatau ("Garatau (up Leolo Mtn)") from the Garatau community to the top of the mountain at Hoepakrantz. The Garatau community is settled around the Maandagshoek hospital and school, which is a mission settlement that was run by Hans Merensky's farther (Arthur), who was an amateur geographer who drew some of the earliest maps of the eastern Tvl highlands. No coincidence that Hans Merensky discovered our famous platinum deposits only a short distance away at Driekop.

We made another road (De Kom road), which heads north from Hoepakrantz towards Djate. Our road did not go al the way down to the Djate road, but the locals used a footpath to get to Djate. Perhaps that may be navigable with a light plastic.

cheers,
Andre.
Should send this road (Djate) to @Trygve Roberts , pretty sure it has not been reviewed or listed yet ?

We do not have this road listed yet, but would love to have all the details available. Please send the following to us per email:
1. GPS coordinates in decimal degrees of the start, end and summit points.
2. As full a description as possible of the technical parts of the pass.
3. Any good quality HD video footage
4. History
5. Points of interest in the area.
6. Which places the road connects.
7. Public Road or private road?

info@MountainPassesSouthAfrica.co.za
Mobile: 0836588888
Details sent
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: sidetrack on March 24, 2021, 10:57:38 am
So the past long weekend Saddle Up and son joined on a 3 day trip of the Bushveld. Pretoria - Warmbaths - Thabazimbi - Cumberland (ZA Bots border) - Vaalwater - Pretoria

Somewhere near Loubad, the rain was chasing us the whole day and managed to catch up to us during the camp near Thabazimbi

Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: sidetrack on March 24, 2021, 10:59:06 am
We stayed at Roussouw 4 x 4 a great spot just outside of Thabazimbi tucked into the mountains with great views all round. The bushveld was lush and green. The track up the mountain and some views from the top.
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: sidetrack on March 24, 2021, 10:59:52 am
The camp site, warm showers by way of a donkey
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: sidetrack on March 24, 2021, 11:01:52 am
The next morning we left the mountains behind and headed north, the mountainous region quickly gave way to open sandy roads as we headed north towards the Limpopo river. We were told the track we followed did not allow access to the River  itself but we made a plan at Cumberland thanks to the SAPS.
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: sidetrack on March 24, 2021, 11:09:10 am
Crossing the Crocodile River near the SANDF base Rooibokkraal
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: sidetrack on March 24, 2021, 11:12:21 am
On the way to Cumberland, the SAPS station opened the gate for us which allowed us to ride a track right up to the river. From here we would head east then turn back down and ride towards Vaalwater via Steenbokpan where we had a well deserved beer and burger. Just outside of Vaalwater we hit one hell of a thunderstorm. Drenched we made it to Vaalwater and from there home the next morning. Around 1000km round trip.
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: DUSTRIDERS on March 24, 2021, 03:39:04 pm
Love your trips!! :thumleft: :drif:
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: Aprilian on March 24, 2021, 06:00:08 pm
Looks like a super trip! Reminds me that I have a lot more exploring to do locally.

Sent from my SM-A315F using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: Elkanah on September 02, 2021, 01:45:03 pm
 :sip:
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: sidetrack on September 03, 2021, 08:35:32 pm
XT and me got some plans, lets see where the dirt road leads us  8)
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: LouisXander on September 05, 2021, 07:42:33 pm
Lucky fish
Title: Namaqua Flowers
Post by: sidetrack on September 14, 2021, 09:09:43 am
Namaqua Flowers

My Tenere did not accompany me here but I took my dad to go and look at the famous Namaqua flowers. The N14 through the West Transvaal and Northern Cape is quite barren and dry this time of year, we made for Upington for an overnight stop. Between Kuruman and Upington some mountains started to appear. In Keimoes it was clear just what an impact water has as the Orange gave life to vineyards and other farmlands.
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: sidetrack on September 14, 2021, 09:28:26 am
Saw plenty of those bird nests along the way. Then in Kakamas it was time to do some wine tasting  :biggrin: We bought some bottles that was good on the palate, being from Pretoria we decided on a Brandy as well.
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: DUSTRIDERS on September 14, 2021, 10:12:17 am
being from Pretoria we decided on a Brandy as well.

Sub!! :thumleft:
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: sidetrack on September 14, 2021, 01:14:14 pm
Between Kakamas en Springbok was quite an experience, I think we have all heard about the 8 year drought but it really hits home when you drive for about 100km and it really looks like a desert. I can only imagine how tough it must be for farmers in that area. Past Pella, Aggenys we went untill about 20km's before Springbok the veld became greener and then the first flowers started to appear.
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: sidetrack on September 14, 2021, 02:03:48 pm
Bought some food and other necessities like braaiwood at Springbok then it was off to Kamieskroon, not far to go. Well sort off, at the metropolis of Kamies it was another 25km or dirt including Kamiesberg Pass (I think) to get to out accommodation of Pedroskloof Guest Farm. Both days ended up being a full days drive, we were looking forward to get some rest and a lekker braai. On the way we found a beautiful clearing full of flowers close to Taaiboschkraal.
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: Psycho Porra on September 14, 2021, 02:07:25 pm
Looks like a lekker trip. You were probably wishing you had your bike there


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: sidetrack on September 14, 2021, 02:17:05 pm
Pedroskloof lies in a beautiful valley and we arrived just after 4pm and settled in. No TV or cell reception here, damn never let the folks back home we arrived when in Kamieskroon. One need to drive abouty 20km back and get to the top of Kamies Pass to get reception, luckily the owner has a Sat phone connection and they were kind enough to let me call home. Now it was time to just sit back and relax. Some other guests with Stellenbosch plates also arrived and made their way to the front garden with a coupIe of wine bottles in hand, I removed the seal from the Merlot .... hmmm cork little bit more refined than my screw tops.... shit no opener oh well we opened the Brandy. Net so lekker  :lol8: Even started reading a book that evening ! The next day it was off to Hondeklipbaai via some very nice dirt roads, where was my bike !
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: sidetrack on September 14, 2021, 02:20:19 pm
Sunset over the farm
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: sidetrack on September 14, 2021, 02:21:16 pm
Looks like a lekker trip. You were probably wishing you had your bike there


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Every damn kilometre I bounced around in the Hilux  :imaposer:
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: sidetrack on September 14, 2021, 02:37:40 pm
Next day (have I mentioned we had great weather all through the trip) on top of Kamies Pass looking down towards the town. Short stint on the N7 towards Garies we took a dirt turnoff towards Hondeklipbaai and travelled the Grootvlei Pass. Along the way my dad inspected Gansogies, Gousblom, Madeliefie's and I don't know what else. Not very good at identifying flowers, much better at bikes. Dad was in his element. The track stretched out before us heading towards the coast.
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: Ri on September 14, 2021, 07:40:30 pm
Kamieskroon is beautiful.

That is a very sweet photo of your dad peering at a flower :biggrin:
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: sidetrack on September 15, 2021, 08:16:42 am
We eventually made it to Hondeklipbaai. I was here in 2007 or 8 I think when we did a West Coast trip. It was good to see the ocean as it was another lovely day. We had fish and chips and went to look at the Aristea shipwreck. Unfortunately the sign with the all the info on it is long gone, not sure if it was stolen or the elements got to it. From here we would head back via the Koeingnaas road and it would later turn into a memorable trip inland indeed.
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: sidetrack on September 15, 2021, 08:42:33 am
As we headed inland the route took us through the Sandveld which was part of the Namaqua National Park. This was quite an unique area. In a way I must say it's not attractive, small ground hugging shrubs growing in the vast open spaces. In about 40km from Hondeklipbaai the only life we saw was one tortoise but at the same time there is something different about his area, I have never seen anything like it and I'm sure talking to people in the know they can explain just what makes it special. Then once we crossed the Sandveld we started climbing out of the vlaktes and headed up Wildeperdehoek se Pas, now this was a real treat. Right at the top one had a great sweeping view of the valley we crossed below and I'm told on a good day you can see all the way back to the ocean some 45km away.  Off course  the photos does not do it justice but one can see the two routes below stretching into the horizon. Vast open spaces, fantastic! Dad got out his binoculars and had a good look. Not toofar away another famous road awaited us, the Messelpad.
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: sidetrack on September 15, 2021, 09:34:09 am
Messelpad Pass links with Wildeperde and a big thank you to @DUSTRIDERS  Chris who gave me tips on places to see and drive to on our trip. One of which was the Fletcher barracks in the Buffels river valley which you pass whilst on the Messelpad. It was built in 1860's for the workers who worked on the construction of the pass. Way down below it's easy to miss. There is a track leading down to it and I'm sure the bakkie could have done it but here and there it is washed away and some big rocks so I decided to park at the top and walk down to the ruins. Temp displayed was 37 degrees in the valley and I tell you I was panting like crazy on the way back up again. Finished my bottle of water quickly. Seeing the site was like walking onto a Spaghetti Western set  :biggrin: Must have been tough living and working in this valley. I'm not sure where they got water from as the river is dry, maybe there was a well or further along the valley we did see traces of water. I really enjoyed this section.

