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The best way to start the new year: South Africa SAT1901

Sunday, February 3, 2019 | Marko Bauer | Africa

We made it, everybody is back, safe and happy!

The final day took us to the Cape of Good Hope, where we took the mandatory picture!

After another very nice and tasty dinner, everybody is mow preparing to fly home - or to spend a few more days in this wonderful country!

It was a great pleasure to ride with you!

False Bay, getting close to Cape Town

Cape Town, here we come! We have reached our famous destination, but before, we had a few more South African highlights to discover!

Africa‘s southernmost tip, Cape Agulhas, or the whale-town Hermanus for example. And of course we had to visit the famous penguin colony.

A spectacular ride along False Bay, and then we finally arrived in Cape Town! What a beautiful city!

Roberto at Cape Agulhas
Ready to explore the city
Oudtshoorn - Montagu
Ute changed 75 horsepower against 1 ostrichpower

Too bad that a day only has only about 14 hours of daylight - with our full schedule today we would have needed a few more...

The famous Swartbergpass was one of our destinations today, and for those that did not care for gravel we had organized a visit to an ostrich farm!

Everybody came back with a big smile! After a relaxed lunch in a great Austrian restaurant in Oudtshoorn, we followed the Route 62 to Montagu!

Here a tasty and very informative wine tasting waited for us - followed by a just as tasty dinner!

Dominique on Swartbergpass
Bill in vacation-mode
Dwight, Mary, Bill, Gretchen and Donal go shopping
Wine tasting - thanks, Michelle!
Port Elizabeth - Oudtshoorn 
Ute and Dwight - our bungee-heroes

Just a quick rewiew of a fantastic day:

  • Port Elizabeth 
  • Paul Sauer Bridge
  • Highest bungee bridge in the world - with two fearless jumpers
  • Garden Route
  • Oysters in Knysna
  • Ostrich steak in Oudtshoorn

What a day!

Mary needs a second breakfast
Dick‘s first oyster - and maybe his last...
Indian Ocean - Port Elizabeth
Sunrise over the Indian Ocean

Even though everybody would have loved to stay at least another day at our hidden hotel on the Indian Ocean, we had to continue our ride through South Africa - there is so much more to see!

We continued along the ocean for a while before we turned inland towards Grahamstown. After our stop at the Big Pineapple we found out that the road was closed due to a fire.

No problem, we returned to the coast and followed the Indian Ocean instead. After another „lunch with a view“ we were ready for the last few kilometers to our destination today, Port Elizabeth.

The thermometer kept climbing as we headed away from the coast...until it reached 43 degrees (110F)! Half an hour later, back on the coast, it was back down to 23 degrees (74F).

It‘s time for a cold drink at the hotel bar!

Even though everybody would have loved to stay at least another day at our hidden hotel on the Indian Ocean, we had to continue our ride through South Africa - there is so much more to see!

We continued along the ocean for a while before we turned inland towards Grahamstown. After our stop at the Big Pineapple we found out that the road was closed due to a fire.

No problem, we returned to the coast and followed the Indian Ocean instead. After another „lunch with a view“ we were ready for the last few kilometers to our destination today, Port Elizabeth.

The thermometer kept climbing as we headed away from the coast...until it reached 43 degrees (110F)! Half an hour later, back on the coast, it was back down to 23 degrees (74F).

It‘s time for a cold drink at the hotel bar!

Scenic morning briefing
The Big Pineapple
Mthatha - Indian Ocean
Bikers on the beach

Indian Ocean - that is the theme of the day!

Under a wonderful blue sky we left Mthatha in the morning. Long sweeping turns took us to the Kei River and further to Buffalo City. As we have several Germans in our group, we made the mandatory stop at the German Settlers Monument.

A quick lunch - and we were on our way to a spectacular section of the Indian Ocean!

Well hidden in the middle of nowhere we found a wonderful hotel, right on the beach!

It‘s time for a swim, walk, run - or just a beer or two!

Ute and Ulli at the German Settlers Monument
Stephen, Roberto and Monder enjoying the beach
Hilton - Mthatha
Mary, Dwight, Donal and Bill in the Transkei region

Blue sky, after a wet day just what we hoped for today. And that’s what we got, the perfect background for a day full of historical and scenic highlights!

We started our ride with a visit to the beautiful Howick Falls. Then we stopped at the historically very important Nelson Mandela Capture Site, where he was arrested in 1962.

From there we headed to the gorgeous Drakensberge, the dramatic mountain range on the border to Lesotho.

The Transkei was next on our schedule, beautiful scenery and many poor towns and villages are part of this former homeland.

And here we also spend the night, tired but happy after a 400km day!

Blue sky, after a wet day just what we hoped for today. And that’s what we got, the perfect background for a day full of historical and scenic highlights!

We started our ride with a visit to the beautiful Howick Falls. Then we stopped at the historically very important Nelson Mandela Capture Site, where he was arrested in 1962.

From there we headed to the gorgeous Drakensberge, the dramatic mountain range on the border to Lesotho.

The Transkei was next on our schedule, beautiful scenery and many poor towns and villages are part of this former homeland.

