Thursday, January 5, 2012

Heading to Kouga

Early the first Thursday morning of 2012 a small group of riders met just outside George - bikes packed, smiles all round:

Trailrider - Honda TransAlp
Izak1 - Yamaha Super Tenere
KAAS - Honda TransAlp
Gryph + pillion - Honda Africa Twin

It was Izak1's first camping trip on his bike. He packed everything, but before he left home he decided he had too much stuff and unpacked some things, like the six eggs he packed for breakfast. We teased him a bit, but in the end we were thankful each time he got out some treats or something useful on the trip. Kaas too is rather new to camping trips on his bike. They have a whole new world of trips and exploring opening up to them, so many new things to experience.

I envied them.

(Photo by KAAS)

For some reason I love trips on weekdays. There's a sadistic pleasure in being on your (packed) bike heading out while others are heading to work.

Heading out past Wilderness:

We ride past the beautiful lakes area, Island Lake, Langvlei, Rondevlei, Swartvlei, Groenvlei and the Knysna Heads, taking in the scenery. It's an easy ride, shedding the stresses and getting into a relaxed state of mind. Near Simola we take the Gouna Forest station turn-off and now on gravel the real ride begins:

The Gouna road takes you via "Kom-se-Pad" to Prince Alfred's Pass.

(Photo by KAAS)

It runs through one of the better parts of the Knysna forest and is absolutely breathtaking.

In-ride shot:

If you stop here and switch your bike off it does not take long for the forest to come alive with sounds. It's an amazing place.

Not too long ago an elusive Knysna Elephant was spotted on this road.

Some more pics along this route:

A quick stop where we join Prince Alfred's pass.

Having ridden a whole host of different bikes over the last couple of months I have to say I am even more impressed with my trusty TransAlp. It feels light, runs super smooth and handles beautifully. It's one of the most comfortable bikes out there and such a "do everything" bike. I fell in love with it all over again.

We ascend the rest of the pass with a another stop on Spitskop, the highest point on the Southern part of the pass. From here you have views all round over the Karoo and all the way to the ocean.

(Photo by KAAS)

After some chats, laughter and cold ones we head off again, riding down the Northern side of the pass.

Approaching De Vlugt:

And, naturally, the bikes automatically stop here:


(Photo by KAAS)


Gryph and Melissa:

Suitably refreshed the rest of Prince Alfred's Pass awaits!

After all this, all the scenery, we reach the first little loop we have not ridden before. Virgin road.

Another in-ride shot:

Karoo traffic jam:

Dual Sport biking heaven:

I rode over each hill and around each corner with anticipation, being greeted with new views unseen until now. It's such a pity you can only ride a route for the first time once.

I photographed this at a forced stop. This was not the only fellow who's had bad luck at this particular spot...

I had a flat rear.
Drinks out. Spanners out. Centre stand out. In that order. Evil

It's a good thing I decided to bring that centre stand! It just barely fitted in the topbox but it's worth it's weight in gold! Hehehe!

We took out the nail, took out the tube, put in the new tube, pinched it, took everything out again, put in a 3rd tube (carefully), inflated and...

... in a mere-one-and-a-half hours we were on our way again!  Head Bang

GPS detail of the gravel loop near Uniondale:

Download to view 3D in Google Earth / Download GPX for your GPS

We lost quite a bit of time here, but we planned to be in camp around 3pm so we had more than enough time left without having to chase daylight. In fact, we still had something to eat in Joubertina.

(Photo by KAAS)

Next we tackled the Kouga road. This is what the ride is all about - heading into those kloofs.

The first pass - crossing the Kouga river:

The sun was setting and the contrast of sunlit and darker areas made for breathtaking scenes. You'd ride out of the hot sun into the cool valleys, only to ride up into the hot sunlight and breathtaking high views again. Sensory overload.

"Our" turn-off. Close to home now.

But first some more interesting riding:

And a last little water-crossing into camp.

(Photo by KAAS)

What a brilliant spot. There's a small cave with fireplace:

(Photo by KAAS)

Green grass to camp on, a natural swimming pool to swim in, a big gas shower with basin, running water, flush toilet, etc.

Promptly the party got under way.

(Photo by KAAS)


After some steaks and LOTS of laughter we eventually went to sleep after twelve. The next morning there were rumours of a lion roaring in the kloof that night. I heard nothing. innocent

No comments: