Riding around Southern Africa on an XT250 and CRF250

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by maria41, Oct 2, 2018.

  1. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

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    Then we descended by the other side, doing a big loop back to town.


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    We had some tea at Prince Albert, a nice little town.

    The N12 from de Rust to Oudtshoorn was absolutely spectacular. Probably one of the most beautiful roads we ever rode.

    It was at the bottom of a very row canyon, surrounded by high, tall red cliffs on each side, the road crisscrossing constantly over a small river. It was magnificent but too busy with traffic and too and narrow to stop safely for photos. You will just have to believe me or go there yourself! Definitely worth it.

    We went back to our beautiful guesthouse. For dinner we found a restaurant specialised in Ostrich meat. I had a superb ostrich filet set as a burger. It was amazing meat! All washed down with, obviously, a nice local wine! It had been a very enjoyable day!


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    We were not eating Beans on toast every day folks! :D Very often we had excellent food at a very reasonable price! :-)

    We then had to plan to get back slowly to Cape Town. We wanted to get to L’Aghulas, as good tourists that we are. This is the most southern point in Africa, and the division between the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic.
  2. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

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    Day 108 – Swellendam – Thursday 13th September – 225kms


    We went back down from the mountains on our way to the Garden route and decided to stop on the way in Swellendam, to break the journey to The Coast. The town is supposed to be one of the oldest in South Africa. It was ok. Nothing special.

    Our guesthouse had no safe parking for our bikes but Alistair managed to get them inside the garden (not easy).

    The lady owner did not seem impressed by this but there is no way our bikes would spend the night on the street.

    Some guys turn up in a group, and had a big Braii. The next morning the lady was friendlier with us as it seems the guys caused more trouble than we ever did anywhere!

    Not sure precisely what happened but they were told never to come back. Maybe they sneaked a hooker or got drunk and smashed stuff around? :scratch Whatever it was the lady in charge was furious. I hope she will be more welcoming to bikers as we, in contract, were on our best behaviour, as always! :D

    We rode route 62, but that section was very tedious, once we passed all the ostrich farms.

    We had a walk in town. Accommodation was expensive, but restaurants were even more so. :dunno

    I did not understand why, as there did not seem to be anything of much interest around. We decided to get a take away pizza instead of spending stupid money for dinner! It was enormous but we still managed to eat it! No chance of losing weight on this trip!

    The guesthouse had a folder suggesting a couple of interesting places to visit. One, about 100kms away, was the last hand operated pontoon ferry in South Africa. We had to go and check this out! :happay
  3. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    Continued goodness! :clap
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  4. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

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    Eventually we arrived at the river and rode the bikes onto the barge. Only two men operate the barge. We gave them a good tip as it is a hard job they are doing!


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    Find my sticker :

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    And I believe everyone knows this guy:

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    We then continued through the dirt roads until we had to join a main paved road to L’Aghulas. The place there was ok, nothing special.


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    Our attempt to find a cafe for a hot drink and a snack failed. It’s so hard to find cafes around! So in the end we continued until we got to Hermanus, our destination for the weekend. The weather was cloudy and very windy so it was very tiring.

    Hermanus and the surrounding area is famous for many whales coming very near to the shore while the females are nursing. We hoped to see some whales!
  5. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

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    Day 110 – Hermanus – Saturday 15th September



    We had a walk around town and investigated the boat trip to see the whales. At 800 rand per person, we thought it was a bit of a rip off! Instead we walked along the cliffs and saw many whales very close to the shore.


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    It was the season now and many whales (females) were coming in the area with their calves. We saw them jumping out of the water and playing around.


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    I was lucky to catch the tail of one whales:
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    We saw many of these things around. I think they are called Dassies, or Rock badgers. They were the size of a big rabbit.
    The little fella did not look impressed as we walked around:


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    Too soon it was time to pack up. We had booked a hotel in Cape Town that looked fairly well located, close to the centre and was cheap enough, with secured parking for the motorbikes and included breakfast!
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  6. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

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    Day 111 – Cape Town – Sunday 16th September – around 200kms?



    We decided to ride along the shore. The views from there were superb and the weather sunny and not too cold. The road was nice and twisty and as it was Sunday, all the bikers were out riding.


    We thought about going to the Cape of Good Hope, but the road to get there took us alongside many shantytowns. The road was pretty awful, so we decided to get to the hotel instead.


    We arrived mid afternoon to the Best Western Cape Suites hotel.


    Our room was actually a flat, with a small kitchen, a large bedroom with balcony, and a second bedroom with 2 single beds. It was useful, as we had to repack everything that evening, to sort what would go in the shipping container with the bikes. We had to deliver the bikes to the shipping agent the next day.
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  7. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

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    Day 112 to 114 – Cape Town – Monday 17th to Weds 19th September – about 10 kms



    The next morning we loaded the bikes with the luggage that could be shipped and we rode to Econotrans’ offices. We parked the bikes and loaded our riding boots and jackets in the panniers. We left the helmets too this time. It was such a drag to carry them as hand luggage when flying! After disconnecting the batteries, removing the mirrors and signing few papers, we went back to the hotel in a Uber car.


