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Offline witblitz

Just a lekker solo ride
« on: June 07, 2018, 10:47:26 pm »
A colleague informs me of the long weekend at the end of April and it is not school holidays, which sounds good. So with several days in lieu, I get some time off approved and 2 weeks to prep a trip.

I have wanted to ride the West Coast and Namawka 4x4 route for several years. Speak to my dad but he can’t join me as he heading to Joburg for SA athletics for my sister, so my trip turns to a solo ride.

Using Google Earth, Google Maps, and the online version of t4a, I sort of plan a route with approximate distances between fuels stations. My only real focus for the trip is the West Coast stretch and the Namakwa 4x4 trail. The rest I am flexible with. My bike is generally always ready to ride, but I just need to fit the Safari tank for the extra range. Get some odds and ends before I leave. Sign a promotion letter in the week leading up to my holiday. Life is good.

Day 0

Sort of pack the bike the Friday at home. I do not have a clear packing list in my mind, so dump some things in a duffle bag to drag along. Bike on the bakkie and I head up to the family farm on the Friday. The bike sleeps in the kitchen for the night. Still deciding how to pack to try and get the weight distributed evenly on the left and right side of the bike.

Day 1

Route: Mountonshoek -> Graafwater -> Lutzville -> Weskus -> Erens op die berg

The aim for the days is to ride the trails of the West Coast and sleep wherever I get to by the end of the day.

I get going about an hour later due to a slow clock on the wall, but so be it. Riding starts off well, luggage it staying in place over the badly corrugated road.

Between Het Kruis and Graafwater.

Hit some tar to Lambert’s Bay. Turn north to Doringbaai on a gravel road. Miss the turn off. I took my dad’s GPS along, but only use it occasionally when I feel I need to know where to turn. Otherwise, I just check the road ahead on the GPS, sort of remember key points, switch it off and ride.

Leaving Lutzville after filling up to the brim.

Turn to the coast and pass a wind farm. A few years ago I attempted a solo trip on the West Coast 4x4 route between Xmas and new year. Along this gravel road, my bag came loose and ended up between the rear fender and wheel. Ended up turning around and heading back to Cape Town. In Lutzville I filled up again and met a family from the northern cape that cut the holiday short due to the heat. I was under prepped for that trip, so perhaps it was a good omen that it went wrong on the first attempt a few years back.

I reach the start of the West Coast 4x4 trail. Open the gate, push the bike through, close the gate, and off I go.

You have the main road, and several sandy and gravel twee spoor paths leading off the main gravel road. Lots of people camping and fishing along the route.

I reach Brand se Baai. Several people camping here. I stop to take a photo and see have decent signal here. Interesting area for people to camp. Camp on the left, sea water intake for the mine in the middle, and the mine on the right.

I head further north to catch up with more 4x4s along the way. The road starts getting sandy. The riding gets better and the road ahead looks great. Miles of this.

Reach the lighthouse at Groenriviermond and take the obligatory lighthouse photo. I am now in a park, the road is smooth, an ouma in her i10 comes from the front while being chased by a Sanspark bakkie.

Pay the park fees at the Namaqua National Park entrance. I get chirped by a 4x4 crowd about riding alone, then why I am not on a 1290, finally why am I wearing a Yamaha jacket while riding a KTM. Same reason you stick Isuzu stickers on a Ford, coz’ it adds reliability.

Lekker sandy areas in this park. I settle in to a lekker rhythm and let the bike take over. I forget to stop more pics as the riding is just so good.

Several years ago I read a RR and this one pic remained in my head, hoping that I would be able to ride there one day as well.

Link to RR http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=9421.msg127180#msg127180

Unfortunately I could not recreate the above photo, but the ride through the sandy areas of the park was great nonetheless.

I came across a Meerkat meeting in the park. Not the people, but the actual animal. They all scattered into the various holes. They are truly difficult buggers to get a photo of.  Their head pops up and down and I cannot get a pic during that period.

Get to an intersection in the park and pull out the provided park map. Oh there is some caves that I have heard of before. I am nearby so I decide to go check out the Spoegrivier caves.

