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Offline Plothond

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A KTM Affair - in Swaziland - UPDATED & PICS
« on: May 20, 2007, 07:05:47 pm »
Well well, just 2 hours ago arrived back from the most amazing trip in Swaziland.

And what a trip - the spills were plenty, bikes suffered, ankles suffered and I again came to the realisation that katooms go ANYWHERE !!!!

I'm knackkered - so just a teaser - The route map

I'll put a real decent post together tomorrow evening and all will be revealed
And... LOSTDOG - you are THE MAN !!!
This forum member sniffed out some real bike breakers ... and we enjoyed it

....... till 2 morrow  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:

PS..... see that loop on the map, just above Mbabane - that's where it all went slightly pearshaped ...... :shock:

I used to be indecisive, but I'm not so sure anymore

The butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work
 

Offline Plothond

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A KTM Affair - in Swaziland - UPDATED & PICS
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2007, 11:28:22 pm »
The Engen garage on the corner of Hans Strijdom and Lynnwood has become a popular meeting point for rides out north or to the east




A not so early start of 07:30 as the winter sun plays havoc with ones eyes when moving in an easterly direction

We went out via Graham road (Lynnwood extention) to the Bronkies / Bapsfontein road and then on to Bronkhorstspruit to join the N4 ? missing the Diamond Hill ripoff toll plaza the Leo has started making famous




See !!!!! ? We good honorable citizens pay our due?s (what a farking robbery ? 31 runt)




The aim was to get to the Swazi border as soon as possible so we hightailed it on the N4 (after a stop at Middelburg for brekkies) to the R33 Carolina turnoff. From Carolina it was roughly a 100 clicks and we reached the Oshoek border post at 10:45.

I last passed through that borderpost about 17 years ago and believe me ? nothing has changed. The Swazi setup is real neat and tidy and the immigration staff are friendly ? except the friggin road tax ? another 50 runt in taxes (our total for the day ? 81 runt)

Here we met up with Nick who decided to come down a day earlier to Barberton and play around in the dirt before we got to the border.






Now this trip was initiated by Lostdog who had worked in Swaziland and he decided to come back and explore on an adventure bike. So he got hold of some T4A routes and plotted (Yes ? read Plotted as in the evil type of the meaning ?PLOTTED?) some offroad routes

Here we are all happy and unsuspecting. I now also know that when Tracks for Africa mean offroad ? they mean it !!!!

The initiation ceremony:
The katooms lined up ready for action




?. And the road ahead

We went down this hill, which T4A calls an offroad track






When the bottom was not the bottom and the bottom did not look like it was getting to the bottom, we decided to come back to the top








Some really great views








A slight detour through the suburbs of Mbabane was called for so we could get to the bottom




On the way we went past a ?restaurant? and took a cold one








Now Plathond can hold his liquor, but obviously not his bike ? So there we were?.. 1st one for the day




Soon after the tar became dirt again and Lost Dog again took faith in his T4A map and we veered off into the unknown again




Sometimes there were tracks and sometimes not, but the riding was phenomenal.
The views were awesome and the riders were happy






Now one thing about the standard off-the-shelf 950 KTM, it?s built with looong legs, but not slow, low-down ones. That 17 tooth front sprocket just HAS to come off and be replaced with a 16.

When Nick stalled his bike on this slope, there was no carrying on ? and over he went. A 950 at the best of times is not light and lifting it back up on a grassy slope takes some doing




Some more grassy slopes




A slight stream crossing to contend with, but no problem for a 950 with a will








Then Lost Dog, with another evil glint in his eye takes us down the mother of all slopes and across another donga




A rest break, and scouting the way ahead




Now Nick has been riding road and off-road bikes for well over twenty years and he has had his 950 about 14 months now. He is an accomplished rider and decided to tackle the next obstacle with gusto.

Unfortunately he took a wrong line up the opposite bank and could not lift that big Katoom quick enough and bounced back ?.. and over !!!
It was a nasty fall.
(Insert ? I learnt a few hours ago that he in-fact broke some bones in his ankle and tore some ligaments ? RESPECT, RESPECT Nick to carry on with a foot like that)










The next river crossing took another prisoner, this time it was Lost Dog?s turn. Again on an off camber going into the river, he lost his footing and over he went. This time the casualty was a mirror.

Then he went through first. The rocks were very slippery and Lost Dog went for a bath






Second time round ? better luck








Now we were buggered. So whilst Lost Dog figured out a short cut that did not involve a T4A route, Plathond took a breather




Nick decided that if he bandaged his ankle, that maybe the pain would subside, which apparently it did slightly. He was pretty sure it had something big wrong with it (maybe even busted) ? But I really take my helmet off to him ? still smiling




A stop over at another ?restaurant? for a cold one




We were now on the tar road to Pigs Peak and came across this dam. I forget it?s name, but it looks pretty new. Seems as a lot of foreign aid was employed and it?s primary aim appears to be the generation of electricity ? really impressive ? the road goes over the wall




Plathond was not having a good day either and about 1 km from our overnight spot, I came around a corner and see this:




The overnight camp called Wylesdale was really impressive. It is completely tucked away in the folds of the mountain. The owner has not let it out for quite a while as a bunch of geologists have been staying there looking for shiny rocks.
Stay at Wylesdale on your next trip to Swaziland ? you will not find a more beautiful and secluded spot

There is no electricity and all the lights were either gas or inverted power from car batteries charged during the day using solar power

A gentleman by the name of Phillip tended the camp and we were treated to cold beers on arrival. He then proceeded to braai a great dinner and the next morning was bacon & eggs, coffee etc?












