Wild Dog Adventure Riding

Riding: Plan, Report and Racing => Ride Reports => Topic started by: tok-tokkie on November 25, 2009, 10:34:09 pm

Title: Burchell's Route & other stuff.
Post by: tok-tokkie on November 25, 2009, 10:34:09 pm
Day 1    Green Point to George via Gysmanshoek Pass and Attakwaskloof     553 km

I was invited by Trailrider to do the Burchell’s route in the Southern Cape.  This is a report on that trip plus getting there and back.  I used my little TW200 but did over 500km on three days & they were not simply tar road slogs.

Setting off from home.  The little yellow box is for my camera.

Going towards Franschhoek I passed this gorgeous old Moto Guzzi.  I particularly like Moto Guzzis.  This was a single cylinder with big outside flywheel, something like this 1956 500cc Falcone but I think there was also a 350cc Guzzi.


Over the pass then came to this:

I then stuffed up my camera.  I believe I pressed the on button while putting it back in the yellow waterproof box.  The lens could not extend & some circuit board has been damaged.  So I have no other photos to show for the day.  Actually there was a huge rainstorm between me & George but I chose to cross into the Little Karoo through Gysmanshoek and use the lovely Attakwas route to get to George – just by luck as I did not know about the rain.

Gysmans I have ridden a few times before and I like it as it goes through nice countryside – though it is a simple little pass.  This picture is from an earlier trip.

I have also been through Attakwas a few times but it is another place I really like.  Another photo from an earlier trip.


I was a bit late arriving at Trailrider's place.  Supper and bed there.  Very many thanks Johan & Elizia.

Title: Re: Burchell's Route & other stuff.
Post by: tok-tokkie on November 25, 2009, 10:36:53 pm
Day 2     To Burchell's Route at de Vlught.   171 km. 

Next day we went to do the Burchill route.  I had no camera so will just give you the link to TR’s report.


Two photos lifted from TR’s report.

Day 3 & 4
 This is also reported in TR’s report.  Rain came so we could not complete what TR had planned.  I went to Plettenburg Bay.  An old female friend (as against girl friend) now lives there; I had a date to meet her for lunch on Monday.  I took the opportunity to buy another camera and ride around the local area.  I have seldom been to Plett, but when I originally visited here there was no electricity and very few houses at all.
Title: Re: Burchell's Route & other stuff.
Post by: tok-tokkie on November 25, 2009, 10:39:37 pm
Day 6       Plett to De Rust  via Natures Valley,  Bloukrans & Baviaanskloof .      502 km

Nature’s Valley was closed for repairs to the bridge but I wanted to have a look at it anyway.

I was bright & early so had a look to see if I could sneak past but they had a security guard there.  I said to him that I would have tried to get across if he was not there; he said no problem I will give you a hand. 

We put a plank across to the formwork at the end of the bridge in the photo & walked the bike up it under power.

View downstream from the bridge. Reflections on the Coca Cola river water.  Our river water is special – would it make good whiskey I wonder.

It is a lovely road down & up the other side.


It seems to still be a relatively unspoiled place – like Plett was before electricity came there.

Bloukrans was also closed but I went to have a look at it also.  In fact about half the width of the road has slipped away in quite a few places but there is still plenty of space for a bike or car to use the pass and about 5 cars came through while I went the opposite way – it is a bypass for the toll road.

Also pretty much like the Nature’s Valley pass.  The old bridge.

The toll road.  This bridge is rather different to the old one.

Then I went across to Kareedouw on the R62.  The main road to Patensie then goes via Humansdorp but I cut onto gravel roads towards those hills but joined the main R322 to get through to Patensie where I filled up and bought some beer.


This is the route I followed.  Very pretty countryside on the way to Patensie.

I have been through Baviaans a few times before but it remains a special place to me. 


The obligatory Smitskraal watercrossing photos.



And the passes.

Here is the river.

As I got out of Baviaans I came across a group of houses like this.  I am interested in vernacular architecture (houses that people build for themselves).  No doubt buildings like this are familiar to many of you from the Highveld, Lowveld & Kwazulu but they are unusual in the Cape.  In Europe such buildings are called wattle and daub (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wattle_and_daub).  I will make a separate post about them some day.

As you leave Baviaans there is this lovely red hillside before Nuwekloof Pass

There are many fields of onions in seed on the way to De Rust.  I know much of it is for China.  The Chinese want pure onion seed that has no cross pollination.

A Victorian ‘Ostrich Feather Palace’.  The cast iron was selected from a catalogue and ordered from Scotland.  Some of the ‘Palaces’ were complete kit houses that were sent out from Britain.

