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Old 02-08-2011, 06:42 AM   #1
Red King OP
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Location: Sweden
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Swirish Invasion of Mpumalanga, South Africa

Well, It is about time that I wrote a trip report. The timing is good as I am fresh back from a short trip that I did in South Africa (I am here on business for a few weeks). I have had the good fortune to be able to take this weekend tour with my associate who lives here and who is also an avid biker (Kjell but pronounced similar to ‘Shell’).

It is strange that the first thing that comes to most peoples minds when you hear about South Africa is aparthid, violence and bad politics... It is a most beautiful country with amazing people. I cannot wait to come back again. I am so glad to have been given the opportunity to see some of the best that the country and its people can offer, and even then I feel that I have only barely scratched the surface.

First off, I need to thank Kjell for organising this amazing trip. I have ridden in many different countries but this short trip by far ranks number 1! For me it was a once in a lifetime ride and one that I will never forget.. Tackar Kjell!!
Also, Robert needs a big thanks for taking so many photos! Between me and Robert we had something like 500 pics of the weekend..

Secondly, I have used loads of pictures here as I just do not have the words to describe both the scenery and the roads... they were perfect...

The People:
Kjell: Swedish, but living in Joburg for the past 2 and a half years. Biking all his life and the organiser and provider of the bikes. (Man that guy can ride)

Robert: Swedish, my work associate for the past few years. We have travelled extensively around the world for work together. He is not a biker and rode pillion with Kjell on the Thunderbird. Robert was the designated photographer.

Rory: aka Me! Irish but live in Sweden. I also brought a camera and took snaps when I could. Enough said.

The Bikes:
Triumph Tiger 1050. What a machine. First time riding the 1050 (have some experience on the older 900). Very different from my R12GS and the perfect machine for the roads we had on the trip. This baby explodes from 6000 rpm upwards.

Triumph Thunderbird: 1700cc Twin Cruiser. Looks beautiful, handles fantastic and boy can this lump go. Kjell handled this like a sports bike on these roads and was taking corners at 130-140 kmph. There were sparks a plenty on some turns.

The Trip:
From Johannesburg (locally called Joburg), to Mpumalanga and around the mountain areas and most of the major view points inbetween.

The trip route can be found on google maps at

Day 1: Friday 4th Feb 12:00pm.
By Friday, after spending the whole week in the hotel and in the office we were getting cabin fever. Unfortunately Johannesburg is not really safe to travel around in the evening time in the dark, especially when you do nto know where you are going. Me and Robert were really glad to get on the road and see some country side and get some fresh air.

We decided to leave the office early and head straight to Kjells house to get the bikes and luggage sorted. We left Kjell’s at about 12:30pm and hit the highway towards Sabie, about 370kms..

The highway was boring as hell, and we just stopped for gas and toilet, but we were able to keep up a good pace and it was refreshing to be on bike and feel the cool breeze…. My own bike (R12GS) is currently stabled for the winter in Northern Sweden and it will probably be late April or early May before I cantake her out again)

They seem to like their urinal blocks in gas stations over here…

The road from the Highway to Sabie was stunning. It was a mountain pass and boy did I get my curves on. I was essentially following Kjell on the highway until this point, but once the roads turned into bikers bliss Kjell motioned me on and the biking demon took over. I had a grin from ear to ear and blasted ahead of the guys. This was my first time on a bike since December (when I rented a bike in California and went around the Ortega highway). I was suffering cold turkey so this was the hit I needed. The curves were amazing and it took a few for me to get my confidence on the Tiger. The gears are so much lighter compared to the GS so the bike is perfectly suited to eating up the corners. Luckily a good set of Pilots on the rims made the riding even more enjoyable.

That road was basically a mountain pass and we encountered sunshine, rain and fog all in the space of an hour. Very very pretty and also very enjoyable.

We arrived at Sabie about 4pm (ish) and I was 30 minutes ahead of the guys. The guesthouse was kind of hard to find as Power Street was a little away from the town. When I arrived I was stunned at how beautiful the house was. The lady of the house (Irene) was a lovely woman and she and her husband were from Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) but left during the troubles there in the early 80’s. The house was stunningly beautiful and had a nice view of the landscape.

When the guys arrived we had some good (locally grown) coffee and decided to take it easy and had dinner at a biker pub in the evening (The Woodsman). Bed by 10pm…

Day 2: Saturday 5th Feb 07:30am
We had a great breakfast and were gone by 8am.

Kjell took us on a route to Hazyview and my jaw dropped. The road was every bikers heaven.

Again I blasted ahead of the boys and the speed demon came out. I had to stop at several points because the views were just too good to miss. I also stopped at a roadside stall and had a chat with a lovely woman called Francina. She and her husband made the nicknacks she was selling and I bought some stuff from her (stuff for the wife, kids and parents in law).

(I thought you only saw Holy Cows in India)…..

