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Offline Trailrider

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2 Guys, 4 Kloofs, 7 days, 28 passes and 1650km
« on: February 27, 2009, 11:58:37 am »
I have just returned from a tour covering almost everything the Southern Cape and surrounds has to offer. We "criss-crossed" over 28 passes. We slept in historic houses, tents, caves and under the clear Karoo skies. We rode over stones, sand, mud, good gravel, bad gravel, tar and water crossings. We travelled in scenery ranging from the arid Karoo to the lush forests of Knysna. We visited Gamkaskloof, Baviaanskloof, Attakwaskloof & Bosluiskloof. Amazingly we did all of this in 1650km.

The idea was born out of a request I received from a gentleman in Gauteng who wanted to see the area, but did not know where to go, how to get there and where to stay. So we rode together and hopefully I added value to his trip with local knowledge, information, contacts and routes.

Over 7 days we saw almost everything between the Great Karoo in the North and the Indian Ocean in the South, Patensie in the East and Barrydale in the West.


(click on map and magnify for bigger picture)

We left as bikers, we returned as friends.


1 Honda TransAlp

1 BMW 1150GSA


2 Guys, 4 Kloofs, 7 days, 28 passes and 1650km


Day 1 of the Ride Report to follow...
« Last Edit: March 01, 2009, 08:57:18 am by Trailrider »
 

Offline Lourens ツ

Re: 2 Guys, 4 Kloofs, 7 days, 28 passes and 1650km
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2009, 12:10:10 pm »
 :happy1:
Lourens de Lange
 

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Re: 2 Guys, 4 Kloofs, 7 days, 28 passes and 1650km
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2009, 12:20:11 pm »
Dit gaan lekker wees.Ons wag!!
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Offline Doringboom

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Re: 2 Guys, 4 Kloofs, 7 days, 28 passes and 1650km
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2009, 02:00:31 pm »
Ja, Renier het my vertel van julle planne! Ek is bly julle is nog heel om julle storie aan ons te vertel en om julle kiekies vir ons te wys :thumleft:
 

Offline Trailrider

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Re: 2 Guys, 4 Kloofs, 7 days, 28 passes and 1650km
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2009, 02:03:25 pm »
Day 1

This morning excitement was off the charts. I get that way before a trip The bike was packed and ready, sporting a brand new TKC rear tyre.



My riding companion arrived from Gauteng equally excited. He is a veteran biker, but relatively new to the Dual Sport scene. He rides a BMW 1150 GSA and has clocked up 80 000km (including a trip well into Africa) in the last two years. This would be his first time riding the "real Southern Cape".

This guy has ridden to some places I still dream of, so it was a tall order to give him a trip that would not disappoint. On the menu today: Montagu Pass, Paarde Poort, the Oude Muragie Road, Schoeman's poort Pass, Swartberg Pass and the road into "The Hell" (Gamkaskloof Pass).



Introducing "Bike vettie"



How, between the two of us, he's the one that got stuck with that nick-name only he would know. As it turns out he visits the Wild Dog dog forum daily. Hopefully after this ride he'd register and participate more.

Back to where we were - Montagu Pass. What a Pass to start a ride with! This Pass is one of my favourites and I guess it's easy to see why.



Barely 8km into the trip we've taken a heap of photos. The scenery here laid the foundation of a truly Epic Southern Cape ride.

Quote
Montagu Pass

Construction of the magnificent Montagu Pass commenced in 1844. The pass is 10km in length, of which about 9km is said to be "blasted out of solid rock" using gunpowder (Dynamite - which is safer and with 8 times the disruptive power - was only discovered in 1867). The steepest section has a gradient of 1 in 6 and is known as "Regop Trek".

The Pass was officially opened on 19 January 1848.

Montagu Pass was the first Pass built under the new system of convict labour necessitated by the emancipation of the slaves in 1838. It was declared a National Monument in 1972, and is today the oldest unaltered Pass in South Africa.

*The Romance of Cape Mountain Passes - Graham Ross





Barely over the Pass and you descend into the Klein Karoo. Instantly the climate, plant life, smells and scenery changes. I love how in one ride you can have such a variety of scenery.

Just past the hamlet of Herold and into Paarde Poort.



We were cruising along without a care in the world. This trip was about scenery. Taking it easy, stopping a lot, sharing the ride. I've always liked helping people, showing them places and sharing experiences. I find joy in seeing people really enjoying themselves. Bike Vettie was really enjoying himself, drinking in as much of the scenery as possible. We rode past the Kammanassie dam and all the way to Dysselsdorp.

Dysselsdorp started in 1838 as a mission station. In 1877 John X Merriman (who later became prime minister of the Cape Colony) gave the land to the 148 coloured families that lived there. Dysselsdorp's most interresting feature is a Roman Catholic Chapel at the top of a Hill. The road to the Chapel "zig-zag's" up the hill and represents the different "stations" next to the "Via Dolorosa" en route to Golgotha (Calvary).





