Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register

Author Topic: A hidden Gem - The "Other" Baviaans  (Read 4558 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Trailrider

  • Southern Cape
  • Bachelor Dog
  • *****
  • Bike: Honda TransAlp XL700V
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 11,238
  • Thanked: 2 times
  • "Africa Twin Lite"
    • Trailrider
A hidden Gem - The "Other" Baviaans
« on: February 01, 2012, 03:36:07 pm »
There are very few gravel roads around the greater Southern Cape that I have not been on yet. Discovering new places has become all but impossible. I find it a great pity, because the excitement and anticipation of exploring a new route forms a big part of the attraction and experience that is DS biking.

There were two roads though, just gravel loops in fact, that still needed exploring. The first loops from Uniondale Poort Pass to the Langkloof, a stretch of only 40km, but virgin road non the less.

The second loops out of the R62 "Langkloof road" and eventually returns to it, but this road meanders through the magnificent Kouga mountains and includes several passes. It hugs the Southern hangs of the mountain range that forms the Southern border of Baviaanskloof. It's all gravel and it runs through breathtaking scenery.


(Click on Map to enlarge)

To be honest I have ridden this loop once before. On our way back from our Moordenaarskloof trip LGF, Rooipoot, ChrisL and I took this detour but we had way too little time and rushed the ride. Back then I vowed to come back. This time round I'll be taking my time.

The plan was to take a leisurely ride from George/Knysna through the Knysna forest, over Prince Alfreds Pass and almost to Uniondale where we'd turn East on the first gravel route that will loop us back to the Langkloof road. After a short 20 minute stint to Joubertina we'd get supplies and ride the start of the Kouga route to the Kouga Wilderness Holiday Farm:


(Map from the website)

Kouga Wilderness is an Adventure Farm in the Kouga mountains. They have a camping site with a lapa and some chalets and they also have this Bush Camp:


(Photo from their website)

Look at this!!! With a pic like that, how can you even consider staying anywhere else?

The bush camp is removed from the other sites, situated at the dead end of a ravine, next to a river with a natural swimming pool. It has a gas shower, flush toilet and a tap with drinking water. That's it. That's enough! No power, just the starry Karoo skies. And when you book this site it's yours, exclusively.

The plan was set! And this was not just another trip to somewhere I've been before, no, this trip had me excited again. My bike was packed and ready 2 days before the actual trip and we were chomping at the bit to go!!!
 

Offline Trailrider

  • Southern Cape
  • Bachelor Dog
  • *****
  • Bike: Honda TransAlp XL700V
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 11,238
  • Thanked: 2 times
  • "Africa Twin Lite"
    • Trailrider
Re: A hidden Gem - The "Other" Baviaans
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2012, 03:37:54 pm »
Early the first Thursday morning of 2012 a small group of riders met just outside George - bikes packed, smiles all round:

Trailrider - Honda TransAlp
Izak1 - Yamaha Super Tenere
KAAS - Honda TransAlp
Gryph + pillion - Honda Africa Twin

It was Izak1's first camping trip on his bike. He packed everything, but before he left home he decided he had too much stuff and unpacked some things, like the six eggs he packed for breakfast. We teased him a bit, but in the end we were thankful each time he got out some treats or something useful on the trip. Kaas too is rather new to camping trips on his bike. They have a whole new world of trips and exploring opening up to them, so many new things to experience.  

I envied them.


(Photo by KAAS)

For some reason I love trips on weekdays. There's a sadistic pleasure in being on your (packed) bike heading out while others are heading to work.

Heading out past Wilderness:



We ride past the beautiful lakes area, Island Lake, Langvlei, Rondevlei, Swartvlei, Groenvlei and the Knysna Heads, taking in the scenery. It's an easy ride, shedding the stresses and getting into a relaxed state of mind. Near Simola we take the Gouna Forest station turn-off and now on gravel the real ride begins:



The Gouna road takes you via "Kom-se-Pad" to Prince Alfred's Pass.


