Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register

Author Topic: Round Lesotho from KZN.  (Read 2614 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Alpine Al

  • You dont stop playin 'cause you get old, you get old 'cause you stop playin.
  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS Adventure
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 783
  • If life throws you lemons reach for the tequila!!
Round Lesotho from KZN.
« on: March 22, 2014, 09:11:40 am »
Thought I'd just share a few highlights of the trip. No kilometers,  road numbers etc. There are a number of roads to take  you around the "Mountain Kingdom", including some scenic dirt alternative detours which offer more riding but also a better DS experience (my opinion).
We left late morning last Friday from my place near Estcourt. 3 bikes with 5 people who've ridden a lot together, we were to join up with a group of GS riders from Durban for increased "fellowship" at the overnight stops.
Before we knew it we were on top of Oliviers Hoek pass and zigzaging on the stuffed road where a BBBEEEE contractor took a large advance draw after just starting the rehabilitation project and "retired to the hills". We cruised through Golden Gate, relishing the corners as we always do. (just as well because later our fearless leader from Durban would put a stop to that). Once in Clarens we met for lunch with local friends at the Highlander and went on to our overnight stop. We booked in, unloaded and left to visit ex Durban friends Kobie and Sylvia Van der Linda who recently took over the running of Union House and Destiny Castle, only about 10 km away.
Union house is where the Brits and Boers signed an important peace treaty, lots of history for those interested. The guest house has been furnished with period furniture throughout and looks very comfy.

DESTINY CASTLE IS A MINDBLOWER! !
Kobie asked us if we'd like to see the castle which is 7 km away, on top of a mountain, on the same farm. It was started many years ago by someone else but never finnished until present owner Mike Fogg, of motorcycle racing fame, completed it. Aparently over 7000 pieces of rock were cut out of another spot on the farm and transported up a rough zigzag pass to the top, then came all the rest. We were expecting something like one of the European "keep" type of castle, something quite rough. The sky was threatening to ensure that we had limmited time up there so Kobie suggested we move fast. The other pillion couple declined, it was afternoon sleep time and sounded far too strenuous.
Kobie wore a khaki shirt, short boots and "a short pant", a few weeks in the "states" and he'd forgotten about atgat! Granted, he has his own expensive padding and he was on a little 230cc. I went ahead of Dave as I didnt know we had to negotiate a wet vlei with muddied streams and pools. The first real pool was deceptive so halfway through Dave almost went down with his bike, he managed to keep the 1200 from lying in the water, gathered his wits and we proceeded. Next was the pass to the top which has had almost zero maintenance for about 3 years. The beauty of the rock overhangs and wonder of the effort it mast have taken to build was far from my mind as I concentrated on finding the best lines to cross the steep, slipery rock surfaces and then steep, switch backs with loose rock. Angela was, of course, hanging onto my jacket to stay on and I had to grip like hell to stey on too. Once at the top we discovered an 800m landing strip on the way to the castle which has been "in mothballs" for three years. The entertainment areas, bedrooms, spa room, balconys, chapel etc are still beautifuly furnished and the entire place mindblowing. It will be open for bookings again soon and prommises to be one of South Africa's unique and sought after destinations.
We just couldnt get to see everything though as the rain was now sweeping in from the Malutis and we had to get off the mountain. It must have looked like a bank robbery, we were kitted, on the bikes and gone in a flash. Upon arriving at our hotel in Fouriesberg Dave said it was the most awesome riding he's ever done, the challenge was so worth the reward.

More to come, here are some pics:
Bike history : Honda 50cc, Yamaha 175 DT, Honda 200R, Honda XL 500, Yamaha YZ 465, Yamaha IT490 CURENT BIKES: Honda CRF 450R, GS 1200. PRESENT BIKES : KTM 525 Street legal,  and BMW GSA.

Only a biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of a car window!!
 

Offline Alpine Al

  • You dont stop playin 'cause you get old, you get old 'cause you stop playin.
  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS Adventure
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 783
  • If life throws you lemons reach for the tequila!!
Re: Round Lesotho from KZN.
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2014, 09:15:47 am »
Destiny Castle
Bike history : Honda 50cc, Yamaha 175 DT, Honda 200R, Honda XL 500, Yamaha YZ 465, Yamaha IT490 CURENT BIKES: Honda CRF 450R, GS 1200. PRESENT BIKES : KTM 525 Street legal,  and BMW GSA.

Only a biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of a car window!!
 

Offline Alpine Al

  • You dont stop playin 'cause you get old, you get old 'cause you stop playin.
  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS Adventure
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 783
  • If life throws you lemons reach for the tequila!!
Re: Round Lesotho from KZN.
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2014, 09:18:23 am »
More pics
Bike history : Honda 50cc, Yamaha 175 DT, Honda 200R, Honda XL 500, Yamaha YZ 465, Yamaha IT490 CURENT BIKES: Honda CRF 450R, GS 1200. PRESENT BIKES : KTM 525 Street legal,  and BMW GSA.

Only a biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of a car window!!
 

Offline Raggety

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: NER-A-CAR
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 4,062
  • Thanked: 2 times
  • Riding with the King
Re: Round Lesotho from KZN.
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2014, 09:49:46 am »
Destiny Castle looks stunning now. Was there in 2007 when they were busy with the restoration. Thanx for the pics.  Went up there as part of al Honda Adventure riding training
Is there aguy with Supten with your group?
Let us love people and use things, and not love things and use people.
 

Offline Alpine Al

  • You dont stop playin 'cause you get old, you get old 'cause you stop playin.
  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS Adventure
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 783
  • If life throws you lemons reach for the tequila!!
Re: Round Lesotho from KZN.
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2014, 10:36:48 am »
When we arrived at the Fouriesberg hotel it looked like a mini bike rally. Lots of BMW GS's, a few other bikes and a bunch of scooters. Vespa's nogal!  How guys can pay so much for such crap I dont know!
Anyway, I went for a badly needed shower and pinned my ears back for a realy good bit of fellowship in the pub with the Durban GS guys but it was not to be, as the word "supper" was spoken there was a mass exodus from the pub. Being an officer and a gentleman I waited untill the troops had eaten. . . . nearly everything! The kitchen had to make more buffet before we were ready to return to the pub but, once again, I was disapointed to find that the rest of the bikers had gone to bed early!!  I couldnt understand it so Anj and I retired to our room too. The hotel is very old and has a pub that only whiteys frequent and then a tavern for the darkeys. Our room was closest to the tavern and a soccer game must have been on tv, the shouting, excitement, revving of their cars and blowing of hooters until late nearly got me up to join their gang, since mine was all in lalaland, some  dreaming of doing mountain passes at 60 km/hr.

Next morning I awoke from a nightmare. I was a chinese sweatshop worker, sleeping on the floor and all I could hear was sewing machines in dim light. I awoke in a sweat to look outside and see the Vespa brigade revving their little vibrators to wake us up so we may envy them. I'm sure they do have fun,  though just not my type of fun.

After breakfast 13 bikes rode together towards Clokolaan, Ladybrand and on to Barkly East for lunch. On the way we stopped at the Lord Fraser Hotel for coffee, it was once the home of the man whom it is named after. The lord was an early textiles pioneer in S.A. who was blinded before even setting foot in Africa. His blindness never stopped him living a full and adventurous life and he even bought a plane and got a pilot's liscence. He had a flying companion who would guide him through his flying, informing him of altitude, wind, direction etc. I thought my wife was brave riding pillion with me but this guy must have had ones like watermelons.

After lunch the group were headed for our next hotel, the Mountain Shadow, but We hadnt done anything noteworthy all day so I asked the guys if they'd like to do a detour to Rhodes. My mate Dave, who hasnt been riding for very long, and a new mate, Spiros, whose been riding even less years, said yes. I admire these guys for starting biking later in life and choosing a big bike to get their adrenaline going. I believe in the saying YOU DONT STOP PLAYING CAUSE YOU GET OLD, YOU GET OLD CAUSE YOU STOP PLAYING. These guys opitomise this because the clouds were threatening rain and we wete about to take the notorious "road to Rhodes" which turns to orange clay snot and becomes impossible when wet. I had never been to Rhodes and it was on dirt so that was good reason to do it.
We had to get to Rhodes, then backtrack about another 30 km to take the other dirt road towards Elliot and our overnight.
We rode around the village, had a drink at the "Walkabout" and headed off again.
Halfway back the rain came and we got drenched. The road was a bit slippery but the water hadnt seeped in and made it bad yet so we continued without any misshaps to Mountain Shadows.

To be continued. . . .

« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 05:43:12 pm by Alpine Al »
Bike history : Honda 50cc, Yamaha 175 DT, Honda 200R, Honda XL 500, Yamaha YZ 465, Yamaha IT490 CURENT BIKES: Honda CRF 450R, GS 1200. PRESENT BIKES : KTM 525 Street legal,  and BMW GSA.

Only a biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of a car window!!
 

Offline Alpine Al

  • You dont stop playin 'cause you get old, you get old 'cause you stop playin.
  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS Adventure
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 783
  • If life throws you lemons reach for the tequila!!
Re: Round Lesotho from KZN.
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2014, 10:41:59 am »
Rhodes and a pic just before the rain.
Bike history : Honda 50cc, Yamaha 175 DT, Honda 200R, Honda XL 500, Yamaha YZ 465, Yamaha IT490 CURENT BIKES: Honda CRF 450R, GS 1200. PRESENT BIKES : KTM 525 Street legal,  and BMW GSA.

Only a biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of a car window!!
 

Offline Alpine Al

  • You dont stop playin 'cause you get old, you get old 'cause you stop playin.
  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS Adventure
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 783
  • If life throws you lemons reach for the tequila!!
Re: Round Lesotho from KZN.
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2014, 10:43:56 am »
Before the rain
Bike history : Honda 50cc, Yamaha 175 DT, Honda 200R, Honda XL 500, Yamaha YZ 465, Yamaha IT490 CURENT BIKES: Honda CRF 450R, GS 1200. PRESENT BIKES : KTM 525 Street legal,  and BMW GSA.

Only a biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of a car window!!
 

Offline ShaunF

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW R1150GS
    Location: Eastern Cape
  • Posts: 940
Re: Round Lesotho from KZN.
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2014, 11:57:30 am »
Love the castle,  wow.
 

Offline Alpine Al

  • You dont stop playin 'cause you get old, you get old 'cause you stop playin.
  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS Adventure
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 783
  • If life throws you lemons reach for the tequila!!
Re: Round Lesotho from KZN.
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2014, 10:46:42 pm »
Hi Raggety, no it was just GS's on our trip.
Bike history : Honda 50cc, Yamaha 175 DT, Honda 200R, Honda XL 500, Yamaha YZ 465, Yamaha IT490 CURENT BIKES: Honda CRF 450R, GS 1200. PRESENT BIKES : KTM 525 Street legal,  and BMW GSA.

Only a biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of a car window!!
 

Offline Alpine Al

  • You dont stop playin 'cause you get old, you get old 'cause you stop playin.
  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS Adventure
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 783
  • If life throws you lemons reach for the tequila!!
Re: Round Lesotho from KZN.
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2014, 11:19:42 pm »
Sunday morning was a beautiful clear day. By 8.15 we were headed down to Elliot then on to the transkei, through Matatiele and Kokstad. Within 5 minutes we were descending a stunning pass with awesome scenery, our eyes drank in the beauty of the surrounds but the corners were inviting us to sweep through them. Unfortunately our fearless leader took us through the pass at speeds variyng between 60 and 80 km/ hr, we dared not pass him as he had given everyone strict instructions not to. So we painfuly crawled down the pass and I stopped at the bottom and flagged my mates down. We waited a while for the others to go ahead then left for Elliot at a respectable speed. Once there we found that they had gone in the wrong direction so we were happy to continue on towards KZN.
We got to Kokstad quite quickly, refueled and had lunch, the others arrived, we said our goodbyes to them and our riding mates who were headed for Richmond, PMB and Durban. Anj and I took the tarr to Howick, then back home.

Next time I do the trip will be only with people who ride dirt well and know how to have fun off the bike too. The scenery was great, the establishments well priced and the weather good but the trip lacked the spontanic excitement and fun we so much enjoy on our trips.

I'm now planning another Cape trip with a different route to last years. It will be in late August, the "Flower Power Tour" will definately include a few nights in Langebaan, a couple of nights at Donkies Kraal and single nights at other places where we can do some good riding, see the flowers and meet interesting people.

Bike history : Honda 50cc, Yamaha 175 DT, Honda 200R, Honda XL 500, Yamaha YZ 465, Yamaha IT490 CURENT BIKES: Honda CRF 450R, GS 1200. PRESENT BIKES : KTM 525 Street legal,  and BMW GSA.

Only a biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of a car window!!
 

Offline Sidpitt

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS
    Location: Free State
  • Posts: 1,333
  • Thanked: 21 times
  • Thumpers Rule!!!
Re: Round Lesotho from KZN.
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2014, 12:25:42 pm »
sub :sip:
If you dont like something, change it!
If you cant, change your attitude.
Dont complain!
 

Offline 4 Kays

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: Honda XRV 750 Africa Twin
    Location: Eastern Cape
  • Posts: 1,335
  • Thanked: 5 times
  • Live your life - you only have one to live !!
Re: Round Lesotho from KZN.
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2014, 01:17:55 pm »
Looks great  :sip:
 

Offline ALLEN I

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: Honda XRV 750 Africa Twin
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 1,977
  • Thanked: 16 times
Re: Round Lesotho from KZN.
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2014, 02:12:42 pm »
Enjoyed
Biking since the age of 11 nothing beats the freedom when u out there on u baby. Been doing it over 40 years now  (that's life)
Born a Biker, Live like a Biker, Die a Biker
 

Offline frans1

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS Adventure
    Location: Kwazulu Natal
  • Posts: 697
  • Lewe elke dag voluit!
Re: Round Lesotho from KZN.
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2014, 02:19:39 pm »
lekka
BMW 1200GSA (What a Machine!!!)
BMW R100RS (Busy with the repairs)
BMW 1200GS (Love the bike)
WR 450 Yamaha (Sold)
Yamaha 500 XT (Sold) Yamaha 175 DT (Sold) Honda 90 cc (Gave it away)
 

Offline BLK

Re: Round Lesotho from KZN.
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2014, 03:50:16 pm »
Thks for RR.Beautiful country the Rhodes area

cheers
 

Offline trevorwb

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: KTM 690 Enduro
    Location: Kwazulu Natal
  • Posts: 753
  • Warning Labels are only recommendations
Re: Round Lesotho from KZN.
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2014, 04:28:24 pm »
Nice one Al.
 

Offline DeeCeeBee

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: Honda CRF-1000L Africa Twin
    Location: Australia
  • Posts: 1,056
  • Thanked: 19 times
  • Tasmania - Australia
Re: Round Lesotho from KZN.
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2014, 06:54:20 pm »
Nicely done. Thanks for sharing Al.
BRP...now joined by Africa Twin Adv Sport
 

Offline Marnus

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: KTM 990 Adventure
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 969
  • Yeeeeehaaaa!
Re: Round Lesotho from KZN.
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2014, 07:33:56 pm »
Hahaha! Your Vespa dream was so funny!!
 

Offline Raggety

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: NER-A-CAR
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 4,062
  • Thanked: 2 times
  • Riding with the King
Re: Round Lesotho from KZN.
« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2014, 06:45:34 pm »
Hi Raggety, no it was just GS's on our trip.
Thanx Al.
Let us love people and use things, and not love things and use people.
 

Offline Jackol.

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: KTM 990 Adventure
    Location: Free State
  • Posts: 544
  • Thanked: 3 times
Re: Round Lesotho from KZN.
« Reply #19 on: March 27, 2014, 09:22:35 pm »
As ek geweet het van die kasteel sou ons dit ook gaan doen het. Kom ook nou van daar af, dit is ongelooflike mooi scenery! Dankie vir die deel.

Ek haat dit as mense huilerig raak wanneer jy jou bike geniet! As jy 'n bike kan bekostig is jy groot genoeg om verantwoordelikheid vir jouself te kan vat. Het vorige trip saam sulke mense gedoen...  Ek het later soos 'n terroris gevoel soos ek al die draaie bekruip!  :pot:
Time wait for no man