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Author Topic: Pretoria to Coffee Bay - Biking and Backpacking  (Read 8461 times)

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Offline Zaber

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Pretoria to Coffee Bay - Biking and Backpacking
« on: May 18, 2015, 06:48:03 pm »
I had a couple of days leave during April and decided I wanted to go somewhere in SA I have never been before. I have heard a few of my friends talk about Coffee Bay. Looked for info on the interwebs for a couple of minutes.. Really did not do much planning. The best trips or holidays are the once where you stop when your tired, eat when and where I get hungry and do what ever the locals reccommend, in stead of hours of planning.

I asked a buddy or two if they wanted to join, heard some uhhms and aahhs and decided I am doing this one on my own. This would be a test to see if I could spend a couple if days on holiday having fun by exploring by myself and socialising with random people I meet along the way.

I packed my bike on the Monday night (freedom day - if I remember correctly) and I remember asking myself: "Are you really going ahead with this on your own?" Did not sleep well that night, too much exitement.

Tuesday morning started the bike at around 5:00 leaving from Pretoria East.





Rode down Lynnwood Road, dark outside, I knew I had to turn left onto the N1 and the onto the N3 at a later stage, but that is about how much I knew about how to get to Coffee Bay. The rest I could figure out along the way..

Pretoria was about 15 degrees when started, riding with jeans..no riding pants yet. I crossed the Jukskei, and it dropped to about 11 degrees. I was cold, but still I am exited and looked in awe at the people driving to work at that time of the morning, thinking why do they do this? Why do I do that some days?

Riding out of Gauteng on the N3, sun is coming out, its COLD, stop at a filling station cant recall exacly where, it looks dodgy, I dont care, I need Coffee. Drink, look at map, ride.

Stop. (Wanted to get some breakfast in town) Villiers. Beautiful little place. I smiling..and COLD. Could only get pie at the garage, which of course is not allowed as breakfast on a bike trip. Had to get back to the N3 and ride a km or 3 back to JHB (the downside of winging it) to get breakfast. Im warming up now.







Back on the bike, smile, sun is rising..two minutes later Im cold. My legs!

Van Rheenen Pass..beautifull! This was a new discovery for me. Also misty..mist turns into little raindrops.

I remember thinking, "you might think your tough, but now is the time to stop and get some warmer clothes." Stop. Put K-Way jacket on under my biking jacket. I look at my biking jacket, the lable reads "the ventilator". Now I know why.

Ride. Temperature 8 degrees at every dip in the road. COLD. My legs...

Next town Harrismith. Pull in, its 9:00. Clothing shop must me open. I ride, I see a Woolworths sign. Im smiling, relieved. COLD.

Stop, climb off, I see a Mr Price Sign. The jew in me takes control. I buy sweat pants to wear under my jeans. I pay, put them on right there.

Pants feels really uncomfortable at this stage. Two layers, feels too tight, dont know how I am going to swing my leg over the bike now. Walk to the bike. With effort I swing my leg over, I have to reverse the bike, one leg at a time. Left leg, push..right leg push, (thinking damn this thing is heavy) left leg push..right leg..right leg? No right leg. I do a spectacular Bruce Willis style roll (like they do in the movies right at the moment when the car explodes). Embarrased! Stand up, someone helps me instantly.

Get up, push bike, people looking, I ride off at double speed I usually do, think just to prove I can ride a bike.

Im warm now, smiling, riding, the sun is out..






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Offline iamgigglz

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Re: Pretoria to Transkei
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2015, 06:52:15 pm »
Those are some impressive Tapatalk skills dude.

Very nice start to the RR. Sub  :thumleft:
« Last Edit: May 18, 2015, 06:54:50 pm by iamgigglz »
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Offline Zaber

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Re: Pretoria to Transkei
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2015, 06:54:36 pm »
This damn thing scrolls down while I am typing, so I cant see what I'm typing..


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Offline Zaber

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Pretoria to Transkei
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2015, 07:27:22 pm »
I wasted time. Need to get the miles behind me still a long way to, and I am definatelly sleeping somewhere with a beach-view tonight. If possible Coffee Bay.

I ride. Stop at Mooi Rivier. Pull in, wanted to see what a place with much a beautifull name looks like. I must have been in the wrong side of town..

I fill the tank up. A white guy comes to speak to me..the accent does not sound very Pretoria-ish. I reply in Afrikaans as I sometimes do..I get a blank stare.