Had a beer at Herrie se Plek (Biker Friendly) and spent the night at the adjoining Olivier’s Rust self catering although I had supper at Herrie’s also.  Look for the purple elephant.
Title: Re: Burchell's Route & other stuff.
Post by: tok-tokkie on November 25, 2009, 10:41:53 pm
Day 7     De Rust to Green Point via Anysberg & Hex River pass        551km

I wanted to ride along the foot of the Swartberg and through the Anysberg .  Views like this give me great pleasure.

Having taken up Adventure biking it has got me to these wonderful places – Swartberg in this case.

In particular I wanted to ride the little gravel road from Kruisrivier to Calitzdorp.  This is the Koos Raubenheimer dam


I have seen a slide show of Gamkaskloof (Die Hel) from before the road was built when the community still lived & farmed there.  This is similar – small fields and meadows because they used horse drawn ploughs (and hand ploughs also).  Gamkaskloof has been allowed to revert to thorn bush wilderness and the social history has been obliterated unless you stay at the farm which is still privately owned & worked right at the end of the valley furthest from the pass.  That was a very special community but the press made out that they were a crowd of imbeciles as the consequence of interbreeding and the place was also called Die Hel – in fact it was a wonderful environment before the road with a community of God fearing hard working salt of the earth types. A great social violence was inflicted by the popular press in the 60s by what they wrote about that community.

A little house like they had in Gamkaskloof with the Swartberg behind and a small field in front.  Very reminiscent of the old Gamkaskloof photos I was shown.

The road is very attractive with the Swartberg all along the side. I am very pleased to have chosen to ride this route.

A gabled farmhouse along the way, Groenkloof.  That is quite a late style gable and I suspect it is a fairly new building.  That steeply pitched corrugated iron roof is typical of thatched roof – often when they are converted to corrugated the pitch is lessened.  However I still think it is a recent building where they have given it a correctly pitched roof.  Alternatively the simple old building has had a gable added to make it look more imposing.  Any way a Cape Dutch gabled building does look good in this setting & the correctly pitched roof helps.
Title: Re: Burchell's Route & other stuff.
Post by: tok-tokkie on November 25, 2009, 10:45:01 pm

I saw different tortoises.  This may be the endangered  Angulate Tortoise, Chersina angulata  (http://www.arkive.org/angulate-tortoise/chersina-angulata/info.html)

I am very surprised that I can’t find a list of tortoises with pictures through Google.  It transpires there are more different tortoises in South Africa than any other country.  Is this a padloper?

The previous day I had seen this much bigger fellow in Baviaans.  The shell is distinctly folded outwards/upwards at the front legs.  I don’t know who he is.

Calitzdorp dam.

This is Towerkop near Ladismith.  About the first real rock climbing ever done in South Africa was by a local here.

Dominating the town of Ladismith on Route 62 in the Karoo is the distinctive cleft dome of Towerkop, a peak full of character, legends and history. The story goes that the peak was slashed by a witch. In a hurry to fly home, the peak loomed before her and in a rage she thwacked it with her broomstick splitting it in two.
2197m, twice as high as Table Mountain, Towerkop is one of few peaks in the world that can only be summitted with the aid of climbing gear. Gustav Nefdt, who grew up within sight of Towerkop, was first to climb the peak. On a bright October night in 1901, 21year-old Gustav and five of his friends were sleeping on the ledge below the summit. Nefdt woke early with Towerkop emerging from its morning mist. He snuck out of camp, traversed to the opposite side of the peak, removed his boots and in stockinged feet, with superhuman strength and nerve, climbed to the summit without a rope. Elated with his success, he built a mound of stones under which he buried one of his socks.

Ladismith was not overjoyed at the news. In fact they didn’t believe him. Not even a lizard could scale the sheer face of the dome! They must have been turning in their graves at what we saw that weekend!

Nefdt was cross and gathered a party to prove what he had accomplished. Climbing the peak, he once again removed his boots and climbed the sheer face. He then lowered some string and towed up a rope, pulling up two of his friends who reached the top and recovered Nefdt’s sock.
He never climbed that route again but it became a challenge to other climber’s. Famous mountaineer GF Travers-Jackson made the third ascent in 1906 on a different route. In 1929 Frank Berrisford climbed what he thought was Nefdt’s route, but it proved to be yet another one. Two years later Bert Berrisford also tried, but it took 64 years for Nefdt’s original route to be led again.
*Source* (http://realtravel.com/e-238075-ladismith_entry-amazing_sight_while_hiking_on_towerkop)

After Ladismith the Swartberg starts to peter out & I headed up towards Anysberg.

This area is quite off the beaten track.

Anysberg is really low key – this is the entrance I used.