We continued on the Oude Muragie Road, through Schoemans poort Pass and on to the Swartberg Pass.





We had nice weather and very little traffic. This was a week day and most people were probably at work Poor sod's.

Quote
Swartberg Pass

Thomas Bain suggested the construction of the Swartberg Pass as a possible solution to the flooding of Meirings- and Seweweeks Poorte. Bain found 4 possible lines with a maximum gradient of 1 in 8 (as opposed to the 1 in 6 of Montagu pass).

This was the last of many passes built or supervised by Thomas Bain in the Cape. On 10 February 1988 a memorial plaque was unveiled near the summit to mark the 100th anniversary of the opening of Swartberg Pass. It was declared a National Monument later the same year.

Source: *The Romance of Cape Mountain Passes - Graham Ross





At the top of the Pass looking into the Great Karoo:



Bike Vettie approaching:





Shortly after we reached the road to Hell.



Apart from the great scenery the fun also started. Some loose rocks and my favourite - water crossings!





Gamkaskloof Pass: Check out the GSA passing below me. He did well for a person with a phobia of heights.



For those who have not been to Gamkaskloof before a broad description:

The fertile valley runs in an east-west direction and is approximately 20 km long and 600 metres wide. The Kloof can be devided into 4 pieces: The first, as you enter the Kloof, belongs to Cape Nature. The 2nd (Fonteinplaas), privately owned by Annetjie Joubert, offers visitors overnight facilities in two historic farmhouses as well as on shaded campsites (you can read more about the Fonteinplaas here). Fonteinplaas has the Kiosk and restaurant.

If you continue along the Kloof you enter the 3rd "farm" or piece of land also owned by Cape Nature. There are quite a few beautifully restored houses available as accommodation here also. As you follow the road to the end of the Cape nature land you come to the locked gate of the fourth Private farm, "Bo Plaas". Visitors to Cape Nature or Fonteinplaas can only explore the Kloof up to here.

Today though, we will travel onto this private farm to the house we'd call home for the night - "Oom Hannes se Huis". I was especially excited about this as I have never, in all my previous visits, been that far into the kloof. What an experience awaited us! We continued through the kloof over rocks and sand and passed a "Road closed" sign. That can't be right... We sleep on the other side...

This was the reason - they were working on the causeway.



A "step" off the concrete, into thick mud with a "step-up" on the other side - twice - with the second being the worst. There is no other option...


[Que "Die Dapper Muis" music]

"Daar is niks waarvoor ons skrik nie!"


_______________________________

No problem! TKC's make us invincible!

Soon we were at the house we'd call home for the night. Look at this!



Green grass. Well maintained. This is heaven!

I have stayed in various houses in Gamkaskloof and without a doubt I can say that this is the best. This is not just a house. It's got a lawn and a garden and there are still some farming activity going on. Here I really felt what it must have been like to live in the Kloof when people still worked here. From here you've also got access to the rest of the kloof including "The Ladder" - the entry into the kloof before the pass was built.

For more info on Bo Plaas see their website here.

That night we had a nice braai under the pepper tree and the vast Karoo skies. What a start to our trip. Bike vettie remarked that I should have left the best for last. Little did he know...

 

Offline Trailrider

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Re: 2 Guys, 4 Kloofs, 7 days, 28 passes and 1650km
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2009, 02:04:22 pm »
Ja, Renier het my vertel van julle planne! Ek is bly julle is nog heel om julle storie aan ons te vertel en om julle kiekies vir ons te wys :thumleft:

Dit was great. Hy het gese jy stuur groete :thumleft:
 

Offline Crossed-up

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Re: 2 Guys, 4 Kloofs, 7 days, 28 passes and 1650km
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2009, 02:13:24 pm »
Fantastic, TR!  Your RRs are always great reads, and you know how to string us along.  We're waiting patiently.
 

Offline Plaashaas

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Re: 2 Guys, 4 Kloofs, 7 days, 28 passes and 1650km
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2009, 02:20:56 pm »
Julle is piss cool "you are urine cold"

moerse jealous

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Re: 2 Guys, 4 Kloofs, 7 days, 28 passes and 1650km
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2009, 05:19:23 pm »
Yet another good one TR!
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Offline Brink

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Re: 2 Guys, 4 Kloofs, 7 days, 28 passes and 1650km
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2009, 07:18:56 pm »
Subscribed - Love the history lessons as well :thumleft:
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Offline Doringboom

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Re: 2 Guys, 4 Kloofs, 7 days, 28 passes and 1650km
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2009, 09:10:04 pm »
Fantasties Trailrider! Meesterlike fotografie! Ek dink jy moet teen die tyd seker al een van die mees gesogte toergidse van jou "agterplaas" wees. Ek sien uit na die res :thumleft: Groete ook aan Bike Vettie :D
« Last Edit: February 27, 2009, 09:12:27 pm by Doringboom »
 

Offline Bakkie

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Re: 2 Guys, 4 Kloofs, 7 days, 28 passes and 1650km
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2009, 09:15:10 pm »
mooi man :thumleft:
There are no short cuts to anywhere worth going!
Performance is paramount, niceties only exist if it doesn't affect performance.