And here we also spend the night, tired but happy after a 400km day!

Monder and the best brownie in the world
Ulli, Ute, Dominique, Monder, Mr. Mandela, Claude and Dick
Doug, Gretchen and Ute on the way to the Drakensberge
The Drakensberge in marvelous weather
Shakaland - Hilton
Dick, the American warrior!

Rain in South Africa... Yes, they need it, but it could have waited another week

We still had a nice day, starting out with some more Zulu presentations.

Then we rode down towards the Indian Ocean. Lunch was just as different as the weather today - we had Leberkaes, Eisbein, Sausages and Apple Strudel...there is quite a bit of German influence north of Durban.

The afternoon took us back up into the sugar cane covered hills around Pietermaritzburg.

 

Mkuze - Shakaland
Dominique and the Zulu warrior

Today’s ride was quite relaxing, we took the shortest route to the coast, in order to have enough time at the iSimangaliso National Park.

And it was worth it - we saw a family of hippos!

Then we rode back into the mountains of KwaZulu-Natal - and now we can watch the famous Zulus and their traditions alive in Shakaland.

Ute, Gretchen and Dominque share photos on WhatsApp
Mary and Dwight reconsider going for a swim
Learning the Zulu traditions
Dominique and Claude, celebrating his birthday
Eswatini - Mkuze
King Doug

Today we started our tour with sightseeing. Swazi Candles demonstrated how their famous candles are (hand-)made. Then we cruised through the beautiful scenery of southern Eswatini, before we returned back to South Africa.

After a wonderful lunch in Pietretief we continued southeast to Mkuze, where we will spend the night.

The candle maker at Swazi Candles
Lunch in Pietretief

Kruger Park - Eswatini 
Beautiful Kingdom of Eswatini

Today we had to leave Kruger Park again - and even South Africa! Swaziland was our destination today...excuse me: the Kingdom of Eswatini!

The ride was fantastic all day. We started in the morning on a curvy road through hundreds of banana plantations! After trying some of these fresh fruits at a local fruit stand, we headed south for the Eswatini border.

Our next stop was a nice little restaurant with scenic views over this wonderful country, which reminded some of us of Switzerland!

Now we have reached the Ezulwini valley, where we can enjoy cold beer or wine at the hotel bar - right next to the pool

Dick and Roberto love the local fruit
Gretchen, Ute and Mary try the Mangos
Let’s ride to Eswatini
Rest day Kruger Park
Breakfast in Kruger Park

Rest day...that usually means that you can sleep in and relax. Well, not when you’re in famous Kruger National Park!

Here it means that you are getting up at 4:15 (am!) and drive around on bumpy park roads all morning... but it’s more than worth it! Where else can you see the Big Five up close?

We didn’t quite see them all, but we counted close to 20 different species, including giraffes, buffaloes, elephants, hyena, ...

Now we are back at our nice hotel, catching up on sleep, enjoying the pool, exploring the bar,...

The biggest of the Five
Not one of the Big Five, but still pretty tall!
Long Tom - Kruger Park

A day full of highlights lay ahead of us! Long Tom Pass (again, yes!), the historic gold town Pilgrims Rest and of course the famous Blyde River Canyon.

Twisty mountain roads, excellent weather and lots of sightseeing added up to a magnificent day in South Africa.

The group in the not so Misty Mountain
Mary, Dwight and Gretchen enjoying Stephen‘s picnic
Ute and Ulli at the Blyde River Canyon
Marko, Doug and Gretchen enjoying the shade
Claude and Dominique at the beginning of the Blyde River Canyon
Johannesburg - Long Tom 
Beautiful finish of our first day in South Africa

And now we are on our way! Our international group, from Canada, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland and the USA, has started the journey through South Africa. Today we crossed the mines and fields of the highveld. The highlight today was certainly the ride up on Long Tom Pass - and our cozy hotel with wonderful views over the surrounding mountains!

Monder is enjoying the South African sunshine
Richard is ready to ride

 

Our transportation for the next two weeks

The tour is about to begin! The bikes are ready, most riders have already arrived, the temperature is a pleasant 24 degrees (76F) - it’s time to ride!

But first we‘ll have a large welcome meeting, with lots of South African history and culture, and with tips of how to make most out of the next two exciting weeks.

South Africa, here we come!

 


 

Only a few more days - and for 14 adventurers the motorcycle season is starting! The bikes are being prepared and set up for 4000 km / 2500mls on the southern tip of the African continent! Now we just need to wait for everybody to arrive...

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Ursula.peter@edelweissbiketravel.com
Wednesday, January 23, 2019 at 05:56

Hello Gretchen, hello Doug
Nice to see you again. Hope your knee is fine. The pictures are wonderful. Looks like a great tour. A lot of snow here in Germany and temperature -10 C, brrrr. Regards to Marko. Enjoy the tour
Ursula
Gretchen
Wednesday, January 23, 2019 at 18:17

It is great to hear from you. The leg is fine.... I only predict rain maybe once a year. The Souht Africa trip is as varied as New Zealand, but I miss your company this time. It is our first trip without you.

Best wishes for Ihre Gesundheit.
Gretchen

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