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Offline Slim Jim

Re: TSAT (Trans South Africa Trail)
« Reply #180 on: April 25, 2020, 10:02:31 am »
Hey Sidetrack,wow that's awsome,the main pic sums up SA riding to a tee.{ one question were is that taken?] I have to go there..... well done keep it up.
I'm doing a bush to burg ride when this lockdown comes to an end and taking 3 days through the midlands [ fishing , riding and camping ......yelow fish,rainbow's,gravel roads and trax and some tinnies in the mountains around a fire] , I will send you pics and do a RR when that happens and show whats in my back yard.once again well done  :sip:
 

Offline XT JOE

Re: TSAT (Trans South Africa Trail)
« Reply #181 on: April 25, 2020, 10:06:57 am »
Agree Joe Hogsback is a must but starting with Katberg Pass, I could not find a dirt road between Katberg onto Cathcart and then joining Vis Arends track yet.

Do you want to do Katberg and Hogs?  If so why do you need to come from Cathcart?  If I understand you guys correct you want to include the following, Baviaans, Hogsback, Katberg down to Rhodes?  Just as a side note, Katberg can be much worse than Baviaans, albeit a lot shorter distance. 

Give me a list of what you want included on the route in the EC and I will plot the route.   :deal:   :thumleft:

No experience on Katberg- you decide and we will call it the Visarend section of the route :thumleft: keep in mind medium ability and all bike sizes- like Woody and Gerhards abilty  :thumleft:
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Offline sidetrack

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Re: TSAT (Trans South Africa Trail)
« Reply #182 on: April 25, 2020, 10:28:34 am »
Thanks all. @KarooKid took the picture near Tankwa river if I remember correctly. Also big thanks to @Overland Bruce for all the tips to improve the website. I will be making some changes soon. Trying a bit of html coding to create a "hamburger" menu. Getting there slowly.
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Offline sidetrack

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Re: TSAT (Trans South Africa Trail)
« Reply #183 on: April 25, 2020, 10:36:12 am »
Agree Joe Hogsback is a must but starting with Katberg Pass, I could not find a dirt road between Katberg onto Cathcart and then joining Vis Arends track yet.

Do you want to do Katberg and Hogs?  If so why do you need to come from Cathcart?  If I understand you guys correct you want to include the following, Baviaans, Hogsback, Katberg down to Rhodes?  Just as a side note, Katberg can be much worse than Baviaans, albeit a lot shorter distance. 

Give me a list of what you want included on the route in the EC and I will plot the route.   :deal:   :thumleft:

No experience on Katberg- you decide and we will call it the Visarend section of the route :thumleft: keep in mind medium ability and all bike sizes- like Woody and Gerhards abilty  :thumleft:
Agree. I was thinking Rhodes - Ludeans Nek Pass - Katberg Pass - Hogsback then back onto your route Visarend towards Baviaans (I used the rear entry). Initially had a route running over Burgersdorp - Molteno and Queenstown from Lundeans side then going across to Cradock and Graaf Reinet (see screenshot). But yours running further south looks more scenic ? More Eastern Cape shrub type landscape vs Karoo
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Offline Vis Arend

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Re: TSAT (Trans South Africa Trail)
« Reply #184 on: April 25, 2020, 04:23:23 pm »
OK menere, here is the route. 

In summary Rhodes, Lundeansnek (then you have to do the little detour to Dangershoek), the to Lady Grey, over Joubert pas and then Ottos du Plessis pass, all the way mostly gravel over the Kei river, Bolo then through the forest to Hogs, down Mitchells Pass, over Katberg back down to Addo and the Baviaans and and and ..........

Michells Pass and Katberg can be rough at times.  Mitchells was until recently fixed and was easy going, but in the mean time deteriorated badly.  I do not know how it is at this stage.
Katberg is a horror.  Very very few will do it with a pillion, some will not even do it one up. 

I plotted an alternative around these two, marked in green.  The rest of the route in blue.   

Enjoy and let know if you want more or if you guys want this route refined.  As is it is a very good and scenic route and plenty is packed in this route. 

 
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Offline sidetrack

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Re: TSAT (Trans South Africa Trail)
« Reply #185 on: April 25, 2020, 08:02:34 pm »
OK menere, here is the route. 

In summary Rhodes, Lundeansnek (then you have to do the little detour to Dangershoek), the to Lady Grey, over Joubert pas and then Ottos du Plessis pass, all the way mostly gravel over the Kei river, Bolo then through the forest to Hogs, down Mitchells Pass, over Katberg back down to Addo and the Baviaans and and and ..........

Michells Pass and Katberg can be rough at times.  Mitchells was until recently fixed and was easy going, but in the mean time deteriorated badly.  I do not know how it is at this stage.
Katberg is a horror.  Very very few will do it with a pillion, some will not even do it one up. 

