Fluit, Fluit – Ons  “Vioolsdrift”storie is uit

‘en hoe gaan dit vanmore met jou?’ …. Hy antwoord stadig en trots,  ‘opgestaan’

This is how the people in the Northern Cape greet eachother daily, instead of answering with the normal answer as we would give it, ‘fine’, ‘well’, ‘ok’… they always answer with ‘opgestaan’. In one word it all comes together, with a grateful smile, they give thanks to being able to wake up another day, to be able to see into the endless open spaces in front of them, to be able to hear the sound of the birds wings flapping together as they take flight into the morning sky, to be able to smell the fresh air of the Richtersveld, to be able to feel their surroundings, they are ‘’OPGESTAAN”. Grateful and humble…

When Carel and I decided to plot a quick escape for the border post, it started off as a two day trip, then within minutes it turned out into a six day trek up the coast to Vioolsdrift. If we were left with a longer time to linger, it could of easily become a month journey without hesitation.

We left early on Thursday morning, while most people were still sitting in traffic, we were already hot on the N7 in the direction of Lamberts Bay. We turned to dirt and headed coastal our first stop was Doringbaai for a leg stretch the day was going to be long and beautiful. One of the little boys bravely enquired about the bike and its capacity and I giggled on the inside as I could imagine Carel’s less child like reference of his GS to a ‘’scooter’’ as he asked, “Middag Uncle, hoe v’nig ry di scooter?”. This unlikely initiation to the West coast set the trend for our trip, one of humility, kindness and gratefulness. Back on the stof scooter, our next stop was the beautiful beach town of Strandfontein. This town is a popular holiday destination and has the prettiest restaurants on the beaches. Considering we had left so early we took a few minutes to sit on the deck overlooking the ocean, with red noses sipping on our drinks. It was here, our little piece of heaven on the open road had arrived, always on time, never late.

From here on our stretch to Lutzville was a quick one, we filled up and headed out to the town of Garies. The jokes about the folks from Garies is almost as popular as the jokes of the people from Brakpan, so we made sure we could tick this one off the list as well. We found a coffee shop hidden away at the back of a fuel station called ‘Die Koperketel’.  The people in these towns are so friendly, and kindness seems to be part of their DNA, they don’t have much of the fancy, but they are rich in the things that matter. We had a well deserved lunch and exited the town onto the gravel roads to Hondeklipbaai.

Hondeklipbaai is a small town on the coast. This little town is so small, stop signs aren’t necessary and they really have more dogs than humans. We stayed at Skulpieskraal, a quaint little campsite. We unpacked the stof scooter and replaced our heavy gear with some casual clothes, grabbed the helmets again and went exploring.  As you ride along the coast through the town, one thing is evident. This coastline has made victim of many a vessel as the scraps of metal and material lie rusted on the rocks.

Here we ran into a couple from Rustenberg that we ended up travelling with for 2 days as we shared a dinner in the ‘Die Rooispinnekop Restaurant’. We shared stories about where we came from and where the road takes us. The common ground was exploration. After a grateful rest, the sun rose nice and early and we put the trainers on and headed out for our morning hike. The dogs accompanied us and acted as Hondeklipbaai’s personal tourguides, waking up all the other residents in town at the same time.

Day one was complete and our expectations fulfilled of this little coastal gem. Heading out to Kleinzee we needed to travel via ‘The diamond route’ which is the coast line that has been associated with the De Beers. It is another highway of gravel and dirt that is like trifle at Christmas for any dirt road junkie.

As we slowed down to enter Klein Zee, it felt like we entered a ghost town. It was so quiet, the houses look mostly empty as you ride through the streets. People seem to be a luxury here. As usual my antenna for coffee peaks when we ride into any town. I pointed the red coffee sign out to Carel. The arrows took us to the home of Jack & Estelle. We ended up sharing a coffee with this couple on the stoep of their home. Aunty Estelle has made her own home a coffee shop and when you pop in for a coffee, they sit with you on the stoep of their retirement home. I once again am left speechless by the kindness of strangers. After an hour of sharing, I am reminded that adventure and a love for all that is beautiful in the simple things doesn’t have an age category. It is open season for an age. The choice is ours.

After a quick petrol and coffee stop in Port Nolloth, the wind literally blew us in the direction of Alexander Bay. After serious negotiation with wind and sand we made our tour through Alexander Bay with helmet on and fully kitted to prevent sand becoming the only thing we would eat for the day. We rode coastline along the river up to the mouth where the river enters the ocean. Through the sand storms the beauty of our earth’s natural beauty was appreciated.

Considering the next day we would be without the luxury of a fuel we ensured the stof scooter and fuel bladder was full. We exited the town and headed into the Richtersveld where we spent the evening with friends at Brandkaros on the Orange river. It was a beautiful night with a sky that was well lit with the perfectly rounded full moon. Brandkaros is a holiday resort on the river that is operational with solar electricity and fresh water. Our feet set to the river banks the next morning for our exploration hike along the river. With nothing but animal prints on the sand, you realise you are definitely in the minority in this area. Bird life is plentiful here and the silence became something I long for already.

We packed up our few human belongings and headed into the desert with the scooter again, stopping off at Kuboes and then Eksteensfontein. These 2 little lost towns in the middle of the desert leave jaw-dropped and speechless. There is nothing. No shops, no stop streets, no banks. Just a few houses, a church, and here and their Mary’s little lost lamb in the desert. Yet with all the nothingness, the residents smile broadly and wave as we ride through their piece of heaven on earth. They are ‘’opgestaan’’ with their lives. We tend to always want more in our busy lives, but long for a carefree smile that a local wears everyday in a town in the middle of a desert, who has no luxuries of an ATM to draw money, for a can of cola.

The pass that takes you from Kuboes to Eksteensfontein is a well travelled pass, that is soaked with beauty and loose rock and sand. It is a candy shop for riders of dirtbikes. With a fully loaded stof scooter and myself as pillion, this scooter earned his stripes over and over again.

We overtook about 6 4×4’s and trailers through this pass. Apparently it’s all about momentum. Every time I echoed swear words of panic over the intekom, Carel piped up, ‘’ dis net momentum Jani’’ ….  

After Eksteensfontein we turned right onto the sand towards Steinkopf. We were about 40kms from Steinkopf when I was told to sit very still. ‘still, seriously, that’s what I had been doing all the time’ within 30metres the scooter wiggled its way into the sand. We had a blow out on the front wheel. Front wheel off, tools out – mechanics in the desert 101 had commenced. The 6 4×4’s that we passed stopped in convoy to help us. The company of humans was appreciated as Carel had to perform with an audience now as well.

I kept myself out of it all, what I know about snake-bite punctures and tyre blow outs is limited. I felt a hand on my lower back, and heard my name being called as the voice asked if my back is okay. I turned around, shocked to find my doctor standing behind me. He was in one of the 4×4’s and was driving back after a holiday with his family. Knowing my medical history, he asked if I needed anything and if my vertebrae and neck was behaving on this terrain. I smiled and told him the pain is worth it. He shook his head and smiled. Knowing that he saw what I saw while we came over the pass, he didn’t argue.

After an exciting afternoon we made a liquid stop in Steinkopf before heading for Vioolsdrift. We headed for the tar for the last stretch. Turning left at Vioolsdrift, we opted for keeping it proudly South African and headed up the Orange River via Kotzeshoop, considering I have a red smiley in my passport from Namibia and my previous expedition’s in my earlier days in a Scania.

We stayed at a camp on the Orange river called The Growcery. It is a beautiful camp on the river. Very lush and green and vegetable gardens have taken over. The food you get served comes from their gardens and the showers are open air. After a dusty desert day, this felt like an oasis as we stood with our feet in the Orange river as the Richtersveld mountains stood majestically at our backs, black rock towered on the opposite side of the dirt .

We shared a meal prepared for a king that night by the young gentleman that stays on site. His kindness and passion for living well is contagious as we spent the evening sharing adventures and moments that make us who we are. The next morning our hike was chosen for us by an Australian cattle dog that led the way into the Richtersveld mountains. We hiked up an old dried up river bed. With black rock all around us. Hear I could have easily been willingly lost and forgotten. Such simple beauty. When we got back, we mentioned the fact that the dog had led the way, and were told that ‘Lucy’ had recently conquered her first 10 day trek in the desert with her owner. Seems respect for our new four legged friend was in order.

By now, the stof scooter had changed color from black to off grey from all the dust, our kit had faded a little too, getting dressed again, I was grateful that we both still felt insanely awesome and daisy fresh.

The quick dash to Springbok with Vyfmylpoort as pudding for a fuel up session, human and scooter, then we fled the town via Spektakel pass and entered the Namaqua Park. During our time spent in the park, we embrace the beauty around us. The clouds seemed to canvas the skies and fall perfect shadow colors over the open spaces. We exited the park and headed through the Grootvlei pass into Kamieskroon. Here we were surprised to find our accommodation was a small little homestead on a sheep farmers land. The picture you would get of Ouma and Oupa sitting on the stoep…. Yes ! We welcomed the farmer’s comments of giving us permission to open and close gates as we walk the lands. So we did. We opened and closed gates in the sheep kraals as we walked through them all until we exited the boundary lines into the kloof the next morning. Seems the water crisis has affected their farming and they have had to discard other fields and now only farm to keep the sheep going. The Grootvlei farm has been in their family for over 150years and is still successful even though it has been through many changes and challenges.

The next morning we knew the turnaround was officially homeward bound as we exited the farm after a refreshing hike.  After making Van Rhynsdorp with 1 litre of petrol to spare, we knew the next few hours would be amazing as we had covered the ocean, the river, the farm and now it was just going to be mountains, my favourite!

We turned off the N7 just outside of Klawer and rode next to the river parallel with the N7 until Clanwilliam. A quick town in and out and then back off road… we headed into the Cedarberge. I have never been here before so it was all eye feasting for me being pillion I didn’t need to focus on bumps and rocks and paths of sand, I could just take it all in with an open visor. We turned towards Wupperthal and Biedouwvalley. Breathless moments on these beautiful roads. These are some of the Western Cape’s best kept secrets hidden away and kept safely between mountain passes and fast dropping valleys. Wupperthal is such a pretty little Heritage town. They are busy giving the little town a fixer upper and some of the thatch roofs have already been replaced, keeping it still authentic and clean. Climbing the rocky cliff that leads to Eselbank was to say the least an interesting feat. At one stage staring down the cliff as the scooter ‘billy-goat’ed itself up the mountain I questioned my likes and dislikes as a girl, and wondered why I never took interest in make up and high heels, feeling a big bump over a rock I was shaken back to reality , neh – make up and high heels were never really my speed and who wants to climb mountains in Gucci anyway.

We stopped at the ‘Waterval’ just before Eselbank and took our few minutes of leg stretching as we walked over the cliffs of this waterfall. Immediately I am humbled and a sensation of absolute gratitude overwhelms me, for everything we have been able to experience and explore over the last few days.

Our last night was spent at Cedarberg Oasis. A home away from home and perfect choice to end off this epic trip. With a hearty meal and good stories shared with the Oasis family we headed for lights out early as Cedarberg Mountains waited for us at Sunrise. We hiked the rocks at Truitjieskraal the next morning. With a hand drawn map of all the tunnels, nooks and crannies of these ancient giants we were able to explore the bushman drawings on the rocks of a time before things were complicated and concrete.

Great appreciation for this experience. I have seen you, I have walked on your lands, and I am left absolutely speechless and in awe of your beauty, our Cedarberge.

We packed the scooter for the last time and a very heavy heart, we would be back in our own beds by sunset.

Dropping down Gydo pass, it felt as if even Ceres was too busy now all of sudden, a few weeks ago this felt like my quiet haven. To end off our trip in good fashion with everything local and simple, the ‘Tolhuis’ in Mitchells Pass served up roosterkoek with jam in a tin plate and some good hot chocolate in a tin cup.

Today we are ‘Opgestaan’ … to be young, alive in a time like this where there is so much to explore and endless roads leading to the most beautiful and unexpected towns of our beautiful country.

Hope & Joy stick together like Velcro !

WilddogsForum

[Protea Heights, Brackenfell]

A few days ago a thread started on Wilddogs for a crazy neighbourhood kid in Brackenfell who has a serious love for motorbikes.

When this little man, Dewald greeted his friends yesterday after school, one thing was for sure, he had no idea that coming back on Monday with the news of his weekend adventure would be one that is now a realisation.

As the excitement behind the scenes grew on the forum about “Velcro’s bike hunt” ( the ‘dogs’ baptized him with this name, and it has now stuck – like his passion for motorcycles), it became like a veldfire of hope and excitement that spread through the wilddogs daily feed, with updates of funds donated, contributed, riding lessons offered and riding gear supplied.

Being a novice to this forum, one thing I am sure of is that the diversity of people involved in this project is amazing. Riders operate under screen names yet the passion for outdoor living is exactly the same. This part of themselves they got to share with a little boy in the suburbs today.

It all came together today as the mass delivery was arranged for this afternoon, as the ‘screen named’ riders met at the parking lot of a shopping mall in Brackenfell.

Admittedly, my daughter had hijacked my helmet and jacket today again for the position of pillion, and I tagged along in the car. We met the faces behind the magic and left in a convoy for delivery of the motorbike to Velcro. Riding into the neighbourhood left an echo of droning engines behind as all the bikes parked on the open field in the centre of the crescent. Brett called Dewald closer to ask if he was fully aware of what was about to happen. I know we were all standing there with pounding chests, so the little man’s silence was probably an indication of him just listening to his own heartbeat pound in his throat as he was encouraged to remove the blanket off the 2 wheeled beauty tucked safely on the bike trailer.

The atmosphere was one of excitement, joy and hopefulness.

Well done Dogs! You guys and ladies are epic dreammakers of hope for an adventurous life! Today you not only handed over a motorbike and kit, you opened a boys eyes to a very different life of fun and adventure, by doing this, you also showed the rest of the world, that in all the chaos and negativity there is always something to be excited about, and there is always something to be hopeful about.

Keep dreaming big, because today it showed – dreams do come true!

Proud forum members!!

Black_hawk (@backroadriderZA)

Plainjane(@yellowclarity)

[C] Ceres serves it Sunny-Side-Up !

… So Seriously, why Ceres?

When you live in the Western Cape and your nose points to adventure and dirt road, you will almost, always find your way to a garage in Ceres to fill up before heading to Gydo Pass or Tankwa Karoo.

We travel too and through this beautiful town so often that we rarely give it credit for its endless rock mountain tops and beautiful orchards and friendly residents.

Did you know that Ceres was named after the Roman goddess of agriculture, this does seem quite well suited considering the area is extremely fertile and some major producers of our fruit and vegetables come from this area. The orchards create flowing-like oceans on either side of the road. While you are enjoying the silence in your helmet. It’s like watching the discovery channel on mute with a window open.

Knowing that our solo trip to Vioolsdrift is just around the corner, opportunity for time in the saddle is becoming limited and now we have to make the most of every chance we get to sit, and sit, and sit and maybe stand now and again.

Heading to Ceres to spend the weekend with friends seemed once again an appropriate time to sit and sit and sit.

The weather was once again perfect as ordered. The sun proudly showed off as we headed over Du Toit’s Kloof pass and took the more scenic road through Slanghoek from there. This beautiful road also never gets old. It rides beautifully, and we all get tempted to put foot here, or extend the right hand wrist action a teensy bit more.

We stopped off at Calabash in Bains Kloof to have something to eat. After the fire in 2016, the restaurant still has some work to do, to be able to get back to a state of being fully operational. Despite the structure devastation, the pizza is still epic and the wet for the throat serves its purpose well indeed.

Enjoying the quick dash through the beautiful Michell’s pass we stopped at our home for the night in Ceres. Having good souls to share a fire and good food with makes any small town feel like home. We traded the bike gear for shorts and t-shirts and that was a perfect ending to another grateful day on our beautiful roads.

Sunday morning’s sunshine peaked through the blinds, and it was an open invitation to take on the mountains of Ceres. We enjoyed the fresh air and hills that the trail had to offer us on the 13km hike making our discoveries at the Ceres Koekedouw Dam. The dam water levels once again became a topic of conversation and concern. The dam is currently at 42%. Despite the despair of it all, I couldn’t help but be joyful in these moments, winter has been grey and very cold, and here I was served with a buffet of sunshine, beautiful views and blue skies.

We enjoyed a lovely brunch together, and got ready to make tracks again. It is always a somber feeling greeting friends we don’t see often enough.

Having a quick stop at the ‘’Hill billy’’ padstal on our way out over the ‘’white bridge’’ , I was too curious just to pass. This little padstal is a must if you love anything that is Karoo and Tankwa. It has little ‘’Akkies Vir Rakkies’’ as Carel would politely put it.

We chose the legendary Bain’s Kloof home, Mr Thomas Bain was really an artist of roads. Riding cliff side, it’s a canvas that accompanies the little white rocks on the tar.

Dropping into the valley near Wellington, the fire scars on nature’s skin is still there. The rain hasn’t been enough to wash away evidence of the burns.

Our last stop, is somewhat a of tradition for us. The famous Paarl de ville. This local pub restaurant is really one of our favourites. We ended off another good time and safe journey on the GS in good taste.

Heading back through Durbanville, Carel let me extend my right wrist on the throttle by taking his hand away. Over the intekom, I know he was talking about ”how to?’’, admittedly the reaction of the engine to the movement of my wrist was the only sound I was paying attention too.

Sold !

@backroadrider & @yellowclarity

​[M] The Welcome Mat spreads out at the entrance to Matjiesfontein‘s memories

Just as the toothbrushes thought they would have a rest from being buried at the bottom of a suitcase for another weekend, we quickly packed them in again and it was with no hesitation that we eagerly pounced back into the car for another road trip.

The reason for our trek up the N1 was to deliver our Garden route traveler back to its rightful owner. Considering we had such good fun and made some memories in this modern day horse and carriage it was only appropriate to honor it with a decent adventure back to its owner. The number plate, dusted off, reads Freestate. Meeting the owner at Beaufort West on the Saturday evening, meant we had 24hours to make our last memories with this carriage.

We made our first stop before sunset in De Doorns, which is situated in the Hex valley on the N1. This town is mostly popular to us for our grape season at the beginning of the year. The rain has done this area some green justice and it is looking so much prettier than it did the last time we came through here on the GS, which was just a few weeks ago. ‘’ Let it rain ‘’ is the types of prayer meetings the churches in this town are having. Desperate and hopeful the community prays for rain, as the rivers have finally started flowing and the last few snowflakes start glimmering off the mountain tops of this town.

We were welcomed by an amazing couple, longtime friends of Carel’s, that have been living in this town for a while. Their hospitality made us feel at home instantly and we spent the evening sharing stories and getting to know each other. The next morning, as any other weekend, in a bed that isn’t mine, I stretch my lazy legs into my trainers. It was time to see a piece of this town on foot as well.

Carel on the bicycle and me on my feet we headed into town and out the other end. We were so busy talking I hadn’t realized we were through already. Stretching down the main road, the shops and local spaza’s are replaced with vineyards. It’s a prettiness you don’t appreciate when you have it every day. Being spoilt for choice over the last few weeks, this has become my canvas to look at.

We joined our friends for a breakfast at the Veldskoen Padstal. This is a very plain looking building from the outside, but inside…. So pretty. The décor lures you in, and you find yourself not being able to not look a bit deeper, around, left, right, and up at the arty type chandeliers. The menu leaves you thinking that it may be breakfast on the clock, but definitely not on the tummy. Endless choices and really colorful, beautifully presented dishes.

Saying our good byes, we shared hugs, knowing that we will visit soon again.

Matjiesfontein, yes please… it was time to get to know you better.

I have been here a few times before, I have visited the beautiful Lord Milner Hotel, and I have sung with the pianist and host at the bar, ‘’ Ou ryperd’’ a few times already. But I have never given this one-street town my time.

We had a brief and amusing tour through the hotel with the gentleman wearing the top hat leading the way. If you have been here before, you have definitely met him before, he jams it out on the piano and amuses visitors with stories of the ghosts of the Lord’s Milner’s hotel and his many mistresses or was it wive’s ?  With a naughty glint in his eye, you can’t help being drawn into his story.  

Walking to the end of the main road where the tar ends and the dirt road starts you are able to enter the motor museum. The honesty box at the door, gives the sense of safety and peacefulness. We popped the money in the box and let the cars and old trains take us on a journey through the past instantaneously. This is heaven for men who enjoy the old fashioned motor mechanics of our time. The old trains are open for viewing. What an eerie sensation walking through the corridors. I was wearing jeans, a jersey and a pair of pumps. I couldn’t help but think to myself that a few decades ago, if this was me, I would have been ambling through these narrow passages in a big dress, a corset and too much hair. Grateful for liberation of women and freedom of speech, I tap my jeans and say a silent thank you to change.

We headed onto the station platform and walked the walk which most visitors do when stopping in this town and then headed down to the Marie Rawdon Museum which is tucked safely beneath the train station platform.

This museum is by far my most favourite museum ever visited, I think it is because the building itself has been left in its almost original state. Walking through this museum, you are taken away to a time before ours. The furniture and utensils almost come to life. The smells, the lights and atmosphere is from another time.

Looking at all the old telephones, medicine bottles, I can understand why whatsapp would now confuse someone over 60 year old’s . Our parents and grandparents have grown up in a time where change was at the speed of light. They went from old gramophones and LP’s to MP3’s and USB sticks. I will refrain from using my patience quota now, and listen first.

Matjiesfontein was founded in 1884 by a Scottish railwayman, James Logan. His name is also mentioned in this museum. The Logan’s and the Rawdon’s . The town was preserved as a national heritage site in 1975. During the Anglo Boer War, Matjies became the headquarters for 12 000 troops and the popular Lord Milner Hotel was used as a hospital. This village was also the first in South Africa to have electric street lights and water-borne sewerage. Considering the village is so small. This must have been quite an occasion.

When we left the museum, in jeans and pumps. Placing my new millennium aviators back on my nose, I jumped back into the car that was comfortable, warm and full of disco lights on the touchscreen dashboard. I couldn’t help but think of a time before the one we know, and to think that back then, they were grateful for change too.

We piled back onto the tar as Beautiful Beaufort West waited for the return of our Freestate number plate vehicle.

Thank you for the welcoming mat at the memorable and almost nostalgic Matjiesfontein.

“It is curious, and to me very attractive this mixture of civilization & the most wild untamed freedom; the barren mountains & wild Karroo & the railway train.”- Olive Schreiner, March 25th, 1890



Where to next….



@backroadriderZA & @yellowclarity

A Timeless hour glass and the road map to the Garden Route(08-13/08/2017)[Buffelsjagsriver / Swellendam / Barrydale / Knysna / Tsitsikamma / Sedgefield]

When I lay with my head in the sand on the 31st December 2016 waiting for the clock to strike midnight on Kleinmond beach, I made an unwritten bucket list for my new year. On this list was the Garden route, and I wanted to be able to say I have left my foot prints on this beautiful coastline.

As life has its unpredictable meetings and encounters with chance and change, time is never really ours, and we finally pinned down a 5 day adventure.

We had 5 nights, 3 people and a list of plans and the only thing that was confirmed was the accommodation. We each took responsibility for different places to lay our heads and recharge our devices. Without fail the element of adventure and exploring remains high amongst us.

So we closed our eyes, filled in the leave forms and arranged for alternative transport as gravel and dirt was definitely going to be on our list somewhere. The number plate read Free State, and we were grateful for Aunty De Klerk for allowing us to travel in comfort on our adventure.

Packed and ready to go, straight after work on the Tuesday, we traded work attire for more comfortable hoodies and jeans and headed out towards DuToitsKloof pass, this remains one of my favourite passes to travel on. Knowing that just 2 days ago we had come over this pass in the opposite direction on the GS which was now having a well-deserved rest safely in the garage after carrying us over the most amazing passes and dirt roads over the last few weekends.

We stopped off quickly in Robertson and headed straight on towards Buffelsjagsriver where we would spend our first night at Chris-Elle. Here we stayed in caravans that have been revamped. This is a beautiful small holding that is a popular wedding venue. The décor is simple beauty, less is more and remains quaint and rustic. This venue will steal your heart. While sitting around the fire we spotted eyes looking back at us through the dark of the night. We were pleasantly surprised to know that we have friendly neighbors, Springbok came closer to introduce themselves as well as a black potbelly pig. Luckily there wasn’t springbok on the grid, and only some disguised bacon wrapped fillet. I may have felt even more guilty. Oopsie.

The rest was well received and we headed out for exploring on foot the next morning into the mist next to the Buffelsjags river. Though we didn’t see much along the river, it was a blessing to be able to breathe in the clean air.

Regretfully we had to pack up quickly and head out, we still lots of tar that needed chewing before we unpacked in Knysna.

Making a detour via Tradouw Pass to Barrydale. I was full of smiles as I knew a few weeks ago when I came through this pass, that I would want to visit it again. This piece of earth remains beautiful. I wonder if Thomas Bain envisioned this beauty every time he took on a project to build a new pass.  We salute this ancient Road Engineer and say thank you for providing us with this driving canvas.

Going through Barrydale, 2 inevitable stops had to be made. ‘Diesel and Crème’ & ‘Ronnie’s Sex Shop’. Traditionally you have to have the decadent milkshake at the one, and something alcoholic in tall glass at the other. So we ticked that off the list quickly and continued towards Riversdale where we would finally get back on the N2.

Our home for the next two nights was at Ocean View in Brenton-on-Sea. This was booked before the Knysna fires a few months ago. When we queried the state of our booking after the burn the owner said his lodge is still standing. Not being moved and in true fashion of being curious we still wanted to stay there. Before you hit Knysna, the side of the road already starts to change color with a Kaleidoscope oranges, browns and black as the fire took ownership of this stretch of land. Brenton was not spared. We had a quick get-to-know-you session with Henry, the owner of this well kept and comfortable lodge. Electricity had only be put back on last week, and the residents have been coping without a lot of the normal things that we take for granted daily. Telkom lines are still not in 100% working order. But there is progress as the town recovers from this natural disaster. Infront of one of the homes they have erected 51 white crosses, each marked with a surname and street name for family homes that have been lost.

We grabbed a bite to eat at a local pub in Knysna called Olde’s . A lovely atmosphere and good food ended off our day perfectly.

Early risers and lots of coffee as we headed to Tsitsikamma for ziplining escapades. I had never done this before and was excited and a little nervous, there I said it – ‘’NERVOUS’’.  We had a quick briefing and were dressed by the instructors in our helmets and harnasses. I just kept asking ‘’ how does the brake work?’’. After the first slide over the kloof and waterfalls to the other side, I was more like, ‘’stuff the brakes, FASTER – MAKE IT GO FASTER’’ .  Seems my panic for clean underwear was in vain, I survived to tell the tale, with an even stronger sense of adventure than before. So many mountains to conquer, whether by foot, motorbike, mountain bike, and now by a line.

All on quite a high, adrenalin still pumping we stopped at Storm’s River Bridge for snacks. We shared our experiences as we walked across the famous bridge. This bridge is also known as the Paul Sauer Bridge and was completed in 1956. The passenger walkway that runs next to the bridge shakes and tremors as trucks and cars hold no grudges while passing through.

We didn’t get to comfortable in our car seats as we climbed out soon enough for our hike at the Big Tree in Tsitsikamma. This tree is one of the oldest trees. It boasts with wrinkles of a 1000years. We hiked into the forest and followed the rich green path way. One of the Big Trees not too far away, known as the Forest Giant. This yellow wood was over 500 years old and made its last tumble to the ground on the 31 December 1994. If you are in this area. You will not regret paying a visit to this forest. If Peter Pan and Tinkerbell had to choose where to take up residence in South Africa, this would be home for them.

After another hop skip and jump we landed ourselves on the beaches of Nature’s Vallley. Another beautiful road, lots of water and this beautiful clean beach. One thing about the Garden Route that I noticed. The beaches are clean, and the water is sparkly blue.

Just before Knysna, Carel turned into a squatter informal settlement. I wondered if this was where he was planning to hide our bodies, being the only testosterone on the trip, I can imagine he was refraining from saying much often. This area was called Noetzie. We followed the dirt road through the informal settlement along a cliff, in the clearing it became beautiful in front of us. Another long stretch of beach. We climbed out again and headed down to the beach view the Noetzie castles. Noetzie originally known as Noetziekamma, a Khoisan phrase for ‘dark water’. The castles are built on the beach and tower above the trees into the cliffs. Breathtaking!

We ended off our very successful day with a charcoal barbeque as the people in Brenton are currently not braaing due to fire scares, so when in a foreign town, do as the foreigners do, adapt.

Friday we packed up and due to some rain we traded our outdoor plans for some indoor ones. We visited the museum, Millwood House where we all got a little nostalgic to see that Carel’s family’s history and story lays in this beautiful stretch of land. Something about doing these kinds of things always make you wonder about your own family and where your story began. Who’s eyes do you have? Is your nose long because your grandmother was generally nosy? Who’s hands do you look at when you look down at your own? Who will tell your story one day?

After that we headed to Thesan’s Island to walk through the Motorcycle Room. If this is your choice of poison, please do not overlook this stop. O my word, 2 wheels have never looked this hot before, over and over again. Custom made and rebuilt legends. Stunning. Accompanied by the friendly owner who has labour and grease investment in more than half of them.

The slow town of Sedgefield was our last stop. Spoilt with an apartment, we felt under dressed for this one. On our morning run, we stopped at the Classic Car collection on the main road and once again, a little old American muscle is always something worth Ooooh-about.

Trip advisor recommended SwartVlei ‘’Gericke’s“ as the hike in town. Without hesitation or a shower we headed out. This hike can only be done at low tide, as you may be stranded if you attempt it any other time. Beautiful cliffs that have become almost sand. Star fish and amazing birdlife here. Something different to what I am used to and it worked for my eyes. We fed well here.

Keeping it local and low key after our busy morning, we did Putt-Putt, 9 holes and no Tiger Woods, we rewarded ourselves with lunch at the local restaurant.  

In true Slow Town fashion we thought it appropriate to spend our last evening of our adventure at the local pub. Pool cues were chalked and the drinks were opened and cold. As long as the juke box was playing, the stripes and solids continued to roll.

Heading back on Sunday, the car was quiet. As usual it is always bittersweet coming home after such an amazing adventure.

I think the jury is out on this one, I am addicted to this life. I am grateful that all my senses work and I want to just inhale it all. Inhale life, exhale the negative and mundane.

Why do we choose a ‘’washing-machine clean-sock’’ life that is set on spin, when we can rather have a ‘’washing-line odd-sock’’ life of blowing in the wind, been taken from wind to sun and then back to feet that are well travelled and not afraid to live.