I end up have my first and only fall of the trip when I leave the caves on the sandy road out. High sided with my head and shoulder into the ground first. De-moer in with myself, I pick the bike up with one hand, get on, start up and ride further. No time to think of aches and pains. The next morning and the following two weeks, I still felt that fall with my shoulder.

A convoy of about 15 4x4s reach me at a some gate along the way. Briefly speak to the one couple, “Waan toe ry jy vir die aand?”, “Weet nie. Sal kyk hoe ver ek kom.”, They nod their heads in approval. Reach the intersection that heads to Hondeklipbaai. Carry on through the northern part of the park. These roads are just great to ride.

Partially through Wildeperdhoek pass.

It is getting late so I decide to skip visiting the prison ruins further down the road, but rather turn onto the Buffelsrivier 4x4 route. Head up the mountain and get to a gate. Game camera watching you, electric fence on top of the fence. Right lets enter. Later on get to another gate, pass through, and see several jackal carcasses hung up on fence posts of which about 6 of them look rather fresh. Probably less than a week old. The last post was just the bone of the leg hanging. Barely past the Jackal carcasses and I find an Anatolian Shepherd lying in the road. He gets up, but does not go for me. I continue to ride to get off this guy’s farm knowing I do not want to sleep in the bush here. The fences change and I pass through another gate with a camera, so I reckon that I am off that guy’s farm.

Take the wrong turn and check the GPS to confirm my mistake. It is 17:30 so I decide to find a place to sleep, see a washed up path and head up it. Looks good and decide to setup camp for the night.

Not a bad spot. It started getting dark, and the horny jackals start howling across the valley. They stop and I settle in. It is full moon, so I basically have a spot light directed at me when I face the wrong way. I end up getting the necessary sleep for the night albeit it being rather intermittent.

The following users thanked this post: Splash, Ian in Great Brak River, wilfwalk

Offline Heimer

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Re: Just a lekker solo ride
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2018, 11:00:41 pm »
This is epic.

Matriek getuigskrif 1979: ........... is 'n vriendelike seun met volop selfvertroue. Hy tree soms vreemd op. Die skool se beste wense vergesel hom.

Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: Just a lekker solo ride
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2018, 03:41:44 am »
Wow ... damn dude, where’s the rest ....??

Was listening to Lucinda Williams “Protection” that rolled into “Righteously” when I stumbled on this ... hand and glove man, hand and glove! Thanks!

« Last Edit: June 08, 2018, 03:48:46 am by Ian in Great Brak River »
1978. It's 6am, mid winter...two up on a XL 185S ... off to my first casino ever with all of R40 and we've got a full tank of fuel, so enough to get there we reckon.... that's determination...

Old bike: '82 Eddie Lawson Replica Replica.
Other bike: '05 Honda Varadero 1000
New bike: '16 Honda Africa Twin.

Offline Oubones

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Re: Just a lekker solo ride
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2018, 05:07:25 am »
Jealous, where is the rest? :sip:
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SR 500

Offline Kobus Myburgh

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Re: Just a lekker solo ride
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2018, 05:44:03 am »
You’re doing it right Witblitz, brilliant.  Can’t wait for the rest.  :ricky:
"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."

-David Livingstone-

Offline Mr D

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Re: Just a lekker solo ride
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2018, 07:18:32 am »
Loving this  :ricky:
All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible. T. E. Lawrence

Offline KTMvan

Re: Just a lekker solo ride
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2018, 08:25:30 am »
2004 KTM 640 adventure - alive and well

Offline Oupa Foe-rie

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Re: Just a lekker solo ride
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2018, 10:16:27 am »
sub  :sip:
Yamaha XT1200Z ........... Take your soul everywhere and back

Offline sidetrack

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Re: Just a lekker solo ride
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2018, 10:58:47 am »
Nice keep it coming, that is my DRZ on the dunes many years ago. Was a great trip.
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Offline witblitz

Re: Just a lekker solo ride
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2018, 03:44:54 pm »
Day 2

Erens op die berg -> Buffelsrivier -> A Dead end -> Springbok -> Steinkopf -> Oewerbos

I read mixed reviews on the Namakwa 4x4, so my plan was to either sleep at the start of the route or a short section into it. That was the plan so that I could get an early start on the 4x4 route the following day. Things turned out differently for the day.

Got up, made coffee, ate a jungle bar, cleaned up, packed up camp and headed out. I continued along the Buffelsrivier 4x4 route. So far it is a dirt road.

From google maps, I know the route turns east off the gravel road. Checked the GPS for the turn off location and found it. I followed that track then. The road gets used here as there are huts/houses all over for the trekboere (Not sure if it is the correct term).

The tracks ran all over the place but generally headed in the general correct direction. I got to a dead end. Started up the GPS and saw I missed another turn off as the roads I am on is not on the GPS. Followed one sheep trail down a section a bit to try and get into the neighbouring valley where I had to be. Ended up back tracking as the sheep track was heading to a narrow and rocky section. Over the mountain is also not a option. I as alone so I am not planning to do something stupid. I am here to enjoy the ride so I turn around. Following the GPS I got to the second turn off for the trail which I missed. No tracks on the road, bush semi overgrown, but I decide to head up the washed out track. Numerous valleys, hills and altogether stunning views. Get to an abandoned farm house and with some out buildings. Two old truck bodies is laying there in the bush. Probably from the 60s. I assume this had to have been a thriving region many years ago based on the permanent structures.

Come over the last mountain and into view of Buffelsrivier valley.

The road drops down to the left of the pic above. It is a little steep and rocky. I did see some solo rider tried to ride up there, but turned around. Looked like a E07 rear tire. I think you can get up there, but you will have to commit. Pass through the of Buffelsrivier and head west on the R355 to a path I found on google maps that heads to Nigramoep. The road ends up at a locked gate to a mine. Granted I did pass a board that said the road is closed about a few hundred meters back, but I thought it was due to the poor condition of the road.

I know the Buffelrivier 4x4 route north of the R355 also heads in the similar direction of the mine. So I decide to skip the idea of heading up that road, but rather hit the tar to Springbok on the tar road over Spektakel pass. Half way up the pass, I hit reserve after last filling in up in Lutzville.

In Springbok I get fuel (21.89L, can’t remember the mileage), hit the Wimpy for a proper meal (I did not really eat the previous day), and tackle the Spar for a few bottles of water.  All three places are conveniently next to another. On the N7 to Steinkopf I ride past a blond on her overland bicycle. She waves like mad, I wave back. It seemed more like a wave of joy than distress as she was still moving. So I move along. Later that night I find out she is a French lady that has ridden her bicycle from Ciaro. Madness.

From Steinkopf I hit the wide open gravel roads in the direction of Eksteenfontein. I am riding conservatively as the next fuel stop for me is Pofadder or Aggeneys.

Odd seeing a wrecked car laying way off in the bush along this road. I assume it was stolen due to the location. Stop for a photo and get mauled by the only fly in the region. Bugger had to be desperate or he smelled me miles away.

I turn off to Helskloof pass. Along the road I get chased by a herder’s dogs. There are several sections where people have been deviating from the route and creating their own paths. Through the pass and then reach the stone mounds. Some interesting structures people have stacked over there.

I am properly disappointed with petroglyphs. Never knew that Jaco and Susan were bushmen graffiting their names on the rocks they could find. Along with this is also the litter on the route that annoyed me. Broken bottles, empty oil cans. Found the same on the West Coast route.

Not sure if this is graffiti or the traditional people telling us that they have been walking in circles for days.

Finally the Orange River is in sight. Follow the road along the border until you get to the farmer that waters the road. The road turns to snot and I idle/slide through there until the turn off to Oewerbos. I checked out the place when I was at the Wimpy in Springbok earlier the day. They had a place to camp, cold creme soda and food to eat. I could still push on to the Namakwa 4x4 route, but decide to make my destination for the day as the atmosphere seemed relaxed. Good supper tonight and I will be fine with a light supper if need be tomorrow night. Meet a biker there who went up with his Landy. Later on I move my bike to the camp site and have a fellow Wilddog (nms) come over and introduce himself. He was jealous of me as he was there with the car and not the bike. Ended have a long night of conversations with them. I would never have written a RR, but he actually asked me to write one due to it sounding like such a nice trip. They offer me a tent for the night, but I choose to sleep under the stars again. It is a fair bit warmer here than what I had the previous night. The orange river is nice and full at the time of my visit.

