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Offline DD650

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Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« on: September 12, 2010, 11:06:37 am »
Pretoria to Klerksdorp
Kosi Bay, Cape Agulhas, Pontdrift…. Man-on-the-moon and I only still needed to go and visit Alexander Bay for our club's Extreme point award (visiting the 4 furthest corners of SA). So we started thinking… let’s go during the flower time as we always wanted to go and see the flowers. So the research started and everybody told us to plan and book upfront as it is their peak season and we will battle to find accommodation and food.

Eventually the trip and everything around it was planned – our route would take us to Alexander Bay and from there down the Westcoast through the Cedarberg to the flower capital of Nieuwoudtville and back through the Karoo.

The day finally arrived and we set off on our 4500km journey. We left Friday around 15h30 and headed off to the family in Klerksdorp from where we would seriously start our journey. We used this first 230km stretch to test all the new gadgets and goodies – Leatt brace to get used to as well as new Noiseclipper earplugs. It took some time to get used to the braces but hey, rather be uncomfortable and safe. The earplugs worked great! It doesn’t cut out all the wind noise, but it is a vast improvement. Man-on-the-moon also made me a wind deflector for my screen and this made a huge difference in my comfort levels! I quickly got into the mood and thoroughly enjoyed the first 230km. The only incident was when we wiped out a whole colony of muggies.   :S

We arrived in Klerksdorp as the sun dipped below the horizon and we rode the last 5km in dusk. The family welcomed us with a great meal, including cake and coffee as it was my sister-in-law's birthday. We got up early the next morning and sat down to a farewell breakfast that would make any Wimpy lower its head in shame! This however also meant that we left 1˝ hours after our scheduled time, but what the heck – we had a great time with the family and we are on holiday after all!  :bounce:

Klerksdorp to Augrabies
Our trip the next day was uneventful but still enjoyable with just you, the open road and the bike eating up the kilometres. We stopped in Kathu so I could show Man-on-the-moon the trucks we use at our mine in Sishen just outside Kathu. They have one of these trucks at the garage outside Kathu. We filled up here but decided to have a picnic next to the road – the first time I stopped at one of these roadside picnic places since I was a child! It was great and everyone passing us hooted and waved – obviously jealous of our trip and padkos consisting of snacks and leftover birthday cake!  :lol:

Stop next to the road



On the road to Upington

 
We just had to make a stop at the Pienk Padstal outside Upington. Everything is pink and looked very inviting for a drink, but we wanted to get to Augrabies before dark and opted to only buy some sweets and snacks.





They had some quite interesting old bikes in front of the shop.


We arrived at Augrabies national park at around 16h30 and quickly settled into our bungalow so we can go and watch the sunset over the falls. Only problem was that the sun doesn’t set over the falls.  :(  It was still great seeing the falls, even though it was not very full. We did get to see the sunrise the next morning and Man-on-the-moon also got the opportunity to scare a baboon into barking!   :evil:  An eland came to visit us just outside our bungalow but ran off before we could catch him on camera!

Augrabies falls








Dassies on the rocks


Sunrise over the falls




Next…… Augrabies to Port Nolloth.
 

Offline DD650

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2010, 01:09:48 pm »
Augrabies to Port Nolloth
We left Augrabies fairly early and headed off for Port Nolloth, our next stopover. The early morning ride towards Springbok was really nice with fresh, crispy air, the open road ahead and purple mountains in the distance with promises of maybe a couple of nice twisties to break the straight ruler-like road. But we would not go straight to Springbok – I have read quite a bit about Pella and Klein Pella and we decided it is a short enough detour to make.

Early morning on the way to Springbok.




 “Pella was founded by the London Missionary Society in 1814. It provided a sanctuary for Khoisan driven out of Namibia. The village of Pella was named after the one that gave refuge to Christians in Macedonia in biblical times. After Pella was abandoned in 1872 because of drought, the Roman Catholic Church reopened the mission in 1878. The Old Cathedral, surrounded by date palms, has a curiously Arabian atmosphere. Using an encyclopaedia as their building manual, it took two missionaries seven years to complete.” (http://www.northern-cape.com/pella.html).

The road to Pella is now tarred all the way and we were there quite quickly. We stopped in front of the church just as the ceremony ended and people started leaving. So we waited patiently before we would go and look at the church. The locals are an extremely friendly bunch and quite a number of them started chatting to us, asking the normal questions about where do we come from, where are we going, etc. One guy in particular were very interested in the route we planned to take, and assured Man-on-the-moon that we cannot do that road with our “road bikes”, we would definitely need to have “jumpers” (we assume he was referring to scramblers) to get over those rocks! Well, we were not afraid of rocks and headed off on our planned route.

The church at Pella.


I would have loved to spent more time in the church - it had a real feeling of calm and peace and where you could just sit and relax and get rid of all your worries.






To give you the background – the get from Pella to Klein Pella you need to go back about 15km on the route you came in from and then turn right towards Klein Pella; in total about 35km. I did some research and found a direct 16km “kortpad” from Pella to Klein Pella – part of the Namaqua 4x4 route that starts in Pella. I search a lot on the internet but did not find any information indicating that you cannot do this route with a bike. And after all, we wanted to have some adventure and ride on gravel! We decided to start off on this route and see how it goes – if necessary we will turn around and take the “highway”.

The beginning of the Namaqua 4x4 route.




The route started off very nice as a tweespoor road winding through the mountains. Quite beautiful – the area reminds me a lot of the southern part of Namibia. After about 3-4km’s into the route, we suddenly encountered thick river sand! It was however just a short stretch and from there it was a tweespoor again although a bit more sandy. We decided to carry on – against the advice from the locals, since we were now past the point of no return! In our defence, he did not say anything about sand, only mentioned the rocks! From here on we basically rode in a dry riverbed. Actually, I would not call it riding – rather we (read mostly I) “pedalled” in a dry riverbed.

The road getting sandier!


I completely lost my sand-riding mojo after I dropped my bike a couple of times in the thick sand earlier and just could not get going again. I forgot all about “stand up, look up and open up” and just let the bike do its thing. It was very tiring for Man-on-the-moon to every time get off his bike, walk back through the thick sand to pick up my bike again and then walk back to his bike – so we switched and I pedalled in front. I think I dropped my bike at least 8 times! :sad:

More sand!


It was hot! Time for a break.


We encountered a number of rocky sections which we thoroughly enjoyed! We met two guys in a 4x4 coming from Klein Pella as we were going down a quite steep and rocky section. I initially took the wrong line but luckily Jan Staal taught us how to recover a bike on an uphill and I used the same technique to wiggle the bike back onto the correct line. ;)

Some more tricky sections.










Man-on-the-moon had to park his bike in the sand as there is no way to keep it upright otherwise.


We chatted with the 4x4 guys a bit about the rest of the route and they ensured us there is a nice guesthouse in Klein Pella where we can get a cold drink. With that carrot in front of me I suddenly got my mojo back and went smoothly through the last stretch of sand. The date trees of Klein Pella was a most welcome sight and a Coke never tasted that good!

The very welcome sight of Klein Pella!


This “kortpad” eventually took almost 3 hours to complete, but we made it through. Using Knopkop’s rating it is mostly level 1 with here and there level 2.  :evil:  Using my rating, mostly level 3 with here and there level 4-5. Would I do it again? Most definitely! For 3 reasons – one, to see if I can ride this sand with a bit more training and getting my mindset right for sand riding. Reason number 2 – Klein Pella is like a little oasis in the middle of the desert with huge date plantations. It apparently has over 14000 date trees and is the biggest date plantation in the Southern Hemisphere and the second-biggest in the world. Unfortunately we were there on a Sunday and did not get to taste or buy dates, so we have to return for that. I would also really like to spend some more time in the area and stay at the Klein Pella guesthouse. And reason number 3 – I am sure I must have lost at least 3kg’s pedalling through this sand – always a bonus for any woman!  :cool:

This swimming pool at Klein Pella guesthouse looked extremely inviting!


Thousands of date trees.


From Klein Pella we took the “highway” back to the N14. The road is fairly good with here and there sandy patches. The road is lined with Koker bome (quiver trees) and every now and then we crossed little dry concreted “driffies”. I would love to see this place if it rained a bit!

Koker bome.


Once back on the N14 it was smooth riding all the way through Springbok and up to Steinkopf where we turned towards Port Nolloth. The Aninous and Windpoort passes were a very welcome change to the straight roads up to now and provided some nice twisties and a stunning view down to the west coast. About 20km before Port Nolloth, the temperature started to drop dramatically up to the point where we had to stop and close all vents on our jackets and put thicker gloves on. We rode into Port Nolloth with the mist closing in on us. We quickly set up camp at McDougall’s bay right on the beach. There was however no glorious Westcoast sunset due to the thick mist. That night we slept like logs – tired but content!

Time for dinner.


Camping right on the beach.




Next to Hondeklip Bay via Alexander Bay!
« Last Edit: September 12, 2010, 01:12:59 pm by DD650 »
 

Offline DUSTRIDERS

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2010, 01:28:15 pm »
Ai lekker!!! :thumleft:
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Offline whitedelight

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2010, 01:45:27 pm »
Nice looking trip... :thumleft:
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Offline steady eddy

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2010, 03:28:02 pm »
Keep it coming. Nice photos. lekker trip :thumleft:
 

Offline ThysBasson

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2010, 08:13:07 pm »
I went on basically  the same route. Pella was awesome, the story around the church was breathtaking.
What a nice area to visit.
Did you do the road between Port Nolloth and Kleinzee as well ? We did it in the rain.
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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2010, 10:36:03 pm »
what a beautiful area, thaks for sharing it with us. :thumleft:

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Offline Harry the Buffalo

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2010, 11:31:49 pm »
Great RR..........Leaving for the same area on the 22nd Sep!
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Offline letsgofishing

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2010, 07:44:40 am »
Nice pics!
Would love to ride that area!
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Offline Gat Slag

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2010, 08:23:54 am »
dit lyk lekker!!! :thumleft:
 

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2010, 08:47:04 am »
I lyk it  :thumleft:
Pass this way once!
 

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2010, 08:56:04 am »
Great stuff, waiting for the rest!  :thumleft:
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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2010, 09:11:18 am »
Nice :thumleft:
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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2010, 09:20:34 am »
Ek het julle twee gekry op die Melkboom pad onder by die staalbrug wat loop oor Doringrivier oppad na Clanwilliam met n wit Nissan bakkie met tralies op, wou jou stop om te chat oorkant die brug maar julle het doodgeskrik gelyk en laat loop. Dit is Trawal, niemand sal julle skade aandoen hier nie :thumleft:
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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2010, 09:22:59 am »
Baie nice.  :thumleft:
 

Offline man on the moon

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2010, 11:21:02 am »
Ek het julle twee gekry op die Melkboom pad onder by die staalbrug wat loop oor Doringrivier oppad na Clanwilliam met n wit Nissan bakkie met tralies op, wou jou stop om te chat oorkant die brug maar julle het doodgeskrik gelyk en laat loop. Dit is Trawal, niemand sal julle skade aandoen hier nie :thumleft:

I remember that, thought you slowed down to let us go ahead, missed an oportunity to chat, we met very few bikers on our trip, 2guys in Clanwilliam who had the old quip of GS stands for geen sand. all though every one was friendly.
 

Offline Vaalseun

Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2010, 11:38:59 am »
Nice RR DD. I look forward to more.......any idea when?
 

Offline Spore

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2010, 12:23:47 pm »
Lyk sooo lekker - ek & my vriend doen die trip 3de week in Oktober! Kannie waggie!! Mooi foties, dankie! :ricky:
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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2010, 12:29:23 pm »
Baie lekker :thumleft: Maak 'n man sommer lus vir ry
 

Offline DD650

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2010, 01:03:24 pm »
Ek het julle twee gekry op die Melkboom pad onder by die staalbrug wat loop oor Doringrivier oppad na Clanwilliam met n wit Nissan bakkie met tralies op, wou jou stop om te chat oorkant die brug maar julle het doodgeskrik gelyk en laat loop. Dit is Trawal, niemand sal julle skade aandoen hier nie :thumleft:

Jy weet mos ons is van Gauteng af en vrek bang vir vreemdes.   ;D  Is jammer ons het nie gestop nie, het gedink jy wag dalk net vir ons om oor te gaan. Moet sę, al die mense in daardie omgewing is baie vriendelik en ons het baie lekker gekuier. Ons trek sommer af soontoe!   ;)

Vaalseun, ek verdien net gou my volgende trip se geld, sal vanaand nog post.   :D