Ride. Hungry. Stop at a place called Linga Lapa. Near Nottingham Road. Do yourself a favour! Go there, have a steak..some of the best steak I have had. I meet two tannies in the restaurant, very nice people, we have a chat, feast on some steak. They tell me about a hotel at Nottingham Road, apparently they know the owner..I decide Im staying over there on the way back.

I ride, smiling..beautiful scenery. I find the average speed prosecution signs everywhere. Everyone drives slowly. Im in a hurry, wants to get to Coffee Bay.

Rode to Pietermaritzburg. Amazed at how scenic the area is. Hills everywhere. Green! Stop, look at Google Earth. Check the route, do the calc, I am going to arrive at night, lets see how far we get..

Going to Kokstad..

Get off the N3, to Richmond. I am now in race mode..need to do a big distance here. I immediatelly notice the change is the amount of animals on the road..

Ixopo, thinking "I have friends in many places, this is not one of them".. Stop, get petrol, check map. Do calc..its to far and too dangerous at night. I might have to change the route somewhat..


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Offline Zaber

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Re: Pretoria to Transkei
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2015, 07:42:54 pm »
I ride Umzimkulu, Harding, Paddock, Port Shepstone.



I get there, its dark. Looked for a place to stay, tired, hungry, stop, google, ride, dont see any signs of B&Bs, its dark. Think I was in the non-touristy part of town. I find a road crossing a river, I go, It looks better on this side. I see signs of accommodation. Im smiling. Sea View B&B. This is my view from my room. Glad I did this trip..would do it all over tommorow If I had to.



I go out to the local pub. Sit at the bar. Seems like nothing is happening in Port Shepstone, then again it was a Tuesday night.

Meet a few drunk ouballies and two waitresses at the pub. One ouballie kept saying: "Boet listen to me, I know the area, youre alone, on a bike, If your chain breaks out there, you are f@c$t. Boet, listen to me.." I did not tell him my bike does not have a chain...but the words I did not forget..

Ride, home, listen to the ocean. Sleep..

Next morning. Wake up to this.













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Offline Zaber

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Pretoria to Transkei
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2015, 08:01:29 pm »
This would be my first time seeing Hibberdeen coastline. Absolutely stunning! Warm, palm trees, sand, green!

I see people swimming, and its almost winter..I can understand why people would want to live here. However I would not be able to handle the humidity in Summertime.

Shelly beach (I think) boat launching area.



St Micheals Beach





Rode past Margate, Ramsgate. Stop, eat. Stop at a place with a sign that reads "ride hard, stay cool". They sell game fish like Dorado, dont think I have ever seen that on a menu before.



Ride, Port Edward. Most beautiful section of coast between Port Shep and Port Ed. I am jealous about the quality of sunday morning cruise available here.


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Offline Zaber

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Pretoria to Transkei
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2015, 08:56:16 pm »






Port Edward was a game changer. From there had to get back to the N2. Wild Coast Sun..i heard about it, saw the boom gate, thought, nah thats Joburg, did not come here for commercial BS.

Bizana..the ou ballie's words coming back to me. I dont feel safe. I can smell weed through my helmet every now and then.

Goats, donkeys, geese, cows, five dead dogs and loads if small to medium size potholes.
This is where I realise, this aint no game anymore.

Ride, Mt Ayliff, Mt Frere. I have not seen a white person since leaving Port Ed. Pushing the bike hard, to make up time, spend too much time at Hibberdene.

The N2 was such a rush from Mt Ayliff to Mthatha that I did not enjoy it. Was focussed on the road, taxis and on the look out for animals. I remember going into a town in the transkei where there the highway goes through town, goes to a T Junction with no road signs indicating "Cape left, Durban right". Stop. Look around.. 10 000 people, looks like a market, little kids touching the bike, EVERYONE looking at me..for some reason I did not take my Iphone out to check the map..I just took a lucky left.

Mt Frere, stop, bathroom break, no water in town...

Mthatha, my first opinion, looks like organised chaos. Never seen a town quite like Mthatha.

Its almost dawn. Stop, petrol, ask petrol guy how far is Coffee Bay. Says, about two and a half hours. I think..theres no way it can be that far.