I plotted an alternative around these two, marked in green.  The rest of the route in blue.   

Enjoy and let know if you want more or if you guys want this route refined.  As is it is a very good and scenic route and plenty is packed in this route. 

 
Thanks Vis Arend, the Hogsback national forest bit before Hogsback is open to ride coming from R352 ?
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Offline Vis Arend

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Re: TSAT (Trans South Africa Trail)
« Reply #186 on: April 25, 2020, 08:11:12 pm »

 
Thanks Vis Arend, the Hogsback national forest bit before Hogsback is open to ride coming from R352 ?
[/quote]

Yip, no problem there.   :thumleft: :thumleft:
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Offline Bloggs

Re: TSAT (Trans South Africa Trail)
« Reply #187 on: April 26, 2020, 10:16:36 am »
For a trans SA trail (TSAT) there are so many routes to ride and so many places to see. And there are also limited funds and usually limited time. In order for a Trans South Africa Trail experience to be popular and successful it will also need mass appeal as well as flexibility. It will need to cater for local and overseas riders, and of all abilities. I have some suggestions to build on the great work already done for TSAT, but with a slightly different approach. I need to give a bit of detail to explain. Please note that this TSAT input is “in addition to” and not “instead of”.

Trans SA is a long trip and it is a bucket list event. It needs to include bucket list riding and well as bucket list off-the-bike experiences. The route is king, but it is important not to downplay the time off the bike which includes relaxing with drinks and mates while being sociable and reliving the day’s ride; eating good food; ablutions; a comfortable place to sleep; and so on. It also needs to include options such as exploring the surroundings and seeing the attractions, even though there may be limited time. And it includes the need for preparation for the rides ahead. You actually spend as much time doing these elements as you do physically riding.

This is where small towns come in. Many derive significant income from tourism, but most are struggling, and they need support. Most provide a range of accommodation from camping to lodging, different affordability options, as well as options be situated in and out of town. They supply provisions, and most offer other attractions and activities. These small towns therefore cater for the for the total off-the-bike experience necessary for mass appeal.

Unfortunately, the position of the towns/destinations are fixed. Routes, however, can vary. So the point is, for the best overall experience, choose the destinations first and then plan the route to fit. This concept would be known those of you who have done the Wild Coast Meander, where a number of great but remote hotels have linked themselves with hiking routes between them. I was also fortunate to have done the JoBerg2C MTB ride (its actually not really a race), which is 900km over 9 days of MTB trails and gravel roads linked to specific towns and destinations. The concept is similar. In fact, their website would have quite a few parallels, and sets the standard for the ultimate TSAT website (https://www.joberg2c.co.za/). Impressively, JoBerg2C had about 230 overseas participants in the field of 800 odd for last year’s ride. They came for the trails,  the route, the open spaces, and the big sky. But when you talked to them, they were most impressed by the hospitality and the off-the-bike experience. It’s a great success story.

Remarkably, there are special and quaint small towns which appear on most the top-20 bucket lists of small SA towns to visit; which are also more or less evenly spaced apart across SA; and which are linked with great adventure riding routes covering a good day’s riding. The suggested list of these towns is as follows, north to south, excluding the start and end points:
•   Hoedspruit - https://www.hoedspruit.co.za/
•   Dullstroom - https://dullstroom.co.za/
•   Wakkerstroom - http://www.wakkerstroom.co.za/ (via Chrissiesmeer)
•   Clarens - https://clarens.co.za/ (via the Drakensberg passes)
•   Rhodes - https://rhodesinfo.co.za/ (via Lundeans Neck)
•   Hogsback - https://www.hogsback.com/
•   Jeffreys Bay - https://www.jeffreysbaytourism.org/ including surrounding area and Patensie (via Katberg and Zuurberg passes)
•   Knysna - http://www.visitknysna.co.za/ (via Baviaanspoort, Prince Albert pass and Kom se pad)
•   Prince Albert - https://www.karoo-information.co.za/routes/town/176/prince-albert (via the Seven Passes road, Montague Pass, Meiringspoort)
•   Swellendam - https://www.visitswellendam.co.za/ (via Swartberg Pass, Calitzdorp, Rooiberg and Gysmanshoek passes)
•   Greyton - http://www.greytontourism.com/ for short route to Cape Town (via Malgas, Cape Agulhas)
•   Montague -  https://www.montagu.org.za/ for the longer route to Tulbach and Cederberg (also via Malgas, Cape Agulhas)
•   Tulbach (alternatively Ceres) - https://www.tulbaghtourism.co.za/ (via Touws River, Ceres)
•   Paternoster -https://www.west-coast-info.co.za/region/town/256 (via Cederberg, Elands Bay)
These towns have a hospitality/tourist focus and they are on just about everyone’s list to visit. For those people who have already visited them, they are probably willing to return. All the towns have things to do and, in fact, a person could quite easily stay 2 nights or more. The extra day could include, for example, a game experience from Hoedspruit, trout fishing in Dullstroom, and so on.

