27th October saw the kick off of the new tour season down here in South Africa. Not a big group but just a couple of guys that wanted to see the Garden Route from the seat of a motorcycle.
Once they had arrived and we booked them into their guest house The Sir David in Blouberg for the evening they were whisked off into the city by Stuart who looks after all our transfers so they could visit Table Mountain,simply a must do when in Cape Town. We had dinner at the renowned On The Rocks ( once voted best restaurant in Cape Town) where we were treated to one of Cape Towns glorious sunsets as we watched from our sea view table. The perfect finale to a great first day in South Africa.
The following day we picked up their BMW GS650 bikes and we headed out of the city via Chapmans Peak Drive and down to Cape Point and the Cape Of Good Hope. The guys were amaze at the attention they received from locals and tourist alike when they told them that they were touring on motorcycles. They all seemed very envious of the freedom of the go anywhere bikers. Our first riding day ended in the town of Hermanus where we were lucky enough to see several Southern Right Whales from right in the centre of the town. This has to be one of the greatest land based whale watching points.
Tuesday saw the guys get their first ever gravel road riding experience but not before Gareth took himself off early in the morning to a local Shark cage diving experience. We joined up at lunchtime and he told us his stories of 4 metre long Great White shark encounters…… Put the shark in a cage and I might consider it!!! We arrived at Cape Agulhas late afternoon and they guys had the obligatory photo done by the marker for the Southern most tip of Africa where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. We then rode a bit further round the corner and they heard about the Japanese Fishing trawler that had been wrecked there some years ago whilst the crew came ashore thinking they were in Cape Town.
We headed up north the following day passing through Swellendam over the Tradouw Pass and along thy R62 passing ( ok stopping at ) Ronnie’s Sex Shop for lunch and a quick photo. It was for once cloudy in the area which I have to tell you having ridden that road many many times was a great relief as it crosses the Klein Karoo ( little desert ) and man can it get hot. We arrived in Oudtshoorn after some 350kms where we stayed for two nights using the second “free” day to explore the surrounding area.
Normally I would take the group south from Oudtshoorn then across to Uniondale so that they could ride the Prince Alfred pass down to Knysna but unfortunately it had rained quite heavy over night and experience told me that it would be too dangerous on the bikes as there are places were it is like trying to ride on greased glass. So we made the best of the tar road and headed up and over Outeniqua Pass through George and on to Knysna via the N2. We had a fun Friday night here and luckily the weather changed so that we knew we would be getting some dry roads for the following days ride to Wilderness. After exploring the Knysna Heads we set of west and soon decided that we would see how the gravel was drying out by riding the Phantom Pass and on to the Seven Passes finally coming into Wilderness via The back roads.
As I said we would normally ride the Prince Alfred Pass on one of the days but I had made the call that it would not have been safe to do so…..but now the weather had changed big time and it was very very hot. This in mind I made the decision to reverse the normal route and take the pass back up to Uniondale. I think the guys would agree that it was a great decision as they had the time of their lives. Other than the great riding conditions I think they would both agree that finding Angie’s G Spot was a real winner…..especially with Brian seen here with the lady herself.
It was a long days riding and unfortunately we didn’t have the time to go up to the top of the Swartberg Pass but we did do some great gravel roads to get to The Retreat. This is a simply wonderful old farm which has been converted to a sunning guesthouse within the Swartbert Conservancy. Guests are treated to wonderful views from the house and it’s many rooms dotted around all with stunning gardens. The dining experience here has a colonial feel about it and the guests spend the evening chatting away and exchanging stories about their travels around South Africa. Gareth and myself were up early around 05.30hrs to take in one of the stunning walks around the property. Returning for a well deserved traditional breakfast. Both of the guys remarked how well Marie and Cassie made their stay very enjoyable.
Monday we headed out of the mountains and made our way down to the coastal town of Witsand and the following day we took gravel across to Malgas where we crossed the swollen Breede River by Pont. This again was a unique experience for the guys and one they will remember for a long time.
After the final night spent back in Hermanus we rode back into. Cape Town via the coastal road to Gordon’s Bay and dropped the bikes back to the rental company. Here we said our goodbyes but I think I am safe in saying that we will all be meeting up again sometime soon.
This is just a brief outline of what we get up to on a Springbok Tour. Probably the best thing for you to do is get out here and try it for yourself. You know you wanna!!!