Saturday, February 27, 2010


(Afrikaans hier)

Our latest trip saw us riding to Loxton, an interesting town in the Karoo. Now Loxton is a great Dual Sport destination in itself, but there is a story behind the story of this trip. Deon Meyer, a celebrated South African writer, wrote a screenplay and the movie was shot in Loxton.

In the storyline the school in Loxton is in dire need of funds and the characters decide to have a concert to raise funds in order to save the school. They needed a 1000 people at a R100 per head to come to this concert in the middle of nowhere, an almost impossible task. But as movies go the concert is successful and the school is saved.

Now here's the kicker - the school in Loxton really is in need. So it was decided to have the movie premiere in Loxton, on the farm Jakhalsdans, to raise funds for the school. They had to sell 500 tickets at R200 a head for a premiere that is literally hundreds of kilometers from anywhere. And they did it. In fact, if they had space for more people they probably could have sold more tickets! A real feel good story and we were part of it. It's the stuff movies are made of.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Lets start at the beginning.

Friday morning 27 February at first light we gather. We have a very long way to go today. Just short of 500km in fact.

On this trip: Dr.Dirt (KTM990); Gryph (Africa Twin); Pad (1200GS); Dusty (650GS); Lemac (V-Strom) and myself and Mrs.TR on the trusty TransAlp. We also have Luthando and his better half, as well as Jakkie who joins us in the back-up vehicle:

(Photo by Gryph)

Back-up vehicle? But why? Well, the film premiere is about 50km from our campsite and they will be serving wine, so we thought it wise not to ride our bikes after the event (and in the dark).

With everybody packed and ready we set off. Sunrise on Outeniqua pass - this is the best time of the day.

At Swartberg Pass we hit the first dirt and it felt like the trip really started. Mrs.TR and I coming up the pass:

(Photo by Gryph)

Our first stop was at the top of Swartberg pass. It was COLD! You have great views from up here, but the mist in the Karoo also told us that it would be a while before it heats up and when it does it's going to be HOT.

Mrs.TR has been on Swartberg pass and all the way into Gamkaskloof (The Hell), but she has never been down the Prins Albert side and that is the most beautiful part. We cruised along taking in the scenery.

I rode on the side of the road so she could get the best views and photos, but she is afraid of heights and complained that I ride to close to the edge. Yada yada yada.

Looking at the next photo maybe she had a point...

The view down. The ruins on the bottom left of the photo used to be an old jail where the convicts who built the pass were kept.

Looking back up:

Next stop Prins Albert for Breakfast. Our rides are very social with lots of stops and this ride was no different

Mrs.TR opted for the warmer conditions in the back-up vehicle for a while until we hit the scenic stuff again. Actually I think she and Ria just wanted to chat more. This also meant that I could open up the TransAlp a bit more for this stretch. Our next stop would be Leeu Gamka for petrol.

The Karoo had some heavy rain in the days before we arrived and you could still see water everywhere.

Refueling in Leeu Gamka we waited and waited for the back-up vehicle, but it didn't arrive. A quick phone call revealed that they had a flat This presented a problem - they did not want to chance riding the rougher routes without a spare so they opted to drive to Beaufort West to get another tyre. We'll meet up with them again in the campsite on the other side of Loxton.

So the fully refueled bikes headed out to the gravel roads of the Great Karoo...

...but it wasn't long before we encountered this:

Ditches, riverbeds, stone, mud, sand and water! FUN!!!

I offered to go first to be able to film the thrills (and spills ) from the other side. As per usual it doesn't seem that bad on film, but believe me, taking a heavy bike through here has the adrenalin pumping

That must be why the video footage is so shaky...

It wasn't all bad though. From time to time the road would open up into these wonderful gravel highways.

But you still encountered flood damage every so often. The speeding up, slowing down, speeding up wasn't doing our progress any favours.

Refreshment stop:

Another small water crossing:

Karoo scenery towards Oudeberg:

And Oukloof Pass! Another tick off my list.

Some more Gravel Highways

Gryph went ahead and got some pictures of a high vantage point.

(Photo by Gryph)

(Photo by Gryph)

(Photo by Gryph)

I only took photos around here. My fitness levels (especially in the heat!) made me believe that climbing mountains would not be the best idea.

The turn-off to Sakrivier Poort:

Great scenery around here!

Crossing the Sak river - Thanks Dr.Dirt for taking the pic!

The Sak river is the river my good friend Tok-tokkie followed on that epic ride of his. That Ride Report here.

An in-ride perspective of that crossing:

The Riverine Rabbit is one of the rarest and most endangered mammals in the world, with probably no more than 200 individuals left. This rabbit has an extremely limited distribution area. It is a nocturnal species.

It is nowadays found in only a few places in the Karoo, none of them being a protected area. Fraserburg, Sutherland and Victoria West all have small populations.

Also see:

And finally we rode into Loxton. Now it's just a short hop to the campsite, so so we thought...

As it turns out Loxton only has one petrol station. A station that closes for the weekend and will only be open again on Monday This is a real problem. We asked around in town and tracked down the owner who was friendly enough to open up for us! Always willing to help, these people of the Karoo. Salt of the earth.

So an hour after we entered Loxton we left with full tanks and at 5pm, 11 hours after we left, six tired bikers rode into the campsite at Melton Wold only to find that our tents have already been pitched!

After some refreshment and sharing of experiences we set off to Jakhalsdans.

It was to be an evening of good food, cold wine and movies under the stars

(Photo by Gryph)

Source: Riverinerabbit

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