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Offline Minxy

Liaisons Dangereuses
« on: August 01, 2020, 10:55:44 am »
This story features in the Dirt & Trail Magazine as well, you can read it on www.motomedia.co.za in the August issue. I'll be sharing here with even more photographs:



Around about four years ago I was captivated by a ride report from fellow adventurer, Skinny van Schalkwyk titled Two Jills and a Jack!. On their trip up north to visit Crooks Corner in Limpopo (a place where SA, Zimbabwe and Mozambique meet), they ventured onto a very remote pass in no mans land. The pass is ridiculously steep, with loose rocks making the ascent extremely challenging. In short, they had to stop, pick up bikes, and struggled for traction going up the challenging climbs on their loaded dualsport bikes. With sweltering 40+ degree heat and little water left in their backpacks, Skinny and Jolandi made the decision to turn their bikes around, the risk too great to continue. They have since not had a chance to visit the area again. The name of this formidable road, Jacks Pass.



Back to the present. Its the middle of the COVID 19 pandemic. Gauteng, my home province has just been declared the new Corona virus hotspot. I am sitting in my office doing the usual administrative slog when an email pops into the inbox. A new job in Louis Trichardt, an area we do not often get to visit. My head immediately goes into hyper drive thinking of all kinds of possibilities. I discuss the spur of the moment plan with my partner Johan, whose role is to be the voice of reason in this relationship. It is agreed that due to the long distance we have to travel for our work well need to stay over somewhere regardless, so why not combine our business trip with a story for the magazine? It is all classified as essential work after all.

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Offline KiLRoy

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Re: Liaisons Dangereuses
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2020, 11:22:40 am »
Subscribe  :thumleft.
 

Offline roxenz

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Re: Liaisons Dangereuses
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2020, 11:23:28 am »
Looking forward to this!
 

Offline MonkeyNot

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Re: Liaisons Dangereuses
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2020, 06:18:16 pm »
Sub

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Offline big oil

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Re: Liaisons Dangereuses
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2020, 12:04:00 am »
Defund the Media
Prepare yourself for four more years 😎
 

Offline OomD

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Re: Liaisons Dangereuses
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2020, 07:50:08 am »
 :ricky:
 

Offline MRK Miller

Re: Liaisons Dangereuses
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2020, 10:06:44 am »
Just as i thought this would be a great way to pass the time it stops. Will have to wait for night shift i suppose :ricky:
I would rather fall a thousand times, and keep riding, than to stop riding and never fall
 

Offline Minxy

Re: Liaisons Dangereuses
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2020, 10:19:17 am »
Just as i thought this would be a great way to pass the time it stops. Will have to wait for night shift i suppose :ricky:

Sorting out the photographs to share on here is always the biggest mission. I will add some more content later today :thumleft:
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Offline Blou Zebu

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Re: Liaisons Dangereuses
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2020, 10:55:13 am »
Lyk interessant!
Sou graag wou weet wat is die storie van daai verroeste (een of twee r?) bakkie wrak
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Offline Minxy

Re: Liaisons Dangereuses
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2020, 03:34:36 pm »
We set out to do more research on the pass and call up the original pioneers, Skinny and Jolandi. They tell us that they saw the pass on the Mountain Passes SA website and decided to include it on their trip to visit Crooks Corner. As they never managed to complete the pass, they were not able to tell us much more, other than it being flippen hot and that they didnt receive any help from the military base nearby when they got into a pickle. Even the army didnt want to patrol the pass anymore due to the difficulty and remote location.
I then took to my computer and searched on the Mountain Passes SA website. There was no information, except that Jacks pass is the northern most pass in South Africa, with a single GPS coordinate showing us the way. I even phoned the mountain man, Mr Trygve Roberts himself, and he told me that they had no choice but to remove the pass from their database as it was extremely dangerous and based in a militarized zone where live ammunition drills take place. It was also reported that no 4x4 vehicle or motorcycle would be able to navigate the pass in its current condition. Hmmmm Dangerous times call for dangerous measures.

We set off that same week with our two adventurized KTM 500s on the trailer, a bunch of camping equipment and a vague line plotted on my GPS. We made a booking at the Popallin Ranch, the only place in the area that was still accommodating essential visitors, mostly hunters. We passed through the Tropic of Capricorn on our way to the northern reaches. After our last work appointment in Louis Trichardt, we headed even further north on the N1, through the Hendrik Verwoerd Tunnel and Wyllie's Poort pass in the direction of Musina. I stared out the window and watched as the scenery changed, it was my first ever visit to this area.