Ride..in Mthatha google maps says turn towards Port St Johns. I go..traffic is like Joburg. I ride on a road that feels like its going on forever..lots of roadworks. Looks like they are building a dual carraigeway to Port St J.

I start to worry, dont see any signs saying Coffee Bay.

Stop. Take out phone. It says turn back. Apparently I missed the turn to Coffee Bay..roadworks, must have taken out the sign that says Coffee Bay.

Swearing in my helmet at the top of my voice, for at least a minute.

Stop, check map, ride.

Stop, check map, ride.

Stop. check map. Found road, its gravel. No road sign.Its dawn. Bike is heavy. Im worried. What if my chain brakes?

I stop I ask a woman "is this the road to Coffee Bay" she just looks at me. I shorten sentence to "coffee bay" and point in the direction. She walk away to go call someone else who can understand this strange man.

New person arrives. I ask, she says NO sir..back to Mthatha. I am so glad I listened to this woman and not google maps. Apparently is the road between Port St J and Coffee Bay not the type that you take on at night with a motorbike?

Ride. Fast!

Mthatha, stop ask, where is coffee bay, same advice, go straight on the N2, turn left.

Ride. Its getting dark. Phone's battery about to die. I am nervous!

Finally a sign that reads CB. Turn. Ride. I thought, OK from here a simple 10 to 15km. I stopped about 15 times to ask the locals if I am still on the right road. Eventually I find Coffee Bay using my bikes main lights. The last 20minutes or so scared the $hit out of me.

Booked in at Sugar Loaf Back Packers. Had to sleep in the dorm room. A german guy, Chris, showed me around, I asked whos bags are these, he said "you are staying with two girls from Switzerland. You better not complain."

Im smiling. Will write more at a later stage.
















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Offline 4 Kays

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Re: Pretoria to Transkei
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2015, 07:17:31 am »
Subscribed  :sip:
 

Offline Kykdaar

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Re: Pretoria to Transkei
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2015, 07:59:13 am »
Lekker :thumleft:

Some of those backpacker chicks are crazy man - here you think you gonna get robbed any moment and they wander around the beach top-less. Could never fathom that one.

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Offline Zaber

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Re: Pretoria to Transkei
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2015, 07:57:44 pm »
So after the tour of the vanue I go straight to the bar. They have some decent pizza at Sugar Loaf! People start appearing from nowhere, there were probably about 30 to 40 people at the bar that night, I met Americans, English, Irish, Swiss and obviously a few South Africans.
This was my first backpackers experience, and I loved it, people are way more social, and friendly than you regular B&B or hotel, or maybe this is just Coffee Bay.

Bar area



My night ended drinking beer on the steps to our dorm at 2:00 with the two strangers in my room.

Next morning, I am amazed by the beauty of this place, everything is so simple, you feel relaxed.. People seem to know me by name..I have to really think to remeber their's.



"Living room"



Reception



Breakfast..





Friends saying good bye..



I was in a no-bike mood, so I took a stroll through CB, because I could not see a thing when I arrived the previous night. There is no asphalt roads, a few places to stay, a restraurant or 3, and a couple of houses..magical little place

Shop where you buy smokes accross the road.



Goat, going nowhere slowly.





Coffee Shack, the other BPackers. You can just imagine the chilledness of this place.













Rocky beach..



Then you go over the hill, or take the trail..



Photos does not justify..



Locals all try to sell you something..either hand made, or locally grown. Hahaha.



I go for a swim, whatch some people getting surfing lessons..



Heading back..




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Offline Zaber

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Re: Pretoria to Transkei
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2015, 07:57:44 pm »
duplicate removed..


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« Last Edit: May 20, 2015, 03:29:03 pm by Zaber »
 

Offline Zaber

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Pretoria to Coffee Bay - Biking and Backpacking
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2015, 08:17:42 pm »
More pics of sugar loaf..

Dorm room, sleeps 9 people.



Tents you can rent..













Jagermeister bottles build into the walls of the rooms.. I locked my room the first day, after that I left it open, because they said I could, and it felt like it was true.



Second night..made friends very quickly.





Guy on right is Rusty, he's the chef at Friends. Seem to run into him everywhere.



The night ended at 4:00 with myself and three new friends sitting next to a fire overlooking the Bay area..having a last beer. An Irish guy came out of the bush quite hammered with a duvet wrapped around him, for some reason he wanted to teach us spanish.