View from the terrace in front of the cabin








View of the ablution block




? and the view from the shower




Next morning we had to retrace our steps for a few km?s and had to cross this river for the second time






A Swazi tourist map describes the road from Pigs Peak up to the Bulembu border post as ?a bad gravel road? ? I agree it is not in good condition and the thick red powder on the road was at times about 50 to 60mm thick.

Do not even attempt to use this road in the rainy weather ? I doubt if you will get very far


Bulembu used to be an extremely large and what appears to have been a very affluent community at one stage. Being an asbestos mine, it was mothballed I?m told, about 20 years ago and fell into ruin. The place was taken over by the same guy the owns Wylesdale and now is controlled by a trust or corporation of sorts






Nick and Plathond and the entrance of the reception at Bulembu. Although in a bit of pain, Nick was still smiles. You can see the clip of his boot is loose in order to alleviate the pressure a bit




Drinks on the Lawn




Once we left Swaziland, we took a lovely (but VERY DUSTY) road down to Barberton. Come and enjoy this area SOON as they are tarring the road up to Bulembu








There were Wilddogs in the vacinity (again)




On the Nelspruit / Barberton road we took the turnoff to Kaapse Hoop. Although it had a few surprises in store, this dirt road is just magic and we stopped for a few snaps at this big tree




Lunch at Kaapse Hoop was delicious and with the afternoon sun starting to bake on our backs we decided to get going as our lazy meters were charging at a fast and furious rate




Nick ? still smiles




On our way out we discovered that horses rule the roost (or stoep)




The road from just before Kaapse Hoop to the N4 at Ngodwana Sappi Mill is tarred and we hauled ass down to the Mill.

We crossed over the N4 and about 2km?s or so up the road we came to a boom.

After some formalities, we entered one of the most scenic and hidden passes that whole area had to offer ? What a treat !!!

Later this road became dirt again. The dust was terrible and the wind from the approaching cold front was not helping. At times the visibility was close to zero

Again ? this happens: (Damn rims made of butter !!!!)

(sorry - no PIC: by the time I got home this evening our friendly forum member Adventure MX had already paid a house call and fixed my rim again)


Total distance for the trip




Tollgates for Sunday, 77 runt (we went around the Diamond hill one) ? Rant on: FRIGGIN RIPPOFF ? rant off


My riding partners were a real treat. Thanks to Lost Dog for initiating the trip, Plathond for the entertainment, and Nick for being a great source of laughter and fun, despite your mishap ? may you heal quick

Some advice from this trip ? Having thick enduro tubes in your bike is a must, some of those roads were real rough and impact punctures are always a possibility. Take spare nuts and bolts ? those roads will shakes the balls off a brass monkey. Mirrors are the first to suffer cross country, consider taking them off. Take lots of water. Cash is king ? leave the credit cards for RSA (even the meal at Kaapse Hoop had to be paid in cash)


TILL WE RIDE AGAIN  8)  8)  8)  8)  8)  8)  8)  8)
I used to be indecisive, but I'm not so sure anymore

The butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work
 

Offline JourneyMan

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A KTM Affair - in Swaziland - UPDATED & PICS
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2007, 06:25:58 am »
Great trip and some serious technical riding done! 8)

Hope Nick heals soon.
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Offline GIDEON

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A KTM Affair - in Swaziland - UPDATED & PICS
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2007, 06:32:05 am »
BEVANGE julle trip maak mens net wil oorgaan DARK SIDE TOE


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Offline Kat

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A KTM Affair - in Swaziland - UPDATED & PICS
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2007, 06:41:10 am »
very nice   :wink:
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Offline bushclown

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A KTM Affair - in Swaziland - UPDATED & PICS
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2007, 07:01:31 am »
Awsome ride
 

Offline Temik

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A KTM Affair - in Swaziland - UPDATED & PICS
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2007, 07:37:16 am »
Nice ride!!!!!!!!! :)  :)  :)
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Offline bmad

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A KTM Affair - in Swaziland - UPDATED & PICS
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2007, 07:43:25 am »
Well done boys :thumbleft:

Awesome trip and some excellent photos there.
The pictures give a good overall idea of the trip, pains and aventure.
Thanks for taking us along :wink:
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Offline LostDOG

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A KTM Affair - in Swaziland - UPDATED & PICS
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2007, 07:46:19 am »
Plothond- great summary dude!

Thanks to all of you who made the trip. The next one will have a few changes in planning but all in all I think we had a fantastic outing.

Here are some of my pics..
The thing that struck me the most is how easy it is to feel comfortable with a group of guys that you dont know from a bar of soap, but have the same interests as oneself - long live adventure!! (and KTM)

PS: Nick I hope you heal soon mate - HUGE RESPECT!!!






























