Solo bike adventure trough South Africa, 14 days of adventure – BMW F800GS

This should be on the bucket list of every adventurer in the world!!

I have decided to drive around the borderline of South Africa, this was a wild attempt and to do it solo, here is the full report if you attempt it as well.

Before we continue on the blog, let me introduce you to the bike and what are the details to that. The bike is a 2013 BMW F800GS – Look here  And if you’re interested in a fully tested review in South Africa, check out this review, it is really well detailed and you’ll love it the Detailed review. 

Below is a stock standard photo. BMW F 800 GS Adventure (2013) Front Side 1

On the bike are also a few extras to make the ride and adventure more comfortable. Most important for better performance as the Akrapovic pipe, you can also add a very similar one to your bike: Exhaust Systems GPE not only does the sound improve but also the fuel economy. The second most important sector is the aluminium panniers and top box. This has been able to load all my spares, food and few additional accessories Plus they are waterproof and to some extent burglar proof – you know this is Africa. You can buy your own set here: BMW F800GS Aluminum Side Cases To this I have also added a tank bag for comfortable map reading and accessing to valuables easy, you can buy one here: TANK BAG

My riding kit consisted of the following items, and was well sufficient and also it was completely waterproof in the rainy areas of my journey. Boots are your basic essentials, especially when you are riding offroad like me most of the time., I used Fly boots, have used them for years, however, I want to upgrade to these:Adventure Boots Then I have motocross riding pants that is very flexible and comfy,Pants then my knees are supported by knee braces, Knee Brace this is very important if you fall off on the rocks, and your knees are everything if you want to keep riding, and grow old ! I was wearing a Tshirt most of the time and my jacket was supplied by BMW, however, there are many other brands as well you can choose from, but this company makes a good quality that will last for a few years:Pro Jacket Then we look at something also very important and that is to have the best quality gloves that can last and be abused from the adventures, I prefer this type; Adventure Glove. Now that we have covered the body, let’s look at the headgear, if you want to save money on the rest it is fine, however, your headgear is the single most important aspect that will determine life or deaf, invest well and buy this helmet; Karbon Adventure Helmet that will last you a few years.

Before we could venture off,  service the bike was important and inspect every element and tighten every bolt and nut and recheck the suspension and weight I intend to pack. The service was done by an accredited BMW bike service centre. You should be knowing the local guy’s number you can trust as well know them and ask if they can be contacted during the trip for any support or technical issues.

I also had to pack tools, parts, oil, filters, spare tubes, air compressed cartridges and the list goes on and on, O and don’t exclude the first aid kit. I will be driving solo on some very remote roads and will have to be prepared well in that thought. …then I also had to pack the bare essentials for cooking and preparing food along the route. I have set aside 14days to complete the whole route, whatever may come this has to be done.

Overlooking the setup, the bike was packed with the side pannier, top box and tank bag I used most of the time. Then I also had a big blue bag, Gonex Foldable Travel Bag with all my clothing in, a 2man tent, a mattress, a sleeping bag plus a few extras like a pair of shoes and some space for items as I travel.20180325_142633.jpg

Now that we have covered the pre-trip information, let’s move over the fun part.

Basically, my route was vaguely planned and I only knew where I am going for the first two days, but on the map, I have outlined a complete route for 14 days, thus there were no pre-bookings made and I solely relied on the day to day information where I was going. each day at lunch I will pull over have some grub and then plan and look where I will be sleeping that night. To come back to the first two days. I had planned to sleep at a certain place, but as I learnt when I arrive there the camp was full and had to look for something else with the sun that is about to set. SO as we continue to read this report, you’ll know my style…it is an adventure and taking risks on the route.

 

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Planning to be done, for what’s it worth.

Day 1: All fueled up and ready to go! bags are packed, the tank is full of fuel and ready to roll. As I drove out of the city, I realised that I was really nervous, the load is heavy and the winds strong. this was also early morning and the traffic was a bitch to navigate this early. Eventually, the road has changed from the highway to a sub-road with less traffic and I’m cruising along so nicely! The first town I’m rolling into was Lichenburg. O did I forget to mention my starting point was Pretoria! Home of the Blue Bulls rugby team. Everything was well and then I continued to drive and the road was well with no issues. On the way, I was wondering where I will be sleeping and didn’t give much thought to the idea and continued to drive. On the road, I saw there was a board that indicates community campground to turn right. I stopped and then set all the bike settings and parameters, now it was going to a gravel road and along one as well. Wow, the bike is so heavily loaded but yet so comfortable to drive. Arriving at the campsite. I walked into the office, this was a very old building and estimate 1950, with the original floors and also saw a cast iron oven in one of the offices. Obviously the building has been used now for the office for the campsite, however, there were many offices but only one lady that could help me. She gave permission and I drive to the campsite but this was very neglected and run down, I also felt unsafe there and drove back and told her to thank you, but no thank you. I will not stay here for the night.

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On the intersection is the turn-off.

So I continued to drive more and more and saw another campsite and stopped. Asked and they were full…not even space for a 2 man tent…? no sir nothing today. Kept on driving and saw a national park board with a camping site. So I thought let me give this a shot, knowlingly in most national parks they are not allowing bikes, because there are Lions, Leopards, Rhinos and Elephant and the list goes on. Got there and walked directly to the office and spoke to a very polite lady there, also putting on my handsome, yet tired face and explained my situation and journey. YES, no problem, please, you are welcome and you will be the only one in the park so you will enjoy the whole campsite! WOW, this was incredible to me. Did all the duties and made a nice game driver where is saw so many wild animals. Arrived at the camp and there was enough wood for a festival, warm water at the ablution site and clean. This was heaven! I immediately made fire, took a shower and set up camp. The place is called Mafikeng game reserve if you want to go there someday. Just a few hours before I arrived. I bought some boerewors and 10 beers, this was still nice and cold. As I sat by the fire recapping of the day I was sipping on a cold one. Prepared my dinner and went to sleep with a crackling fire by my side for the evening.

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Inside the game reserve.

 

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Like a boss, in the first campsite, all set up and ready to relax.
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A photo of the bike at the camp.

Day 2: I was awake early morning and long before the sun could rise. Took a warm shower and started the fire for a nice coffee. Packed the camp and rolled off to the main gate. Got to the gate before 0600am and realised they only open by 0600am. In the meantime, I was checking all the gear and boxes and the bike to ensure I am good for the next day riding. Passing through the gate and heading for a fuel station. Back on the road and the music is playing so good with my favourite tunes in the helmet. Going through Vryburg and eventually getting to Kuruman.

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Welcome to Kuruman.

This is where the long road with no end starts, endlessly long road to cruise on and relax, putting your feet up on the bars. Got to Kuruman where the people were drunk on the street by lunchtime. LOL, I saw so many walking on the street bearly keeping balance. I know it’s not a good image to broadcast but hey, nothing you can do about it right. Unfortunately, this is a new culture of people that have adapted to the new world. Here I stopped to refuel again and buy more stock for the evening. Same ritual, boerewors and beers, I also managed to buy potato salad and a few other nice things for dinner. I looked at the map and adjusted my route knowingly there will not be time to make it Van Zyls Rus as there would be a massive gravel road to ride. So I looked and asked around and found this place called red sand lodge.

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One of the long roads, where cruise control be so nice.
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Taking a break from the long road.

Arrived and pay my night for camping, also had to buy wood here and the price of the wood was more than the camping fees for the night. As you know unfortunately as an adventure rider I am not able to carry large qualities of wood, I am driving a bike…and actually, I personally think wood should be free but limited to campsites. Got to my allocated spot and set up camp. This spot was not good and right on the main path of the road leading to other areas, this means the staff was passing by on foot every 5 min and looked and chat-ed this was quite a bit of distracting to me and a downfall. So if you came here, go to the back of the ablutions and find one close to the end of the property basically.  I wanted to change campsites but really, I was so tired and the move will not be easy. But the view was fairly good and my food was super great! Yet another evening under the stars and cooking food on the fire. One thing that was good there was a cement pad where I could set up camp and keep things fairly clean and sand free. Every night I would keep all my boots and riding gear inside for safety. ( this is Africa) Late afternoon there was a few cattle that passed the tent and a local dog, seemingly to watch over the cattle. The sun has set and I am ready to take a shower and sleep. Tomorrow is another big day on the road.

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Sitting back with a cold one by the fire.

 

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Ready to plan my route and then off to bed for the next day. ( my socks are getting air dry in the back)

Day 3: The place I have always wanted to visit, the place that matches my surname: Van Zyl`s Rus, yes this is actually a name of a very small town. My journey will be about  260km for the day, but 80% will be sandy and rocky limestone roads, so be ready. Early morning I was up and started the fire, prepared my coffee while I enjoy the darkness with a few stars and the moon. Again I was up very early and then off to the shower. I packed all the kit and bags loaded the bike and off I went. From the lodge to the road was 5 km gravel road, that can be easily hidden. there were no technicalities. Back on the main road I looked at the map and saw my off-ramp was closed. Got there and then only saw the gravel road…well well ready or not I have to take this route, the alternative route is 200km around. Now the off-ramp name is Hotzel, this is a sub-road that is used by the mine. And this means there will be more traffic on this gravel road with sand patches due to the mine that is situated close by. As I first had to get the feeling of the road and did some small adjustment on the setting, especially on the suspension. Then added a little more speed. As I got to a comfortable speed there would be a car coming from the front or one racing passed me from the back with no indication, then quickly I have to swear to the side to make space for the asshole. The sandy patched on this road was very scary and got a few hard surprises along the way.

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Eventually, I joined up with the tar road, that consisted of 70% potholes that continued for 80KM and then the main gravel road again to Van Zyl`s Rus. Here at the gravel road, I saw the road composition is not good and decided to deflate the tires and readjust the suspension due to my weight on the bike. The first 2 km was great and drove like a dream, I thought well if all gravel roads could be like this then why are there tar roads. Seriously this road was better than the previous tar road. I saw the landscape changing the sand veld with red dunes and huge ancient camelthorn trees. This meant that the road should also be changing soon. With the first red sand patch, I got nervous as the handlebars shake viciously. Now its time to hold on for life, lean back and open the throttle to navigate through the patches of sand. The sand is not an easy one for the beginner and can challenge the rider into deep thoughts of WTF I am doing here…haha it was fun and paid off at the end of the day as experience!!

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The white sand road, reflect the sun like a mirror – Dam, where is my sunnies…

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The road continued until you can start to see a few rural settlements and realised before you miss the little town, here I am now Van Zyl`s Rus. The main road consist of paving bricks no longer than 2 km long, at the end of the road means it is the end of town. This nature persists with huge red sand dunes, ancient camelthorn trees and scrubs, with a few goats and chickens roaming the streets, it was pretty obviously not many people live here. Right by the entrance of town is a huge and very famous sign that has been there for more than 80 years, welcoming people to town. I had to stop here for a photo. So excited I didn’t focus on the sand next to the sign and turned the front wheel too much, BAM I`m down in the sand, luckily at a very slow speed! Manage to pick the heavy loaded bike up and pose for a photo next to the sign.

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Most famous sign in the North!

Initially, I planned to stop here at the hotel for lunch and then move on the to next town, but my plan changed as I got more details on the surrounding roads and the conditions on them. I stopped at the only hotel in town and went to the bar for a coke and ice. Talked to the barman and the reception lady who was running the hotel about the roads to my next destination, and they advise to sleep over and then the next day to take an 80km gravel road to the border of Botswana and then drive tar road back to South Africa instead of an extremely bad road of 150km gravel, for a bike this would be a BIG NO. Ok, guys then you for the advice and where can I find a camping spot, well actually Wayne our facilities are full but we have a separate property that will be empty, you can stay there. Ok, great let’s go and see the place. Got there and I loved the place so much! The property was overlooking a bid red sand dune while you are in the swimming pool that was converted from an old water reservoir. And the campsite was thick sand, I’m driving a bike and this is ”fun” Luckily I am the only one camping here for the night and loved it.

The same ritual as every day when I arrive at the camp, Unpack, start the fire, open a cold beer and sit back. But on this day I went to the swimming pool for a cool down and to enjoy the beautiful setting of tranquillity. Actually, I received a small gift from one of the store owners… A very small poloristene cool box to keep my beer cold, and could literally only cool 4 beer at a time, while I saved the ice in a towel buried under the sand.

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Time for some fire and food…Again the same boerewors that I bought locally. And to this day, the boerewors have been the most amazing meal I have ever eaten. I also prepared lamb chops that were produced locally.

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Best hotel I have ever stayed in.

The sunset was yet again so beautiful to look at and this evening I decided to sleep with my head outside of the tent, although I know there are snakes and scorpions that are moving in the night. Never the less I had a great evening of sleep and was planning my next day ahead.

 Day4: All packed up and ready to leave early for Botswana. Drove to the only petrol station in town and they have just opened, this early in the morning. Done my duties and headed off into the dust road and road. After about 50km I got to Middleputs border, a very isolated border post but have been upgraded and looks very nice nowadays. A quick stamp in the passport and a few questions from immigration and I moved to the next section in Botswana. Getting to the Border in Botswana. The immigration guys were probably bored with each other and kept a conversation going with me for over 1 hour. Eventually, I decided to go and greeted them. Also got an invite when I pass again to visit the immigration guys for a cold beer after duties. Might consider this later in time, for now, I had to move on.

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Got into tar road and a very very nice tar road. This road is also very isolated and saw the only one truck on the whole 250km trip. The landscape changed dramatically and swiftly as I move over different territories. I managed to stop and take some rest on the way under this big tree.

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Cruised along the road and then back into South Africa through the border at, Bokspits border post. Again the transition was easy and comfortable. I was thinking well now that I am back in SA, I need start planning where to stay and what to do for the night. Later on, I stopped to prepare my plans before I get onto a super long road to Upington. This was another 200km waiting for me, and then another 80km to where I want to stay for the night. I got my plans sorted and now knew where I wanted to go.

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Halfway to Upington, this is called Groenpan.

Got to Upington after a very boring road and long, endless end of tar and sand dunes. After some time my bump was hurting too much that I felt pain to the next level. Refuel in Upington and move to the backpacker close to Augrabies Falls.

The backpackers is very nice to stay over and would recommend them, again this evening I was alone in the camping area. And pitched my tent next to the fire.

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Here is a link for you on the place: Check them out! 

I met Vivian as I stopped by the gate, and he warmly welcomed me to the property and inducted me to the area. Pitched my tent, showered, started the fire and opened a beer. Later on in the evening, he came over to check if I am ok and everything comfortable. He sat down and we had great conversations by the fire.

Day 5: My plan is to drive to Augrabies waterfalls for a visit. I packed my camp, said good bay and then moved on to the falls. The road is pretty nice and comfortable, it was also quite as I think it was a Sunday. You know losing track of the days on an adventure. All the way to the falls are vineyards, and by this time they have already harvested, most of the areas that I could see was producing raisins. Massive sheets on the ground that was full of grapes, getting dried in the African sun. Stopped at the main gate and completed the needed form and passes. Drove on the narrow road to the reception where I will pay for the entrance. I also stopped there an enjoyed a coffee at the restaurant. However I wanted to sit outside but the lady advised due to the baboons it is not recommended, they can be intimidating and might even attack…this was not nice and I could see them on the veranda, playing and entertaining themselves. Done with the coffee and now time to walk down to the waterfalls. On they down a met another guy, hopefully, he would read my blog. Werner and his wife were in SA for a wedding, but prior to the wedding, they were in the USA where they bought an old camper and renovated the whole car. Then the started to tour for 8 months down to Mexico. We had great conversation and laughter over so many stories and tales we shared as adventures of the world. I also briefed him on my travels and mentioned that I have been to 41 countries around the world. If you do read this, message me, we did not exchange number on this day.

The walk down to the falls is short and a mere 500meters, but the view and sounds are amazing there, here are a few updated photos.

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Now that I am done, its time to walk back and get on the bike and start my journey to the next area, which I still don’t know. Planning will be needed soon, but first another coffee and then I can think about it. Time to leave the park.

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Drove back to Kakamas, then to Pofadder – O Pofader is a very small town, with only one outlet of each, Police station, Fuel Station, Post office, Butchery…then nest town after 165km was Springbok. I stopped for a quick photo on a long road where other traffic is far and wide apart.

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By this time it was already later in the afternoon and decided to first stop to buy and restock my food situation, and a few beers but this didn’t happen. I was too late for the booze shop and knew tonight will be a dry one. After the shopping, I drove across the road to refuel and met two other adventure riders both had respectively older 1200 bikes but still in a great shape, that was coming from the opposite direction. We had a great chat and went into so much detail of the road conditions, shortcuts, places to see, where to go, by the time I realised I still have to find a place to camp the sun was setting behind the mountains. I reviewed the map quickly and then set my phone on google maps for a better reference to the campsite. Said goodbye and good luck to my fellow adventure riders and set off into the sunset. Assuming the camp was within a few minutes of driving the route on the phone got mislead for some reason and I ended up driving another 40km South. Getting frustrated on the bike now after a long day, I still didn’t know where to sleep and thought well if this should be it, then I might as well take a small gravel road and set camp for the night.

Eventually, I saw a camping sign, Kamieskroon caravan park and hotel. And decided it now or never. Here is more information on this historic place.

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The Star of David above the hotel entrance raises constant questions from the hotel guests about the history of the Kamieskroon Hotel. Joe Josephson and Max Schapera built the hotel in 1925 and also incorporated the Jewish date 5686 in the Star of David.

SJP Stone (Fanie) bought the hotel in 1953 and managed it with his wife, Maria until his death in 1968. Their eldest daughter Colla and her husband, Coenie Swart owned and managed it until February 1997 when it was taken over by their eldest daughter Maryna and husband Helmut Kohrs. Over the years, the descendants of Fanie Stone have developed the small six room country hotel into a well-known landmark in Namaqualand.

he Kamieskroon Hotel – situated in Namaqualand, South Africa – is best known for the annual Namaqualand Photographic workshops and offers travellers and workshop participants comfortable accommodation and fine meals in the starkly beautiful mountains and klipkoppe of the Northern Cape. The Namaqua National Park, famous for its remarkable display of wildflowers and spectacular vistas is within easy driving distance from the hotel. The coastal section of Namaqua National Park and Richtersveld National Park are also great destinations that can be reached easily.

The Kamieskroon Hotel and its beautiful natural surroundings have played host to the Namaqualand Photographic workshops since 1984, founded by Freeman Patterson and Colla Swart. These workshops are well known around the world and regularly draw participants from Europe, North America, New Zealand, Israel, Namibia and other countries as well as South Africa. Since 2005 we also offer 14-day Photo Tours to the coastal section of Namaqua National Park and Richtersveld National Park.

The campsite was empty for the night, again! LOL, are there no other travellers on the road this time of the year. The camp setting was amazingly beautiful with a cool breeze, the air also felt soft and fresh in my nose. That evening I set up camp, made the fire, showered and into bed. It was a long driver since the morning and needed rest for the next day. I seem to me that every day is passing so quicky and bearly had time for myself to have more fun.

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My favourite beer, along with a boerewors and garlic roll – dinner is up!

Day 6: I knew this is going to be n monster of a road. I had to drive down to Vredenburg to see family there. Starting early with the packing of the kit and bike, heading to the tar road..there was also quite a bit of mist on the road and had to be careful. It was still morning when I made it to Vanrhynsdorp. There I stopped for fuel and got a delicious fresh made sandwich from the cafe. Sat down with a cup of coffee and enjoyed the morning sun on my back. Here is was quite busy with more traffic which was heading to Namibia. On my way here I counted 11 over landing trucks with tourists all heading for the border to Namibia. Here is a link where you can look for more details and adventures. AFRICA I have never done a trip like this before, where you join a group of travellers, get into an organised truck and head into Africa. One day I want to drive from Cairo to Capetown. While I’m writing this I’m thinking when will be the suitable time to do this and actually there is no age limit, as long as you can have fun you can join the tours. There is also a trip that is 9 months long from Rio in Brazil around the whole South America and back that will take 9 months to complete…can you imagine that!

My next stop was unplanned, and the road moved closer to the coastal area. Here was also move traffic on the route, this area was Clanwilliam to Piketberg. This is actually a very beautiful and mountainous area. Where Rooibos teas are grown and cultivated, also fruit is grown very successfully here. The wind was getting stronger, stronger than before. In Piketberg I had to stop to refuel and got something to drink. I was thirsty and already tired of the traffic and windy conditions.

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What a view, I had some protection from a stone wall.
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My favourite beer, along with a boerewors and garlic roll – dinner is up!

Day 6: I knew this is going to be n monster of a road. I had to drive down to Vredenburg to see family there. Starting early with the packing of the kit and bike, heading to the tar road..there was also quite a bit of mist on the road and had to be careful. It was still morning when I made it to Vanrhynsdorp. There I stopped for fuel and got a delicious fresh made sandwich from the cafe. Sat down with a cup of coffee and enjoyed the morning sun on my back. Here is was quite busy with more traffic which was heading to Namibia. On my way here I counted 11 over landing trucks with tourists all heading for the border to Namibia. Here is a link where you can look for more details and adventures. AFRICA I have never done a trip like this before, where you join a group of travellers, get into an organised truck and head into Africa. One day I want to drive from Cairo to Capetown. While I’m writing this I’m thinking when will be the suitable time to do this and actually there is no age limit, as long as you can have fun you can join the tours. There is also a trip that is 9 months long from Rio in Brazil around the whole South America and back that will take 9 months to complete…can you imagine that!

My next stop was unplanned, and the road moved closer to the coastal area. Here was also move traffic on the route, this area was Clanwilliam to Piketberg. This is actually a very beautiful and mountainous area. Where Rooibos teas are grown and cultivated, also fruit is grown very successfully here. The Cederberg mountains (Afrikaans: Sederberg) and nature reserve are located near Clanwilliam, approximately 300 km north of Cape Town,  The mountain range is named after the endangered Clanwilliam cedar, which is a tree endemic to the area. The mountains are noted for dramatic rock formations and San rock art.

The wind was getting stronger, stronger than before. In Piketberg I had to stop to refuel and got something to drink. I was thirsty and already tired of the traffic and windy conditions. Then I took the road leading to Veldrift some 85km away. Velddrif is located approximately 145 kilometres north of Cape Town. It is situated near the point that the meandering Berg River flows into the sea at St. Helena Bay. This estuary is an important bird habitat, home to around 30,000 birds, including up to 80 species which are endemic to the Cape coast. Well over 350 different species of birds can be seen here as it is a habitat for sea, river and land birds. Flowers grow in this area, including the (Kersbos),  (Rotstert), (Sonkwas Riet), (Strandroos) and (Sandveld Luisebos).

Passing through Velddrift I could see the ocean for the first time and smelled the most amazing salty fragrances in a long time, this was the new fresh to me on this day. Turned left over the bridge and drove down to Paternoster. The wind on this road was super strong and one point in time, the whole bike was leaning to one side! I was sitting on the other side to counterbalance the wind factor and had to hold on for dear life. I managed to make it to Paternoster safely, but my hands were in so much spasm from the tight grip. I had to relax and massage my hands when I reached here. Now that I have reached, I knew there is only one legendary place to hang out, and this is the Paternoster Hotel. A place with magical memories that go back to my childhood. As always, when I stopped the first guy was at me, selling crayfish at very good prices. Still in fresh condition in a plastic bag. Unfortunately, I had no space and had to decline his offer. They have been selling crayfish in this area for many many years. I would assume more than 50 years.

Some background on Paternoster. Paternoster is one of the oldest fishing villages on the West Coast of South Africa. It is situated 15 km north-west of Vredenburg and 145 km north of Cape Town, at Cape Columbine between Saldanha Bay and St Helena Bay. The town covers an area of 194.8 hectares and has approximately 1883 inhabitants. The origin of the name remains unknown. Many people believe that the name, which means ‘Our Father’ in Latin, refers to prayers said by Catholic Portuguese seamen when they became shipwrecked. It appears as St. Martins Paternoster on an old map of Pieter Mortier. Other people believe it refers to the beads that the Khoi tribe wore that were called Paternosters. The Hotel, the original building was built in 1863 by the Paternoster community with limestone from the area. In those days it was the local gathering place with shops and a holding cell. The Dining Room was used for dances and Church services and the Function Hall was an open area used by the local farmers to store their harvest. In 1940 the Tollman family bought the building and converted it into a Hotel which they sold to the Sanks family in 1948 before they immigrated to England. The Tollman children returned to South Africa in 1997 and donated money for the building of the Paternoster Community Hall. Dawie Walters bought the Hotel from the Sanks family in 1957 and had 3 managers until he sold it to Paternoster Fisheries in 1965. In 1970 Hendrik de Goede bought the Hotel business from Paternoster Fisheries and sold it to Johan Carosini in 1973. Johan and his wife Wilna with their unique style of hospitality transformed the Paternoster Hotel into a well-known business. In October 2002 Johan welcomed his eldest son Giorello as co-owner.

I sat down outside on the veranda, where I could see some ocean and a small piece of the harbour. The atmosphere was fresh and lively here. I ordered nothing else but fresh line fish and chips, this is a local delicacy with much respect. With that a cream soda to gain some sugar back and treat me. While I was waiting there, more tourists arrived and the place was getting crowded and more lively. I decided to walk inside and look for messages we wore on the wall back in the days. Writing on the walls and bar counter and just about any where you can find and opend space was a tradition. But could not find any after they have painted several times. However, the most famous art was still there, the panty bar. The unique and famous Pub, worldwide known as the Panty Bar, once served as a jail! In 1974 Johan Carosini started the collection of “Honeymoon Panties”. Unfortunately, the collection had to be taken down in 1983 after a Clergyman reported it to the Police as an ‘unholy practice’….needless to say, the policeman, who was responsible for the confiscation of the panties, was thereafter called “Panty’ Basson… Giorello Carosini started ‘collecting’ again in the nineties – the collection is now more interesting than ever and still flourishing…

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It is must to see this place!

After my meal, I got onto the bike an drove to the family in town, a mere 15min. (this close? I would be here every day for lunch) We had a great time with the family catching up after years we haven’t seen each other. We went over the good old days of camping and fishing in the bay. Shared stories of new and old, and included a great dinner. I wanted to include some photos of the golden days but thought it will be better to stick to the blog and mission I am on for now. I can always date back those adventures on another blog.

Day 6: Remaining on the coastal road towards Capetown, but I’m not exactly going to Capetown but to Bloubergstrand to see my friends. (they had no idea I was coming, and send them a video few hours ahead as a surprise) The road took me to Yserfontein. Yet another little town with a major history behind it. Yzerfontein is a small harbour town with about 1200 inhabitants on the west coast of South Africa about 90 km north of Cape Town. The name in Dutch means “Iron Fountain”.The town started out when the farm ‘Yzerfontein’ was bought by the Katz-family in the 1930s. Then they started dividing the farm into plots. The main sources of income are tourism (especially during the wildflower season from August to October), mining and fishing. Beach at Yzerfontein
Yzerfontein is known for its Sixteen Mile Beach, the longest uninterrupted sandy beach on the South African coastline, stretching north from the main beach of the town, to the West Coast National Park, which borders the town. Yzerfontein is the landing point for the ACE and WACS submarine communications cables to the UK. The Yzerfontein salt pan is a 116 hectares (287 acres) coastal salt pan, just northeast of the town. It was formerly mined for salt and is currently mined for gypsum.

From here I decided to take a nice country road to Darlington and then look at the microbreweries and what if to offer there. Surely South Africa is expanding in this sector and some of the breweries have amazing and extraordinary flavours to offer. Flavours that have been mixed with local flora and fauna. However the fun I am having, I didn’t drink any beers while on the road. I will buy a few and enjoy the evening.

The best one I found was the Darling Brew

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You will see many photos with this cap, this is where I got it, and no I didn’t drink all the beer…only for illustration purposes.
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Still a micro-brewery.

Darling is very small and beautiful town, still in its authentic manner dating back many many years. My next stop will be in Blouberg strand and then I’m off to meet friends for an afternoon coffee and then by the night, I will meet up with other friends where I will sleep over. But now its time to hit the road and go see Blouberg Strand.