"Messelpad is a historical gravel road built between 1867 and 1869. It is a long road, almost 17 kmís, and probably best suited to 4WD vehicles because of the corrugation, washouts and potholes however, if using a non 4WD vehicle you must at least make sure it has good ground clearance. and

The Pass is exceptionally beautiful to drive due to its dramatic scenery with towering sandstone cliffs and the almost always dry bed of the Buffels River accompanying you most of the way. In Springtime, the wildflowers are sensational, and the locals regard the Pass as one of the best places to see flowers during the season.

Messelpad was built due to the Copper boom, it took six days to transport from Okiep to Hondeklip Bay, and the Pass was built as a result. Its name, when translated from Afrikaans means ďmasonry roadĒ, named so after the stone embankments that form the support for the road and built under the supervision of engineer Patrick Fletcher.

The Pass is approximately 32 kmís from Springbok, just beyond the Luiskraal Farm, where the road then follows and crosses over to the other side of the Buffels River before joining the Wildeperdehoek Pass."
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: DUSTRIDERS on September 15, 2021, 01:04:15 pm
 Fletcher barracks

I did not know they were called that, thanks for the other info regarding it too. Cool spot to have a house not so cool to be living whilst building a road!!
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: sidetrack on September 17, 2021, 10:33:31 am
The next day we headed to Garies, nice little town and the local shop was booming with all the flower watchers dropping by. Every visitor wanted to know the best routes to take. I bought some supplies at the local OK, loaded the cooler box and off we went. Just out of town we turned off on the gravel close to Groenrivier. This was a great road. We saw some Verreaux's eagle (Witkruisarend) by pure luck, just stopped a t a randon spot and looked at the cliffs with the binoculars only to notice a white cross painted on the cliff side and low and behold saw an eagle flying around the mountain top ! Must be a breeding site although not marked at the road. This route would take us to Langkloof past Bloedsmaak farm and onto Leliefontein. It was a fantastic scenic drive, oh Tenere where art thou !
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: sidetrack on September 17, 2021, 10:43:05 am
The Langkloof a scenic valley with a lot more water and greenery than most of the other parts of this area. Chris warned me about all the gates and he was right, the Langkloof road had a lot to open but we had all the time in the world so no real problem. The first picture is a steep climb past Bloedsmaak farm which one can see on the right. Beautiful part of the country this. There was even a small waterfall next to the road. After Langkloof we headed towards Karas which is where four farms converged.
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: sidetrack on September 17, 2021, 10:48:46 am
Karas had lots of flowers in fact I think if you are on a tight schedue this area would be a good bet to see flowers every year. The valley looks nice and fertile and I'm sure it has more water than most of the other places. Just be prepared to open the gates  :lol8: We stopped at Leliefontein and then headed back towards Pedroskloof passing the quiver tree "forest". The next day we would head home. All in all a great and memorable trip. What a great way to spend a week away from the hustle and bustle. Thanks for reading.
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: DUSTRIDERS on September 17, 2021, 11:12:19 am
Karas.

A special place for me and would not mind having a house there.
The farmers move end of May to warmer areas/farms and come back end Sept beginning Oct because Karas gets too cold and nothing grows there in winter. Once summer comes it blooms if it had rained during the winter.

Thanks for posting spacial time spent with your dad, I think you'll be booked for next year again!! :thumleft: ;)
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: sidetrack on September 17, 2021, 11:39:44 am
Karas.

A special place for me and would not mind having a house there.
The farmers move end of May to warmer areas/farms and come back end Sept beginning Oct because Karas gets too cold and nothing grows there in winter. Once summer comes it blooms if it had rained during the winter.

Thanks for posting spacial time spent with your dad, I think you'll be booked for next year again!! :thumleft: ;)
Thanks Chris was a great trip
Title: Re: Sidetracking
Post by: Ri on September 18, 2021, 02:43:20 pm
Enjoyable read and thanks for the effort and the beautiful photo's :thumleft: