Angus, our Cape Town Correspondent and fellow Adventurer, has been “extreme-ing” things again down in the Cape with his adventure riding buddies. This is the tale of their last adventure…
Friday dawned, bikes were packed and the seven “mountaineers” planned to meet at the Darling Brewery at 10am for breakfast. A couple of the guys had to get work done first thing, so we had another option to meet the late comers at Aurora. Phil and I took the train roads up to Darling, picking up Ekhard en route. Casper, Charles and Jason met us at Darling. Shane was running late so opted to hook up in Aurora.
The weather was perfect so once breakfast was done we kitted up and made our way up to Hopefield along the sandy roads through the farms. Charles took a tumble on a drift under the railway line … He damaged a fuel pipe but luckily the KTM had one way hose connectors so when we removed the pipe the fuel stopped flowing… Problem solved… For now! Charles carries spares so was able to replace the pipes only to discover a missing O ring …. Luckily the 690 KTM Rally has 3 tanks so only one was out of order and it was still full of fuel for later use.
Hopefield was the last fuel stop until we reached the Cederberg Oasis where we could each get a couple litres if need be.
After some luggage adjustments and minor repairs we gunned it to Aurora to meet Shane. Good timing as he had just got there. We got news that the Old German Barman who owned the Cowboy Saloon in Aurora had recently passed away and that a relative had taken the bar over. They were doing renovations so it was closed temporarily. No frosties! Bummer… No problem – we shot up to Redlinghuis and found a “drankwinkel” and “klapped a well deserved quart” to calm the nerves and ease the heat of the day! The lady at the “drankwinkel” warned us to watch out for the policeman as we were drinking in public… Sure as nuts… “Hide your beers lads…” He knew what the seven of us were up to but laughed and said “it is warm manne, I understand!” Cool cop!
The next stretch up to Sandberg (lovely name) was hectic – sand tracks! It was then along farm tracks towards Citrusdal where you hook up with one of the most fun tar roads I know of that short cuts you to the N7 near the Algeria turn off. I had found a river crossing to completely eliminate riding the N7 but we got to ride it twice as on the other side the gate was locked… We made the call to keep the peace and do no damage or ride over the rather sad looking fence… We like friends not enemies so the policy is to keep within the law. Sometimes it’s funny when you come out of a trail at the no entry sign or end up on the wrong side of the locked gate. But not every time! Anyway, 8km of N7 then a nice evening cruise into the Cederberg, up the Uitkyk Pass, past the winery then into our digs for the night at the Cederberg Oasis.
“T” bone steaks, beer and quite a few brandies were shared by all. We were in good spirits from the awesome day’s ride. Distance for the day – about 350 km.
Saturday – an early start for a change.
Brekki, packing, settle up and off we went .. Esselbank 4×4 route seemed very bumpy this time. It felt like we were riding on marbles. It’s super dry out there now with tons of sand, dust and rocks … So; the Cederberg rocks!
We had much debate about which way round to tackle the Wupperthal trail but wisely it was decided that we do it the right way round. Taking the easy way up – apparently… Take a look at the photos and videos which show all the action of some of the climbs. We all got to the top!
As the boys were hungry after all the effort, it was at a point about 10 km into the 50 km trail that we had lunch. I am always amazed at what comes out of the guys packs! It turned out to be a feast.
Now the problem we faced was sand and more sand. Jason burned his clutch out on the GS which could have spelled disaster for us in this extremely remote and desolate, inaccessible place.
Phil the Mill and I shot ahead to check the down route to see what decision should be made if Jason’s bike could not be fixed. Amazingly they managed to remove the cable and use some stainless steel cable ties to jimmy what was left of it to just get the bike going. Well done guys! When Phil and I got back to the guys they were exhausted from tackling a steep uphill sand patch. The 450’s love this sort of terrain so for those of us on scramblers it was a blast!
Down the “mineshaft” we all worked together getting all 7 bikes down. Ropes and team work. Our river bush camp was only 4km away but it took the best part of 4 hours to get there! Jason took big strain and was falling every few metres. Poor Casper was his wing man and the two of them man-handled that GS down the escarpment.
As we were running low on water we aimed for the valley and set up camp as the sun set. The guys were buggered, shattered actually, but a cool off in the mountain stream and some beers had everyone miraculously cured and in high spirits, stoked with all of our achievements. Chantal, of Cederberg Oasis fame, had arranged us braai packs, cheese, bread, tomatoes, onions and beer! It all survived the trip bar 2 beers!
We kuiered lekker around the fire. Lights out was at around eleven after a tough but enjoyable day.
Distance – about 65km – 10 hours
A couple of coffees, instant oats, snacks and we were good to go by 9am again. The Esselbank trail seemed so easy today after Saturday’s punishment. Our aim was to have lunch at Eland’s Bay. We made good time but had a delay – the GS got a puncture and the guys had to pomp it more often as we rode closer to Eland’s Bay! I ran out of fuel about 2km out of town but Phil has what appears to be an “electric bike” and was able to donate me a litre of his spare fuel. (Phil rides a Honda CRF250L and it is very economical!) The burgers at the hotel were legendary and we washed them down with some ice cold cool drinks. A strange rule there is that you may not consume cooldrinks on the Hotel lawn, only inside… Weird…
Jason’s GS got a new front tube – poor guy was so shot and wanted to opt out and call roadside assistance but we would have none of that! Blimey, we fixed a clutch, a radiator and fuel lines so a puncture was not getting us down! It was windy along the coast but the effect is less felt on dirt tracks.
We motored through Aurora, Bergriver, Hopefield, Darling and Atlantis where we said cheers to the team and all went our separate ways. It was an amazing bunch of hardcore guys who defined excellent team work to ensure a fantastic weekend! Well done guys and thank you for coming along. The next trip is to Middelpos. Watch this space…
Distance 405km. Fuel used – difficult to say on a dirt bike – I worked out that I could do about 450km on the 25 L tank – cruising at not much more that 90kmh, GPS speed. I put about R450 worth of fuel in, in total but still have plenty in the tank for the next trip!
Overall cost – R500 a day. R1500 total.
Thanks for that trip report Gus – seems to me that you guys did a”Roof of Africa Gold Loop”, but with luggage to “extreme it a bit”! You guys bring new meaning to “been there, done that, got the TEA shirt”!