Where to next


X

[S] Suited up for a Star lit Sutherland

[BMW Winter ride to Sutherland – 05 & 06 August 2017]

We have had such beautiful winter days the last few weeks, that we were prepared for a no snow weekend in Sutherland, I had never visited this town before, so with or without the presence of white beauty I was in the clouds already. Although August is a popular snow month for Sutherland, nothing with regards to the change in weather patterns shock us anymore. We embrace it as we go along and once again, I am grateful my prayers were answered for a sunnier time on the back of the bike.

We met the group we chose to ride with at the garage in Klapmuts, as usual I hardly knew anyone, and within a few minutes I had learnt a few names and shared some common interest considering we were all there for the same reason, to have some fun. No matter your age, if you give any human being something with two wheels be it a bicycle or a motor bike, you immediately waken a child again, a sense of adventure and the naughty glint in the eyes spark. We had a quick introduction and briefing as we were all itchy feet to get going . The group we rode with, would take us to the Sutherland via gravel and dust, I was ready to be wow ‘ed again. The roadies really don’t know what they are missing. To each their own, but getting home after a weekend of adventure without a bike that needs some cleaning is almost a shame.

Reaching for the wet gravel roads, it was a quick stretch and then it started. From the Hoopenberg road we amble towards Eenzaamheid and then it was fun in the winter sun all the way through to Gouda. When we took our helmets off at Oasis restaurant and nursery in Ceres for breakfast, everyone’s faces were wrap around smiles from the ride and the beautiful roads we just took. It still blows my little city brain that within an hour from the cement jungle you reach such beauty. I however think that the bikes unsettled a few cows, they must of heard our engines droning miles away already and rolled their eyes thinking too themselves, ‘here they come again’ as they made their way to the fence for viewing of steel invaders.

After breakfast everybody was fueled – man & machine. Tankwa, ‘’ ons is nou daar !‘’

We went over Katbakkies, and headed to Tankwa pad stal, this place of nothingness and and no cell phone reception is what I would imagine a trip to the moon would look like, its simplicity is what makes it absolutely mind blowing. The roads are well kept and I would imagine that this kind of beauty never gets old for a wandering soul.

We stopped at the famous Tankwa Padstal for something cold to clear the throats after a dusty ride. I was grateful when I heard this was on the menu for us. I have heard endless stories and tales of this little gem in the desert. I wasn’t disappointed at all. If you are in a jam with your vehicle, be in a jam here. If not, you may walk outside and pierce your tyre accidently on purpose just to stay a little longer.

Disappearing back into the dust clouds, Sutherland waited for us and time wasn’t being kind to us.

One of our new friends had a tyre hiccup and we stayed back so that Carel and Wouter could play mechanic and handyman. Here this lovely couple took there piece of earth and memory of Tankwa.

We hit the tar a few kilometers outside Sutherland. Our temperature gauge was reading a warm 18.5 degrees. I stretched my right hand out so that Carel could see it and tapped it twice. By now he knows my best attempt at air traffic controller’s signals and what they mean, ‘’Gooi!’’

Within a few minutes, the temperature had dropped by at least half of what we had, as we entered Sutherland. As you ride into this town, it is like you have been teleported back in time. The year …. 1960, dresscode… homemade, Crime… None, Stress levels…. As low as the current dam levels.

This town is popular for its snow and star gazing. But what an understatement. The history in this place and it’s inhabitants is amazing. We stayed at Khoi Khoi on the main road which is owned by Tannie Elise, after sharing a cup of coffee with her, I felt at home.

She told me stories of the town and the people that have visited her over the years. She is an interesting woman who smiles with beautiful wrinkles and glowing eyes under her knitted hat.

The Church is across the road from her and is known for its rather off centre tower that had to be re- erected after the AngloBoer war, where it had been shot down.

With the full moon rising fast we got ready for dinner at Jupiter, 180 of us. It was a pleasant evening and stories of the ride were exchanged. We were served with a very deserving meal and bowed our heads to say grace, giving thanks for being able to do these amazing things and see forever beauty.

Sunday morning it was time to suit up again, with a quick breakfast at Blue Moon we hit the road again. Without disappointment, we were led off the tar very quickly. Another first for me, Komsberg Pass. This was my highlight of the day. We stopped at the top of the pass so that we could all just embrace this majestic stretch of land. Jackie said something that stuck with me that is very true and I am sure at some stage we all shared the sentiment. No one, no political unrest in our country can ever take away what you see in this moment. Its peaceful, and untouched and unharmed, this place… can never be captured fully on any photo.

A quick stop for some coffee and scones in Matjiesfontein and a necessary leg stretch was gratefully received. We all had a walk about as one does when visiting this historically popular town. Stretched out in the sun outside I was more than okay if we had stayed a little longer. Neels had one more beauty to show us.

Touws river, through the town we missioned and over the train tracks, it was dirt and dust again. A lovely stretch of land. My mouth hung open speechless again. How do locals not appreciate what is at their doorstep.  How do these beautiful places stay undiscovered and un-appreciated by a town’s community.

We said our goodbyes at Dedoorns, dusty hugs and kisses were dealt out and I was grateful for another adventure and meeting fantastic people who share our passion for life and loving the simple things.

Carel and I saddled up again, I tapped my right hand twice again and saw DuToit’s Kloof in the distance. I uttered in the intekom ‘’ over or through ‘’, and he mentioned back to me, ‘’ Over ‘’. I smiled in my helmet knowing the fast drop over the pass was the perfect way to end another epic adventure

As Neels said Saturday night : ‘’ Dankie Here, dat ons kan doen wat lekker is’’

… Grateful Heart

Where to next

 

[B] Beautiful Borders of Barrydale – [Route 62 also known as the Blacktop Highway]

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

Addicted to Adventure – All roads lead to Abrahamskraal

[Soetes & Sop BMW Club Ride – 14-16 July 2017]

When I got into my car on Monday morning, a few things didn’t sit right all of a sudden. I got into the left side, my leg didn’t need much effort to find my way onto the seat and turning the ignition, I all of a sudden missed the icy whips on my knees and the silence which I found in my helmet just a few hours ago.

When the whatsapp group was created a week prior to the trip to keep arrangements clear cut and everyone informed, the common ground amongst riders was the daily weather report, as we watched daily the temperatures dropped. Even though the temperature was looking dismal, no one seemed moved by it.