Nice quite area with this small track leading through it.  This is the treed bit close to the stream.

Some photos of the lovely veld.  Because sheep and goats are excluded the Karoo veld has been able to recover.

I am travelling west with the last bits of the Swartberg on my right.

Another view.  I only learned of Anysberg through Wild Dogs.  I love these secluded unspoiled places.  I am so pleased I took up adventure bike riding and found Wild Dogs which has introduced me to places such as this – no one I know otherwise has even heard of it. I have yet to visit the Karoo National Park, it is on my list of places to go.

Near the end of Anysberg.

Saw a few Gemsbok.  To me they are the most handsome of them all.

Lots of shades of blue mountains, actually the Hex River mountains.

Good track to ride.

Strangely you come out into a farm & when you exit that farm onto the public road there is this gate with  ‘No Entry’ on it –Droogedam of Mr Heyns.
Title: Re: Burchell's Route & other stuff.
Post by: tok-tokkie on November 25, 2009, 10:47:05 pm

Tracks4Africa had shown me a route down the Hex River mountains.  I know of the old rail line from the days before the tunnel (just on the Wiki list of longest tunnels) with a track alongside it which is not open to bikes but this is something else.

When I got to the farm entrance, Vredelust, there was a notice saying private property but I went to the farmhouse to ask permission to ride the route T4A was guiding me along.  Mr Hugo was away at the cherry orchards but a worker said the track was the old route to De Doorns and there are no locked gates on it.  I decided to give it a go.

This is at the top of the escarpment – not much of a track at all.

You can see there is still a bit of a track.

A bit further on I slipped into this sloot.

This is actually the start as the track winds its way down the escarpment – as always the photo hardly shows the gradient.  I decided it would be foolhardy to try & get down here by myself on the loaded TW.  I went back to the farmhouse and spoke to Mr Hugo (who was now back from the cherry orchard) and asked for forgiveness for trespassing.  I explained about Tracks4Africa leading me across his farm.

Rode home on the N1.
Title: Re: Burchell's Route & other stuff.
Post by: Aprilian on November 26, 2009, 12:01:59 am
3 cheers!!! Nice report and the new camera is clearly first class. 500 odd k's / day on a TW is equally impressive. Attakwa definately on my Dec/Jan list- can't wait!! :thumleft:
Title: Re: Burchell's Route & other stuff.
Post by: Plothond on November 26, 2009, 12:39:55 am
Thankyou - that was great

The Cape really has some wonderfull riding area's
btw - was Mr Hugo upset ?
Title: Re: Burchell's Route & other stuff.
Post by: serf on November 26, 2009, 04:06:16 am
Nice RR :thumleft:
Title: Re: Burchell's Route & other stuff.
Post by: Crossed-up on November 26, 2009, 07:22:36 am
Nice one TT.  I've looked at that road to De Doorns with longing several times.  Perhaps it would be better to tackle it from the west as it would be easier to turn back if it became impossible.
Title: Re: Burchell's Route & other stuff.
Post by: Watty on November 26, 2009, 01:42:41 pm
Title: Re: Burchell's Route & other stuff.
Post by: fat b on November 26, 2009, 03:24:22 pm
Nice RR ! The Karoo national park really is a magical place , my wife and I went there before all the upgrades to the roads etc and it was great , we had the whole park to ourselves ! Definatly worth the visit !
Title: Re: Burchell's Route & other stuff.
Post by: LouisXander on November 29, 2009, 04:06:24 pm
DIt was seker n belewenis!!!
Title: Re: Burchell's Route & other stuff.
Post by: Gee S on November 29, 2009, 06:58:00 pm
Very nice RR. Thanks.
Title: Re: Burchell's Route & other stuff.
Post by: Hermanator on November 29, 2009, 09:23:10 pm
fantastic, well done on a brilliant ride report. This is more of what the WD forum is about, thanks.
Title: Re: Burchell's Route & other stuff.
Post by: Tuareg on November 30, 2009, 03:36:38 pm
Awesome ride.....
Great RR, as well.....
That TW is a hybrid of note
Title: Re: Burchell's Route & other stuff.
Post by: blainec on November 30, 2009, 04:24:33 pm
Great RR , Thank you !
 I look at your TW and cannot help but think what the hell are we doing on these bigger bikes ? We are so intent on going faster and concentrating on not falling off that we often do not take the opportunity to slow the whole thing down and enjoy the off the beaten track places more. I think I am going to buy my wife a TW which will give me a good excuse to use it every now and then.
Title: Re: Burchell's Route & other stuff.
Post by: Ama ride ride on November 30, 2009, 05:00:26 pm
Nice RR......

Your RR's are always full of interesting information. Thanks :thumleft: