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Offline sidetrack

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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #100 on: September 02, 2020, 10:34:23 am »
Little by little, one travels far
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Offline sidetrack

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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #101 on: October 25, 2020, 06:26:28 pm »
Limpopo and a bit of Mpumalanga

With the end of year rush approaching fast I decided to do a quick weekend ride. Limpopo it would be, the region south of Polokwane.  and do some tracks from years ago and try a couple of new ones. Each day would be about 350km, not bad that wont take long ..... I managed to leave work earlier and got on the road just before 1pm. Followed the tracks east towards Groblersdal, my first (and turns out only) night of camping would be at Arabie Dam. Just before Groblersdal I ran into a bit of rain but it was actually quite pleasant as it was a hot day. The Jacarandas signaled that it can only be October. Quick refuel at Groblersdal and I joined some two track just outside the village of Uitvlugt crossing the most dry Puleng river. Typical tribal land roads, bit sandy in places but fun to ride and tracks all over the show. It was now almost 4pm but I reckon there would be enough time to reach Arabie around 5pm and setup camp.
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Offline sidetrack

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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #102 on: October 25, 2020, 06:37:31 pm »
I arrived at Matlala Camp just after 5 and quickly booked a camping site and went looking for a good spot. There were a couple of people camping and fishing but fairly quiet. Made a fire and sat down enjoying the sunset. Tomorrow we will be following the Olifants river and ride a pass or two.
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Offline sidetrack

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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #103 on: October 25, 2020, 07:04:09 pm »
I got going fairly early, weather predicted to be in the 30's so tried to cover some distance before things really hotted up. I crossed the Olifants and joined a dirt track near Elandskraal which followed close to the river, the first part was ok but then it became a bit overgrown and soon I was off track and had to bash through some shrubs to try and find an easier route. I was also a milometer away from loosing balance and diving into a thorn bush but luckily kept it upright.  I lost a lot of time here and eventually ran into a fence as well. I found a guy herding donkeys of all things and asked him if there was a gate nearby. He showed me another small track and said just go that way there is a nice road there without trees. Well I followed his directions but no luck just more dead ends so I ended up making my way back to a village I could see in the distance. Eventually I made it back to a main dirt road and could follow that to the next section of my route.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2020, 07:05:30 pm by sidetrack »
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Offline sidetrack

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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #104 on: October 25, 2020, 07:19:20 pm »
I now left the two track behind for the most part and got into some riverbed type trails. At least this was much easier to navigate. I rounded one corner and found a donkey cart coming the other way. We both got bit of a fright, the last thing they expected to see out here I would guess. From here I would go to the old English steel bridge and make my way to the right bank of the Olifants
« Last Edit: October 25, 2020, 08:38:52 pm by sidetrack »
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Offline skydiver

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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #105 on: October 25, 2020, 08:24:39 pm »
Very nice pics.
Looking forward to the rest.
 

Offline sidetrack

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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #106 on: October 25, 2020, 09:27:39 pm »
Crossing the old bridge I would now keep the river on my left. From the village of Apel I followed a track taking me towards Malogeng. Really enjoyed this bit, it was nice and scenic with the river on the left and mountainous to the right. Lots of tree cover helped with the heat as well. I stopped and had lunch consisting of a can of Mackerel, dry wors and some jelly babies  :lol8:. The trail was about 15km in length and I saw no people at all.
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Offline sidetrack

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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #107 on: October 25, 2020, 09:32:27 pm »
Was tempted cooling off in the river !
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Offline Xpat

Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #108 on: October 25, 2020, 09:37:57 pm »
Where is that old bridge? Missed that one. But I believe it is better to stay up north of the river as there aren't any farms just open bush with tracks, while I can clearly see farms south of the river.

I followed the river on the north side all the way to Nkotokwane - a village across the river from where that track between Apel and Malogeng hits mountains, crossed the river in the village where cars cross (no bridge) and then hit that track to Malogeng. Half way through that track my battery died (as I have habbit of using kill switch too often and not switching off the key - well not anymore) and had to walk to that dam where I had to find somebody with car and jumper cables. I found car, not jumper cables, but they took be back to the bike, which by that time (about 7 pm) healed itselft and I rode it out in the dark.

BTW Malogeng is where the Little Kaokoland route starts - heading south east, I'm curious to see if you managed any of that.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2020, 09:38:37 pm by Xpat »
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #109 on: October 25, 2020, 09:57:42 pm »
OK, found the bridge - it was way further south, I hit the river further north where R579 crosses the river on another bridge. If you are keen I can send you tracks for that section - it might be better than the one you did, as it is deeper into tribal land with minimum private property, unlike more south where farms are all over.

Offline sidetrack

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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #110 on: October 25, 2020, 10:12:39 pm »
OK, found the bridge - it was way further south, I hit the river further north where R579 crosses the river on another bridge. If you are keen I can send you tracks for that section - it might be better than the one you did, as it is deeper into tribal land with minimum private property, unlike more south where farms are all over.
Please send the tracks although I must say on the heavy bike solo I tried to limit to interesting but not too difficult riding that is why someday I would like a lighter 690 or the like. If only it came with a 660 motor  :biggrin: By the bridge one can stay next to the river like you said, did that with Dirtwarp but on much lighter bikes.
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Offline sidetrack

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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #111 on: October 25, 2020, 10:39:34 pm »
The last third of the river track opens up into a bigger dirt road as it heads north towards Dal-Josaphat but it's fantastic riding on the heavy bike with the track snaking through the valley crossing dry riverbeds and nice klip koppies to explore. From here I headed towards the R37 to take me east, the small villages dotted next to the tar sections all have small spaza shops and I must have stopped by almost all of them to stock up on my water supply. Unfortunately they also have a gazillion speed bumps and goats making progress painfully slow. After a while I could not take it anymore and went fully Africa mode, passing cars and bakkies by any means possible !
Filling up a local who certainly did not consume on site came walking up to me with zero social distancing first asking for a job and then failing that for some money. Gave him R10 to cut short the conversation and he was happen as can be. From here I headed to Djata, eventually the route would lead me to the Steelpoort Mountain track which looked interesting on Google Earth at least but never knew about it. First though I had to ride Sidetrack Pass (registered trade mark, all rights reserved), I have done it before on a DRZ and a previous XTZ but each time going west to east downhill, well this time I went up and I guess no maintenance took place in the last 5 years because it was in pretty bad condition. Even my XT's fan came one, it has never come on before, in fact I had my doubts it even worked as per my post in technical section. But now I know it takes a rocky climb and 35 degree weather to activate that sucker. Start of the pass is in the last picture. It's a fun ride and nice views from the top.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2020, 10:43:01 pm by sidetrack »
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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #112 on: October 26, 2020, 07:25:59 am »
nice....
ur riding reminds me of the days we used to ride in Penge and cross the Olifants go up and camp via the Orrie Baragwanath Pass ..........memories on my Suzuki DR 650

never did it solo back then tho......

thanks for sharing :thumleft:
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Offline Tman21

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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #113 on: October 26, 2020, 07:58:32 am »
Nog 'n Lekker plek om te roof kyk :laughing4: :thumleft:
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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #114 on: October 26, 2020, 09:45:23 am »
...
From here I headed to Djata, eventually the route would lead me to the Steelpoort Mountain track which looked interesting on Google Earth at least but never knew about it. First though I had to ride Sidetrack Pass (registered trade mark, all rights reserved) ...

I'd like to know where these are, @sidetrack  - some 10 years ago my team of geologists made some drilling roads on the Leolo Mtns. Went from the R37 side all the way to the top of the Leolo Mtns, where it connected with the minor dirt roads which connect the mountain top communities with the Jane Furse tar road. Beautiful countryside, top of the mountain almost alpine flora (and loads of dagga plantations). The one road was from Garatau up the mountain and the other from Eerste Geluk. Not sure if these roads are still traversable.

Ek sal laaik van n prentjie hier sit, maar is te f0kken onnosel...
 

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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #115 on: October 26, 2020, 11:50:52 am »
Awesome :thumleft:
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Offline sidetrack

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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #116 on: October 26, 2020, 01:10:01 pm »
The pass winds through the valley below then makes a right and gains elevation quickly, it was quite rocky most likely made worse by vehicles trying this route then ending up wheel spinning for most of the way to the top. Couple of rocks had visible marks from making contact with some poor guys under carriage. I stopped to take a picture of the valley below and had some wheel spin to get going again but not too much drama, the XT likes to chug up in first gear. The track can be seen in the one picture from where I came (eastern side). Once at the top I searched for the start of the Steelpoort Mountain track, I hoped it would be a gravel road or twee spoor but alas it was a pretty narrow rocky path roughly following close to some pylons. I decided to see how it goes but after about 1km I quickly realized I would not only run out of time but I would be stupid riding this alone and with only 1.5L of water on me. No cell reception either. On the GPS I reckoned it was around 50km in length, 31km as the crow flies. Looking back I'm really glad I turned around. Xpat confirmed that at the other end of the track it got even worse and very tough going. On a KTM 500 or such this would be a fun ride. As always the camera does not do it justice but on the heavy bike it would have been hard work. I now had a conundrum, the track would have taken me to the R555 to join up on a piece of the TSAT I wanted to try but it was quite late by now. My only option was to backtrack down Sidetrack Pass then back to the R37 or taking into account the time I had left I headed west down the mountain and joined the tar to take R555 and pick up a shortcut towards my next stop at Tonteldoos.
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Offline sidetrack

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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #117 on: October 26, 2020, 01:18:55 pm »
...
From here I headed to Djata, eventually the route would lead me to the Steelpoort Mountain track which looked interesting on Google Earth at least but never knew about it. First though I had to ride Sidetrack Pass (registered trade mark, all rights reserved) ...

I'd like to know where these are, @sidetrack  - some 10 years ago my team of geologists made some drilling roads on the Leolo Mtns. Went from the R37 side all the way to the top of the Leolo Mtns, where it connected with the minor dirt roads which connect the mountain top communities with the Jane Furse tar road. Beautiful countryside, top of the mountain almost alpine flora (and loads of dagga plantations). The one road was from Garatau up the mountain and the other from Eerste Geluk. Not sure if these roads are still traversable.
Hi the two way points and basic idea of the route
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Offline sidetrack

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Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #118 on: October 26, 2020, 01:22:12 pm »
Where is that old bridge? Missed that one. But I believe it is better to stay up north of the river as there aren't any farms just open bush with tracks, while I can clearly see farms south of the river.

I followed the river on the north side all the way to Nkotokwane - a village across the river from where that track between Apel and Malogeng hits mountains, crossed the river in the village where cars cross (no bridge) and then hit that track to Malogeng. Half way through that track my battery died (as I have habbit of using kill switch too often and not switching off the key - well not anymore) and had to walk to that dam where I had to find somebody with car and jumper cables. I found car, not jumper cables, but they took be back to the bike, which by that time (about 7 pm) healed itselft and I rode it out in the dark.

BTW Malogeng is where the Little Kaokoland route starts - heading south east, I'm curious to see if you managed any of that.
Little Kaokoland sounds great but if I look for Malogeng it seems I bypassed it by taking the R37 to make up some time  :-\
Little by little, one travels far
J.R.R Tolkien
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Solo for the soul
« Reply #119 on: October 26, 2020, 02:29:17 pm »
Where is that old bridge? Missed that one. But I believe it is better to stay up north of the river as there aren't any farms just open bush with tracks, while I can clearly see farms south of the river.

I followed the river on the north side all the way to Nkotokwane - a village across the river from where that track between Apel and Malogeng hits mountains, crossed the river in the village where cars cross (no bridge) and then hit that track to Malogeng. Half way through that track my battery died (as I have habbit of using kill switch too often and not switching off the key - well not anymore) and had to walk to that dam where I had to find somebody with car and jumper cables. I found car, not jumper cables, but they took be back to the bike, which by that time (about 7 pm) healed itselft and I rode it out in the dark.

BTW Malogeng is where the Little Kaokoland route starts - heading south east, I'm curious to see if you managed any of that.
Little Kaokoland sounds great but if I look for Malogeng it seems I bypassed it by taking the R37 to make up some time  :-\

Yes you did. I refer as Little Kaokoland to the part of that range north of the humbly named Sidetrack pass - and at the north it ends at Malogeng village.