(Photo by KAAS)

It runs through one of the better parts of the Knysna forest and is absolutely breathtaking.



In-ride shot:



If you stop here and switch your bike off it does not take long for the forest to come alive with sounds. It's an amazing place.



Not too long ago an elusive Knysna Elephant was spotted on this road.



Some more pics along this route:







A quick stop where we join Prince Alfred's pass.



Having ridden a whole host of different bikes over the last couple of months I have to say I am even more impressed with my trusty TransAlp. It feels light, runs super smooth and handles beautifully. It's one of the most comfortable bikes out there and such a "do everything" bike. I fell in love with it all over again.

We ascend the rest of the pass with a another stop on Spitskop, the highest point on the Southern part of the pass. From here you have views all round over the Karoo and all the way to the ocean.


(Photo by KAAS)



After some chats, laughter and cold ones we head off again, riding down the Northern side of the pass.





Approaching De Vlugt:



And, naturally, the bikes automatically stop here:



Izak1:


(Photo by KAAS)

KAAS:



Gryph & Melissa:



Suitably refreshed the rest of Prince Alfred's Pass awaits!











After all this, all the scenery, we reach the first little loop we have not ridden before. Virgin road. 8)



Another in-ride shot:





Karoo traffic jam:



Dual Sport biking heaven:





I rode over each hill and around each corner with anticipation, being greeted with new views unseen until now. It's such a pity you can only ride a route for the first time once.



I photographed this at a forced stop. This was not the only fellow who's had bad luck at this particular spot...



I had a flat rear.

Drinks out. Spanners out. Centre stand out. In that order. :evil6:



It's a good thing I decided to bring that centre stand! It just barely fitted in the topbox but it's worth it's weight in gold!



We took out the nail, took out the tube, put in the new tube, pinched it, took everything out again, put in a 3rd tube (carefully), inflated and...



... in a mere-one-and-a-half hours we were on our way again!  :headbang:



We lost quite a bit of time here, but we planned to be in camp around 3pm so we had more than enough time left without having to chase daylight. In fact, we still had something to eat in Joubertina.


(Photo by KAAS)

Next we tackled the Kouga road. This is what the ride is all about - heading into those kloofs.



The first pass - crossing the Kouga river:







The sun was setting and the contrast of sunlit and darker areas made for breathtaking scenes. You'd ride out of the hot sun into the cool valleys, only to ride up into the hot sunlight and breathtaking high views again. Sensory overload.



"Our" turn-off. Close to home now.



But first some more interesting riding.



And a last little water-crossing into camp.






(Photo by KAAS)

What a brilliant spot. There's a small cave with fireplace:


(Photo by KAAS)

Green grass to camp on, a natural swimming pool to swim in, a big gas shower with basin, running water, flush toilet, etc.



Promptly the party got under way.


(Photo by KAAS)

Bliss.



After some steaks and LOTS of laughter we eventually went to sleep after twelve. The next morning there were rumours of a lion roaring in the kloof that night. I heard nothing.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2012, 08:48:32 pm by Trailrider »
 

Offline Trailrider

  • Southern Cape
  • Bachelor Dog
  • *****
  • Bike: Honda TransAlp XL700V
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 11,238
  • Thanked: 2 times
  • "Africa Twin Lite"
    • Trailrider
Re: A hidden Gem - The "Other" Baviaans
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2012, 03:40:59 pm »
While everybody stayed in tents, I lived in my hammock:



On that internet pic of the campsite it seemed like a hammock might work here. I was right!

This is how I woke up:

The view to my right - cave side:



The view to my left - camp side:



Can life get better than this?

Early morning camp-life:



This picture shows the campsite well:



Izak1 had the small tent with Kaas in the circus tent next to him. I'm hanging around in the tree behind them and Gryph and Melissa (who's camped with me before) is way over there in the back. ;) The cave is behind the trees.

