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Offline DD650

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2010, 01:26:38 pm »
Lyk sooo lekker - ek & my vriend doen die trip 3de week in Oktober! Kannie waggie!! Mooi foties, dankie! :ricky:

Spore, laat weet as ek vir jou roetes of iets kan stuur. Ons het 'n paar baie nice paaie gery.
 

Offline DD650

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2010, 07:39:08 pm »
Hondeklip Bay via Alexander Bay
We woke up to a cloudy sky and the cry of a flock of seagulls. It was still quite cool and stayed like that all the way to Alexander Bay. We made a quick turn at the border post for the obligatory proof of visiting and the policemen very friendly agreed that we may take some photos. After a nice breakfast at the Alexander Bay and a turn through the town we were on our way back to Port Nolloth again. The road back from Alexander Bay was quite straight and boring, but we knew this would not last too long anymore as it would be mostly dirt road from Port Nolloth onwards.

Waking up to seagulls.


Alexander Bay.


We had to make a stop at one of the local garages to replace a lost screw on my bike. The owner assured us that we should not take our planned route to Kleinsee as it is full of potholes filled with sand and just the previous week a biker had quite a bad accident on that road. Our alternative was to go all the way back to Springbok so we threw caution to the wind once again and decided to set off on our planned route. The road was a bit corrugated but otherwise almost a dirt highway – these guys have clearly not been on some of the Gauteng roads recently!  :evil:

The road to Kleinsee.


Nice little dam.




We arrived in Kleinsee with hardly any flowers along the road and it still being quite cold and overcast. As it was now getting quite late and seeing that there weren’t any flowers along the route, we decided to try and take a shorter route again. We enquired about the restricted road running along the coast. We were informed that it is tarred all the way to Koingnaas and that we could get a permit. It was a really nice and scenic road and we saw gemsbok, springbok and ostriches on the road. Every now and then we would catch a glimpse of the ocean and some nice looking dirt roads that we would have loved to go and explored. Unfortunately De Beers would not allow that. From Koingnaas we turned to Hondeklip Bay where we were welcomed with a glass of red wine – very welcome in the cold – by Rob and Dawn from Skulpieskraal. Skulpieskraal is a little tented camp and you could also have meals with them if requested. We had a very nice stay here and Rob and Dawn made us feel extremely welcome. We will definitely return again.

Sunset in Hondeklip Bay.


The smallest church I have ever seen!


The beach at Hondeklip Bay.


After a quick shower we dashed off to the beach to go and watch the sunset. We had excellent paella and other seafood at the Fisherman’s cottage, but make sure to take your own drinks.

The Fisherman’s cottage.


Next Hondeklip Bay to Van Rhynsdorp…..
 

Offline DD650

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2010, 08:54:37 pm »
Hondeklip Bay to Vanrhynsdorp
We woke to a stunning sunrise and set off in search of the Aristea wreck but we probably didn’t search far enough.  :(

Sunrise at Hondeklip Bay.




Looking for the Aristea.




We took the road in the direction of Kamieskroon, but turned off towards Soebatsfontein. It was quite a nice road with here and there some sandy patches, but today we road through without any incidents. We even saw a little turtle while stopping to admire our first flowers.

On the way to Soebatsfontein.






At Soebatsfontein we opted out of a road that had a sign saying “4x4 only”.  We didn’t have enough time again today to spend 3 hours on a little shortcut. The road from Soebatsfontein to Kamieskroon was very scenic with some stunning views from the mountains as well as a field filled with purple flowers.

Stunning views over to Namaqua National Park.




Our first patches of flowers.


After a nice bobotie and cheesecake at one of the quaint local restaurants and information from the owner about the best places to see flowers, we set off towards Leliefontein. We turned into a private farm pointed out to us by the owner in Kamieskroon we did get to see some fields of flowers. This little route provided us with a number of opportunities to see some flowers – the other reason for our trip.

Turning off onto a private farm to admire the flowers.








Beautiful flowers on the way to Leliefontein.








Stunning views on the way to Leliefontein.




Leliefontein is Namaqualand’s oldest village and hosts the Methodist church – a national monument. There was some choir practice going on inside the church and we didn’t want to disturb them. So we just had a chat with the local kids playing in the street in front of the church. They just wanted to have their picture taken and ride on the bikes!

Chatting with the locals at the Leliefontein church.


On the road back to Garies.






Some of the flowers we saw.




I would really recommend this little route via Leliesfontein to Garies. The views are stunning!




View down to Garies.


Taking the advice from the Kamieskroon owner we decided to skip the caravan park at Garies and set off to Vanrhynsdorp. We rode into town as the sun was setting and was very lucky to get the last camping spot at the Vanrhynsdorp caravan park. Even better was the ZAR restaurant on the property – great food and then off to bed for a well deserved rest!

Next… Gifberg!
 

Offline BlueAlp

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2010, 09:41:44 pm »
Great RR and beautiful pics Waiting for the next episode  :thumleft:
 

Offline weskus

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #24 on: September 14, 2010, 03:05:16 pm »
Very nice RR and beautifull area to ride...even better in winter!!
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Offline keithk

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #25 on: September 14, 2010, 06:23:22 pm »
This is a superb route thanks for sharing  :thumleft:
ROUTE DIFFICULTY:1 = tar
2 = good gravel /pillion friendly
3 = interspersed with sand, mud, sand , bush / not pillion friendly
4 = lots of sand, technical riding
5 = expert only (we are not worthy, still to meet one)
 

Offline MellowJo

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #26 on: September 14, 2010, 08:43:04 pm »
Very Nice DD. Hats off to the Pella route ...  :mwink:
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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #27 on: September 14, 2010, 08:50:23 pm »
Very nice DD650.
The very first pic of the flowers(field full of blue/purple ones) is Lupine. The farmers plant that for grazing.
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Offline EtienneXplore

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #28 on: September 14, 2010, 10:17:00 pm »
Lekker Lekker !!!!!!!

Eendag as ek groot is wil ek ook daai paaie gaan ry!!!

Awesome report!
 :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
 

Offline DD650

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #29 on: September 15, 2010, 05:57:26 pm »
To Vredendal via Gifberg.
After a leisurely breakfast at the ZAR restaurant we set off for the Gifberg pass. With some distances to the major attractions received from one of the locals, we reset the distance counter and started our search.

The Maskam Mountains waiting for us.


The road starts off just outside Vanrhynsdorp with a fairly straight road with the Maskam Mountains in the far distance. Soon we were at the bottom of the mountains and started ascending to the plateau. We saw the first waterfall much sooner than anticipated but unfortunately a big construction truck was chasing us up the mountain and there was no safe place to stop for photos.

On top of the plateau.


We looked around quite a bit but just couldn’t find any of the other attractions like rock formations and pools at the distances we were provided with. I think the best is to put aside a whole day, stop on a regular basis, get off your bike and explore the area a bit. Despite not finding the landmarks we seriously enjoyed this little pass and it has definitely made its way to my top 10 list of scenic dirt passes.

Once on top of the plateau you have breathtaking views over the valleys and the Knersvlakte below. It is a beautiful area with lush vegetation and we even saw quite a bit of flowers again. We saw one field with the rows in between what we think is rooibos, filled with little yellow flowers. Beautiful! The route also has quite a bit of sand if you want to play in the sand again, but otherwise it is fairly easy, except for a number of steep, little rocky climbs and descends into the valley again. This route is definitely worth the trip and we will for sure return to look for all the landmarks we missed.

Fields of flowers.


Ploughed sandy field. Some of the tracks almost looked like this.  :D




Lush vegetation and breathtaking views.










We left the plateau and made a turn past the Vanrhynsdorp waterfall. It was not flowing that strongly but was still quite scenic. Just be prepared for a bit of a hike to the waterfall – not such a leisurely hike with riding boots on! :(  But it was still worth it and the camp site at the waterfall looks very welcoming. We will put that on our list for next time for places to stay at.

Vanrhynsdorp waterfall.


Welcome break in the shade of the camping spot.


Some of the flowers we saw on the route.






From the waterfall it was back to Vanrhynsdorp – the Gifberg pass is a circle route that starts and ends in Vanrhynsdorp – and from there on to Vredendal. I was quite surprised by the number of vineyards in and around Vredendal; I am sure there are more than around Stellenbosch! Some of the vineyards looked like they were planted so close to the Olifants River that I am sure they get flooded every year.

From Vredendal we turned to Lutzville and our stopover for the night – Melkboomsdrift Lodge, where we had a very nice stay with views over the Olifants River and a fantastic 3 course dinner. We had quite a bit of a chat with Hilsa that also rides a new 1200GS. We also met with a couple from Bronkhorstspruit area whose sons have a similar setup on their farm than Countrytrax. It was just bike talking all night and morning over breakfast! Oh, and a bit about where to see the best flowers. :evil:

Our view from Melkboomsdrif Lodge






The Sishen/Saldanha railway line bridge.


The next morning we woke up with thick mist that set in overnight. I unfortunately did not get the nice picture of the Sishen-Saldanha railway line bridge that I expected. That will teach me to take the photos when I have the opportunity. After breakfast we decided that we can not wait any longer for the mist to lift and we set off for our next destination…. Cederberg!
 

Offline Heimer

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #30 on: September 15, 2010, 06:27:17 pm »
Nice pictures and report.  :thumleft:
Those ploughed fields up in the Gifberg are for cultivating rooibos tea..

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Offline DD650

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #31 on: September 15, 2010, 06:33:07 pm »
Nice pictures and report.  :thumleft:
Those ploughed fields up in the Gifberg are for cultivating rooibos tea..

Thanks. We thought it might be for rooibos. Could also be a nice place to practice my sand riding skills.  ;D
 

Offline Heimer

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #32 on: September 15, 2010, 06:49:51 pm »
Nice pictures and report.  :thumleft:
Those ploughed fields up in the Gifberg are for cultivating rooibos tea..

Thanks. We thought it might be for rooibos. Could also be a nice place to practice my sand riding skills.  ;D

 ;D You might just have a very irate farmer on your case.  ;D

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Offline DD650

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #33 on: September 15, 2010, 06:59:52 pm »
Nice pictures and report.  :thumleft:
Those ploughed fields up in the Gifberg are for cultivating rooibos tea..

Thanks. We thought it might be for rooibos. Could also be a nice place to practice my sand riding skills.  ;D

 ;D You might just have a very irate farmer on your case.  ;D

For sure, and we definitely don't want to upset them - just now they close all the roads.  :(
 

Offline domstes

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #34 on: September 15, 2010, 07:43:48 pm »
 :drif: This looks like a have to do route.
 

Offline DD650

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #35 on: September 17, 2010, 11:17:14 am »
Cederberg.
Luckily the mist lifted just on the other side of Vredendal. We were on our way to Klawer and turned off onto the N7. But that was just for about 5km where we turned off again onto the Melkboom dirt road. This is a stunning little road with fantastic scenery that runs all along the N7, but for most of the road you don’t even see the N7!

Crossing the Doring River – this is where we missed an opportunity to chat with Whitefish.




The road runs along the Bulshoek dam for a few kilometres and we spend quite a while on this road to just stop and take photos and take in the beautiful scenery. It is a nice twisty road that winds through the mountains with the Olifants River on the one side. Stunning!









The dam wall.










We even saw some fishermen trying to catch some fish – this just looked so peaceful! The road eventually ends in tar again and we turned towards Clanwilliam to look for fuel and something to eat.

Lunch time in Clanwilliam.




Clanwilliam is a very charming little town – very clean, well organized, friendly and with a great vibe. Definitely a place where we can come and settle to get away from the rat race in Gauteng! We stopped at Nancy’s place for a tasty sandwich, sitting outside in the garden and just drinking in the quiet. We had a quick chat with two other bikers that were looking for the road to Middelpos and Sutherland. There was also the usual banter from the Honda and Yamaha riders about the GS standing for “Geen Sand”.  :D  Well, this was too late! We already did Pella and Gifberg with lots of sand!   :ricky:

We carried on with the Old Cape road out of Clanwilliam and on to the Cederberg. We stayed on the dirt road along the Clanwilliam dam and this was also a very scenic road. There was lots of fynbos and the road was lined with wild yellow flowers once we turned left into the Cederberg. We once again spend a lot of time on this little road taking pictures and just taking in the scenery.

Clanwilliam dam.




Crossing a little bridge.


A cave next to the road.






Man in his cave.   :P




The road into the Cederberg was in not such a great state and had long stretches with very loose stones and very corrugated sections. Especially Uitkyk Pass was a dicey bit. But once again the views made up for the bad road.

That is where we are going!


Beautiful flowers.


Our initial plan was to camp at Nuwerus, but spending so much time on the dirt roads here, it was now getting quite late. A couple of kilometres after Uitkyk Pass we decided to turn around and rather camp at Algeria, as we didn’t want to be caught in the dark on this road. So it was back over Uitkyk Pass again, giving us views now from the other side, and onto Algeria camp.

Uitkyk Pass.






We picked a spot next to the Rondegat River, a nice babbling little stream, and set up camp. There were quite a bit of flowers in the area and we went for a quick walk to take some photos.

Rondegat River.




The mountains surrounding us.


We met with a retired couple also from Pretoria that is now on their first road trip since they retired last year. They have no plans and no return date – just travelling until they are tired! Wow, I was jealous of that! Here we are just trying to pack in as must of an area as we can in such a short time so we can get back to the rat race again, and they have time to really take in everything and not rush through it! Seriously jealous! Hopefully one day that will be us.   8)

Some of the flowers we saw.






Sunset in the Cederberg.




Camp fire!


The alien has landed!   ;D


That night was our worst night since we started this trip. Camping right next to the stream didn’t seem to be such a great idea in the middle of the night. This babbling little river now turned into a raging monster – well that is what it sounded like to me.  :(  Since you are surrounded by the mountains the sound of the river is just amplified at night. The fact that the wind also came up during the night, didn’t help a lot. We eventually put our earplugs in to just try and get some sleep. The next morning the wind was still quite strong and our retired friends ensured us it is like that every day. As soon as you are out of the valley the wind calms down.

Sunrise and time for some maintenance.




Anyway, it was still a beautiful setting and we will return again, this time just camping further away from the river. We unfortunately didn’t have enough time today to go and see all the major attractions in the area – the Stadsaal Caves, the rock paintings, etc and had to set off for the next part of our journey to Nieuwoudtville. One thing we did realise is that you cannot do the Cederberg in one day – this is a trip on its own and you will need at least a week to fully appreciate this beautiful area. We will definitely return! But for now, we need to go to Nieuwoudtville!
 

Offline Diesel & Dust

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #36 on: September 17, 2010, 11:37:50 am »
Lovely stuff - the Cederberg is my backyard :pot:
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Offline Strandloper

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #37 on: September 17, 2010, 12:19:20 pm »
Gr8 report.Many fond memories about Christmas time on Trawal where my Oupa stayed.Also spend many happy times in the Cederberg, Gifberg,Bulshoekdam and surrounds!Note to self:"must go there with bike!"
 

Offline GeoffR

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #38 on: September 17, 2010, 01:53:58 pm »
I see what is left of the Aristea ship wreck outside Hondeklipbaai in the back ground of one of your pictures!
 

Offline DD650

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Re: Westcoast - gravel and flowers
« Reply #39 on: September 18, 2010, 06:28:23 pm »
Lovely stuff - the Cederberg is my backyard :pot:

So next time you can take us on a guided tour.   :D