Welcome to summer!
Flying in from the Northern hemisphere I left Austria with cooooool minus 10° C. Getting off the plane in Johannesburg South Africa welcomed me with nice 22° C. More than half of the group came in a day earlier and so we spend the evening with a few beers on the terasse. Everybody is excited and looking forward to the trip.
Day 1: Jo'burg - Misty Mountain
After a few more advices from our tour guide and some packing we left Jo'burg. Heading east we went through wheat fields, passed by small towns and had coffee at Dullstrom, the capital of trout fishing. It was time to put on rain gear because South Africa opened the big „shower“. Totally wet we got to our hotel named “Misty Mountain” - the name speaks for itself....
Richard and Linda almost ready to roll
Day 2: Misty Mountain - Kruger National Park
Climbing towards Long Tom Pass we got out of the mist and the sun unvailed an outstanding landscape in front of us. The old gold digger town named Pilgrim Rest invited for a stop and after a good Prospector's Pancake we wanted to have a look down to the Lowveld at God's Window, but the curtains were closed. Instead we got a magnificant view at Blyde River Canyon before we headed for Kruger National Park.
Wolf and Karin on "Long Tom"
Glenn likes his Prospector's Pancake
Closed curtains at God's Window.......
.......but a great view at Blyde River Canyon
Day 3: Restday at Kruger Park
What a rest day! Getting up at five o'clock we got picked up by the rangers in their safari vehicles. we were still asleep and so were most of the animals. Only a lonely elephant welcomed us to the park as soon we were in. But after breakfast on highlight hit the other - lions, elephants, giraffe, zebra - you just name it, showed up. One after one. To top it, an elphant and a hippo showed up at the Sabie river, just in front of the porch of the hotel. Having a drink and watching wildlife is not the worst thing to do!
A successful day at Kruger National Park
Day 4: Kruger National Park - Enzulwini Valley
Taking off at Kruger we headed South, looking forward to get into Swaziland. The border crossing took a little while, but pretty soon we rolled though the mountains in the Northeastern part of that beautiful country. Mountains, similar to the Alps greeted from the distance, green pastures with grasing cows, somehow it was like riding in a postcard. South of the capital Mbambane we were welcomed at the luxery Royal Swazi Spa and had a toast to a great day.
Day 5: Enzulwini Valley - Mkuze
Mountains, hills, great roads all along the way to the South African border. After crossing back into SA we kept it rolling to our destination Mkuze, allmost on the east coast of the continent.
Day 6: Mkuze - Shakaland
After a wonderful night at Ghost Mountain Inn we heade south: The N2 is not the most exciting road, but the side trips to St. Lucia or Richards Bay are worth the time. We ended at Shakaland, another surprise for the day. Visiting the cultural shows we know now more about the Zulus and their tradition.
Friut stand in St. Lucia
Crocs in St. Lucia......
Good lunch in Richards Bay
Pius tastes the Zulu beer......
......while Karin and Magdalena are sceptic
Day 7: Shakaland - Wartburg
Our morning program was to learn more about the "people of the sky". Stickfighting, spear throwing and visiting the traditional healer were our morning lessons before we headed towards the ocean. At Salt Rock . Bethuel presented an excellent picknick, swimming in the Indian Ocean gave us a lovely break from the heat.
Giles challenges a Zulu warrior
Great surf at Salt Rock
Day 8: Wartburg - Mtata
What a Sunday ride! One of our longest days on our tour, but according to more than half of the groupe, one of the most beautiful ones as well. We started out to Pietermaritzburg, where Mahatma Ghandi got throwen off the train. Later, geting close to the Drakensberg Mountains, riding through lush and green countryside was spectacular. In the afternoon everything changed dramaticly - the Transkei is differnet in many ways.
Transkei - just different
Day 9: Mtata - Mpekweni
Overcast but dry - that was the weather when we took off. The further we went, the better it got. After a leaving the Transkei we visited East London - or better Buffalo City - before we reached Mpekweni, a hotel only at a perfect location. you walk from your room directly out on the beach!
Waterfront in East London
Mpekweni Beach Hotel
Day 10: Mpekweni - Port Elizabeth
Some took it easy, some went the long way! After leaving that outstanding spot most of the group went through "pineapple country" to Grahamstown to see the camera obscura. Heading south again we had a wonderfull lunch in Kenton-on-Sea before riding to P.E.
Looking down from Big Pineapple
Glen and Jeff with classics
Ran loves his ribs
Day 11: P.E. - Oudtshoorn
A day full of special highlights! Karin, Glen and Jeff jumped off the world record bridge - of course bungee - and deserved an extra portion adrenalin, Bethuel prepared a fantastic picknick in the rain forrest and we all had a fantastic ride to Oudtshoorn.
A yummy picknick at the rain forrest
Day 12: Oudtshoorn - Montague
Meirings Port, Swartberg Pass, long stretches through the Little Karoo, mountains, were clouds flow across like waterfalls and finally a wine tasting at the hotel in montague - a perfect day towards the end of the tour!
Fun on Swartberg
What an outstanding view!
Nils misses his dog
Wine tasting with Gretha from Ashton Cellars
Day 13: Montague - Cape Town
Some of our groupe went to explore the most southern point of the African continent and went to Cape Aghulas to see where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic. The others headed North into the Greater Karoo and towards the mountains Mitchells Pass and Bainskloof Pass were the door into the Cape Region. Fighting with strong winds all day we expected a stormy sunset cruise. In spite of it we got a calm, relaxed sailing trip in front of one of the most buzzling cities of South Africa
Rolling through the Karoo
Sailing towards sunset
Day 14: Restday in Cape Town
How can it be a rest day when there is a chance to see Cape of Good Hope? So everybody was eager to beat the tour buses on their way from C.T to the Cape. We got a short briefing and took off. The world cup soccer stadium, Champs Bay, Hout bay - all of them great places to see. Chapman's Peak Drive got our full attention - a curvy road hammered into the rocks, straight walls on the left and sheer drop offs to the right.
After a while we reached the point aimed at for a long time - Cape of Good Hope. After more than 2500 miles we got to the most southwestern point of the continent, an overwhelming moment after two weeks of riding. The way back to C.T. was only the cherry on the cake and the final lap of an outstanding tour.
On Chapman's Peak Drive
At the Cape of Good Hope
Leaving the Cape
A last picnic
To all of you:thanks again for being so much fun, for making the tour so easy - and the South African wines!