The only roadblock we stopped at on the way. "We don't want any trouble now officer" :imaposer:


Passing through the Tropic of Capricorn
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Offline Minxy

Re: Liaisons Dangereuses
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2020, 03:36:31 pm »
Lyk interessant!
Sou graag wou weet wat is die storie van daai verroeste (een of twee r?) bakkie wrak

It's one bakkie, thieves stole it on SA side and wanted to drive it through the Limpopo riverbed into Zimbabwe, they failed and put it on fire. Too much trouble for police to recover it, so it has been left behind.
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Offline Minxy

Re: Liaisons Dangereuses
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2020, 03:45:05 pm »
Upon our arrival at Popallin Ranch we were met by our friendly hosts who showed us to De Wetss Camp where we would setup base for the duration of our stay. We discussed our plan to ride Jacks Pass with our hosts prior to our departure, and they put us in touch with the SANDF Commander for the area to get the necessary permissions to access the border patrol routes. I MUST emphasize again that this pass is located in a militarized zone and should under no circumstances be traversed without all prior permissions! The Commander made it very clear that the pass had not been swept for explosives, mortars and other live ammunition in over four years and we would be riding there entirely at own risk. A woman collecting scrap metal had been killed in the area just a few years ago when one of these old devices went off. Our hosts also handed us a master key, this key would enable us to leave the boundaries of the Popallin farm, which runs along the Limpopo River, and give us access to the militarized zone. We prepared our bikes as the sun was setting over our campsite on the Nwanedzi River, crocodiles and hippos lazily swimming by. There was a lot of information to take in. We were also told that there were other dangers too, elephants, lions and of course smugglers. I started wondering, is this really a good idea?


Poppalin Ranch (De Wet's Camp)


Them pesky flat dog's.


Can there be a better setting?

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Offline roxenz

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Re: Liaisons Dangereuses
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2020, 04:42:24 pm »
This has me hovering over my phone to see how this played out!
 

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Re: Liaisons Dangereuses
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2020, 05:52:29 pm »
Sub!! :thumleft: :drif: :drif:
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Offline Offshore

Re: Liaisons Dangereuses
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2020, 06:32:39 pm »
 :thumleft: Thank you.
 

Offline Minxy

Re: Liaisons Dangereuses
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2020, 08:05:42 pm »
The following morning we kitted up and met with our hosts who showed us to the first gate. From here on we would be all on our own. The second we went through that gate the adventure began. The path we followed ran all along the great Limpopo River. Rocky twisty farm trails with plenty of hills to cross. The riding was fantastic and we stopped to take photos of the great trees along the Limpopo Rivers banks. The area is extremely picturesque and combines the best flora from the neighbouring countries, the waving palms of Mozambique, the giant baobabs of Zimbabwe and the beautiful acacia trees of South Africa.  The second the road went up close to the river, we pulled into the dry Limpopo riverbed and rode along the sand. We were told to not cross the halfway mark or we might end up spending the rest of the weekend in a Zimbabwean jail cell, something we were not so keen on doing. There were a number civilians walking across the river in places, clearly they did not get the same memo as we did.




Stick with this guy, and you'll get to all the right places ;)








Playing in the "mostly" dry Limpopo Riverbed










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Offline big oil

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Re: Liaisons Dangereuses
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2020, 08:22:06 pm »
Why the bike switch on the trailer on your way to Popallin Ranch?  6-days went from the drivers side in the da first pic to da passenger side in the second pic.
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Offline Minxy

Re: Liaisons Dangereuses
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2020, 08:22:39 pm »
When the riverbed got too rocky and huge boulders blocked our way, we went back inland along the river path. The Limpopo River is vast, spanning up to 1km across in some places. I would like to come back here one day and see it in flood. We spot a rusted vehicle stuck in the river further ahead. Supposedly thieves had stolen the vehicle on the SA side and tried to drive through the riverbed to reach Zimbabwe, needless to say they failed quite dismally. The police left the vehicle right where it stood as it was impossible to recover.


Bah, our plan of riding in the Limpopo riverbed to Crooks Corner is foiled by all the rocks!









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Offline Minxy

Re: Liaisons Dangereuses
« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2020, 08:24:03 pm »
Why the bike switch on the trailer on your way to Popallin Ranch?  6-days went from the drivers side in the da first pic to da passenger side in the second pic.

That photo was taken on the way back actually, thought I'd throw it in as well. Good observation! :thumleft:
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Offline MonkeyNot

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Re: Liaisons Dangereuses
« Reply #19 on: August 02, 2020, 08:30:59 pm »
Daai rivier is vrot van die plathonde! Was weer die week daar gewees vir werk. Beautiful! Kan net imagine hoe lekker die riding moes wees

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