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Offline Trailrider

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The Burchell Route
« on: November 16, 2009, 12:59:20 pm »
Time for another Trail Ride! Yay!

I've been wanting to do this particular route for a few years now. Why I haven't yet is anybodies guess. The Burchell Route is a historic route and of special interest to me as I come across his name often when I do research on the various passes, with the most recent being Houw Hoek Pass. But more about William John Burchell (and this particular route) later.

For this ride we'd be a small group on small bikes. Tok-tokkie on his famous TW200, myself on the CTX200 and LGF on his DRZ400. Tok-tokkie rode all the way from Cape Town the previous day to come and join this ride. And so early on Saturday morning we were rearing to go!



The scenic 7 passes route towards Knysna:



At the Barrington Forrest station we found LGF waiting.



A quick stop in Knysna to fill up and get the last supplies before we hit the forest roads over the mountain to De Vlugt. No matter how many times you've ridden here it remains amazing.

Tok-tokkie enjoying the ride:



I still, since the first time I've ridden here, keep on the lookout hoping to see one of the elusive Knysna Elephants Recent DNA tests on elephant dung found in the forest indicate that at least five elephants inhabit the area.

LGF:



More forest scenery:



Snack stop at one of the picnic stops.



We were doing very well time wise and we stopped for lunch at the popular biker's stop - Angie's G-spot:



The Burchell route and camp spot is quite close to De Vlugt and the plan was to unload the bikes and set up camp before we tackle this difficult route.

WEG van alles af



The camp's "info centre":





We each selected a nice shady spot to pitch our tents.



Tok-tokkie and LGF opted for sites not close to mine I wonder why...

 

Offline Trailrider

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Re: The Burchell Route
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2009, 01:00:15 pm »
This campsite and route blongs to Katot Meyer (a Southern Cape 4X4 legend) and is part of the Middle Keurbooms Conservancy.

In November 1998 a fire started at De Vlugt and swept Westward, destroying many hectares of fynbos but exposing a track from the farm Pietersrivier, over Skuurbeknek near De Vlugt. This track was described by the botanist William John Burchell (1814). From Skuurbeknek Burchell traveled to Romanskraal, Jaggakamma and Knoetskraal and joined up with the Paardekop trail to Plettenberg Bay. This is a fascinating trail for 4x4 enthusiasts, especially if accompanied by the owner.

Orientation map:


(Click on map and zoom for bigger picture)

The Burchell route is not a "4x4 challenge" type route, but rather an eco-route with the emphasis very much on nature conservation. Your attitude towards nature will determine if you are welcome here.

Motorcycles are allowed and there are special escape routes at the places where the motorcycles can not ride. Trail bikes are preferred though. Noisy powerful bikes that spin easily (causing erosion) would not be the way to go.

The route passes through changing scenery and that includes indigenous forest, steep rocky inclines and three river crossings, with clay, slate and sandstone surfaces along the way.



When the going gets tough, just remember Burchell did it in an ox-wagon!



William John Burchell was an English explorer and botanist who travelled South Africa (as well as Brazil and other countries) collecting plants and insects. Landing at Table Bay on 26 November 1810 he set about planning an expedition into the interior, leaving Cape Town in June 1811.

Burchell commissioned a special wagon for his expedition. This wagon was shorter and narrower to negotiate sledge tracks and get into or over the difficult terrain he'd be travelling. A Trailriding wagon if you will!


(Click on picture and zoom for more detail)

Burchell travelled in South Africa between 1810 and 1815, collecting over 50,000 specimens, and covering over 7000 km, much over unexplored terrain. He described his journey in Travels in the Interior of Southern Africa, a two-volume work appearing in 1822 and 1824, since reprinted in 1967 by C.Struik of Cape Town.

He is commemorated in the monotypic plant genus Burchellia R. Br., as well as numerous specific names including Burchell's zebra and Burchell's coucal.

Burchellia bubalina:



Sources: Burchell; The trail; The Campsite and Route
 

Offline Trailrider

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Re: The Burchell Route
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2009, 01:04:13 pm »
With the bikes unloaded we hit the trails!



A Twee-spoor like this already gets me exited, especially if it leads into the mountains!



"Gal se pas" You can see the road going up the hill on the other side:



The uphill:



Looking back at the pass:



Scenery on top:



On this route the conditions, scenery and plant life changes constantly. Look at the differences in the next four photos already:









We are travelling East up this kloof.



The first water crossing. I rode through first and it was quite a bit deeper than expected!



Still travelling up the kloof, going slowly respecting and enjoying nature.



This was quite an obstacle. As per usual you cannot see the gradient on a photo, but it is a very sharp descent, into mud at the bottom and a steep ascent on the other side.



I once again went first. Pop the CTX into that very low 1st gear, ride down, through the mud and up the other side. The ascent was so steep that my front wheel left the ground! I didn't panic and rode the bike up and over, basically doing a low speed "wheelie" up die other side. Man I'm so bummed we didn't get a photo of that! Tok-tokkie said that I came very close to going over backwards...

Next up Tok-tokkie. After he put his bike down we rushed to help. But first I had to go help LGF to park his bike somewhere flat. This photo gives a better idea of the gradient. That bike is almost upright although it's lying on it's side!



With the help of a strap the three of us pulled and manhandled the bike up the other side.

We continued towards the Pioneer's Camp in the Kloof:



Lovely indigenous forest:







At the camp we rested a while. Next time we'll bring some cold ones with to enjoy here. We certainly needed it! You get quite a workout riding over the rough terrain.



By now it was just after 3 'o clock. It took us 2 hours to travel the 8km to get here. We had to start heading back.

Have a look at the gradient in the next picture. The 4x4's find these sections difficult. It leans over to side up 32 degrees in places I wonder how the Ox-wagons managed? luckily bikes always stay upright



More water crossings:



LGF eying a steep downhill:



And more water crossings!



And more picking up of bikes. Happened quite a few times on this ride. The Honda always stayed upright though (just)



Trail riding at it's best!



Serious uphill with loose stones and little traction. The Holgat Pass in Baviaans has nothing on this baby.



The view back over Gal se Pas towards our camp:



Gal se pas:



Arriving back in camp we were knackered but in high spirits. What a day's riding!

Tok-tokkie's TW: Built for Africa



Bush showers with hot water using the eco-friendly "rocket shower" system.



And a lovely fire made with dry wood. Enough wood was provided to keep it going till late that night.



Another tough day in Africa.
 

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Re: The Burchell Route
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2009, 01:06:45 pm »
I would like to report that we had a good night's rest, but it was COLD. We also had a few drops of rain over night which is bad news if you're camping here. This whole area gets very slippery when wet. I have experience of this... Luckily it was only a few drops.

The next morning we decided to ride the short "Rondekoppie" route before we pack our bikes. This was at the start of the route, just before my camera's batteries died



This is a short (2km) scenic route that starts and stops in the camp. Very steep gradients were the order of the day.

By the time we got back in camp it was well and truly raining.

This photo looks back onto the route as we came. You can see one slippery downhill along the side of the hill.



Breaking up camp a.s.a.p. before it gets too wet.





Why the fuss over the rain you wonder? Well, this whole area is covered in clay. When wet it's doesn't turn into mud, but into snot! It's slippery as hell. So much so that you cannot walk on it without holding onto the plants and stuff. I am not exaggerating.

LGF pulled off and was down within 2 meters. He got up and when he wanted to pick up his bike his feet slipped again! (no pics sorry)

To give you an idea - the next two pictures were taken when I was here last in April 2006. At the time we were here with 2 bikes and a 2x4 vehicle. The morning we had to leave the 2x4 could not get out. Even the Katot's 4x4 could not assist as it only spun in place. We ended up leaving the vehicle there for a week until it dried out enough for us to be able to recover it.





We were going to ride another historic ox-wagon pass today but soon realized that that was not feasible today. That ride would have to wait for another day. So we said our goodbyes and each headed in our own directions  - Tok-tokkie towards Plett, LGF towards Sedgefield and myself along the Langkloof towards George.

I took it slowly on these extremely slippery roads.



Scenery along the way:



The long straight tarred Langkloof road was pretty boring and cold, but not slippery. Closer to George the rain also let up. Funny how the place that needs the rain the most doesn't get any.

I rode through Herold to take Montagu pass over the mountain towards George.

Scenery just outside Herold:



Montagu Pass - most of my rides start or end with Montagu Pass. One of my favourite places in the world.



The bike that started it all:





Thanks guys. Hopefully we can ride the rest of our planned ride soon!
 

Offline met eish

Re: The Burchell Route
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2009, 01:15:47 pm »
Lekka ride Trailrider !!!
Did it in my fobyfo couple of years back, enjoyed Katot Meyer - modern day Ghaitse Khubeb  ;) He is always barefoot and lives such a simple uncomplicated life.
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Offline ADVENTURERIDER

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Re: The Burchell Route
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2009, 01:50:53 pm »
TR lekker RR laat my bek  :drif:. Tyd dat ek weer kom kuier in die Suidkaap. As jy dalkies nie weet hoekom daai ouens afstand tussen jou en hulle gesoek het nie, vra ek sal jou die regte antwoord gee.
 

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Re: The Burchell Route
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2009, 01:52:33 pm »
Ek dink ek weet ;D
 

Offline Sakkie

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Re: The Burchell Route
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2009, 02:39:46 pm »
Jisso TR dit lyk great!    :thumleft:

Moenie jou 200 verkoop nie man!
Jy MOET my nog daar deurvat eendag!     :ricky:

Sal jou TA dit daar deurmaak?

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Re: The Burchell Route
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2009, 02:44:41 pm »

Sal jou TA dit daar deurmaak?


Ek is seker sommige sal 'n TA daar kan deur vat as hulle regtig wil, maar my TA gaan nie daar deur nie ;D Hy is nie daarvoor gemaak nie en as my TA omval die dag huil ek my dood.

Nee, daai is scrambler wereld ;D Jy sal daai XT van jou gate uit geniet daar.
 

Offline vellies

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Re: The Burchell Route
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2009, 02:46:29 pm »
Geagte Mnr TR. Wat het dan geword van daardie allamuntige "pannier" raam wat jy agterop jou CTX gehad het? Sien daardie is nou iets anders agterop vir pakplek. Praat bietjie sodat ek weet wat ek moet of nie moet nie. Casher staan ook by om te weet. By the way, baie goeie RR. Eendag as ek groter is wil ek ook daar ry.
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Re: The Burchell Route
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2009, 03:28:39 pm »
Ek het hom eers op gehad, maar ek het nie genoeg goed saam gevat om dit te regverdig nie, toe haal ek hom maar eers weer af en gebruik my Kappa soft panniers. Lekker om opsies te he :mwink: 8)
 

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Re: The Burchell Route
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2009, 03:34:25 pm »
En hulle kos hoeveel nogal, die Kaffa sakka? Gaan jy daai raamwerk saam met die skoeter verkoop? Jou fiets is so goed dat jy nie daai goed kan saamgee sonder om die prys te verhoog nie.
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Re: The Burchell Route
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2009, 03:39:33 pm »
Dit hang af. Ek het belangstelling van 'n ou wat dit wil koop vir 'n plaas fiets. In so geval sal ek dit eers hou en aan julle smous vir 'n bottel of 3 ;D As iemand wat die fiets wil gebruik soos ek het dit koop moet hy maar alles vat. Dit hoort by die fiets.
 

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Re: The Burchell Route
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2009, 03:44:59 pm »

En hulle kos hoeveel nogal, die Kaffa sakka?


PM vir Topbox. Hy sal jou vinnig uitsort cheap cheap ;)
 

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Re: The Burchell Route
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2009, 07:37:17 pm »
Man maar dit lyk soos my tipe wereld daai....... en die pics van die omgewing is AWESOME!!!  Ek moet nou net 'n stel knobblies op die CTX sit en dan lyk dit asof niks vir my en die bike sal terug staan nie!!!!  BAIE nice RR!  :3some:
 

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Re: The Burchell Route
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2009, 07:49:54 pm »
Niks jou terug hou nie? Cacher het jy dan nie gesien TR se daar is klei nie   :imaposer:
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Re: The Burchell Route
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2009, 07:51:06 pm »
TR respek!

Ek het daai roete so 2 jaar terug gedoen met die 4x4 en dit was nie 'n "walk in the park nie"

Baie nice!  :ricky:   :ricky:  
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Re: The Burchell Route
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2009, 08:25:51 pm »
Lekker man! Dis mos die lewe daai!
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Re: The Burchell Route
« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2009, 02:13:13 pm »
Great RR , been there in the Landy and always vowed to take the Africa Twin on that trail ... sometime soon ??

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Re: The Burchell Route
« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2009, 02:26:23 pm »
Thanks TR. Nice pics and history.
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