After some breakfast and coffee we headed out:



When we rode to the campsite the previous evening we were tired after a long day, but this morning we were looking at this road with a sense of excitement. Riding a "new" road really is special. Pity you can only do it once (wait, I've said that before ).



These roads meander down into the kloofs and up the other side, just to drop you back into a kloof again. It's like a never ending series of passes and mini-passes.



The Kouga Loop runs through farmland and every so often you ride past some farm activity, more so in the Western part than in the East.





For the most part the scenery is all natural - big wide vistas when you crest the passes and green leafy areas next to the rivers in the valleys.





This pic describes the whole experience of the area well - look at the road and the road just there on the other side:



Between here and there is a whole pass!

Look at this:







Ice cold water, ferns and green grass. Heaven.



Looking back:



I don't think I ever got out of 2nd gear on this whole route. Around every turn there is something to see.



And all to soon it was over.





The GPS track of this route shows how you rise and fall riding this route. You can make out 4 distinct passes. Brilliant scenic passes. And yet they don't even have names. I have ridden LOTS of passes in my time and these rank high on that list. Much lesser passes (some you can hardly even call passes) feature on lists of passes and yet these don't. I wonder why.


From here we could either double back home via the route we came, cruise down the Langkloof towards George or cross the mountain near Kareedouw and head home via the coastal route. We opted for the latter because (1) I have not ridden Kareedouw Pass yet and I could document it for my passes quest, (2) there were heat wave conditions and it would be cooler near the coast, (3) there's a gravel road from Plett to Prince Alfreds pass I have not ridden yet and (4) there were unfound geocaches (both Gryph and I are keen geocachers) on that route which would at least make things interesting.

But first... a quick ride to Klein Langkloof.



Lunch in Kareedouw at the biker friendly "Sweaty Dutchman".


(Photo by KAAS)


(Photo by KAAS)




(Photo by KAAS)

We also made a quick stop at the church. Former President Vorster is buried here.





Another tick off my list - Kareedouw Pass.



Not much of a pass really. Especially after the amazing passes we've ridden this morning!

We were running out of time. It was after lunch already so we just hightailed it home. This is one of the few advantages big DS bikes have over small bikes, when you want to get home quickly and your "just" 150km from home, it's no problem!

This was near Bloukrans (I think).



And finally home, sitting back with a cold one, looking into the fire, listening to the ocean, reflecting on a brilliant brilliant piece of road.



This is how we suffer in Africa.

I wanted to go back to Kouga to be able to do that route slowly, taking my time. But I think Gryph hit the nail on the head when he said that this area (and campsite) warrants an even longer stay. You need to book into the campsite and just stay there. Maybe do an outride in the morning or late afternoon, but for the rest of the time just relax, chill in the pool, wander around in the kloofs, whatever. It's a magnificent place. We will go back (again!).
 

Offline cloudgazer

  • RPMods
  • Forum Whore
  • *
  • Bike: KTM 640 Adventure
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 5,124
  • Thanked: 24 times
    • fontera
Re: A hidden Gem - The "Other" Baviaans
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2012, 03:43:32 pm »
wow, that campsite looks fantastic.

where do we book?
 

Offline RobC

  • Bachelor Dog
  • *****
  • Bike: Kawasaki KLR 650
    Location: Free State
  • Posts: 13,959
  • Thanked: 460 times
  • Bloemfontein
Re: A hidden Gem - The "Other" Baviaans
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2012, 03:46:41 pm »
Lekkker! :thumleft:

The eastern cape has oodles of places too explore.
 

