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Old 02-18-2013, 05:58 AM   #1
Dorsland OP
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Location: Karoo, South Africa
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A 3-day head cleaner trip

I initially thought I would have an entire week away from the farm to go do a nice long trip but it turned out to be a 3-day trip through the Drakensberg Mountain region that I really enjoyed.

I had ordered a set of Wolfman Expedition Panniers and the Motech racks through a local dealer and was keen to test them. My previous setup with Enduristan rollbags had the weight too high on the bike and I saw this Wolfman/Motech setup had got some very good reviews.

Set out on Tuesday early, headed SE and that was the full extent of the plan. Have bike, will travel.

Going to dispense with lots of writing and cut to the chase with pix and captions:



This was the luggage setup: Wolfman panniers (1 for clothes and kitchen stuff, 1 for sleeping bag, stove, mattress etc), Wolfman Tailbag (for tools, snacks, map, camera, First Aid kit), Enduristan rollbag for tent, stool, groundsheet). Bike felt better balanced and more secure. The reviews were had been good as the panniers are rock solid and easily accessible on the road. The local dealer had short-changed me with a local design for the D-rings for the SW Motech racks. I have ordered the proper Wolfman setup with the velcro webbing Ds that are a much more secure-looking setup.


Big Brother farmer version can be found out and about on the cropping area backroads. Beauty and the Beast ...






Self portrait:




The veld always smells so sweet and clean, it's no wonder we spend so much time there to clear our heads of the everyday stuff. Some typical Vrystaat thorntree scrub areas near Heuningspruit (Honey stream) in the Freestate province.







In Bethlehem, I stopped for my rats: lamb chops, milk, and my weekly reading matter. Got to stay up to date out on the road. The great thing about bikes is traffic is no problem. Outside of Bethlehem there are a lot of roadworks and there are kilometres of jams both ways. Easy solution to that problem: lane split to the front, as the attendant pulls the mobile armco out the way, gas it and it's hasta la vista traffic jams and back on the open road.




It looked like some good storms were brewing over the Drakensberg SE of Clarens so I decided to head in that general direction. More on serious thunderstorms later.



The weather got heavier the further SE I travelled and I was glad I was not a hiker up in the mountains today. The wind was gusting quite strongly as I headed for the small camp site of Glen Reenen in the Golden Gate Highlands Reserve where I was overnighting.



I got an awesome campsite right next to this little stream. A better, more tranquil site you would be hard pressed to find.









Being a mid-week trip, there were only a few other vehicles in the camp, amongst them two overlander vehicles, one from Germany and one from Holland. Sorry guys, no Landies, they broke down before they reached the Mediterranean! >




I used a good Boere plan for this low energy requirement cooler:



The previous night there was heavy thunder and lightning all around my camp and while I got a few drops of rain and some strong winds, nothing worth writing home about. I did notice that the stream had risen quite a bit since earlier so the rain must have been higher up the mountains. Nothing like the sound of running water to soothe you to sleep. (Unless you are peeing in your bed :biggrin:)

Next morning, after a good cuppa, I packed up and headed out with not much of a plan. Which is to say I had the best plan of all when out riding My cell phone charger had stopped working so I had to stop in Harrismith, the closest large town, for a repair/replace mission.



In Harrsimith, the local 4WD accessory shop wheeled my bike into their shop, whipped out a tester and soon we had identified a loose wire as the problem. Within 20 minutes we had the problem sorted, got offered a free coffee and no charge for the assistance and was on my way again. Got to love South African hospitality! :thumleft:

Seeing as how I had missed a trip to a fellow biker's country getaway in December, I thought I would take a ride down that way and see what the countryside looked like there. Damn nice ride over the mountains and after the recent rains all was fresh and green but very humid.



Looked if I could see Jacque's place from the top of the mountain. (That's Geluksburg town way down there). Quaint little place and nice if you are looking to escape the rat race.



Between Geluksburg and Bergville, I came across maize and soya crops destroyed by a hail storm. There were road repairs going on so I never took any pix but chatted with two crop assessors sitting alongside the road under a big Paperbark tree assessing the damage and their comments were that the farmers are looking at a serious hail claim.

Onward, ever westward. Ehm, make that NWestward. Rode through the Zulu tribal areas and found the guys friendly, many waving and the kids making bike riding moves as I passed. This pic on the bridge over the Woodstock dam was pretty with its views onto even more serious thunderstorms brewing over the Drakensberg. Check how all the stanchions from the safety guard have been liberated (Stainless steel) for scrap metal :eek7: The bridge is a good 750m long and almost every last stanchion has been sawn off, on both sides.



En route to my overnight campsite I came across this real adventure biker (check out the windscreen wiper in the last pic). For the guys looking for ideas for screens for the XR650L, take some tips from this guy, he says no buffetting behind that screen







It started raining heavily the last section just before entering the Royal Natal National Park. This was great as it was really hot and humid and the welcome rain cooled me down nicely. After I'd paid my entrance fee, I loaded up on the necessary supplies, loaded the 800 like a pack mule and headed off in search of a site to pitch my tent.



Heavy thunder clouds were threatening again so I pitched camp quickly.



My second Boere cooler, even lighter on energy use than the first one.



Royal Natal is a very neat and orderly site. The gardens, buildings and facilities are topclass. It really does have that old colonial feel to it, and has "another era" atmosphere about it. I enjoyed it a lot. The views are great and life is good while I am there.



And then it rained! And hailed! It was awesome watching these storms roll down from the peaks, one after the other, with great thunder and lightning and plenty of rain that covered the peaks totally. Really a humbling experience as always.







My helmet and jacket don't make good company when stuck in a tent for a while. So then you tend to get up to this to pass the time:







This Bushbuck doe wandered around the campsite like she was part of the furniture. Later that evening while I was enjoying the view, she came past and disappeared into the thick bush around the edge of the camp where she spent the night.



Even these common guinea fowl were eating crispbread out of my hand. Great to camp so close to nature.



Next morning, what better way to greet the day than with a cup of tea brewed on the Jetboil right outside your tent. Man, what a life. Man of the road, that's me. :biggrin: Who needs all that stuff when we can do this:



... and then go for a walk here:



Thursday morning and I'm not really in the mood to get back to the farm and its responsibilities. I dawdle with striking my camp, often jsut sitting on my camp stool and pondering the meaning of life while looking at the peaks. But life goes on and eventually the bike is packed and I'm on the road again. It's 08h30 and already the temperature is 28*C and humidity around 90% so I'm glad to be moving. The difference in temperature between the low lying valley and the top of the mountain as I crest it is around 5*C.

Taking my sweet time back, I stop between the towns of Bethlehem en Lindley, fiddle with the GPS and decide to take a loooooong way home across the rolling veld and croplands.

A melancholy piece of history:



Touched by the sun Mad bastid. Not me, not me!!




Total distance: 1080 km; average consumption: 4.6l/100 km; average speed: 68km/h

Dorsland screwed with this post 02-18-2013 at 06:19 AM
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:02 AM   #2
Starbuck21
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Not sure if it is on my end only but only the first picture came up? Help!
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:14 AM   #3
WoodButcher
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First, I am enjoying the ride report. Second, it looks like the images with the img tag that includes size aren't working. so where you see: img width=800 height=600 surrounded by [ and ] remove the width and height so it is just img with square brackets. Just edit your thread and it should be fine.
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:21 AM   #4
Dorsland OP
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Thanks guys, spotted that problem after I'd posted it. The pix all displaying OK now?
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:13 AM   #5
Mcgee
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Always nice to get away if only for a few days. Beautiful country and great pic's. I would love to make a trip to Africa someday, its on my bucket list.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:20 AM   #6
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Also, where is the Drakensburg region?
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:59 AM   #7
Dorsland OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mcgee View Post
Also, where is the Drakensburg region?

Thanks McGee. The Drakensberg is one of the longest mountain ranges in South Africa, running in a roughly north south direction along the border of the Freestate and Natal provinces.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:03 AM   #8
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Man, that is some beautiful terrain you have there!!! I would love to clear my head there too. Thanks for the write up and pictures.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:10 AM   #9
Fatty Boom
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Great RR!

Where did you get that chair?
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:15 AM   #10
Dorsland OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fatty Boom View Post
Great RR!

Where did you get that chair?

That's a real cheapie (probably made in China ) I got at a local camping chain called Outdoor Warehouse. Think it cost all of about US$10. I trimmed the legs and backrest tubes and refitted the canvas bits so it would fit my rolltop bag. It's not a real comfortable seat but does its duty. If the Alite chairs weren't so expensive I would get me one.
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:10 PM   #11
Vinbowie
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Really awesome !

Thanks for sharing this report.
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:02 AM   #12
Starbuck21
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Beautiful pictures! Thanks for fixing it as I really enjoyed your ride report!!!
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:49 AM   #13
Dorsland OP
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Thanks for the comments guys. Glad you enjoyed the trip as much as I did
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