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Author Topic: Anti-clockwise around the country, JHB to CTN and back, 6500km's  (Read 1102 times)

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Offline Wild Blue

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Anti-clockwise around the country, JHB to CTN and back, 6500km's
« on: February 14, 2013, 12:40:55 pm »
(First time posting with pics, so I hope this works…!)

I did this trip in December, but just haven't managed to get my ass into gear to write the report...  First off, I'll skip the part around getting permission from my wife to go off on my own for two weeks - once I had that, it was pretty easy!  My plan was to essentially to travel anti-clockwise around the outside of the country, avoiding as many major roads as possible.   My major constraint was that I had only 12 days and also wanted to spend a few with family in George.  I wanted to get in some decent passes, also some time in the Cederberg and see a lot of new places!.  I set off on 8 December, riding alone for most of the 6500km’s.  

** This report will most likely be more pics and less words and rather than providing a detailed account of each day, I’m just posting a few comments and pics of the route.

Day 1:

Here’s the rough route I took, although there were significant deviations to do passes, etc.





Everything packed, panniers’ weighing in at around 11kg’s each, and good weather forecast.  Day 1 was down to Douglas, where I planned on camping on the banks of the Vaal.  Lots of really neat scenery long the way and a fair bit of dirt.  One only really realises what a beautiful country we have, when one get’s on a bike…





Looking out over the Bloemhof dam and realising just how hot it was!





The dirt roads around the Douglas area are pretty good generally, although they often have thick sand along the edges.  On two occasions I had vehicles come past me at speed, weaving all over the road and almost throwing me off in the sand.  Once you hit it, it’s a pretty scary thing trying to get out again, especially if you have a bit of speed behind you!





I finally made it to Douglas around 4pm having done around 720km’s and settled in on the banks of the Vaal, in a really stunning campsite called Sunset View River Guest House.  Great people that run it, and after a a trip to the local Spa, I settled down with a T-bone and a six-pack to watch the sun set.



« Last Edit: February 14, 2013, 12:58:14 pm by Wild Blue »
 

Offline ghosty

Re: Anti-clockwise around the country, JHB to CTN and back, 6500km's
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2013, 12:46:45 pm »
Looks like an epic trip!

 

Offline Wild Blue

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Re: Anti-clockwise around the country, JHB to CTN and back, 6500km's
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2013, 12:48:53 pm »
Now if I could just get my images to not show as thumbnails...
 

Offline Malibu

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Re: Anti-clockwise around the country, JHB to CTN and back, 6500km's
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2013, 01:00:00 pm »
*sub*
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Offline Wild Blue

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Anti-clockwise around the country, JHB to CTN and back, 6500km's
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2013, 01:15:30 pm »
Day 2:

Day 2 was about getting to Augrabies.  This is a stunning part of the country and even though it was mostly tar riding, there are some really nice twisty roads in the area.  For some reason I misplaced a bunch of pics I took along the way on day 2!

Man was it hot in this area – 39 degrees, but felt around 49 with riding gear on.  I stopped at the local Dros in Uppington for a bite and unfortunately had no shade for the S10, so by the time I was done eating, she was almost too hot to touch!  After arriving late afternoon at Augrabies National Park, I grabbed a few beers and sat in the pool for the next 2 hours!  It’s a pretty desolate area and has the most amazing sunsets.  Also, my tent was like a sauna!








Day 3:

This was probably the section I enjoyed least!   I took the road through Kennard, and don’t think I’ve ever experienced wind like I experienced that day!  It’s pretty flat country and the wind was pumping straight across the road for most of the trip.  There were times I almost felt like just giving up and letting it blow me over.  Nevertheless, a very beautiful area, and with a very lonely, desolate feel.  Feels like you’re on the moon at times!











At one point I had to wait at a “Stop and Go” section on the road.  The woman manning the point was telling her partner on the other side about the vehicles coming through.  I felt I just had to correct her when she said “Daar’s ‘n bakkie en a blou skootertjie oppad deur…”  Does my S10 look like a “skootertjie”??

Van Rhyns pass was just amazing, taking one from a dry, windy, flat environment to a completely different world.  It also has some good twisties!







Day 3 took me through Vredendal and on to Strandfontein, where I camped at the Strandfontein Caravan and campsite, which is right above the beach.  This is probably one of the nicest sites I’ve been in and watching the sun set over the ocean, a cold beer in hand, a hunk of meat on the braai – this was truly a great experience.  I must add, each site has it’s own little balcony and shower / toilet, so all in all a very well-organised site.

The challenge was getting the beers, meat and 2 packs of fire wood on the bike, to get it back to the camp site…


















« Last Edit: February 14, 2013, 01:16:48 pm by Wild Blue »
 

Offline IDR

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Re: Anti-clockwise around the country, JHB to CTN and back, 6500km's
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2013, 01:16:21 pm »
Now if I could just get my images to not show as thumbnails...

NO! We want BIG pics! ;D
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Offline Dwerg

Re: Anti-clockwise around the country, JHB to CTN and back, 6500km's
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2013, 01:23:37 pm »
 :thumleft:
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Offline Wild Blue

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Anti-clockwise around the country, JHB to CTN and back, 6500km's
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2013, 01:26:36 pm »
Day 4:

The thing about waking up in a tent next to the ocean in high humidity, is that everything’s wet, including the gloves you left out the night before… This was going to be a great day, with my first visit on 2 wheels to the Cederberg.  I spent a fair bit of the day riding this area, stopping for lunch at Ceder Oasis and really enjoying the roads.  Good quality gravel, a few nice steep areas, but incredibly hot.  Probably not the best time of year to be doing this! 











At one point, just outside the mountains, I was a little worried about fuel, but was quite impressed when I asked my Garmin for the nearest fuel stop, that it showed it only a km away.  It turned out to be a little pump at the back of an industrial looking area…

From the Cederberg I continued down through Ceres, across to Worcester and spent the evening in Somerset West with my cousin.  Having lived in Worcester growing up, I still can’t believe the beauty of the area when looking down from mountain passes.





Day 5:

On Day 5 I planned to hit Route 62, heading towards George, and meeting up with my dad on the way (he lives in George).  I took a really easy, laidback ride, so laid back I actually forgot to take any pics!  We met up at Ronnies Sex Shop, who were having power trouble, so could only serve burgers off the braai.  They had cold beer though!!



Opposite the turnoff to Amalienstein, is a road that heads into the Klein Swartberg to Seweweekspoort.  This is where my dad and I decided to spent the night, of course after stopping in town to load up with red meat and red wine!  This has got to be one of the most amazing and unknown little places to stay.  It’s right in the heart of the mountain and the place we stayed at had a natural pool fed from a spring, really cold, but a great way to end a day on the road.

It’s easy grave into the pass.  Unfortunately we didn’t get a change to ride some of the trails in the area, but simply spending the night in the pass was awesome and certainly to be recommended.  We stayed in a little rock cottage, fully furnished and serviced, which included “hot water management”, etc.  We even had a braai fire going when we arrived back from the pool.

And yes, I do own a set of crocs!
















This was in fact the only time on that trip that someone fell off his bike – and it wasn’t me.  When we arrived at the cottage site, there was a little lane that turned off the main Seweweekspoort road, a bit of a decline and a sharp turn left after a few meters.  There was one of the old pst pst pst sprinklers running at the time, spraying across the road.  I stopped and moved it, wend down the incline and turned left up towards the cottages.  As my dad, following me, started down the incline, the sprinkler turned and caught him full in the face.  Of course, he knew there was a turn, but now blinded, wasn’t sure where it was and ended up on his side in the garden…  I was laughing too much to take photos…
 

Offline Wild Blue

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Anti-clockwise around the country, JHB to CTN and back, 6500km's
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2013, 01:37:16 pm »
Day 6:

Day 6 was about riding as many passes in the area as we could.  After a great breakfast at Ebenharts in Calitzdorp, we headed into the Groenfontein area.





This is a beautiful, very green area, with lots of quaint little cottages, farms, dams and trees.  It was also a little cooler today, which helped!  This also led us on to the Swartberg pass.








And the pass…









My dad was complaining that he was constantly covered in dust from riding behind me…  At least at 73 he’s still on a bike!



A great pass to ride!  Then a quick lunch, a cold beer (perhaps 2) and we headed off in the direction of Uniondale.  There were rain clouds building and we hadn’t yet decided where to spend the night.  We were thinking about Angies G-spot, but also didn’t want to be doing the Prince Alfred pass in the rain.  We took a chance and made it through to Angies with only a few drops.

Angies G-spot, for those that haven’t visited it, is a must.  We had a curry for dinner that would have cleaned the rust off a window frame!  But coupled with endless cold drafts and a good red wine, it all worked out pretty well!





















Day 7:

After breakfast we headed towards Plett, via the Knysna  forests.  After a number of really hot days in the saddle, it was great to be riding under the coolness of the trees.  The forests also have a very different sound to them and even with a loud pipe on my bike, one still gets the sense of peacefulness.







And of course always good to see the Knysna lagoons!



The next 2 days (day 7-8) were spent in and around Knysna, relaxing with family and riding some of the local passed, including the 7 passes route, those that cross Swart, Kaaimans, Silver, Touw, Hoogekraal and Karatara rivers, as well as the Homtini and Phantoms passes.  Really scenic ride, a mix of tar and dirt and pretty easy riding.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2013, 01:40:20 pm by Wild Blue »
 

Offline Oupa Foe-rie

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Re: Anti-clockwise around the country, JHB to CTN and back, 6500km's
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2013, 01:45:00 pm »
Sub ..............
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Offline Wild Blue

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Anti-clockwise around the country, JHB to CTN and back, 6500km's
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2013, 01:47:03 pm »
Day 9:



Day 9 I headed out alone once again towards Port Alfred / Bathurst.  An hour our I realised I’d picked up a bad cut in my rear tyre the day before and I hadn’t noticed the slow leak immediately because the Air-seal in my tyre had done it’s job pretty well, even though it was quite a nasty one.  I plugged it, but it kept on pushing out little by little and I eventually decided to replace both Anakee 2’s.  This was a challenge, because I had already decided to go back to Mitas e-07’s, but finding a set in the Knysna area was proving to be tricky.  This was also the day before the public holiday in December, so most places were either closed or were closing early.  

I made it to Extreme Yamaha in PE as they were closing at 1pm and managed to get their last set of e-07’s…  Happiness again!

The Bathurst area is not one I’m familiar with, but it’s a great riding area, stunning roads and really beautiful scenery.  Wish I could have spent more time in this area!  (Of course I had to throw in a pic of the PE wind turbine, because it’s the first time I’ve been close to one.)







I booked a room at the countries oldest continuously running pub, the Pig and Whistle, just because it sounded interesting.  They had a great bar and were really inexpensive for what I got.  That night, a place next door to the pub were having a “Steak evening”.  The local butcher would bring massive pieces of beef and you’d choose how much you wanted, he’s cut it and they’d do it for you there, with a home-made sauce of your choice.  Pretty damn awesome!  Apparently they did this every week.  So I ended up with a 450gm piece of the tenderest rump and a bottle of red wine.  (The wine of course was to counteract the cholesterol in the half a cow I had on my plate.)  I slept well that night…











Day 10:

Day 10 took me via Grahamstown, the Great Fish River nature reserve, Cathcart, up through Queenstown and up to Dordrecht.  I stopped for breakfast in Grahamstown, which was interesting!  I’d parked outside a restaurant, in a gap that had no lines, between where car parking had been denoted.  As I was pulling away to leave, I had a woman come running up to me with a clipboard.  Thinking it was someone wanting to do a survey, I didn’t hang around, but later realised this had something to do with paying for parking (I think).  I saw her scribbling down my reg number, so expect I’ll get a gift in the post from Grahamstown.  What a ridiculously stupid system…

I’d planned staying at a private reserve called Lammergeier, just outside Lady Grey.  When I reached Dordrecht, I spoke to some locals who told me about some great dirt roads / passed that would get me there.  They said “just turn left at the dirt road outside Indwe and you should be fine…!)  This worried me a little, as I didn’t know the area, was riding on my own and wasn’t sure about mobile reception, but nevertheless, I couldn’t not try this route.  It turned out to be one of the nicest dirt routes I’d ridden the entire trip.  Lots of passed, ravines, a few quite rocky areas, a little water / mud, but an absolutely beautiful and scenic ride.  One or two fairly steep climbs also, but the S10 just loved it!  This route passes through Roussouw, Clifford and a few other places I don’t remember.  It comes out fairly close to Lady Grey.  (I couldn’t decide which pics to post, so I’ve posted a few!)


