Offline ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS

  • Forum Vendor
  • Castrated Dog
  • ******
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 32,150
  • Thanked: 838 times
    • dustriders.co.za
Re: A hidden Gem - The "Other" Baviaans
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2012, 03:47:54 pm »
Ek wou nog altyd terug gaan na verlede jaar se trip.
Dit lyk nog beter op jou RR as toe. :thumleft:
MOTORCYCLE ACCESSORIES RETAILER
info@dustriders.co.za
ENDURISTAN SOFTLUGGAGE IMPORTER
www.dustriders.co.za
 

Offline Trailrider

  • Southern Cape
  • Bachelor Dog
  • *****
  • Bike: Honda TransAlp XL700V
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 11,238
  • Thanked: 2 times
  • "Africa Twin Lite"
    • Trailrider
Re: A hidden Gem - The "Other" Baviaans
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2012, 03:49:37 pm »
 

Offline TerrorSA

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: Yamaha XT660
    Location: Eastern Cape
  • Posts: 1,582
  • Thanked: 1 times
  • Autoland PE - William Moffett Exp
Re: A hidden Gem - The "Other" Baviaans
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2012, 04:00:01 pm »
Nice RR  :thumleft:
Truimph Tiger 800 XCX
Yamaha XT660R
 

Offline Lem

Re: A hidden Gem - The "Other" Baviaans
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2012, 04:06:42 pm »
fantasties  :thumleft:
Faith is not knowing what the future holds, it's knowing who holds the future
 

Offline Malibu

  • Bachelor Dog
  • *****
  • Bike: KTM 640 Adventure
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 11,058
  • Thanked: 35 times
  • Just a girl on a bike!
Re: A hidden Gem - The "Other" Baviaans
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2012, 04:26:51 pm »
Really enjoyed this RR!  Thanks! 

;D
They call me Judy or Judes...

You need chaos in your soul to birth a shining star!
 

Offline BMWPE

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS
    Location: Eastern Cape
  • Posts: 4,225
  • Thanked: 77 times
  • Port Elizabeth
Re: A hidden Gem - The "Other" Baviaans
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2012, 04:27:07 pm »
Awesome " Loop " that,  must of ridden it about 10 times over the years.

From PE we tar it to Joubertina on the R62 have brekkie at the Kraaltjie then start the Loop and allways go down to Kouga Wilderniss to show the place off then back out.
One of my favorite day trips
I refer to it as Kouga Loop

Stayed over there as well first time in the old farm house ,second time in then the caravan, third time in a chalet.

Did you see the swimming pool and the Lapa there
Now there is a awesome spot for a " Bash "
Rallye
 

Offline Trailrider

  • Southern Cape
  • Bachelor Dog
  • *****
  • Bike: Honda TransAlp XL700V
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 11,238
  • Thanked: 2 times
  • "Africa Twin Lite"
    • Trailrider
Re: A hidden Gem - The "Other" Baviaans
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2012, 04:31:42 pm »
Awesome " Loop " that,  must of ridden it about 10 times over the years.

From PE we tar it to Joubertina on the R62 have brekkie at the Kraaltjie then start the Loop and allways go down to Kouga Wilderniss to show the place off then back out.
One of my favorite day trips
I refer to it as Kouga Loop

Stayed over there as well first time in the old farm house ,second time in then the caravan, third time in a chalet.

Did you see the swimming pool and the Lapa there
Now there is a awesome spot for a " Bash "

BMWPE it was a report of yours years back that brought this area to my attention.

http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=15512.0

I never got around to it though because I'd have to tar it there (on the CTX back then). It's an awesome area and loop. Glad I finally did it! Kouga Wilderness is an excellent venue. We did go and have a look at the Lapa etc and I had the same thought about a mini bash venue.
 

Offline Gérrard

  • AKA 'jupiter' maar noem my Gerard.
  • Global Moderator
  • Castrated Dog
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS Adventure
    Location: Eastern Cape
  • Posts: 32,758
  • Thanked: 561 times
  • HKGK !!!
Re: A hidden Gem - The "Other" Baviaans
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2012, 04:42:36 pm »
Die eerste 'virgin' pad wat julle gery... is dit van die Uniondale Poort af Oos en kom dan net duskant Misgund by die R62 uit ?

Mooi RR.
...dis nooit te laat om n happy childhood te he nie !