Blouberg Strand is a world popular site, especially for wind and kite surfing. The view of table mountain is also one of the best from this area. And as I moved on the road smelling the fresh ocean breeze and sand dunes. In this area, I experienced more congested traffic. Unfortunately, I am not able to cut lanes between the cars due to the side panniers that are wide. So I have to stand in the queue like other motorists. The was actually ok with me, I have had so many people talking to me in the traffic, asking questions and making jokes. This was fun.

Eventually, I arrive a the spot for a few photos, and this made my day and highlight of the trip, to know I have made it to here and this I halfway through my journey.

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Happy days for days, Cape Town – here I am.

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Peacefull and tranquillity here where I sit and look at the mountain, just relax and breathe. Now that I have reached the peak of my trips its time to set off with some friends and enjoy some food. I met these guys while I was working in another foreign country and have always kept in touch. Until we meet again my friends.

 

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What a view in the background. I am sipping on apple juice here.

 

The Blue Peter is a very popular chill-out spot. Especially weekends, here’s the link if you want to have a look. O` Do order pizza there it is their speciality but the seafood is just as good if not better. Now the time has come for me to move on and to my other friends which I have not seen in a long time. But now that the sun is going down I want to stop at the beach spot again and take a few more photos.

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That is the very reason…stunning and majestic sunsets over the ocean and the other side is the mountains that have been welcoming travellers for the last 400years.

Day7: Departing and now heading down the garden route towards Stillbaai. The route is very nice to drive, and passing trough iconic areas and wineries that have been established since the 1600’s My route was going through Stelenbosch, then Passing False Bay. And here in Falsbay, you can see whales from the coastal road or you can go shark cage diving and see some of the biggest great white sharks in the world. Unfortunate I don’t have the time do all these things and had to move on. Next up was the Botriver section with mountains non stop. This area is major for agriculture, on fruit and wine. Reaching Swellendam changes all the weather, it started raining on the route so I had to stop and add more water resistant clothing and be warm, as the temperature had dropped to 16C here with a very cold wind on the road. By now the sun was seeking a mountain to set behind and there were black clouds on the horizon with very dramatic red sunrays piercing the open ends of the clouds. And then the heavy rain started on the road. Here are two photos I have taken just before the rain started.

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In the far distance, I saw a place to stop and refresh form the rain, I could also refuel and grab a coffee to raise my body temperature. I am cold and wet, and my boots have been leaking water so I had to take them off and through the water out of my boots, and changed my socks for the better. I had to do this, but also know there is more rain on the road and it is getting dark pretty quickly now, with the clouds covering the last it of the sun over the mountains. From Riverside, the is a single road leading into Stillbaai and by now Antonie was waiting for me and keeps on calling to check my location. Yes, Antoon, the rain is heavy and interfering the touch screen, so the screen keeps on exiting the maps I am using due to the water drops. Eventually, I made it to Stillbaai, never been there before so I don’t know the roads. Thus the navigation took me to the wrong location and had to do a detour in the dark, rainy night. This took another 30min before I could meet up with Anton whom actually came looking for me…This was funny. But made it and we have a great night, and an always time for a BBQ.

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Very crafty gin and flora…they are dangerous, I have seen that.

Day8: No that the bike is in the garage, my kits hang out to dry, and I know here I am going to spend the next few days to relax from the hard driving and long roads. By now I have done 2500km+ We decided the day was beautiful and went to INVERROCHE GIN

Gin tasting for the day and used a taxi service, that will be the order. Inverroche takes its name from the combination of two words that pay homage to the Scott ancestry, referencing both their Celtic and Gaelic backgrounds; the Scottish word Inver meaning ‘a confluence of water’ and the French word Roche meaning ‘rock or stone’ are the very elements that have come together in Still Bay to create the conditions necessary to make these world-class, one-of-a-kind gins. Today the brand has three distinct gins, made using only a handful of the more than 9,000 Fynbos botanicals and are sold in 15 countries around the globe. and the best thing was its only a 5 min drive from where we stay!

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At the entrance and on the way to taste some gin!
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Seat

There is also craft school you can attend and prior bookings to be made, but you can make your own bottle of gin… how nice is that !

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Day 9: Still in Stillbaai for the day, this morning was slow as we had some aftereffects from the gin. The previous day was great, but that could only happen ones in a blue moon. Decided to make an early morning BBQ and set the wood, prepared a potato salad and lamb rib for late breakfast/lunch. Lamb’s rib is probably one of the undersold section of lamb. I have been a huge fan for many years on lamb ribs. My process basically composes of, buy the rib from a good source or butchery. The area of origin should also be considered and if the lamb was raised organically. Once I have the ribs I will close in a grid and let it air dry for 3 to 4 hours, then on slow coal for another 3 hours, you can see the photo below of how the rib is sideways with a small amount of heat. This is a perfect way, and give you much time to relax and chat with the friends. The only spice I use freshly grounded black pepper and sea salt, plus fresh lemon juice. Try it and let me know!20180323_112542 - Copy.jpg

As the day progressed after a hearty hearty meal, we relaxed and decide to for a drive and enjoy a cold one by the beach, ofcuarse we used a local taxi. The Wind was calm and nice day down by the water. Definitely taking advantage of the nice day…you can see the happy face below.IMG-20180323-WA0004

Day 10: We have decided its time for the beach and lets see what can we catch. Headed down to the post office to obtain our fishing licenses, like any other good citizen of the country. Do want to do any illegal fishing right. Then off to the bait shop to buy everything we need and a few extras for the day. Didn’t know what is going to happens by the beach. But unfortunately, the beach was not a good fishing spot for this time of the day. 20180323_155458 - Copy (2)20180323_155357 - Copy (2)

After lunch we decided to move over to the harbor, apparently, there is a nice spot. And the guys have been hitting the fish there in the afternoon. We packed up all the gear and drove off to the new area. Got there and could see, quite a few guys trying their luck for the day. Back up we unloaded all the needed gear and walked to the area we think is the best. Right next to the signal light. 20180323_182557

This day was nice, and we manage to fish a few small ones but had to trough them back due to the size. Nothing worth keeping at this point in time, we we will keep on trying for more. As the sun was setting we saw more and more guys heading down, for their evening luck.

