2015 - 25 April to 1 May - 6 day tour of the Eastern Cape (De Rust /Grootrivierpoort / KuduKaya in Baviaans / PE / Bonniedale Farm/ Koedoeskloof)

5 Cape Town riders met at the Winelands One Stop at an early 7.30 for the long-awaited start to the Baviaans Bash organised by Rolex together with the KLR Clan.  The bunch consisted of 5 bikes, 3 KLR's (1 pillion), 1 GS1200 (pillion) and 1 XT660.

We met up with Charl and Vaatjie on another KLR and GS1200 near Du Toits Kloof and headed off for the longish 500km run to De Rust.  The route took us through Scherpenheuwel to Robertson, and then a somewhat overdue breakfast at Montagu.

The route through Anysberg is through the Ouberg pass and the roads are pretty good and interesting.  We stopped to assist a group where a rider had had an off at a corner and broke a foot-peg.  Fortunately, he was ok and after about half an hour we were on our way to Ladismith and Calitzdorp for fuel.  The trip to Oudtshoorn was along the tar where we stopped for an ice-ream stop as the day was getting a bit long at this stage.

Fortunately, it is a short 35km to De Rust and the comfortable Meijers Rust Guest House where we had booked in for the night.  Our hosts Barry (an American Boertjie) and Viviene made a braai for dinner and the group relaxed and enjoyed the solitude of the farm. Meijers Rust has a 4x4 mountain track, with camping facilities at the top.  Maybe next time....

We met-up with Erich on his DR who had had an eventful trip in getting to De Rust, "new" exhaust and all.  The following morning we fed the tame Eland and horses, ate breakfast and headed on our way down Meiringspoort.

Day 1  - Cape Town/Montagu/Ladismith/Calitzdorp/Oudtshoorn/De Rust

Day 2 -  Meiringspoort/Willowmore/Steytlerville/Grootrivierpoort/KuduKhaya (Baviaans)

The plan was to high-tail it through to Willowmore and pop-in at Jumper's Place (Rough & Ready) for a coffee, before following the Groot River through to Steytlerville. Meiringspoort remains one of the most spectacular passes on tar or gravel and we relished the crisp morning air and spectacular rock formations.  Every drift has a different name and there should be a prize for the person who can remember the most names.

The road to Willowmore is about 130km of quick gravel which passed uneventfully.  We were a little stung at Jumper's Place at R15 for a cup of Ricoffee, before heading off towards the much slower road along Grootrivier road to Steytlerville.  This is a really nice road which passes in part through a game reserve.  It is mainly 2nd and 3rd gear stuff and we were an hour late arriving at Steytlerville at 1pm.

We met up with Baksteen and Frenchy for a refuel and lunch at the hotel, before heading off to the Grootrivierpoort.  Perhaps we should have been a little more cautious looking at Baksteen who was completely wet and covered in mud before heading down the poort.

The adventure really started here and as a group, we stopped at the Grootrivierpoort to cross one by one.  Click on the  Youtube link below the watercrossing pics on day 2 for the visuals.   Erich did the usual eject half-way through, and Vaatjie's GS had to have the cylinders drained after taking in water.  Fortunately Jorg was with us and got the job done in a jiffy.  The whitish milky liquid visible in the sump window afterwards showed that some water might be assisting the oil in lubricating the engine.   Well done also to Charl for conquering his fear of water!

The next 12 or so km took a lot longer than planned.  The road was very rutted and not hell-of well suited to the 1200's which really struggled.  Almost everybody fell, Paul's chain was playing up and there were a number of mishaps which should perhaps stay (undocumented) there.  What happens in Grootrivierpoort, stays in Grootrivierpoort - it almost came to be that one or two of the group set up camp for the night.  After Erich's DR refused to start at around 9pm, we decided to leave him there for rescue the following day, with Jorg being not too far behind.  Fortunately a good samaritan farmer (Alex) came along in his 1982 Toyota Hilux and rescued the BMW and Suzuki along with their riders.

The last rider got to Kudu Khaya just after midnight and everybody was tired, cold and physically exhausted after the trip.  Anzel had the fire and braai going, and after a short while, a hot shower and some liquid fortification, things improved.  David injured his knee, Paul's chain needed replacement, so the four of us (including Ang & Erich) decided to head to PE instead of doing Baviaans and Die Hel. Ang & I did Baviaans and Die Hel 3 years ago and were looking forward to exploring the route again... Next time perhaps....

Check out the water crossings on Youtube

Day 3 & 4 - Patensie/Port Elizabeth 

The 4 of us rode through to PE and were graciously accommodated at Johan and Ronel's place (Baksteen's parents)  Paul got his bike fixed and cleaned, we checked and cleaned the KLR's and the DR got a new battery.  The guys at Yamaha decided not to clean the DR because they felt that taking all the mud off might cause structural damage to the ageing Suzuki.

The rest day did us all some good, and we were able to see some of the sights of PE.

For pics of the 2 days that we missed, you can visit www.klrclan.co.za and follow Dewald's (aka Baksteen)'s posts.   They were off having quite an adventure themselves with bikes going over the side of mountains and being ducktaped back to life...

and this is what the rest of the KLR group got up to while we were relaxing in PE...

oops, Henk (aka Kwagga)  took his eye of the road here no doubt....Baksteen and Frenchie assisting in the recovery
Kwagga looking rather shocked that he and his KLR survived its first real offroad adventure...  
Lily captured these three pics and reckons that the KLR is smiling again....ducktape and all....

Day 5 - PE/Humansdorp/Plettenberg Bay/George/Bonniedale Farm

We set-off at 7am with a fairly long (500km) day planned to Bonniedale farm, most of which was on tar.  David was concerned as his left knee was sore and he couldn't stand on the footpegs, which meant that complicated gravel was out of the question.  We stopped at the Wimpy in Humansdorp for breakfast and at the Wimpy in George for lunch.  Nothing like health-food to cure one's soul and tired muscles.

The final 20km through to Bonniedale farm was on a graded gravel road which we tip-toed along.  At Bonniedale farm we met up with the rest of the group who had had some adventures of their own as evidenced by Kwagga's bike which was being professionally held together by duct tape!

The "luxury tent" accommodation was border-line, however Grant (McSack) mad an unbelievable potjie and the souls were warmed while we swopped war stories.  Erich's bike somehow managed to elevate itself during the night and had to be helped down in the morning.  The following morning we bid farewell to the rest of the group and the CT based riders headed towards Ladismith and Koedeskloof guesthouse for the next night's stop.

Day 6 - Vanwyksdorp/Ladismith/Koedoeskloof

With a short 130km or so planned for the day, we made a leisurely 10am start.  The first 20km or so were somewhat difficult for me with my knee, and we stopped when we reached the main gravel road to Vanwyksdorp.  The farmers in this area farm with cattle, sheep and some planted crops like lucerne and some mielies.  I chatted to a guy by the name of Beukes who complained about the rooikatte in the mountains taking the lambs and there doesn't seem to be much that they can do about them.

We stopped at Vanwyksdorp to browse through the only shop which stocks just about everything, before having a bite to eat at a spot called Die Melkstal that used to be run by the guys who had the White House in Sutherland.  Still motorcycle friendly.

We arrived at Koedoeskloof just after 3pm and relaxed in the rooms enjoying the home comforts and the luxurious linen.  After Bonniedale, this was a welcome respite.  A huge braai for supper where hosts Eugene and Debbie did everything to make this an enjoyable stay.  We will be definately be back.....

After breakfast, we set-off on a short strip of gravel with the intention to ride the R62 back to Cape Town.

Day 7 - Barrydale/Montague/Robertson/Du Toitskloof

The following morning we said goodbye to Ben & Fe who were planning to spend the next two days at Warmwaterberg.  We headed through to Barrydale for the free coffee at the Pumpkin restaurant.  Useful to bear in mind for cash-strapped bikers.

The rest of the trip was along the tar with lunch at Du Toitskloof Trout farm.  We were all somewhat happy to get home after the eventful trip.  

Thanks David for doing the write up of our tour and for planning yet another fantastic trip. You rock!

What really stood out for me on this trip was that most everyone had each others backs and pulled together as a team when the going got tough/rough (Grootrivierpoort).  There was no judgement, especially when the less experienced riders (that's me...) got into some difficulties and struggled to continue.  

It was wonderful meeting the rest of the guys/gals from up country and I can finally put faces to the names.  I would also like to thank Dewald's parents for putting us up for 2 nights while we attended to some repairs on the bikes and rested our weary bodies.   

A big thank you also goes out to Anzel (Dewald's lovely wife) who attended to the meal planning and joined us on the trip as our "backup vehicle".  Last but not least, THANK YOU Lily for always capturing the BIG moments. No trip is complete without our Lily (aka Paparazzi), not only for her amazing photography skills but also for knowing how to stir a pot or two and for always making us laugh.  

Our next big tour is Lesotho later this year and we are all looking forward to the adventures that it will bring.

Till next time everyone, safe travels

- Angela - 

Comments from some of the riders on the tour:

Charl aka Kallie88 (KLR 650 black/green)

All I can say that I started the trip with 14 strangers and ended the trip with 14 friends for life. Nobody is left behind no matter what. I've learned a lot from experienced riders that is prepared to make time and share advice. All I can say is; count me in for the next trip. Lets ride! 

Paul aka Eish (Yamaha XT 660)
Yet another epic trip with a great group of people, nice to meet some new clan riders too! Pity that we missed Baviaans and Die Hel but like Arnie “I will be back”! This was my first adventure riding trip to the Eastern Cape and I was super impressed with the roads, scenery and especially the people! Sincere thanks to all who organised the adventure.

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