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Offline Xpat

Kruger fence run
« on: August 11, 2020, 07:02:01 pm »
Intro

Thanks to the COVID nonsense I have lost couple of long riding weekends in April / May. I wasn't keen to loose another one last weekend and since travel across the border was still verbotten, I decided to go and have a look at the area I haven't visited yet that promised great riding as it is probably the closest in SA one could find to resemble real Africa - a key ingredient in any real good riding here. Specifically to ride the Kruger fence all the way to Pafuri and explore the northeastern-most SA corner along Limpopo and Zim border as @Minxy and @Hondsekierie did few weeks and and documented here: http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=249973.0.

I woke up to the upcoming weekend too late to plot my own routes so asked for help and Mark Taylor (@JustBlipIt) and Minxy kindly provided tracks to follow - thanks a mil for that the tracks proved great!  :thumleft: Mark even wanted to join for couple of days, but then last minute work commitments prevented that.

I have been riding bush every weekend since early June in DeWidt and further up north from there along Tolwane river, including couple of ballsfreezing ovenigther bushcamps. So I was reasonably riding fit and decided  to challenge myself a bit by taking the weekend bike - the 990 hippo, instead of 500 / 690 which would be more suitable bikes for 5 day bush trip where rest day wasn't an option. I did suffer a bit later in the trip with quite a few close calls in sand when the energy reserves weren't there anymore, but managed to ride more or less everything I wanted and had plenty of fun that only excess power and unlimited S suspension can provide in the process. I might have even built some muscle from all the sweetened condensed milk I inhaled to keep going.

With that sorted I closed the home office early on Wednesday and at about 16:00 jumped on the bike and gunned it on N4 to Belfast where I slept over for early start next day.

This will be mostly picture dump with short little comments here and there.

Offline Xpat

Re: Kruger fence run
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2020, 07:19:31 pm »
Day 1 - White River to Bush Pub Inn (Hoedspruit)

In the morning I gunned it on N4 to the starting point of the good part White River where I arrived at about 10:00. Kruger fence ride should probably start further south east in Matsulu, but I was keen to ride some of the scenic tracks around White River that Mark frequents with his gang - most of which were documented here by Noneking. And I had plenty of fence riding waiting for me further up north.

Mark couldn't join so after brief stop at the garage I hit the tracks straight away. Mark said the track is easy, so I was on full alert and took extra spoons of cement in the morning. Last time (the only time) I rode with Mark I ended up with broken leg in Nelspruit hospital. To be fair to Mark, it wasn't the goat tracks he frequents that did it to me, but simple dirt road on the commute at the end of the trip. That whole sorry story is documented here: http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=196404.0.

Anyway, I hit the dirt soon enough and straight away found myself in forrest section I have seen on some of Noneking's videos:


















After that I got first glimpse of the massive granite (I think) koppies the dominate the landscape in the area, one of them being called Legogte which I believe translates to lion head.















And then dozen or so km through the bush and gullies to the next set of koppies:

















« Last Edit: August 11, 2020, 07:24:14 pm by Xpat »
 
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Offline JustBendIt

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Re: Kruger fence run
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2020, 07:29:41 pm »
Looking forward to this 👍
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Offline Xpat

Re: Kruger fence run
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2020, 07:32:12 pm »
I knew from Mark's ride the protocol was to get to the top of the highest koppies, which after a bit of searching I managed to do. The views were fantastic with Legogte visible 20 or so km back west:
































« Last Edit: August 11, 2020, 07:33:25 pm by Xpat »
 

Offline Amsterdam

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Re: Kruger fence run
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2020, 07:33:37 pm »
I have seen some of your photos of this on Facebook.  Will follow this one and once we are allowed some interprovincial travel this might make a good alternative to the Cederberg.
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Offline Hondsekierie

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Re: Kruger fence run
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2020, 07:53:19 pm »
Excellent!!  Can't wait to get some more details on your trip.  Thanks for sharing  :thumleft:
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Offline Xpat

Re: Kruger fence run
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2020, 08:00:13 pm »
Past the koppies I hit the bush and eventually the Kruger fence. The track along the fence follows for many km railway line, which is a bit of a bummer - I like my bush tracks to take me away from civilization not along one of its main thoroughfares. But the track has every 100 or so meters sped humps spaced just perfectly for good tempo and quality airtime, so I distracted myself with those:



























One of Mark's practical jokes - there is a big bike somewhere on top of that gully. I have managed to walk it down this one, but was ready to freelwheel it down on its own should it run away from me.







I have been cuising through the bush nicely all the way from White River for many dozens km by now, but at the next section I had to do about 2 km of tar to connect to the next track. Naturally for this I picked the spot which was on the border of Mpumalanga and Limpopo, with inevitable police block. Luckily they didn't pay any attention to a biker and after token slowing down I gassed it hell out of there. I have then connected to the dirt road running through Timbavati (I think) reserve, and go lucky with few game sightings like so:































I arrived at Bus Pub Inn just as the sun was setting down and was very pleasantly surprised that they had restaurant open. So I ordered 3 or 4 courses and after shower gorged myself on chicken livers, meat platter and some such. All in all pretty good day.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2020, 08:03:08 pm by Xpat »
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Kruger fence run
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2020, 08:05:32 pm »
I have seen some of your photos of this on Facebook.  Will follow this one and once we are allowed some interprovincial travel this might make a good alternative to the Cederberg.

Comon Jan - that is very low standard ... here in Africa we prefer proper juicy riding, not oupa outings  :pot: >:D
« Last Edit: August 11, 2020, 08:05:58 pm by Xpat »
 

Offline MonkeyNot

Re: Kruger fence run
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2020, 08:11:51 pm »
Sub

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Offline Noneking

Re: Kruger fence run
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2020, 08:12:55 pm »
Nice pics Xpat!
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Offline MonkeyNot

Re: Kruger fence run
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2020, 08:13:41 pm »
Looks like I'll be reading instead of working tomorrow....

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Offline Xpat

Re: Kruger fence run
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2020, 08:55:54 pm »
Day 2 - Bush Pub Inn (Hoedspruit) to Copacopa lodge (Thohoyandou)


I was quite curious and little anxious about the next day. The track was to cross number of biggish rivers that are passable only in the dry season. It was dry season, but of course there was no guarantee that there may not be enough water left over for me to have to do long detours. Plus I hate rivercrossings - the easiest way to spot newbie adventure rider is to see someone splashing around like little kid in every puddle they see. If you have drowned bike before - especially when on your own - you know it is no fun trying to get going again. I know, I once spent week recovering drowned GSA from Zambia.

Regardless the day started with about 90 kmi of tar from Bush Pub though Hoedspruit to just west of Phalaborwa. There isn't any suitable fence ride circumnavigating the private reserves stretching out of Kruger there (none I know of anyway) and the track I had from Mark was hitting dirt in wide western half circle that I wasn't keen on doing as I wanted to save time should I get in trouble further up north. This was the longest bush riding day - kind of.

After refuel in the village just west of Phalaborwa, I hit the dirt and bush again just after Groot Letaba river near Mbaula ranch / lodge. The riding was quite different from the souther section of fence in that it wasn't following railway, but just loosely following the Kruger fence through pretty remote bush. The fence has collapsed (has been collapsed by the elephants by the look of it) in number of places and Mark warned me that there are more elephants and lions outside of the park than inside in that section. I hoped for that rare lion encounter since I haven't had one on bike since 2013 I think, but it wasn't my day and I didn't encounter any game whatsoever. Only heaps of elephant dung here and there.















The day was overcast and quite cold - though not as cold as the rest of you who if I understand it correctly were freezing in some galactic cold wave.






















One of the sections of collapsed fence:















« Last Edit: August 11, 2020, 08:57:44 pm by Xpat »
 
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Offline Xpat

Re: Kruger fence run
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2020, 09:20:23 pm »
About half way through I have arrived to the biggest river - Klein Letaba. Thankfully it was dry, as crossing this one when flowing will most probably require Crocodile Dundee type of skills. The river was very wide and tempting and I might have done a km or 3 up and down the river... My understanding is one can actually ride the river with some kind of permit - of course away from the park, not in the pack, which is delineated by plastic net sprung across the riverbed.

The sand was very soft and deep and even 990 with its Dakar pedigree battled with the wound up throttle to keep going in some section. Anyway after the little play I crossed to the other side where I faced quite steep washed out bank and contemplated best line of attack. The bottom of the bank was deep sand so no chance to get the momentum going there before hitting the biggest step. Eventually I managed to position myself at angle at firmer ground and with a bit of clenched teetha and gluteus muscles managed to make it up at first try.













