Sunday, February 4, 2018 | Marko Bauer | Africa
All good things...
It‘s hard to believe, but our two week motorcycle tour through South Africa has come to an end. Everybody has returned to our hotel at the beautiful waterfront safely and full of memories! Our final riding day took us to the Cape of Good Hope, along marvelous white beaches and beautiful mountains.
Now we are back in Cape Town and about to say bye-bye to our new friends!
This has been the first visit to this wonderful country with its friendly people for most of us - hopefully not the last!
A long day lay ahead of us again - and lots of sights! The first and southernmost highlight of the day was Cape Agulhas, Africa‘s southern tip! Next stop was Hermanus, the whale-watch town - just not in February But the town is so pretty, that it’s worth a visit anytime! And of course we had to visit the cute penguins before we finally turned our bikes towards the big destination: Cape Town!
And here we are - just about to walk to the waterfront!
Swartberg Pass, just as beautiful as it was 100 years ago! That was one option today, the other was the visit of an ostrich farm! Both were great, and the scenery riding up to the pass on the gravel road was as breathtaking as the ride on the world‘s biggest bird!
Both groups reunited at lunch in Austria - excuse me, Oudtshoorn... but the strudel and icecream reminded us very much of Europe.
Different to Europe is the Route 62, which took us to Montagu. It looks more like the Route 66 in Arizona - red rocks and a desertlike landscape.
The day ended with a wine tasting provided by a local winery...cheers to a very memorable day!
Even though today’s pictures may look like we‘ve been eating most of the day, we had quite a bit of sightseeing and scenery in between! We started in Port Elizabeth and tried to enjoy the views from Donkin Reserve - but they were a bit hidden in grey, wet mist... Fortunately the weather cleared up later on - it was what I call GoreTex weather, sometimes dry, sometimes wet.Paul Sauer Bridge was wet, but fortunately our picnic at the famous bungee bridge, only 20 km down the road, was almost in sunshine! We now followed the popular Garden Route, had the mandatory oysters in Knysna and finally headed up the Outeniqua pass.
After arriving in Oudtshoorn we sat in the garden of the Montague House and enjoyed the well deserved South African beer!
Nobody really wanted to leave our little paradise on the ocean, but there is so much more to see in South Africa! Today‘s ride was short, but there was still a lot to explore. The big pineapple, the old settlers town Grahamstown, more of the Indian Ocean- and of course P.E.! We have just arrived in Port Elizabeth, and can now enjoy the beach, the shopping and the bars and cafes along the seafront!
The big day has finally arrived - we were on the way to our hotel right on the beach at the Indian Ocean! The clouds had disappeared over night and we started our ride at pleasant 20 degrees C. We rode all the way through the Transkei and stopped at the Kei River for fuel and the usual icecream
East London was our next stop, but we didn’t spend too much time, as the beach was calling!
And here we are now, enjoying the white and endless beach that seems too belong only to us, the waves of the Indian Ocean and the clear blue sky above!
A long day with many sights, spectacular scenery and many miles lay ahead of us today. Under blue skies we started to explore the Howick region. The Howick Falls were our first stop, very close to the site where Nelson Mandela was stopped in 1962 and consequently sent to prison for decades. After this excursion into history it was time for a ride towards the magnificent Drakensberg mountains. Only one word can describe the beauty: breathtaking! Continuing into the Transkei, the scenery and the weather changed: the scenery still pretty, the weather dark and threatening, but fortunately we managed to reach Mthatha fairly dry!
After a quiet night in a traditional Zulu village we were refreshed for new adventures. First we learned how the Zulus built their weapons and used them. Then it was time to say goodbye and we continued our journey. Endless sugarcane fields accompanied us to the Indian Ocean, where we had a great lunch in a German restaurant. Then we headed back into the hills and mountains until we arrived in Pietermaritzburg. After the mandatory visit of the Gandhi statue we continued to today‘s destination, Hilton.
You know you are in South Africa, when you cross a bridge, see five hippos in the water and say: just a few hippos, no reason to stop
But we did anyway, entering the beautiful town of St. Lucia, where we were greeted by South Africa‘s most lethal animal. We took our first steps into the Indian Ocean, always watching for sharks or crocodiles...
Eventually we continued deeper into the Zulu country - and tonight we even get the chance to sleep in some original Zulu huts!
After a calm night in our wonderful hotel in Swaziland, we continued our motorcycle adventure. After a stop at a candle factory we rode through the beautiful southern hills until we reached the South African border. The dark clouds had disappeared by now and the temperatures rose again to comfortable 26 degrees. After our lunch in Pietretief we started to explore the Zulu region. Green hills, small villages and hundreds of school kids on their way home - a beautiful finish of a great day!
We could have easily spent another day in Kruger Park - but there is so much more to see in South Africa. Or in its magnificent neighbor state, Swaziland! We rode through endless banana plantations until we reached the border to the beautiful kingdom of Swaziland. After a twisty ride through the mountains we reached our splendid hotel, which looks more like a botanical garden than a hotel!
Kruger Park - famous worldwide, and today we had the chance to explore it! After a (very) early start we were greeted by a herd of buffalo right after the gate! And just a few minutes later, we saw the first leopard! Another rare sight were African Wilddogs, on the hunt for geese - what a great day, and many thanks to our guides Martin and Keagan!
After the easy introduction day yesterday, we had a full schedule ahead of us today! Three mountain passes, lots of sightseeing (Pilgrims Rest, Gods Window, the Potholes and the three Rondaveels at the Blyde River Canyon) - and of course Steven‘s picnic! A few clouds and mist kept the heat away - and closed Gods Window, but everything else worked out fine. So here we are, at the gateway to one of the top highlights of this tour: Kruger Park!
And we are on our way! Everybody arrived on time and we hit the road as planned on Sunday morning. Blue skies and pleasant temperatures accompanied us as we left Johannesburg and headed east. We got used to riding on the left side - no problem for our British and Australian riders - and enjoyed the South African scenery, good food and even better coffee in Dullstroom! The final highlight was Long Tom Pass, where we could finally test the cornering capabilities of our BMWs!
Winterstorm in Europe, heat wave in Australia - there are many reasons to visit South Africa! But the best one is to go on a motorcycle tour with fellow riders from all over the world.
The bikes are just being prepared, the first riders are showing up - stay tuned for more! We‘ll start our South African adventure on Sunday!