2015-07-11 Tankwa Winter Run (Tankwa/Cederberg/Citrusdal)

Note to self.... 'when planning a trip to the Tankwa Karoo at the height of winter (between 2 and 4 degrees max during the day), preferably stay at a hot spring like The Baths in Citrusdal....".  

After an unsuccessful attempt to secure a booking at The Baths due to winter school holidays, we found a cottage at Sothemba Lodge for our planned Winter Run into the Tankwa Karoo/Cederberg area.

Route planned, accommodation secured, we set off a bit later than usual and enjoyed a hearty Wimpy breakfast at the Winelands 1 Stop where we met up with Paul and Erich before setting off in the direction of Ceres.   We knew we were in for a cold weekend!

We took the Protea and Eenzaamheid road through the back of Durbanville and on to Du Toitskloof and Slanghoek to Ceres.  A compulsory yet brief coffee stop at The Winterberg Inn was a pleasant surprise with an enormous welcoming fire in their pub.  Bonus.

From Ceres we took the road over Swaarmoed pass next to the Matroosberg and on to the R355 through the Tankwa Karoo direction Calvinia.  The Swaarmoed road tops out at just over 1200m and at that altitude it was already icy cold.  Thankfully the rain stayed away until Saturday evening and our overnight at Sothemba Lodge (which is about 4km from the Tankwa Padstal)

On Sunday morning, we had a superb cooked breakfast at Sothemba Lodge (thanks Alex) and headed up Swartruggens and Katbakkies in light rain.  The sun made an appearance long enough to create a wonderful rainbow and we stopped for a few minutes to enjoy nature showing off - see pics.

Our route took us to "Op die Berg" and across to Citrusdal.  Very low temperatures and light rain were not enough to dampen the spirits or make the ride unpleasant as the fresh air and scenery made it 100% worthwhile. We stopped for tea and cake on the top of Piekenerskloof pass.  The rain was intermittent and we decided to head home on the N7 as opposed to the gravel (now slightly muddy) route that we had initially planned.

Never again let it be said that I am a fair-weather rider or that I 'hold' up the guys... the pics below are the only reason for me bringing up the rear and without me, these memories would be faded...

First bit of gravel (Protea Road) in the Stellenbosch Winelands 
The Nav, all smiles as he gets to lead his pack again after a long absence from riding
My first time back at the newly rebuilt Tankwa Padstal after the place was burnt to the ground in Sept 2014
Our own Tankwa Daisy
didn't have to go far to chase this windmill....
Amen to that!
"Hello Megan, yes we are safe at the Tankwa Padstal"
Next stop - Sothemba Lodge

Paul leading the Nav and Erich on a short but sandy entrance to the Lodge
Ang and Dave went up the hill to park their KLRs
hot on their wheels was Paul on his Yammie and Erich on his (t)rusty DR

Eco-living at its best at Sothemba Lodge - no electricity, only solar and gas

comfortable accommodation - cottage has 3 single beds and 1 double - nice warm blankets!!!!!

The Adventure Riders also  explore on foot..
taking a stroll to the main cottages at Sothemba Lodge

Check out the flickers on this landy...

Erich's 'other baby'
Erich's pot of gold at the end of this rainbow

This spectacular rainbow, one of nature's most splendid masterpieces, welcomed us into the Cederberg
Katbakkies - 1199m and ice cold
Middelberg Pass - 1071m and still cold

The  Nav and Eish descending into the valley below (Citrusdal)
Erich hot on their wheels 

The Tankwa Karoo is a magical place that should be on everyone's bucket list.  We are addicted to the beauty and serenity of the great expanses and amazing gravel roads and find ourselves drawn back to explore the roads less travelled on our trusted steeds time and time again.   

For more info on the Tankwa read 

 We will be back! *cue dramatic Terminator voice*

Safe travels everyone 

- Angela - 
"4 wheels move the body, 2 wheels move the soul"

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