The following users thanked this post: wilfwalk

Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: Just a lekker solo ride
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2018, 04:41:15 pm »
Good advice it was too from that Dog. Great stuff and a test ride for me for Aug.

1978. It's 6am, mid winter...two up on a XL 185S ... off to my first casino ever with all of R40 and we've got a full tank of fuel, so enough to get there we reckon.... that's determination...

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Offline Bliknêrs

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Re: Just a lekker solo ride
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2018, 06:36:04 pm »
Did more or less the same route but in reverse with a friend years ago.
Loving this please continue!

Offline Splash

Re: Just a lekker solo ride
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2018, 07:05:43 pm »
What an adventure - amazing story and pictures. Many thanks.
Have bike, will ride.

Offline blauth

Re: Just a lekker solo ride
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2018, 06:24:20 pm »
Great trip. I'm glad you decided to do a RR.

Offline witblitz

Re: Just a lekker solo ride
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2018, 07:48:27 pm »
So work got in the way of life and I forgot to complete my RR. Well here is the rest.

Day 3

Oewerbos -> Namaqua 4x4 -> Pella -> Aggeneys -> Springbok

Woke up, made a cup of coffee while starting to pack up. Watched the sunrise over the river.

I get going at later than I wanted to but I head on down towards the border. Drop my parents a Whatsapp and SMS.


I ride the N7 through the mountains to the turn off for the Namaqua 4x4 route. Lots of mad people on bicycles along the way. I find the start of the route, turn off and hit the tracks. Nice flowing riding and pick up that two bikes have been through here the previous day or two. Their tracks often all over the show like dronkies.

I come across several 4x4s groups along the way on their way out to get home before the end of the weekend. During the day I also passed a group of 4x4 quads with coolers boxes strapped onto them also enjoy the long weekend.

The route takes me through a canyon which has some water laying around. The landscape is forever changing.

The route coincides the main gravel roads in the area which takes you back to the river to get the popular pump station photo.

Along the way you come across some settlements. Usually some stripped car laying around. I just wave and ride through. What surprised me is the difference on either side of the river. On side building ruins, and the opposite side what looks like a well-run farm.

Just down the road I come across another ruin with a Samil 20 outside, tall mast behind the walls. Not sure why there is military personnel out here. Perhaps a training exercise. Anyhow, back off the gravel and into the sandy tracks on the way to the Groot Melkboom (I think). Stop next to the river for some pics.

I like this pic.

I carry one, get a little lost again. Cross roads with fresh tracks and limited points on the GPS all contribute. Some common sense does seem to help with find your way. River just needs to remain on my left and I should be okay.

I see a town the distance. So I just follow any track as I come across them. End up passing four guys dressed with some sort of SANDF clothes. Just a wave and I find their camp about a kilometre further. Several tents and another Samil. I end up taking perhaps the wrong turn off, through the thorn bushes, but the Samil’s tracks is running through here in one direction only so I should be good. Get into to the town. Can’t remember the name, but they have a pavilion at their sports grounds.

From there I hit the main gravel road back south. Turns into the kakest gravel road ever. Just corrugations. Ek skud van die enamel van my tande af op die pad. Check the GPS and there is another turnoff to head towards Klien Pella. The gate sits at the post with the beanie.

The above road is really enjoyable. I get to Klien Pella and see how our neighbour made some of his money. The sprinklers on the road through the farm was welcomed to cool down.

From there you head back down to the river

The road gets rocky somewhere along the way. At the end, you get to a pipeline that runs along the gravel road towards Pella. Based on the bike tracks, I see the two before me made it this far. I was quite hot at this stage and wanted to head with the gravel road to Pella. I am glad I did not and rather took the alternative route.

From there you head into Pella. The town seems rife with poverty so I decide not to stick around. Just outside of town, the bike hits reserve. I phone home to let my dad know I made it. Why so quick? The tracks flow nicely and the 690 runs lekker on these routes. End up deciding to head to Springbok for the night along the tar road as I did not feel like extremely corrugated gravel roads. Stop in Aggeneys for fuel, Bar-one, drinking yoghurt and water. I am impressed with how clean the town is. Stop outside the town to enjoy my delicacy.