    We met for lunch with our South African friend Johan at a funky burger place called The Dogs’ bollocks / Bitch’s tits. It was quite something!


    It seemed it was compulsory for the waitress to add the word “F**king” at least once every sentence. We had to ‘F**king” get our burgers ourselves as well, once they were ready…. the burgers were great though and they served funky beers.
  8. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

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    Day 113 and 114 – Cape Town


    The next day we explored the town on foot. The centre was nice. We found an amazing tapas place called Fork, in Long street. The food there was amazing. The weather was wet once again but it was worth getting drenched for such a meal.


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    With all the controversy about Rhodes, with students demanding its statue to be pulled down at Oxford university, for being a imperialist, I was very surprised to see a statue of him in the town centre of Cape Town. Especially as the student who started demanding it to be pulled down was a South African student who accepted a £40,000 bursary from the same Cecil Rhodes Foundation to study in Oxford.

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    The next day our plane was at 5pm only. So despite the torrential rain, we walked back to 'Fork' restaurant, in the town centre, for a last meal involving Ostrich Goulash and other amazing stuff! If you get to Cape Town, make sure to pay them a visit!

    And then we flew back home.
  9. maria41

    maria41 www.franglais-riders.com

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    So this is the end my report.

    We rode over 15,000kms, crossed 7 countries, in 4 months.

    It has been an amazing and thoroughly enjoyable trip. This was our 4th long (over 3 months) overland trip and the first to be totally trouble free.

    I expected it would be much harder, but the fact everyone speaks English (even in Mozambique) and that most regions we crossed are fairly touristic, makes it an ideal part of Africa to explore. We saw many fabulous animals and landscapes that will stay with me forever.

    And most importantly, I kept the promise I made to Alistair a year ago: “it will be like a big holiday”.

    And it was. Honest! We added only the fun challenges we were comfortable with, rode amazing tracks and had the best time of our life. :happay

    If you think Africa is too dangerous or too hard, or too poor and depressing, with little kids starving everywhere, like in the TV adverts, think again. The countries we crossed were easy and catering very well to tourism.

    You don’t need to be an Off Road God or a fearless explorer to cover this part of Africa (Or anywhere, to be fair). Anyone can do it! And if you go, you will have the best time of your life!

    I hope you have enjoyed this Ride Report and that somehow it will inspire you to plan a trip like this in the future.

    In the meantime, I wish you all a Happy Xmas and New Year, with lots of adventures and amazing travels to come your way. :beer
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  10. GreatWhiteNorth

    GreatWhiteNorth Long timer

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    Outstanding RR. Thnx!
  11. BarryB

    BarryB Been here awhile Supporter

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    Thank you very much for such a GREAT RR! Hope to see you again and that you have a merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
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  12. Old Codger

    Old Codger Been here awhile Supporter

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    Wow! What a Great Ride Report and Pictures thanks for taking this 83yr old along.:clap.You Guys have a Great Christmas and new year...Where is your next Adventure going to be??...
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  13. Saso

    Saso Happily sporting the DRD4 gene Supporter

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    Thanks for this most enjoyable ride report - for putting an amazing part of the world very high up on my wish list of places to ride someday. Cheers
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  14. norham

    norham flagrant bozo

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    Thoroughly enjoyable, thanks....
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  15. sages

    sages Been here awhile

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    Good stuff. Another great adventure report.
    When's the next one? :lurk
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  16. joenuclear

    joenuclear Still here....

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    Wonderful! Thank you both. Until next time..... cheers..
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  17. Davidprej

    Davidprej Davidprej Supporter

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    Thoroughly enjoyed your ride report. I have just been "liking" it without comment thus far. I'm from the U.S., but my daughter did a semester in 2007 at the university in Stellenbosch (about 50 km west of Cape Town) and I visited her there. I could go on and on, but my point is, at first I was going to let her go to school in South Africa over my dead body. But, as with your experience, it's a wonderful place and was a great experience for her and wonderful visit for me. We flew to Tofo Beach, Mozambique to go diving and it was fantastic. Tracing your route is now on my bucket list.
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  18. jays100

    jays100 Been here awhile

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    Thanks for taking us along on a most excellent adventure!
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  19. squadraquota

    squadraquota mostly harmless

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    Thank you very much for sharing your trip with us! I really enjoyed it and certainly hope to ride there myself in the future
  20. BCBackRoads

    BCBackRoads Travels with Gumby

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    Great road report. I really enjoyed following along. Thanks for posting.
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