Friday afternoon we started meeting up and riding convoy from the N1 Winelands One Stop. In our last stretch towards our home for the weekend in between Leeugamka and Prince Albert, we saw the sun set very quickly in our mirrors and the stars started filling the night sky.

Turning off the tar we headed through the last few km’s of dirt road to Abrahamskraal. At night, you don’t notice anything except an old farm style homestead and a windpump which stretches into the sky. Other than that it is pitch dark and sparkly stars.

We were greeted by a lovely couple that became our caretakers for the weekend. After unpacking the gear we all made our way to the dinner area, where there was a warm fire already burning and some ‘’soetwyn’’ to warm the insides. Dinner was served and met all the expectations of hungry riders, homemade soup and fresh ‘plaasbrood’, sold. With satisfied smiles and excitement for the next day everyone made their way off to a well-deserved rest.

The next morning we were all up and dressed for the day’s events. After the briefing we headed out on the gravel and dirt roads, tar would be minimum today, and that was exciting enough to make the atmosphere warm up in the cold.

After a trip through the dirt we turned off for something to wrap our hands around for heat, and drink to heat the insides at the Klaarstroom Hotel. When turning right at this road sign, we were a bit confused by the location. It looked like a town with nothing but informal settlements. Asking a local for directions to the Hotel we were directed down the road. What a beautiful surprise. Die Klaarstroom Hotel is an old fashioned little Karoo hotel and restaurant. If you are stuck with a thirst in between the middle of all the rock you will definitely find refuge here. The sun was finally showing off and we defrosted in the garden for a moment before heading into Prince Albert for lunch. Prince Albert is a small town located on the Southern edge of the Great Karoo at the foot of the Swartberg mountains.

Arriving in Prince Albert we made our presence known unconsciously by taking over the inside of the restaurant at the Swartberg Hotel, helmets and jackets were piled out of and we sat down scouring through the menu, we rode ourselves right into lunch. The banter of the ride went quiet as we all started enjoying the good food and atmosphere. Discussion piped up again, the Swartberg Pas seemed to be served for dessert on this menu, as quickly as we un-kitted, We got dressed again. Heading out of town we took the turn towards the Swartberg Pass. The road had a no entry sign, when pushing it aside, no one saw a no entry sign anymore, rather an opportunity for something beautiful, adventurous and breath taking. Entering that mountain pass leaves you humbled by its beauty. The rock formations are absolutely overwhelming. We were humbled by the size of this majestic rock formation in front of us. The road hasn’t been maintained and has some technical parts as we make our way to the top. The views worth it – over and over again. We stopped at the gate to entrance to ‘’ Die Hel’’ and the last climb to the lookout point of Swartberg pas. Some riders braved the cold and staked their claim at the top while a few took their re-enforcement liquid break down below.

To celebrate another conquered quest, refreshments were in order at the local Bush pub in Prince Albert. Glasses rubbed cheeks with each other as celebration and a sign of respect to each other for sharing in conquering this beaut, Swartberg pas, you have left your dust not only on our tyres but our souls as well. Such beauty cannot be experienced from any governmental tarred highway.

Heading back to our resting place for the evening the sun was setting fast on another beautiful day in the saddle on the dirt of this beautiful countryside.

We were welcomed by a cozy fire and a rewarding plate of ‘braaivleis’. The chatter was a recollection of the day’s events and memories. As expected we all faded early knowing Sunday’s ride home would be a long haul and lots of dirt to cover.

Breakfast was served after a restful sleep for some and others it was a night of sharing a room with someone pretending to be a motorbike and others raised the roof with Pavarotti karaoke.

Everyone fueled up with a full spread breakfast and in the same dust cloud we arrived on Friday night, so we departed. The road lay ahead and we were ready to have another epic adventure in the Karoo.

We hit the dirt road just after the Prince Albert way road towards the N1. During the briefing it was mentioned that we would pass 27 farm gates that would be opened and closed by riders, and without fail the musical gates started early in the journey. We were lucky and seemed to bypass a few. This is a beautiful road. This road reminds me of some of our local movie scenes, where everything grows just ankle high and you can see the small lambs bounce around far in the distance. The track is loose sand and a bit more sensitive and less forgiving than gravel road. Some riders paid their respects to the earth, and moved on gratefully.

Here we met the man made beauty, Floriskraal Dam, she towers up in line with parts of the earth around her and is located on the Buffels river near Laingsburg. The dam wall is beautiful and was built in 1957. This dam’s main purpose was for irrigation. Peering over the dam wall, I had another moment that left me speechless, so much beauty, endless. And how humble I am by my place in all of this. With tired cold limbs, I stood with a full heart again today.

Meeting up for some refreshments at the garage in Laingsburg we had refueled our bodies and greeted some riders who regretfully needed to make their way back home. The rest of the team stayed back for the last party in the mud through the Witteberge which would turn us out onto tar over the train tracks just outside Touws river.

Riding through these mountains, the temperature gauge dropped faster, and it levelled out on 4.5 degrees celcius. The mountains towering above us were thick with white evidence of the cold that pierced through our clothes. The road was wet, muddy and very stubborn on the tyres. With an unfortunate incident one rider had to give his bike the rest of the day off, and take its well deserved break on the back of the bike trailer.

Touws river’s Steers has never been such a comfort before in my life, defrosting over a take away hot chocolate was beautiful. We all said our farewells at the last stop in Worcester. The sun had set and the trip had come to its end. We convoyed all the way home, at the entrance of the toll gate we finally got out first few drops of rain for the whole weekend. The weather lasted just in time for us to get home.

Coming through Klapmuts on the N1, the city lights finally start dimming the light of the beautiful stars we had been living under the last 2 days. Our cement suburban reality was here again.

Today, and tomorrow and even the weekend, I believe some will still be washing the bike gear, and others will be rinsing the mud of the bars and tyres of the bikes. But this kind of dirt leaves its happy place deep with in the skin.

One thing again I realized this weekend, it doesn’t matter who you are, age, profession, gender… if you have a heart for adventure, you will always find someone to share it with.  

Adventure doesnt ever need to end



@BackroadriderZA & @yellowclarity

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[W] Wolseley’s Waterval Bergpas leaves you Wanting

‘So where are we heading to today?’was all I asked while putting on my chubby black batman suit again. The sound of velcro and zips closing was the only response as the words ‘Soon toe en Terug’ was mumbled for the 5th time this morning. I didn’t ask anymore, I just found my place on the seat and huddled forward for the cold that we were about to embrace.

