Packing for another adventure seems to becoming effortless, less is more, and the more you can wear on the ride, the less to pack. Knowing the sun was setting fast behind us we headed on the N1 towards the Hugenote tunnel , our home for the weekend, Warmwaterberg Spa, Barrydale was waiting for us.
Making our way through Rawsonville we had 2 stop and go’s and the local on duty waved his little glow in the dark torch at us both times to come to a halt. Coming over for quick conversation, it never ceases to amaze me that when you are packed and kitted for a trip like this, random people always come over and ask the question, where are you off too ? There is just something different to this kind of an adventure than a car.
The night was on us, and for a July ride we had temperatures of mid 20’ties. I hummed all the way through the intekom, and Carel had to endure my grateful humming for good weather. Making a quick stop in Robertson, our home stretch to Barrydale was a quick one.
Riding at night has become one of my favourite times. You lose concept of space and time when driving in the black of the night. The road is quieter, the stars look like dust speckles on a black velvet blanket, and the dashes of white on the tar become a solid white line as your only guide. You can only trust what is right in front of you, and that is all that demands your focus.
Unpacking at Warmwaterberg Spa in Barrydale, we joined in the festivities with my brother and some of his friends, we shared some laughs a warm fire. Saturday morning we ventured on foot for run on the dirt road, the trainers always go with, so explore for us has to be done on foot too, we had a beautiful run and were joined by some of the farmers dogs too, luckily they weren’t chasing us, so we didn’t have to sprint through the veld like two city slickers.
The creases of the previous night’s ride hadn’t even been hung out properly yet and the engine wasn’t cold as we got dressed again. We headed out on the dirt road again in the direction of Ladiesmith. To gain access to Ladismith and Laingsburg via this road we ended up with an early Christmas present. We were escorted through Sanbona Wildlife Reserve as a treat. Motorbikes can enter this reserve with an escorted vehicle, we asked nicely and the guard at the gate smiled wide and gave a nod of approval. Jokingly, I asked him what is the total of lions in this reserve? I coughed when the response that was uttered from his mouth was 4. I looked down at my pants and thought to myself, ‘’no time like the present to test the durability of these RST pants, I guess?’’
We spotted some giraffe feeding on the high trees and some other 4 legged friends on the tour through this reserve. Getting to the exit gate, I was sad that the ending came so soon, but grateful that I still had all my body parts attached. The dirt road took us to Ladismith. Here we did a quick tour through the town and filled up the thirsty engine before heading to SeweweeksPoort. Just when I thought I had seen it all 2 weeks ago in the Swartberg Pas, then SeweweeksPoort happened. I didn’t know I could be more surprised than I already was. So much beauty and so close to us. We had a quick picnic in between the rocks hanging high over our heads. Peace on earth over a packet of jelly beans and the sound of water flowing nearby.
Heading back to reality we chose tar for a quicker route and we were targeted by a swarm of bees that came towards us like a hailstorm, they hit our suits like children at a stone throwing contest. Thank goodness for closed visors and a full kit, despite the heat of the day. To celebrate our victory over Maya the bee and her family of aggressive stingers, we stopped at Ronnie’s Sex Shop on Route 62. This little spot is trademarked on this route. Some places never lose their originality and reputation. As per my previous visit here years ago, it was welcoming, cheerful and relaxing.
Back to Warmwaterberg Spa for a relaxing braai and drinks with our weekenders. It was a perfect ending to another beautiful day.
Sunday morning was an early rise and sadly it was time to say our farewells. Packing up is never as fun as packing in. Memories get stored away in the panniers and the boots filled with yesterday’s mud get put on for the journey home.
Popping in at the popular Diesel & Crème for breakfast was an absolute must. If you pass through this town, please do not pass this little beautiful place. If you have tasted these milkshakes, you may find yourself driving here on a Sunday just to have one. Any one of these milkshakes will bring out the child in you again, that is promised. The main road of Barrydale is filled with little coffee shops and restaurants rich in culture and art.
Carel asked me again, if I am ready to be left speechless again? I didn’t think it was possible anymore too be left speechless, but he seems to be quite successful. Tradouw pass… you have stolen my heart. The pass was built in 1869 and was constructed by Thomas Bain. The word Tradouw means ‘’ the women’s path’’ n Khoisan. So beautiful as it reaches into the sky and down into the valleys. Water flowing and the road turns subtly to the left and the right as you go through this pass. Coming to the end, I was hoping to be able to do this one again.
A quick stop at BuffelsjagRivier to stretch our legs and then off to Malgas.
I haven’t been through Malgas since I was maybe knee high. I can’t even remember all the detail. But it’s been years. Another beautiful road amongst the canola fields as it is just a sea of yellow as you ride on the gravel. My favourite color is yellow, and here I was above this ocean of yellow fluff on either side of me. My day was made.
We took a well deserved leg stretch break while being transported over the Malgas pontoon. Malgas boasts as the only town in South Africa that still has a pont. The pont was built in 1914 and is the same that is still in use today. It is operated by 2 men and chains that strap over the sides and is pulled with strength of arms and legs by these 2 as they walk up and down on this wooden deck, transporting visitors and their memories across this beautiful little place.
We lost track of time, honestly I lose all track of time being pillion, now and then I lean over Carel’s shoulder to take a peek at the GPS, and find that leaning like this probably makes me look a bit like Jim Carrey in a high speed chase on Ace Ventura. So I refrain from staying in this position longer than a few seconds, I rather breathe it in and let my body move in the direction and flow of the engine.
Last stop for the weekend was Kleinmond, being blessed with some family and good friends in this beautiful coastal town we had a cup of coffee and good chats and had to say good bye again, with the smell of the salty air coming off the ocean and the sun setting in front of us over Rooi Els, sad our weekend had come to an end, but grateful and blessed to have seen, smelt, tasted and felt the last 48hours.
Where to next
@backroadriderZA & @yellowclarity