I met about 10 different R12GS riders and also some KTM950 Adv riders in separate groups on that road, they were all carrying the same crazy grin I had.. They were kind enough to warn me about an upcoming speed trap in Hazyview (the only one I saw on the whole trip). After a quick fuel stop there we carried on to Gods Window.

Gods Window is aptly named. Jaw droppingly stunning. The pictures do no justice but speak for themselves.

From there we continued to another view point called the Three Sisters. This was more impressive than Gods Window and took my breath away. Again the pictures do no justice…

We then continued towards a small town called Ohrigstad. The roads were just perfect and the scenery was fantastic. We encountered cows everywhere and at one point they were blocking the road. There were some large potholes here and there but they were easy to spot. The town was at a much lower altitude so the temperature quickly increased to about 32 C. It was bloody hot. Again we fuelled up here and had a quick bite to eat.

(Taking a stretch)

(one of the thousands of curves we encountered that weekend)

From here we headed towards Pilgrims Rest. The roads again were brilliant as were the views. We stopped at one view point and there were a group of ladies selling jewellery and assorted hand crafts. One of the ladies had a little 12 month old boy called 'Innocent'. I purchased a stone carving from her. Life is hard here and people don’t really make a lot of money and tourism is probably their main income. She wanted 80 rand for the stone carving and I gave her 100. I guess I felt sorry for her and her child, living in Sweden I really am not exposed to poverty at all and in a country where there is essentially no welfare help I can only imagine trying to raise your kids like that. It pulled at my heartstrings L. The view from there was stunning and the pictures give an idea of the type of roads we had J

(Look at that road!!!!!)

We stopped at Pilgrims Rest which is a beautiful little village and we stopped here to have lunch. I cannot recall the name of the café but it was really pretty. The food was amazing and we stayed there about an hour. We had a great chat with the owner (a lady in her 70’s). She was a really intelligent woman with a great outlook on life.

(I was trying to tech Robert how to smile)

At this point Kjell and I had a little miscommunication. He and Robert headed off before me (I was in the toilet) and his last instruction was that we were to make our way back to the guest house as Sabie. I didn’t realise that we were only approx 40k from Sabie at this café, i.e. we had made nearly a full circle. So he had a 5 minute head start but took the direct route back. Me on the otherhand not realising headed back the route we came and took the long way home. After 30 minutes or so I worried that I had not caught up with the guys but figured that they probably stopped at a view point somewhere to take pictures and that I must have passed them. I stopped at a small town called Graskop to get petrol and my phone rang. It was a very worried Robert asking where the hell I was, he also informed me that Kjell was pissed. It is not really advisable to go alone in South Africa (especially when you do not know where you are going!) and the guys were worried that I had crashed or got in trouble. Kjell didn’t realise that I had misunderstood his directions! Anyhow, once that mistake was cleared up I got back on the road. I essentially doubled my enjoyment that day as I was able to give all of my attention to the roads on the route back. What a ride!!!!!! I think it took me an hour and a half to get from Pilgrims Rest to Sabie via Hazyview on the best roads I have every ridden on…. The grim on my face was priceless..

That night we took a lazy dinner at a restaurant in Sabie, and I had the Wildebeest stew. Pretty damn good it was too. An early night was had again!

(Tired but sooooo happy)

The following morning we checked out and headed for the town called Lydenburg and from there onto Stoffberg and then Belfast. We were taking the backroads home to Joburg. The only memorable account here was that I narrowly missed a Baboon onthe road. The bugger was in the middle of the road as I came around a corner at 130kmph, he then fainted left then right and then took off like a rocket. I missed him by a couple of inches. The scenery was great and the riding good. We kept up a good pace and got to see more of the ‘real’ life in rural South Africa away from the tourist spots. We arrived in Joburg around 3pm and stopped off to have the bikes cleaned. Me and Robert were back at our hotel by 6pm, tired but very very happy!

(Open face Coal Mine)

Pressure is for Tyres... 'nuff said...
Trip Reports:

Red King screwed with this post 02-08-2011 at 11:45 PM
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:49 AM   #2
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The three sisters view point pictures were awesome. Thank you.
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Old 02-09-2011, 02:58 AM   #3
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Thanks for sharing!

Includes both Swede´s and Triumph´s... What can be better than that..
09 Triumph Tiger SE Photos
02 Triumph Bonneville America Photos
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Old 02-09-2011, 04:45 AM   #4
Red King OP
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Yeah but don't forget the Irish!!
Originally Posted by Leafshutter View Post
Thanks for sharing!

Includes both Swede´s and Triumph´s... What can be better than that..
Pressure is for Tyres... 'nuff said...
Trip Reports:
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Old 02-09-2011, 11:09 AM   #5
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Great ride Rory!

The roads and landscape look amazing.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 02-09-2011, 11:14 AM   #6
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All things good are better on a tiger
Thanks for sharing your ride!
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Old 02-10-2011, 05:27 AM   #7
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Beautiful roads!! Thanks for the report and lovely pics
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