Tankwa Teaches Humility


Tankwa Tented Camp Overnighter : 07-08/July 2018)

‘’Afgeval, seergekry, opgeklim & weer (verder) gery!’’🎵🎶🎵– Tannie Jackie

On Saturday morning, as group of friends we met at the Klapmuts BP garage for our Tankwa Tented Camp overnighter. As the group came together, we knew it would be an interesting affair. We had a combi camper with the bike trailer, a little Jimny on steroids and a Mahindra. These were our vehicles on the trip. The rest of us parked our GS’s next to eachother and in the distance we heard Martin’s Honda arriving. Making sure we all knew well in advance that he would be the one who would keep us all on our toes. So here we were – 23 people, different modes of transport, different occupations, different dreams, different ages …. Yet in the next 24hours we would become friends.

A smartie box of sorts we suited up after a quick briefing, and headed straight for the gravel after the N1 turnoff. We headed left and decided that tar wasnt in it for us today. We took some detours via farms, and after the rainfall the fields are beautifully green, and the roads are hard. Awesome riding conditions. In the distance I saw the first water crossing, not having one of these experiences under the belt, and with Carel no where near intekom range, I just reminded myself. ‘’when in doubt – throttle it out’’ .. the rule applied and with great success, I must of face another 10 of those in that morning. I felt like a kid at a mud throwing party, it was so much fun. Back on to the tar it wasn’t long until we hit dirt again. With all the legs that had been stretched now, and the group finally finding its rhythm after a few lost ducks in another man’s pond we were snaking along the roads.

Arriving in Ceres, I was sopping wet. My ducky was covered with mud and here and there I saw a resemblance of what she was this morning when we left home. With my holey bike boots, my socks were wet – through and through. I hoped it would dry soon, because the cold on Gydo pass was waiting for my wet legs.

Carel gave us 2 options going up, one group could go straight to the Katbakkies turn off and the other could take the Touwsriver turnoff and do some sneaky surprise road. The group then split on Gydo pass. I followed Carel through this road. We went through 3 gates. Here and there we had to meander the bikes through some narrow entrances and the loose sand was very forgiving. The landscape was amazing. Its amazing what a little bit of water and a lot of snow can do.

We came out at the edge of the road near Katbakkies turnoff. Through the farmers gate we exited onto the tar. Katbakkies, hier is ekke !

I had been without comms most of the day, by now I was really at peace with the silence in my helmet, and knew that this was just going to have to be one metre infront of the other.. I love this pass… its just one of those roads where I lose my heart everytime. It humbles me completely and brings me to a point of overwhelming gratitude. Beauty endless !

Coming to the top of the pass, you are with in arms length of touching the white patches of snow that are still on the side of the road after last weekends sudden white decent.

We met up at Tankwa Padstal. I got off and instead of high fiving myself, I dusted off my pants, I earned the wet toes, and dusty visor – that was epic.

Meeting up with my parents and friends everyone was in good spirits sharing their story of the ride so far. A cold one was necessary to clear the dust stuck in between my teeth, probably because I was smiling all the way.

We headed to Tented camp, parked the bikes just in time to make it to the bus for the sunset cruise. Speechless this left me.

We climbed off and all walked up the hill. We listened to stories of the Tankwa. Can you believe this area only gets 30mls of rain annually – yet they are smiling. And we complain about grey water and a bucket system.

We took a few minutes to take this all in.. sat in silence. I am sure each one of us were sharing a moment with the sun that was going down, as the last peak of yellow sank, so did those private thoughts. We were given a game drive with a difference as we visited all the Africa Burn artwork that was still around. It is fast becoming a natural art studio in the desert. Whatever you consider normal, it is a flipside when you enter the Tankwa, and to embrace this, will give you a sense of peace.

Elzebet and her team made sure we had heated blankets in the tents and a warm meal. This makes you feel like home… ‘’Pap, smoor en vleis’’

The party relaxed and everyone climbed in and ensure a good time was had… one by one the weary ones started disappearing to the tents, admittedly I was one of them. A day on the bike makes me long for naps, nice long ones.

Sunday morning we got up nice and early and went for a long walk into the Tankwa veld to go and experience this sunrise…

Same as the night before, its like watching fine art in movement.. Tankwa does humble me, in a way that is indescribable.

After a good breakfast, we started getting ready. Carel gave the signal that we could all come home in our own fashion. So all decided which direction they were heading into and the group did a quick split.

I decided to head out with the one vehicle. My mother being the driver I knew I could give it a bit of stick. She would catch up.

I left the other riders and hit the Tankwa highway. I went over one of those awesome invisible bumps at quite a speed, and with that my body went airborne instantly all that was on my bike was my hands, having no comms I was swearing and singing to my guardian angel as my feet came down and hit the pedals too hard, knocking my bike out of gear. A quick recovery – find it – find it – find it – got it ! I am reminded that you should never ride faster than your guardian angel can fly.. in my case as fast as my mother can drive, Ha ha ha..

We met in Ceres just after 12 and then the wait began. Next bike in was Carel… and then it was a stagger.

After 2 minor incidents, all the ducks were in the pond, arms and legs attached. We did our meet and greets and headed back to the flat mountain and real life.

It is hard to get back into my car, walk into an office and pretend like this weekend didn’t leave its mark on me. Stopping in a pass like Katbakkies, alone, no phone, no human and no animal. All I can hear is the soft idling of the engine. I was so overwhelmed by how big it all is and how small we actually are, the warm tears turned ice cold as they rolled down my cheeks.. a year ago I didn’t even own a bike, or even dream of this reality. It is because of grace that we can do this awesome sport called adventure biking. May we stay humble in our travels, giving thanks as we go along.

A special mention ….

Andreas ‘s dad joined us this weekend, was a father son special date. It also seems that this wont be the last

My parents joined, a first and very special occasion … now they don’t only read about it on my blog.. but can live one too.

Oom Neels, for once again having to borrow a bike on the morning as the yellow bug didn’t want to ride… and for always being on top of it. Even in tough situations.

Elanza, for being a rockstar pillion and falling graciously !

Tannie Jackie, for her wisdom and handling her incident with a smile

Phil, for his optimistic, humbling attitude when the camper decided to rather want to stay in Tankwa….

I salute you !