The sound of the engine never disappoints my ears and we left the suburbs for a day of exploring and some nostalgia. The turnoff the N1 to Wellingon and then Tulbagh was a grateful sight of rain that has fallen, and the green fields have started flourishing in this weather. A gentle sigh of relief is what happens on the inside of a warm jacket when this is what you see all around you, for this reason, we all embrace the cold at the moment, our earth needs this.

We stopped at the beautiful talented town of Tulbagh for something to warm our insides and wrapped our frozen fingers around a cup of hot chocolate at Paddasgang restaurant. This beautiful little place is hidden at the back of the town, it boasts with a beautiful little art gallery and an open air restaurant covered with old vines and creepers, which would create some form of shade in the summer, but not today. Neither one of us sat while sipping in our defrosting fluids, this was probably our silent indication to each other that we don’t plan on staying here.

We grabbed the helmets and filled up the steel horse with some juice and grabbed the picnic snacks. I should of known something epic and almost illegal was on the menu for us.

Turning off the tar just outside Tulbagh we headed past the Waterval Nature Reserve in the direction of Wolseley, the evidence of a fire and pine tree plantations are everywhere, we ended up at the Waterval berg pas entry, as I could continuously see the direction we were aiming for, mountain UP. The road has been closed as ancient trees had fallen and crossed entry to this pass, followed by a very clear sign and bunting stating no entry. We parked, got off and explored this natural obstacle on foot.  

It was definitely not an entry viable for a vehicle. We looked at each other and the smile tweaked, what is more intriguing to an adventurer than a no entry sign? Clearing a pathway to wiggle the bike through we decided this is where we need to be today.

With the baboons starting to bark from the mountains as recognition of the intruder’s presence we got back on the black machine again, I really had no idea the beauty it would show me today. I hike and have seen so many beautiful places on my explorations, but have never relied on anything else except my own feet to get there.  

With hairpin turns and lots of loose rock, we made our way up the Waterval berg pas at a very slow pace, trust me we wouldn’t of rushed it any way. Epic beauty as you look down over the Wolseley valley and the remnants of Pine forest plantations that were there many years ago, the blocks are still there and look like they have been sewn together as my Ouma’s lappies blanket. The history of this valley is evident in its natural state.

We stopped at the top of the mountain to take it all in, silence almost unknown to man. Headed to drop into the valley opposite to the town we made our way to the waterfall, speechless, not because I like keeping quiet, speechless because I am overwhelmed by this hidden treasure of Wolseley. How can I have never seen this before, and how can the residents of this town casually walk with their heads dropped when this is their legacy of living here?  Sitting with my feet hanging of this majestic cliff, I realized how small I am in the all of it? How can we boast greatness and arrogance when this roaring waterfall stays so humble living hidden away on this kloof.

With regret time was passing fast and my heart was standing still we needed to say goodbye to this beauty.

Travelling via Kluitjieskraal back into Wolseley we made our last stop for the day at Wolseley hotel where the locals were getting ready for the weekly pool tournament, with the excitement over pool cues and a green velvetie table, all I could think was, how much they are missing living here.

With a whatsapp notification of grey clouds and drops falling back in the surburbs it was time to say farewell to the waterfalls of Wolseley.

Grateful for this town, embraced the cold, and it left us wanting.

Where to next …

BackroadriderZA & YellowClarity

[R], The Ravishing Red little town of Riebeek Kasteel

When you live in one of the most beautiful cities in South Africa, you are guaranteed to be able to put some juice in the tank, and set course in any direction for +/- 60mins and reach a pretty destination whether it is seaside or inland dust and dirt.

In true fashion, mode of transport was decided, destination was undecided.

Getting on the back of the motorbike, it was inevitable, dirt road would be the route as we headed out in the icy air.

Heading out on the Hoopenberg road between the farms, I could breathe, no cars, no petrol fumes, and no stained tar, only dirt under the tyres and open fields and farms and the sound of the engine droning in my ears. Never before have I been so grateful for that sound.

Taking the turn towards Eenzaamheid, the dirt road continued and crossed over towards the town of Wellington. We ended up driving passed this amazing historical bridge, Lady Loch Bridge.

This bridge was built in 1853, started off as a wooden bridge to gain access across the Berg River. It was named “Lady Loch” after the wife of the Governor of the Cape Colony and High Commissioner of South Africa, Sir Henry Loch. In 1910 this wooden bridge was replaced with the first all steel iron bridge in South Africa which is still in use today.

From here we ended up stopping for a quick body warmer in a cup, my ultimate Achilles heel (next to peanut butter of course) some hot chocolate at a little restaurant ‘padstal’ called Du Vlei. Do yourself a favour, their hot chocolate tastes so much better on the stoep with the view than any Macdonalds could ever come close too.

Back on the steel horse we stopped in Riebeek Kasteel a few minutes later.

If you blink to fast, or yawn too big, you may miss this little beauty that is hidden away.

Riebeek Kasteel is one of the oldest towns in South Africa, it is situated in the Riebeek Valley.

This town is small, quaint and simple beauty. Trees still tower over houses, and the streets are still narrow. There are pokey little shops on every corner and the most amazing décor in the restaurants, you may forget to order your food while gazing at the artwork on the walls.

Not even to mention the amazing majestic Dutch reformed church that towers above all the houses in this little gem. The church was built in 1863, and still looks spectacular. With this church, this little town also boasts the oldest hotel in South Africa, the Royal Hotel.

Our next waterhole was definitely the beautiful rustic restaurant called the Red Tin Roof.

Walking up the stairs of the stoep, we were greeted by some friendly for legged friends that kept us company while we visited, and the atmosphere was peaceful, quiet, and a moment you won’t get while sitting in any Spur or Dros. Pretty, bright colored, and rustic beauty.

Friendly faces all round remind you that you are in a small town, where traffic lights are non-existent and fairy lights and candles are plentiful.

Looking at the time, most of the town starts dying down, Sunday means early home time.

So with regret we paid the bill, grabbed the helmets and got back on the bike with a bittersweet feeling, sad to leave this beautiful place, but grateful to know the open road waited for us, to discover the next little gem on our map.

Where to next,

We don’t know yet…

Later

BackroadriderZA & YellowClarity