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Offline Zaber

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Re: Pretoria to Transkei
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2015, 08:33:30 pm »
Next moring went for a walk to get some breakfast at Friends. Dont know where else you would find a place like this.

They prepare the food right in front of you..











Heard about the trail to Hole in the Wall. Walked back to the Loaf, saddled up for a ride..





The scenery along this route is amazing, you have to go check it out..
I didnt ATGATT, yes I am an idiot, it was warm and only 9km so I thought lets wing it in shorts and tekkies. This was a bad idea.

Almost right at the best viewpoint of HITW I was riding a steep uphill behind anotger biker who I met along the way, he started slowing down, I was riding too close behind, could not plan my line to ride, front wheel went in to a ditch, and that was led to me doing a nice-quick-lekker-klipharde duikslag.

I did not feel much pain though, more of a adrenalin rush.



Busted knee..






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Offline Zaber

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Re: Pretoria to Transkei
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2015, 08:41:38 pm »
The bike only had a few scratches on the motor, nothing serious.

Was running low on fuel, so took the bike to "town" to fill up. Closest place to get petrol is about 20km. Cant remember the name of the place, its basically like a African Mall. 2 petrol pumps, a wholesale store, liquer store, ATM and one or two other little shops.

Rode back to the loaf, this was going to be my last night there, I had two days left to get back to Gauteng.

Rural Transkei








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Offline Zaber

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Pretoria to Transkei
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2015, 08:49:41 pm »
That night there was a bit less partying involved, more sleeping, much like a security guard. Leg seemed to be fine.

Had a couple of rums with a local guy, who told me he is on a "gap-decade"  there, told me stories of his travels and stories of riding bikes on grens in war..very interesting, a good night...

Woke up the next morning, pulled the blankets off, blanket stuck to my knee. The linen looked like something from a horror movie. Bending my knee was a whole new ball game now, painfull! Once it is bent, keep it bent..

I told staff to add the value of the linen to my room's tab. The girl added R30.

Dressed, packed the bike, got a bandage for the leg.said my good byes..climbed on the bike, and I realised, today is going to be a loooong day. Was planning to ride to the hotel at Nottingham Road.

I left Coffee Bay with a heavy heart..thinking about taking three months unpaid leave and going to live there.

I remember the first night, still feeling awkward, telling the barman, who is a real surfer dude, "I think I dont fit in here", he looked at me and said, "no one does, yet we all do".




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Offline Donaldbr

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Re:
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2015, 01:01:50 am »
Awesome rr

Looks like you forgot to try the pizza at papzellos. Never found better, guess you will have to return.

Cb has it's own culture to the rest of S.A., glad you enjoyed.

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Re: Pretoria to Transkei
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2015, 03:54:55 am »
Shot Zaber,

Ek het die RR geniet.
"If you have men who will only come if they know there is a good road, I don't want them.  I want men who will come if there is no road at all."

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Offline Zaber

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Re: Pretoria to Transkei
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2015, 05:12:29 am »
Awesome rr

Looks like you forgot to try the pizza at papzellos. Never found better, guess you will have to return.

Cb has it's own culture to the rest of S.A., glad you enjoyed.

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I am surely returning when I have some time again, but I want to go for at least two weeks. Live in a dorm and go fishing, swimming, surfing, hiking..etc. Also want to do Amphitheater BP in Lesotho.

Wanted to try Pappazellos, but I was invited to Friends.


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Offline Zaber

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Re: Pretoria to Transkei
« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2015, 05:15:45 am »
Shot Zaber,

Ek het die RR geniet.

Ek het gedink laat ek ook maar n slag iets bydra tot die forum.. Hys nog nie klaar nie, ek kry net min tyd vir die forum.

Bly jy geniet hom, dis vir n uitgesoekte gehoor, dink ek, nie almal sal CB of hierdie RR geniet nie.




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Re: Pretoria to Transkei
« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2015, 06:34:46 am »
Shot Zaber,

Ek het die RR geniet.

Ek het gedink laat ek ook maar n slag iets bydra tot die forum.. Hys nog nie klaar nie, ek kry net min tyd vir die forum.

Bly jy geniet hom, dis vir n uitgesoekte gehoor, dink ek, nie almal sal CB of hierdie RR geniet nie.




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Well I enjoyed it a lot.

Thanks for the effort  :thumleft:
How can I be lost if I've got nowhere to go?