As for Lammergeier, what a great place!  Run by Kevin and Linda and their family, it’s essentially a bunch of cattle farms they own on which there are cottages available to rent.  They’re extremely biker friendly and the evening I was there, I was the only person, so I stayed in a section of their main house.  We had an exceptional dinner around the table in their farm kitchen that night and it was an extremely memorable occasion.  I really look forward to visiting them and the area again.  You can Google them or take a look here (http://www.adventuretrails.co.za/pages.aspx?PID=42)
« Last Edit: February 14, 2013, 01:48:52 pm by Wild Blue »
 

Offline drewdza

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Re: Anti-clockwise around the country, JHB to CTN and back, 6500km's
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2013, 01:48:40 pm »
A real privilege to be able to share something like this with your father - awesome  :thumleft:
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Offline Wild Blue

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Re: Anti-clockwise around the country, JHB to CTN and back, 6500km's
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2013, 01:51:11 pm »
It was!  One never knows for how much longer he'll be on a bike, so good to use the time you have.  He certainly keeps up when it comes to cold beers and other such refreshments...
 

Offline drewdza

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Re: Anti-clockwise around the country, JHB to CTN and back, 6500km's
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2013, 01:52:35 pm »
how I wish I had had more time with my old man.....make every second count.
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Offline Wild Blue

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Anti-clockwise around the country, JHB to CTN and back, 6500km's
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2013, 01:54:56 pm »
Day 11:

From Lammergeier there’s a great bit of dirt and a fairly high pass that comes in to the back end of Lady Grey.  It was a great way to start the day!







I then headed up north on tar to Zastron and Wepener, but be warned, some of the roads in this area are horrendous, often being more pothole than road.  I passed 3 caravans with broken axel / suspension and there’s no real side of the road on which to drive!  At least on a bike one can dodge the potholes pretty well, however I had about an hour of rain in the afternoon and that makes it very difficult to spot them when they’re full of water!

Ficksbueg, Fouriesburg, a stop in Clarens for evening supplies and on to Golden Gate Highlands national park for the evening.  This was my last evening away from home, so quite sad, but also glad to be getting home to the family (of course, at a push, I could quite easily have spent another week or two on the road…!)







Day 12:

Finally on my final leg home.  This was an epic trip for me, in total around 6500 km’s and I couldn’t ask for a better machine to do it on.  The S10 didn’t miss a beat, was comfortable all the way, ate up both tar and dirt, didn’t flinch at any of the climbs (or the rocks I just couldn’t avoid…) and got me home safe and sound.  I may do this at a cooler time of year next time, but certainly no regrets. 

Thanks to all the Dogs out there that gave advice on places to stay and where to go – it’s very much appreciated!  Till next time…
 

Offline woody1

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Re: Anti-clockwise around the country, JHB to CTN and back, 6500km's
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2013, 06:59:13 pm »
Lekker man, gelukkig het jy die regte fiets vir die trip gehad.  Lekker dat jy dit saam met jou pa kon geniet.  Ek en my seun ry graag saam en beplan so n ROUND South Africa trippie in Mei maand met die 2 x S10's  :ricky: :ricky:

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Offline cheesy

Re: Anti-clockwise around the country, JHB to CTN and back, 6500km's
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2013, 09:26:49 pm »
the time spent riding with your father is most precious, I did a trip with my son to Europe, it was quality time.
The pass entering Lady Grey is Jouberts Pass, you are so right, fantastic.
Lekker report, tx.
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Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: Anti-clockwise around the country, JHB to CTN and back, 6500km's
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2013, 10:51:35 pm »
Nice RR, thanks for sharing ... you'll probabley never use any other back tyre on her other than that E 07, perfect fit for the S10's.

 8)
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Offline Wild Blue

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Re: Anti-clockwise around the country, JHB to CTN and back, 6500km's
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2013, 07:17:57 am »
It's a pretty amazing area around Lady Grey - wish I had a few days to spent there.  Kevin from Lammergeier was telling me about some of the trails they ride there and the fact that there are so many...

the time spent riding with your father is most precious, I did a trip with my son to Europe, it was quality time.
The pass entering Lady Grey is Jouberts Pass, you are so right, fantastic.
Lekker report, tx.