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Author Topic: Seven Provinces, one December holiday  (Read 329 times)

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Offline hansolo

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Seven Provinces, one December holiday
« on: January 11, 2012, 12:24:06 pm »
I had a few weeks off in December and decided it might be a good idea to do a nice long bike trip down to Cape Town via the Karoo and Baviaanskloof. My friends Jaco (Username: Rampies) and Nico was travelling down with me for a part of the trip on their KLR’s. Jaco and I did most of the trip together and we parted ways with Nico in Ladybrand as he was going to Lesotho. Here is a quick overview of the 6000 km I travelled with my XT660Z Tenere this December:
15 December – Ellisras to Louis-Trichardt (Limpopo)

Before leaving on holiday, I decided to go spend a few days at my parents in Timbadola (close to Louis-Trichardt and Levubu). Nothing spectacular and just tar road, the picture below was taken just before Mokopane.
18 December – Louis-Trichardt to Centurion (Gauteng)

I travelled to Centurion to meet up with Jaco and Nico as our trip would start the early the next day.

19 December – Centurion to Senekal (Free State)

We set off from Jaco’s place and met up with Nico in Heidelberg.  We hit our first stretch of gravel road just after Heidelberg and quickly stopped in Heilbron to fix Nico’s number plate as it was vibrating loose. We headed out of town and some gravel roads followed towards Senekal. About 15 km before Senekal Jaco noticed he had a puncture on the KLR. We replaced the tube but the bead on the tire was damaged and it wouldn’t stay on the rim. Nico and I then set off to Senekal to find a replacement tire and left Jaco by the side of the road.
No motorbike tire could be found in Senekal and we had to go to Bethlehem to get Jaco a new tire with his rim strapped onto the Tenere. We returned a few hours later and with weather closing in headed to Senekal for our first overnight stop together.
 The camping site in Senekal was not in use anymore and we weren’t keen on spending a lot of cash to stay in a B&B. As a last resort, we decided to go ask some locals at a pub what our options were. With our luck the first place we went to was the local bikers club headquarters and was now run by the local butcher (Mr Butch Strydom if I remember correctly). He is also a biker and said we could camp on their grass after they close up for the night. A few beers later he said we were welcome to  sleep at his house and we were very grateful for the hospitality.

20 December – Senekal to Cradock (Eastern Cape)

We set off on the way to Marquard and Ladybrand via some nice gravel roads. The scenery in the Eastern Freestate is amazing and we should have taken more pictures.  After a quick breakfast in Ladybrand we parted ways with Nico and continued on our way. Many more kilometres of tar and gravel followed as we ran into some serious weather just before Bethulie. Even though we had put on our rain gear, we were quite wet when we arrived in Bethulie and the soup at BikePackers was just the thing we needed. This place is well worth a visit, super cheap (R10 for a big bowl of soup and bread, R7 for a plunger of filter coffee!) and the owners are very pleasant. With the owner’s advice we avoided the wet gravel roads in the area and continued on to our overnight spot of Cradock.

21 December – Cradock to Patensie

We set off and took the Swaerhoek Pass road (R337) to Somerset East for breakfast. This road was amazing and the scenery is crazy.
From Somerset East we took the R335 which lead us to Zuurberg Pass. Zuurberg Pass was in a bad condition and it took us quite long (and a lost number plate) to get to Addo and eventually Uitenhage. After a quick number plate replacement for the KLR in Uitenhage we pushed on to Kondomo campsite in the Baviaans close to Patensie.
22 December – Patensie to Stormsrivier Village

We set off after paying our dues for permits/camping. There was a lot of water crossings and fellow bikers in the Baviaans we pushed on to Uniondale for lunch after an amazing morning on the bikes. We parted ways in Prince Alfred’s Pass as Jaco was travelling to Kleinbaai via Knysna and I was travelling to Stormsrivier Village via Plettenberg Bay. My uncle has an old XT250 and the picture shows how much things have changed on motorbikes.
26 December – Stormsrivier Village to George (Western Cape)

I set off after Christmas with the family to George via Bloukrans Pass, Natures Valley and the N2. The road was quite busy as were to be expected and I regret not taking the Seven Passes from Knysna to George.

27 December – George to Kleinbaai

I set off from George to Kleinbaai and chose probably the least direct route to do it in. Montagu Pass was followed by the Perdepoort road to Oudshoorn and then Route 62 to Ladismith. After Garcia’s Pass, some rain and lunch in Riversdale I ran into some friends doing a scooter trip from Stellenbosch to Port Alfred at Heidelberg. I felt over equipped and dressed as they were travelling with 100 cc scooters, sneakers and hoodies but comforted myself in the fact that I was doing a lot more mileage than them (on their way back, one of their scooters broke and they subsequently had to be “rescued” from Uitenhage by another friend and his bakkie). At Buffeljagsrivier I took the road to Malgas where I crossed the Breede River on the barge. Some nice gravel roads followed to Bredasdorp, Elim and eventually Kleinbaai (close to Gansbaai) where I rejoined Jaco.
1 January – Kleinbaai to Britstown (Northern Cape)

We set off early on first of January for a very long day in the saddle. We rode through Bredasdorp and had a quick breakfast in Swellendam before taking Tradouws Pass to Ladismith and Route 62. From Ladismith we rode to Oudshoorn and Beaufort West via Meiringspoort. We took the N12 to avoid the major holiday traffic and eventually arrived at a camping spot 20 km North of Britstown. This was by far the longest day on the bikes and we dreaded the fact that the next day was going to be similar.

2 January – Britstown to Centurion (Northwest)

We set off early and pushed through to Kimberley for breakfast. From Kimberley we swopped bikes for a bit and the “old” KLR is a lot different than the new generation Tenere. We stopped for some sightseeing/lunch in Potchefstroom and eventually arrived back in Centurion. These long days of tar can really be boring and we missed those days where we did more gravel and fewer kilometres per day.

3 January – Centurion to Ellisras

I set off to Ellisras and the road home went quick. The roadworks between Nylstroom and Vaalwater provided a last bit of gravel to enjoy before the work year was starting the next day. The trip ended quickly and I’m really looking forward to the next one…..


Offline hansolo

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Re: Seven Provinces, one December holiday
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2012, 12:33:38 pm »
Sorry, I should have resized those pictures a bit more.

Offline jimjim

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Re: Seven Provinces, one December holiday
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2012, 02:16:48 pm »
Big trip! Perfect trip  :thumleft:
Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.  - W. C. Fields