Some notes:
•   The gravel routes between these towns would mostly be in the 300km to 400km range per day.
•   The routes between the towns need to be as remote as possible, and avoid cities and urban areas (tar & traffic) as well as rural areas (chickens, children, litter).
•   Clarens to Rhodes is a bit long so Ladybrand probably needs to be added which allows a route deviation into Lesotho. There are various options but mostly tar.
•   Winterton can be a base for a Battlefields detour; and Himeville/Underberg for a Sani Pass detour - which could then go to Ladybrand or left around the bottom of Lesotho straight to Rhodes.
•   Baviaanspoort can present problems with river crossings for example, in which case Steytlerville (https://www.baviaans.co.za/page/steytlerville_info) could replace Jeffreys Bay for a detour north of Baviaans.
•   A ride to Gamkaskloof (Die Hel) from the Swartberg Pass can be included as an extra day, or by staying the night there in place of Prince Albert.
•   The towns in the Cape are sandwiched close together to allow a zigzag down to Agulhas and up to the Cedarberg and West Coast. Obviously this can be shortened and some of these can be cut out.
•   The total route is therefore 12 to 15 days. There are also other options which could be added. These detours essentially link back into the main route at some point.
•   There are some really good loops which can be done from some of the towns, meaning a stop of 2 nights.
•   For Gauteng, or people flying in from overseas, there is the option of the back roads via Cullinan to Dullstroom and then to pick up the route from there - which essentially is a Joburg to Cape Town route.

Unfortunately, linking small towns means that there will be some tar which has to be traversed. It cannot be avoided. But 80% or more of gravel is still a good adventure ride, and appreciably more than say 8% European countries would be lucky to get. Further, should the likes of Long Tom Pass, Clarens/Fouriesburg, and Meiringspoort, be excluded because they are tar? Probably not. Certainly not for an overseas rider or someone who has not been there before.
To take this a little further, and to increase the mass appeal, each day between towns can have at least 3 route options:
•   Recommended gravel route
•   Recommended tar route – for the roadies; for the sick, lame and lazy; and also for those struggling with the gravel, or wanting to avoid the more tricky sections
•   “The most gravel” option avoiding as much tar as possible and probably a bit longer

For those wanting just tar, they could do 2 days in one and halve the route time. Another option is that groups can split each day and meet up at each destination.

The selected towns should want to buy into this concept – there is not much downside for them and lots of potential upside. If there is any apathy, then people from accommodation options in those towns will buy in. Ultimately the towns and/or the popular accommodation should end up driving the concept and the website when it is up and running. What is needed in each town is at least 1 “champion” who can advise on routes, and who can point people in the right direction for medical or mechanical issues etc. This shouldn’t be difficult to set up, especially if there is a potential benefit for them. These people living in the towns would also have knowledge of the routes and feed any updates back into the system.

So this is the basis of a “Small Towns” route, which should cater for a variety of riders, and gives an alternative option for those wanting both on and off the bike experiences. It is also likely to be a preferred option for overseas riders.

Please feel free to move this post.
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Offline Dorsland

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Re: TSAT (Trans South Africa Trail)
« Reply #188 on: April 26, 2020, 11:24:11 am »
Very good suggestion @Bloggs, and not detracting in the least from the TSAT. You make good points in terms of tourism being the lifeblood of many small towns. I would like to add guest farms to that as many farmers also rely heavily on tourism to boost revenues. They can also offer a unique experience and input for especially foreign tourists.

I would also like to see a possible alternative route around the north western and/or central part of the country that typically is neglected to a large extent. Towns that could be included (some not that small) are Vanzylsrus, Kuruman, Upington, Keimoes, Pofadder, Pella, Carnarvon, Vanrhynsdorp, Ceres etc. Maybe an interlinking route between your suggestion and my proposed route could be included.

Just a few things to think about.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2020, 11:24:41 am by Dorsland »
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Offline sidetrack

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Re: TSAT (Trans South Africa Trail)
« Reply #189 on: April 26, 2020, 12:04:58 pm »
Good points Bloggs. The route I have for now :

Musina - getting bad press and lots of illegals transversing the border so I'm afraid it might not make the best first impression to start a trip but it is still the most logical choice and I have never been so not sure. Once out of the town the riding looks good.