Once back up on the bank at the solid fence I pushed on north:

























I was making good progress, but annoyingly I came upon locked gate. It was at the fork of two tracks, but annoyingly both of them were past the fence. I explored around to see if there is way to get through, but there wasn't and I had to backtrack few km and take one of the side tracks running away from the fence inland west. Which brought me to a village and main road which I rode for few km north and then turned back into bush and reconnected to the fence few km up from the locked gate.













I arrived at the Copacopa lodge again just before sunset. The place is situated few km west of Punda Maria gate to KNP and looked deserted - it clearly wasn't catering for safari going tourists, but rather to odd contractor who might need to spend night or few in the area. Eventually to my relief a guy showed up at reception and admited me to a challet. Nothing fancy, but perfectly fine. There was no restaurant or bar though, nor any shop nearby. So I dug in into my emergency stores and made myself fancy dinner of canned beans and viennas with condensed sweetend milk for desert. Yummy.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2020, 09:22:10 pm by Xpat »
 

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Re: Kruger fence run
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2020, 11:24:20 pm »
Sub!! :thumleft: :drif:
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Offline stcomza

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Re: Kruger fence run
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2020, 08:21:01 am »

Amazing - thank you for sharing :thumleft:
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Re: Kruger fence run
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2020, 08:38:12 am »
Also huge thanks from my side also for sharing. Its the more detail in a proper RR that makes it great, the facebook pics is just another slideshow you see and forget, there is no living the experience.

I have never been in this area, never wanted to go to Kruger, but now its on the bucket list for me, or the Kruger fence that is. People are going to think I am weird...
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Re: Kruger fence run
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2020, 08:47:16 am »
Love your reports, Xpat! Riding along here, thanks for sharing :thumleft:

Looks so inviting...
 
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Offline HawkI

Re: Kruger fence run
« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2020, 10:50:21 am »
brilliant, best ride report I have seen on this site. Love your work.
 
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Offline MonkeyNot

Re: Kruger fence run
« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2020, 10:50:55 am »
Day 2 - Bush Pub Inn (Hoedspruit) to Copacopa lodge (Thohoyandou)


I was quite curious and little anxious about the next day. The track was to cross number of biggish rivers that are passable only in the dry season. It was dry season, but of course there was no guarantee that there may not be enough water left over for me to have to do long detours. Plus I hate rivercrossings - the easiest way to spot newbie adventure rider is to see someone splashing around like little kid in every puddle they see. If you have drowned bike before - especially when on your own - you know it is no fun trying to get going again. I know, I once spent week recovering drowned GSA from Zambia.

Regardless the day started with about 90 kmi of tar from Bush Pub though Hoedspruit to just west of Phalaborwa. There isn't any suitable fence ride circumnavigating the private reserves stretching out of Kruger there (none I know of anyway) and the track I had from Mark was hitting dirt in wide western half circle that I wasn't keen on doing as I wanted to save time should I get in trouble further up north. This was the longest bush riding day - kind of.

After refuel in the village just west of Phalaborwa, I hit the dirt and bush again just after Groot Letaba river near Mbaula ranch / lodge. The riding was quite different from the souther section of fence in that it wasn't following railway, but just loosely following the Kruger fence through pretty remote bush. The fence has collapsed (has been collapsed by the elephants by the look of it) in number of places and Mark warned me that there are more elephants and lions outside of the park than inside in that section. I hoped for that rare lion encounter since I haven't had one on bike since 2013 I think, but it wasn't my day and I didn't encounter any game whatsoever. Only heaps of elephant dung here and there.















The day was overcast and quite cold - though not as cold as the rest of you who if I understand it correctly were freezing in some galactic cold wave.






















One of the sections of collapsed fence:















Thanks @Xpat for another great report. I rode a bit of this part with Gerrit in 2018. It was one of my first rides ever and I was on the GS1200.
It rained heavily the night before and we needed to do a deep rivercrossing. Managed to drop a valve shortly after the large river sand section and my day was over....
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Re: Kruger fence run
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2020, 01:39:40 pm »
Nice one just needs some greenery now when the rain comes
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