Day 11: Time has come to move on to my next destination. All the gear was dry and ready for a new adventure, so i am. It was sad to leave this place, i have really enjoyed every day and loved the weather as well. I was thinking to buy property in the area, but this i will leave for another blog…I have major plans to set up my own vineyard.

After all the good byes and refueled the bike and departed from town. On the long road passed George, Mosselbay, passing Plettenberg bay. This is also know as the garden route.

The Garden Route (Afrikaans: Tuinroete) is a 300-kilometre stretch of the south-western coast of South Africa which extends from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Storms River in the Eastern Cape. The name comes from the verdant and ecologically diverse vegetation encountered here and the numerous lagoons and lakes dotted along the coast. It includes towns such as Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Mossel Bay, Little Brak River and Nature’s Valley; with George, the Garden Route’s largest city and main administrative centre. It has an oceanic climate, with mild to warm summers, and mild to cool winters. It has the mildest climate in South Africa and the second mildest climate in the world, after Hawaii, according to the Guinness Book of Records. Temperatures rarely fall below 10 °C in winter and rarely climb beyond 28 °C in summer. Rain occurs year-round, with a slight peak in the spring months, brought by the humid sea-winds from the Indian Ocean rising and releasing their precipitation along the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains just inland of the coast. The Route is sandwiched between the aforementioned mountains and the Indian Ocean. The Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma indigenous forests are a unique mixture of Cape Fynbos and Temperate Forest and offer hiking trails and eco-tourism activities. Nearly 300 species of bird life are to be found in a variety of habitats ranging from fynbos to forest to wetlands. Ten nature reserves embrace the varied ecosystems of the area as well as unique marine reserves, home to soft coral reefs, dolphins, seals and a host of other marine life. Various bays along the Garden Route are nurseries to the endangered Southern Right Whale which go there to calve in the winter and spring (July to December).

As i was passing trough Pletternberg bay then Natures valey. I was going over many bridges and then saw this one sign, that is well known, Bloukrans Bridge. And i though, hang on but this is the very same bridge, i have heard of and early in the days, this bridge was used by people for suicide by jumping off the bridge.

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Here is a photo from the internet – the bridge is 216 m from the water.

I slowed down with the bike and i was passing over i saw another sign on the road. Bungee jump turn left…Ok now, this is going to be interesting and was very curious to go and see what is this all about. I knew i still had to drive 1 hour to reach my destination and the time was already in the afternoon. But what the hell, im not sure when i will get this opportunity again. I took the road leading to the bungee jumping and when I arrived, i could not believe how many people there are. I walked up to the one guy and started talking to him and then walked over to the reception office, asked the prices and details. And thought, first i will think about this while i have a coffee and cigarette. My thoughts was wild ! And i was scared to do this…i only came for a few photos but some where deep inside i had to do this. For some crazy reason, i signed up and joined the next group walking to the place in a guided manner. Passing trough on a small walkway under the bridge, here you can see the ground quickly disappearing and the river became small. The walk way is see trough…imagine that ! All set and each person in the group had a jump number, and now its my turn..OMG with a full bike kit..LOL

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Didn’t know what is happening next.

i cannot believe this, i cannot believe i am going to jump from the worlds highest bungee jump, as my first time ! I got all nicely strapped into a harness and then then guided to the edge. Standing on the edge looking down my thought become quite and there was nothing to think about. This is now, this is the present moment. And i jumped !

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yooooo

Adrenalin came fast and this was a great feeling. Feeling is believing and i felt alive and fresh falling down as the landscape quickly came closer. In a few seconds, it was all over.

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After the jump.

This was an amazing experience ! And actually loved it so much, face you fears ! Back to the restaurant and enjoed another coffee with a view, where you can hear the people shouting as they jump.

Back on the bike and continued to Jeffreys Bay, is named after the senior partner of the firm Jeffrey & Glendinnings that opened a store in 1849 on the location where the town is today. Jeffrey is believed to be the first person to have settled there. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Jeffreys Bay was known as a hippie hangout, where the now-burgeoning surf community originated. Jeffreys Bay has grown from a sleepy little fishing town over the past few years and is one of the fastest expanding urban areas in the country. Jeffreys Bay is one of the five most famous surfing destinations (no.2 on one “best in the world” surfing list) in the world and hosts the annual World Surf League (WSL) surfing event at Super Tubes during July. Spectators and professional surfers from all over the world flock to this event. In 2015, Mick Fanning was attacked by a shark two minutes into the J-Bay Open finals in Jeffreys Bay. Fanning was in the water with Julian Wilson during the final of the J-Bay Open 2015 when he was attacked by what is suspected to be a great white shark. Fanning punched the shark and tried to wedge his board between the shark and his body, and he emerged from the attack physically unharmed.

By the time i arrived in town i was already dark and have to find a place to sleep for the night. As i do, first have to buy some meat and few beers. Packed this into my panniers and drover trough the town looking for a camping spot. Eventually, i found a nice spot, right neat to the ocean with a great view. Unpacked and didn’t have any wood. The camp site was almost empty and didn’t know where i am going to get wood. Later, some 10 min..a security guy came and said halo, introduced him as the night shift guard. So i took the advantage and asked if he knows of any wood i can use. Yes, he will drive to town an go buy me some…great. The fire was now on and i could prepare a nice meal ! While the waves was thundering in the the background. Early next morning i was up and packing up camp, the view was so beautiful and wised i could stay 2 more days.

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Day 12: I had to leave early and knew my rod to Bloemfontein is going to be a very hard ride and 800+km for the day. The road turned North and i was passing trough areas that is stunningly green and pastured. The the landscape became hard, rocky and barren…So dry that the temperatures was climbing about 2 C for every 50 km i did, quite drastic. And had to shed some clothes to cool down from the heat.

I arrived in Graaf-Reinet and knew this is a very old town, and want to share some information with you about the history.

Graaf-Reinet was established by the VOC (Dutch East India Company) in 1786, being named after the then governor of the Cape Colony, Cornelis Jacob van de Graaff, and his wife, whose maiden name was “Reinet”. It was originally established as a trading post to expand trading inland from the Cape Colony.

In 1795, the burghers, annoyed by the exactions of the VOC, and under the leadership of Adriaan van Jaarsveld, expelled the Landdrost Maynier and proclaimed an independent “Colony of Graaff-Reinet,” requesting guardianship from the government in the Netherlands (and not the VOC). Similar action was subsequently taken by the burghers of Swellendam. Claims that the two “independent” regions wanted to be independent republics were found to be untrue. Before the authorities at Cape Town could take decisive measures against the rebels, they were themselves compelled to capitulate to the British who invaded and occupied the Cape. The burghers having endeavoured, unsuccessfully, to get aid from a French warship at Algoa Bay surrendered to Colonel (afterwards General Sir) JO Vandeleur.

In January 1799, Marthinus Prinsloo, a leader of the independent movement in 1795, again rebelled, but surrendered the following April. Prinsloo and nineteen others were imprisoned in the Cape Town castle. After trial, Prinsloo and another commandant were sentenced to death and others to banishment. The sentences were not carried out and the prisoners were released, March 1803, on the retrocession of the Cape to the Netherlands. In February 1803, in terms of the Treaty of Amiens signed in 1802 (between England and France), the British returned the Cape Colony to the Netherlands, then renamed the Batavian Republic.

In 1801, there had been another revolt in Graaff Reinet, but owing to the conciliatory measures of General F Dundas (acting governor of the Cape Colony) peace was soon restored. It was this district, where an independent “Colonie” government in South Africa was first proclaimed, which furnished large numbers of the Voortrekkers in 1835–1842.

In 1806, a British fleet of sixty-one ships dropped anchor at Robben Island and landed 6000 troops at Blaauwberg. The Battle of Blaauwberg followed and Dutch resistance crumbled. On 13 August 1814 the Cape Colony was formally ceded to Britain by a convention under which Dutch vessels were entitled to resort freely to the Cape of Good Hope for the purposes of refreshment and repairs. Britain agreed on 13 August 1814 to pay five million sterling to the United Netherlands for the Dutch possession at the Cape.

The Cape Colony received a degree of independence in 1872 when “Responsible Government” was declared and, in 1877, the government of Prime Minister John Molteno began construction of the railway line connecting Graaff-Reinet to Port Elizabeth on the coast. This was officially opened on 26 August 1879.

Graaff Reinet became the centre of British military operations for the whole Eastern Cape during the Second Boer War. In 1901, a number of captured Boer rebels were tried in the town for crimes ranging from high treason, murder, attempted murder, arson and robbery. Nine were sentenced to death, with eight of these being executed by firing squad on the outskirts of the town, while the ninth sentence was carried out in Colesberg. The Burgher Monument in Donkin Street commemorates the fallen Boers.

I continued North and stoped for this photo outside the town.

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Stunning landscape !

Colesberg was the next town on the refuel list. Just before town, i had to stop again for the great photo and could not resist the true nature of this area.

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In town, i was able to buy a few cold water and juice, and refueled the bike. My bum was hurting so bad by now and still had a long way to go…From here i had to stop every 80km to take a break and reset my self. The roads a long and endless. But i had great music that kept me company all the way.

Eventually late the afternoon, i reached Bloemfontein. Stopped and looked online for a proper place to sleep, my body was seeking a soft bed after all the roads and camping. Decided to stop at a well known lodge.  The beds where very comfortable and the ablution facilities clean and well maintained. Finally, my day was over and did 870 KM for the day, sitting on my bum..LOL its time to sleep, and by 7pm i was in bed sleeping away the long roads…

Day 13/14: The last stretch home back to Pretoria for the day. And this will be 400 km and should  an easy one to complete. I got all packed up and checked out from the hotel. Drove on the main road and saw a great restaurant with a fuel stop. Great, i will spend time here eating breakfast and refuel. As i was about to leave i saw adventurer ride and walked over for a chat. One hour later, we where on the road, two bikes riding together for the next 200 km. It was good to ride and had a sense of safety actually. Reminding myself i have been driving 4000+ km solo. He took another off a turn and i continued on the high way heading home.

Got home and reached the house where i was greeted by my bother ! and a cold beer, congratulating and cheering away of the great journey. The total km done for the trip was 4272 km and used 208 L of fuel. Not to bad hey !

The next day it was time to unpack and clean. Dam, it is not a lot but it is actually a lot.

And this is the end of my solo adventure, hope you guys enjoyed it and leave your tracks on the next adventure.

PS, don’t drink and drive, always be responsible on the road.

 

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Solo bike adventure trough South Africa, 14 days of adventure – BMW F800GS

  1. Hi mate, you have inspired me to get off my ass, load my BMW adventure and do something similar. Enjoyed reading your blog and hopefully you can soon read mine. Cheers and have a great day.
    Ray Hitzeroth
    Port Elizabeth

    Like

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