Build a sidecar they said. It will be fun they said. Ja-nee !
 

Offline KALLY

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: Kawasaki KLR 650
    Location: Eastern Cape
  • Posts: 597
  • Old farts never die, they just fade away
Re: A hidden Gem - The "Other" Baviaans
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2012, 05:06:11 pm »
Fantastic ride Trailrider, that campsite is just magic,
Will be putting it in my to do list.
Don't worry about having ridden all the routes before, keep riding, when you get to my age, and your memory starts going, all routes appear to be new
My biggest worry in life, is that if I die before my Wife, she will sell my biking gear based on the prices that I told her I had paid for them.
 

Offline KAAS

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: BMW F800GS
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 227
Re: A hidden Gem - The "Other" Baviaans
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2012, 05:11:10 pm »
Dit was n great trip dankie swaer. Ja, weet jy ek het daai leeu gehoor. Ek ken sy brul maar te goed. Wens ek kon hom daai aand vang :D
BIKERS NEVER EXAGGERATE THEY JUST REMEMBER BIG
 

Offline ChinaPete

  • 乘风破浪
  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: Singer (all models)
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 1,217
  • Thanked: 6 times
Re: A hidden Gem - The "Other" Baviaans
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2012, 05:15:20 pm »
TT, another lekker ride and report. Thanks for posting
 

Offline Andy660

  • Hyundai Specialist
  • Forum Whore
  • ****
  • Bike: Yamaha XT 660 Z
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 5,568
  • Thanked: 24 times
  • You are responsible for the bike behind you !
    • http://www.hunday.co.za
Re: A hidden Gem - The "Other" Baviaans
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2012, 06:06:52 pm »
That looks like an awesome route TR , !
Thanks for sharing.
BEADMASTER LEVERS http://youtu.be/RWH3PRgjOKM  email accentgt8@gmail.com
EMERGENCY NO.                                            
From a cell phone you can dial 147
Also 082 911 will get you through to Netcare's Emergency Control Room[img width=65 height=100 ]   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1Kzcn0SPIA&feature=player_embedded
YAMAHA HELDERBERG  Ambassador
 

Offline Pote

Re: A hidden Gem - The "Other" Baviaans
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2012, 06:45:47 pm »
 :thumleft: wat 'n pragtige plek om te gaan kamp.
 

Offline Trailrider

  • Southern Cape
  • Bachelor Dog
  • *****
  • Bike: Honda TransAlp XL700V
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 11,238
  • Thanked: 2 times
  • "Africa Twin Lite"
    • Trailrider
Re: A hidden Gem - The "Other" Baviaans
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2012, 06:56:38 pm »
Die eerste 'virgin' pad wat julle gery... is dit van die Uniondale Poort af Oos en kom dan net duskant Misgund by die R62 uit ?

Mooi RR.

Op hierdie selfde RR op my blog is die "Everytrail" roete met al die GPS inligting (ek kan dit ongelukkig nie in 'n forum RR embed nie).

http://trailriderreports.blogspot.com/2012/01/hidden-gem-other-baviaans.html
 

Offline Swart Baard

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS
    Location: Eastern Cape
  • Posts: 704
Re: A hidden Gem - The "Other" Baviaans
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2012, 08:44:13 pm »
Now this is a farm i know rather well!  Owner use to hold a Rally there every year...The Rooi Baard Rally, BUT it was cancelled because of some complaints of neighbouring farmers on the road to Kouga Wilderness  :-\

There is an awesome 4x4 track on the farm...Sukkel poort...and sukkel you will  :deal:

I agree with BMWPE, in future this is an awesome spot for a bash  :ricky:

If you havent seen or experienced this magical place, dammit make a plan  :deal:
It is a must see place. But do take at least 2 days on the farm itself. You wont regret the experince  :3some:
Mens leef net een keer. Doen dit nou of jy kry dalk nie later kans om dit te doen nie.