Dispatches from Afar #3

The latest from Roger and Pat as they head through the Karoo:

I’ve always wanted to ride into the Camdeboo Mountains. It’s such a lovely sounding name – surely the riding must be just as lovely…

In the distance, the Camdeboo Mountains just outside Graaff Reinette in the Eastern Cape.
In the distance, the Camdeboo Mountains just outside Graaff Reinette in the Eastern Cape.

If you ride up to the view site that offers stunning views into the Valley of Desolation near Graaff Reinette in the Eastern Cape, and you look down into the valley to your right – to the north-west, you’d be looking into the Camdeboo Conservancy. And as you head for Aberdeen and Willowmore on the N9 you’ll notice a range of mountains on the right, just as I did all those times we travelled this road en route to photo shoots in the Western Cape and Karoo. And, if you are anything like me, you’d want to head into those mountains and do some exploring. Well, we did just that.

Pat and the CRF250L taking in the magnificent scenery of the Camdeboo Conservancy.
Pat and the CRF250L taking in the magnificent scenery of the Camdeboo Conservancy.

The Camdeboo Conservancy that covers and area of some 85 000 ha, was established in 1999 to conserve the fauna and flora of the region. While there is much evidence of commercial farming, in the area, and it has been farmed commercially since the early 1700’s (mainly cattle, marino sheep, angora goats and the occasional ostrich), there seems to be quite a bit of wildlife and wild areas as well. It is bounded in the west by the Camdeboo Mountains, in the north by the Toorberg and in the south and east by the Valley of Desolation.

Typical roads in the conservancy and the Toorberg Mountains.
Typical roads in the conservancy and the Toorberg Mountains.

Pat and I stayed at Eenzaamheid Holiday Farm, deep into the mountains and, while there are roads and tracks on the farm that are more suited to our Honda CRF250L than bigger adventure bikes like the BMW 1200gs, we elected to explore the main circular, less challenging route in the conservancy. It’s about a 70km ride on roads that vary from little farm tracks to rather good, wide, smooth gravel  We stopped often – sometimes to simply take in the scenery, others for a photo or two and sometimes to simply enjoy the stunningly peaceful vistas. The riding was awesome – look, its not hectic adventure biking (although things are a bit more difficult on Eenzaamheid I think) but wow, what a lovely place to just kick back and enjoy the ride.

So quite and peaceful as the sun begins to set - watch out for the kudu though...
So quite and peaceful as the sun begins to set – watch out for the kudu though…

We’d picked up a bottle of Boplaas Stoepsit White for Pat and a Boplass Pinotage for me (both really great easy drinking wines) and, after we got back, sat on the stoep savouring both the wine and the mountain environment. Any more relaxed and I would have fallen off my chair. Dinner was Karoo lamb pie and roasted vegetables followed by home made ice-cream (I understand that dinner comes with a free angiogram 😉). We didn’t battle to sleep that night…

The next morning, we chatted to Stephanie Theron (the owner) over breakfast and she mentioned that there is one thing motorcyclists simply have to be careful about. Kudu! And she’s right. We passed a couple of small herds and what they make up for in beauty, they lose in brains. And can they jump!!? Right over the fence (as they did in front of us us) and into you. At night, you just don’t see them coming, so take care and try to arrive before sunset!

Looks like a lovely ride Roger and Pat. Thanks for the update.

Download the track log here.

Bruce Houghting

Advertisements

One Comment Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s