It's a friggen motorcycle, it's not supposed to be comfortable, quiet or safe. The windnoise is supposed to hurt your ears, the seat should be hard and riding it should make you shit your pants every now and then. Suck it up. -- Scary Gary MC
 

Offline Clockwork Orange

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A KTM Affair - in Swaziland - UPDATED & PICS
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2007, 08:11:32 am »
Brilliant Report that really is awesome!!!
When in doubt...grab throttle!!!
 

shark_za

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A KTM Affair - in Swaziland - UPDATED & PICS
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2007, 08:17:46 am »
Awesome trip guys.

Would love some GPS tracks of that.






Next time go there on more capable bikes, like KTM640's , DRZ400's , TE610's and KLR's!!!    :twisted:  :twisted:
 

Offline Plothond

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A KTM Affair - in Swaziland - UPDATED & PICS
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2007, 08:35:28 am »
Quote from: "shark_za"
Awesome trip guys.

Would love some GPS tracks of that.

Next time go there on more capable bikes, like KTM640's , DRZ400's , TE610's and KLR's!!!    :twisted:  :twisted:


PM your email and I'll send the route to you
But also speak to LostDOG - he's got a whole lot of evil little paths up his sleeve.
A mate of his sets the Swazi 400 and he often went with - this is how he came up with these paths (and of course the imfamous T4A)
I used to be indecisive, but I'm not so sure anymore

The butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work
 

Offline Plothond

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A KTM Affair - in Swaziland - UPDATED & PICS
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2007, 08:37:44 am »
The 950 is most capable    :)  :)  :)

- it's the rider that sweated a bit  :twisted:
I used to be indecisive, but I'm not so sure anymore

The butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work
 

Offline LostDOG

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A KTM Affair - in Swaziland - UPDATED & PICS
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2007, 08:49:04 am »
PM me whom ever is interested in contacts for Wylsdale, Tracks and routes.
It's a friggen motorcycle, it's not supposed to be comfortable, quiet or safe. The windnoise is supposed to hurt your ears, the seat should be hard and riding it should make you shit your pants every now and then. Suck it up. -- Scary Gary MC
 

Offline LostDOG

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A KTM Affair - in Swaziland - UPDATED & PICS
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2007, 08:51:36 am »
Quote from: "shark_za"
Awesome trip guys.

Would love some GPS tracks of that.






Next time go there on more capable bikes, like KTM640's , DRZ400's , TE610's and KLR's!!!    :twisted:  :twisted:


I agree that there are better suited bikes for this terrain, but I have an image to uphold as well.  :D
It's a friggen motorcycle, it's not supposed to be comfortable, quiet or safe. The windnoise is supposed to hurt your ears, the seat should be hard and riding it should make you shit your pants every now and then. Suck it up. -- Scary Gary MC
 

Offline IDR

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« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2007, 09:03:05 am »
Amazing trip guys - really inspirational!

I'd love to know how Nick fell to have torn ligaments and broken bones inside a MX boot... :?:  :?:  :?:
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Offline LostDOG

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« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2007, 09:25:47 am »
Just spoke to Nick - turns out radiologist and general GP got it slightly wrong - specialist did stress tests and stress X-rays which revealed no ligaments gone, but a weird type of fracture around the ball-joint - he'll have to explain, out of action for 2 months - thankfully not as bad as thought.
It's a friggen motorcycle, it's not supposed to be comfortable, quiet or safe. The windnoise is supposed to hurt your ears, the seat should be hard and riding it should make you shit your pants every now and then. Suck it up. -- Scary Gary MC
 

Offline Eisbein

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A KTM Affair - in Swaziland - UPDATED & PICS
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2007, 09:34:48 am »
Wow !

Awesome !

This is being true to the term 'Adventure riding'.

I would love to do something like that !

Respect all round, but especially to Nick - it is easy (and would be understandable) if you became grumpy after the injury.

Thanks for the report - I HAVE to go do Swaziland. My work had me there for a week a year or two ago (Matsapa). Since I've seen it then I always wanted to return with a bike and explore.
This have just awakened that feeling...

:thumbup:
02/02/12 - RIP Glen - the Arrow of Elliot and the little man with the big heart that truly was larger than life.

You have touched us and left us better for having known you - even if it was only briefly.

For grabbing the moment and living the day It's been way too early that you were taken away
 

Offline Eisbein

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« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2007, 09:42:27 am »
I might want to reconsider this crossing tho' - don't know how the boxer engine is gonna enjoy that bit. In my minds eye I see me coming in with a lot of enthusiasm and then the bike gets stuck (like Scrat between the icebergs from the opening scene of Ice Age) and me flying over the handlebars...

:D

02/02/12 - RIP Glen - the Arrow of Elliot and the little man with the big heart that truly was larger than life.

You have touched us and left us better for having known you - even if it was only briefly.

For grabbing the moment and living the day It's been way too early that you were taken away
 

Offline JonW

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« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2007, 09:57:07 am »
Great report guys, this is what it is all about.
How can I be lost if I've got nowhere to go?