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Offline JourneyMan

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Re: 2 Guys, 4 Kloofs, 7 days, 28 passes and 1650km
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2009, 06:23:15 am »
Lekker foto's daar TR!

Bring on the rest. 8)
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Offline JustBiking

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Re: 2 Guys, 4 Kloofs, 7 days, 28 passes and 1650km
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2009, 07:13:45 am »
Nice one TR  :thumleft:
A good friend will come and bail you out of jail...but a true friend will be sitting next to you saying........."Damn..We F*cked Up" - Anon.


 
 

Offline rubiblue

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Re: 2 Guys, 4 Kloofs, 7 days, 28 passes and 1650km
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2009, 08:21:11 am »
NICE!
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Offline BMWPE

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Re: 2 Guys, 4 Kloofs, 7 days, 28 passes and 1650km
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2009, 09:03:12 am »
Have been waiting for this report
Excellent

At Padlangs when you guys stopped after seeing us



Rallye
 

Offline Trailrider

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Re: 2 Guys, 4 Kloofs, 7 days, 28 passes and 1650km
« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2009, 01:11:47 pm »
Thanks guys! Day 2 & 3 to follow tomorrow.
 

Offline LanceSA

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Re: 2 Guys, 4 Kloofs, 7 days, 28 passes and 1650km
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2009, 07:58:32 am »
This ride report is so good I'm puting it into my archives of 'rides to do before I die'
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Offline Trailrider

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Re: 2 Guys, 4 Kloofs, 7 days, 28 passes and 1650km
« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2009, 10:22:12 am »
Day 2

We woke to a beautiful morning.



On the menu today: The road out of Gamkaskloof, the rest of Swartberg Pass (the best part IMO), Kredouw Pass, Meiringspoort, Kammanassie Road, Nuwekloof Pass and the first 50km of Baviaans - a total distance of 352km.


(click on map and magnify for bigger picture)

As riding partners go we were a pretty good match. We both like to get on the road early and we both don't worry to much about breakfast. We were packed and on the road just after 7am.

What a way to start the day! I love water crossings!



On the way out I stopped to photograph Tannie Lenie se huis that burned down a few days before our visit. What a loss.



The house was meticulously restored at great cost before this happened. Read the full article here. The house before the tragedy:



The Road out of Gamkaskloof is beautiful early in the morning.



Unfortunately most of the water crossings were dry. We did have some water here and there though.

Short video clip

And then the magnificence that is Swartberg Pass:













And suddenly it spits you out into the Great Karoo



The Church Prince Albert:



Some Fuel and water and we were on our way again. The day was heating up. En route to Meiringspoort:



As far as passes in this area go this one really has very little to see. Meiringspoort on the other hand...



Quote
Meirngspoort

The first recorded transit of Meiringspoort was by a farmer of De Rust, Petrus Johannes Meiring, in 1800.

It was here that Andrew Bain developed the rock-splitting technique which has been used by generations of padmakers since then. He would take bushes (that obstructed the road) and heap them on the large rocks and set fire to them. The effect was magical. After buckets of cold water were poured on the rocks they would crack like glass.

The 16km of road was constructed in 223 working days, crossing the river 21 times, at a cost of £5,018. The pass was officially opened on 3 March 1858.

Source: *The Romance of Cape Mountain Passes - Graham Ross






De Rust, Dysselsdorp and the Kammassie Road. There certainly were a lot of bikes out and about today (today being a Saturday).







In Uniondale a Dakar pulled up. "You must be Trailrider!" Great meeting you RovRat! He and his daughter were also on a quest to ride 30 passes in the area.



And finally:



Nuwekloof Pass



Entering Baviaanskloof



Today's route resulted in total sensory overload. There truly is so much to see. And to top it all off we'd be sleeping in the Bakkrans Cave.




[Que "Die Dapper Muis" music]

" En sÍ nou daars 'n Kat?

 :eek:

'n Kaaaaaaat?  ::)

Wel...  ::)

Behalwe vir 'n Kat...

Is daar niks waarvoor ons skrik nie!"



_______________________________

After spending 8 hours in the saddle the cave was a welcome sight!





That night we ate like kings and after some great conversation we fell asleep under the Great Karoo stars.



Tommorrow we tackle the Baviaans proper.

« Last Edit: March 01, 2009, 11:03:01 am by Trailrider »
 

Offline Paulsky

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Re: 2 Guys, 4 Kloofs, 7 days, 28 passes and 1650km
« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2009, 02:54:26 pm »
I sometimes forget what cool riding areas we have in my back yard
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