I exhaust every possible method of sitting on my bike on the tar section. By the time I reach Springbok, my arse feels like I have spent a weekend in prison being called Princess.  So I finished the two major routes I wanted to ride, the eastern Namaqua 4x4 side and the sandy stretch of the west coast. I decided I will head on home the next day and see how far I get.

Offline witblitz

Re: Just a lekker solo ride
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2018, 07:51:20 pm »
Day 4

Springbok -> Voltruisfontein -> Klawer -> Spietkop -> Mountonshoek

Up and ready early morning waiting to pack down a big breakfast as I know I have a long day before me. Bike is packed and I am ready to munch down a breakfast at 07:15, but it is a public holiday so I only leave at 08:30. I leave Springbok via a gravel road running south.

I take turn offs to avoid the N7 on the way back to Cape Town.

Looking back at some pass I just came up. There were several on that day.

I pass through a settlement with a name I cannot recall and ride down Langkloof pass. Only problem so far today is all the gates I have been opening and closing. I lost count later on.

I pass an elderly farmer in his 90s shaped hilux. Open a gate and go through, they basically there so I leave it open. He comes next to me, nods as a thanks, hooks the next gear while making eye contact, gives a small spin and speeds off. Bastard. I close the gate and head up the road and pass him.

At a turn off T4A said I can use, I come up to a gate that says “Streng Privaat”. So I head further down the main gravel road. Reach a crossing and turn the bike in the direction of Volstruisfontein. Did not see any Ostrich or fountain or combination thereof on that section of road. So I am not actually sure where this place is.

By far the most committed farmer I have seen with regards to his the stone wall.

To be honest, I cannot recall which road I took further. I had screenshots of routes plotted on google maps in terrain mode. I recall getting onto a bigger road and then turning off towards a nature reserve on some minor road.

I passed by a farm house where the antie shouted that I can leave the gate open. Dankie antie.

From there I ended up on the high speed Kliprand road towards the N7. Onto the N7 and stretched the legs to Klawer for fuel, water and a Steri Stumpie.

I head out to the stop-go outside Klawer on the N7. A long queue is standing up the hill and the falg bearer says I can head to the front. About a third of the way up I pass a provisional traffic car standing in the queue. I realise I might have messed up and decide to keep riding to the front. Still waiting in front, the fuzz pull up behind me. After a chat, and checking my licence, I am off with a warning, but not having to first wait 5 more minutes for the traffic to stop from the front. In the mean time, the other officer is having a chat with the stop-go traffic engineers about the dangers that they are causing with excessively long waiting periods and having queue build up.

Turn off near Trawal towards Graffwater. Stop at Ratelfontein for a photo.  And then head onto Tierhoek.

I rode past the rooibos fields to get onto the R365, however, I come up to a gate that is wired shut. Extra wire, rods, sticks, alles, die boer soek nie die hek oop nie. Head down on the sandy farm road to a pakstoor and find a farm worker there. So boer Ben’s sheep are walking there and that is why the gate is wired shut for now. No problem as people do not always close gates they found closed or even asked to close. I get explained a different way to get on the Paleishuiwel road through another farm. Stop at the next farm and get the same explanation along with some directions off the farm and head towards Mountonshoek to end my trip.

All in all a good trip.

Offline I&horse

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Re: Just a lekker solo ride
« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2018, 09:19:49 pm »
Silence is golden...... Duct tape is silver

Everything works with smoke, if the smoke escapes, it stops working.

Offline benreaper

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Re: Just a lekker solo ride
« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2018, 10:17:58 pm »
Flipped maar dit lyk na n lekker trip. Dankie vir die RR Witblitz, ek het die saamry verskriklik geniet en die saadjie is geplant.

Offline NoRush

Re: Just a lekker solo ride
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2018, 01:21:53 am »
Wat n trip, dankie dat jy gedeel het.  :thumleft:

Offline Imran

Re: Just a lekker solo ride
« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2018, 01:12:44 pm »
I envy you!
Cool trip. Wish I had the opportunity.
Some say I lack ambition,
I say I value my freedom.