Past Louis Trichardt towards Orrie Baragwanath Pass, fantastic remote riding with great scenery

Limpopo itself has many homelands and here will be some short tar sections to link up

Haenertsburg will be the next town, stunning small town tucked away in the mountains with good amenities and accommodation

Lydenburg / Hazyview - two options currently. South or north loop plotted currently. North will have more dirt and will be slightly longer

From Hazyview the track will join the Kruger fence, this should be quite the adventure

After Kruger you will end up near Barberton. Another scenic town and fantastic riding on the Swaziland border

From here you drop down via Badplaas on a pass with great views towards Chrissiesmeer. Chrissiesmeer has some very nice eateries and accommodation (Billiard Room and John Jack, even a gin distillery what more do you need !)   

Next up Wakkerstroom, fantastic riding in the mountains. Very scenic

Now we are getting into the Battlefields, Dundee / Utrecht etc. with a detour to visit Batle of Isandwala and Bloed River

Next up is the well known Bezuidenhouts Pass. Here you can decide to take the northern or southern route. North goes around Lesotho via the FS. Now I have ridden this part and despite most thinking the FS is flat I had a great time on these dirt roads. Really nice relaxed riding with no one around. It leads past Winburg with it's beautiful church and lots of history. Smithfield will take you around Lesotho to rejoin near the southern loop near Aliwal North. The southern loop should be more popular as it follows lower Loteni and sticks close to the Drakensberg with great scenery all round whilst passing through Himeville and Matatiele

Next up we head to Rhodes riding most of the "Ben 10" passes

From here heading south on some great tracks Vis Arend plotted eventually heading to Hogsback and Mitchells and Katberg Pass with alternatives if it's too rough.

I added Adelaide - Cradock and Graaf Reinet just to add a total contrat to the forests of Hogsback. The valley of desolation at Graaf Reinet is a must see.

Next via Steytlerville we head towards Baviaans from the north stopping at Patensie for fuel and something to eat

Through Baviaans and De Rust we head up back into the Karoo via Beaufort West.

This will head onto the Dwyka River then onto Sutherland and Gannaga Pass

From Gannaga we head south via Cederberge towards Ceres - Wellington - Paarl.

Franschoek Pass is included

More dirt roads eventually ending at Cape Agulhas

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Many other routes still left. Kalahari is fantastic and so many Karoo towns further north. Wildcoast and the garden route also not part of the above, one feels like it cannot be left out ?
« Last Edit: April 26, 2020, 12:07:46 pm by sidetrack »
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Offline sidetrack

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Re: TSAT (Trans South Africa Trail)
« Reply #190 on: April 26, 2020, 12:09:15 pm »
I think all three TSAT threads needs to be combined !
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Re: TSAT (Trans South Africa Trail)
« Reply #191 on: April 26, 2020, 12:09:56 pm »
Tentative ?
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Re: TSAT (Trans South Africa Trail)
« Reply #192 on: April 26, 2020, 01:31:16 pm »
I think all three TSAT threads needs to be combined !
I agree.
 

Offline Slim Jim

Re: TSAT (Trans South Africa Trail)
« Reply #193 on: April 26, 2020, 03:38:54 pm »
dude you missing the good stuff.........I will fill it in tomorrow
 

Offline Onetime

Re: TSAT (Trans South Africa Trail)
« Reply #194 on: April 26, 2020, 05:52:19 pm »
Onetime to live your life. No time to wait for someday or you will find that someday was yesterday.

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Re: TSAT (Trans South Africa Trail)
« Reply #195 on: April 27, 2020, 12:06:53 pm »
Please follow the Instagram page, idea is to post photos of the route and small towns you will see on the trip

https://www.instagram.com/tsattrail/
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Offline MillionMiles

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Re: TSAT (Trans South Africa Trail)
« Reply #196 on: April 27, 2020, 01:35:47 pm »
Please follow the Instagram page, idea is to post photos of the route and small towns you will see on the trip

https://www.instagram.com/tsattrail/
How do we post pictures there?

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Offline Bloggs

Re: TSAT (Trans South Africa Trail)
« Reply #197 on: April 27, 2020, 01:57:05 pm »
Also of possible interest for the route is “Riding the Dragon’s Spine” (https://bikepacking.com/routes/bikepacking-south-africa-the-dragons-spine/) which is a trans MTB trail of SA.
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Offline Bloggs

Re: TSAT (Trans South Africa Trail)
« Reply #198 on: April 27, 2020, 02:04:48 pm »
Thanks for the feedback and detail. The TSAT route and description is looking good. I agree it is probably best to have one main route to start with. Its relatively easy to add deviations and other options.
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Re: TSAT (Trans South Africa Trail)
« Reply #199 on: April 27, 2020, 03:15:13 pm »
Please follow the Instagram page, idea is to post photos of the route and small towns you will see on the trip

https://www.instagram.com/tsattrail/
How do we post pictures there?

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Hi I don't think that is possible, only tagging the page in your own posts
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