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SOUTH AFRICA - Welcome to summer! (SAT 1201, Jan. 28th - Feb.12th)

Thursday, February 2, 2012 | Markus Hellrigl | Africa

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......

......and hippos

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.

Mahatma Ghandi

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!

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Monday, March 19, 2012 at 22:10

Many thanks to Viktoria for sticking with me and tracking down the liners I carelessly left in my bike. Thank you for your persistence!
Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 22:46

y karin my love how are you .i"m very happy to see your pictures.if i now that you will going to s.africa i was coming with you .best regards to doris and thomas .
Monday, February 27, 2012 at 17:05

Hey Michael,
Nice to see your comment! Well you did that excellent tour in New Zealand while I was in South Africa but I am sure someday we will be on the same tour again! Please say hello to Hana - I hope you had a great time in NZ! All the best, Karin
Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 23:48

yes hunny was great really the tour thomas'the motorcycle rt1200'and the team of course.we will meet one time for shore love you bye michael
n.b send my regards to doris dont forget
Friday, March 2, 2012 at 14:31

Thank you Michael, am looking foward seing you again! I will say hello to Doris will not forget!
Nils Menten
Tuesday, February 21, 2012 at 22:36

A fantastic tour! Thanks to all for sharing it with us, we had a total blast. What a fascinating, diverse, beautiful and welcoming country. I can see why Markus calls it his second country.
What I didn't expect was how great the roads were, and how little traffic (and enforcement!) we found on them. Where I live in the Northeast USA the roads aren't nearly as good, and have 10-times the traffic. This was heaven on earth from a riding standpoint, and the culture, scenery, and great people were fantastic. An unforgettable trip. We ended up just shy of 3000 miles ridden in 14 days. I literally hugged my (excellent) bike before I gave it back.
THANK YOU to all of our fellow tourers, you were a great group to share it with. Thanks especially to Markus (and Stephan) for all the great guidance and specifically the extra help and support that allowed us do our thing and stay out of any difficulty. Riding with Markus again was one of the draws of this trip and he did not disappoint. What happens in South Africa stays in South Africa .
Anyone wanna see my zebra?
Nils Menten
Alan Magnoni
Sunday, February 5, 2012 at 04:59

Hey Glenn,
nice t-shirts! they say you have more then I do ...? i was wondering if u did buy a duc after the morocco tour?? enjoy and stay safe!! important down there: stay on the left side!!!
Greetings to Jeff!!
Friday, February 17, 2012 at 16:38

Hello Alan
You got that wright no more duc.About the shirt i have arranged one for you but you will have to pick it up after your S.A jump can't wait for the pic's
Friday, February 3, 2012 at 10:00

Hey Jeff, hey Glenn, I WANT TO SEE YOU DO THE BUNGY!!! Naked if possible, like you did in New Zealand last year... )))
Friday, February 17, 2012 at 16:35

Hey Tom
As you seen three of us jumped Kairn said she is 2 inch's taller.As for the dress code you know what it is like in the cold !So no naked jump!!
Yoram Turbowicz
Saturday, February 4, 2012 at 20:35

Dear Thomas, believe it or not Ran and myself are on this tour as well. Tibet is at the rooftop of the world. This tour is great and smooth. Hard to grasp the size and diversity of the place. Takr care and see u soon in one of the journeys. Yoram Turbowicz.
Sunday, February 5, 2012 at 04:31

Hey Turbo, hey Ran, great to hear that you're having a good time. You like those adventurous places, don't you? Good on ya, mates, as we say down here in New Zealand. Have fun, enjoy, and ride safe!
Monday, February 6, 2012 at 18:23

Thanks. Miss you. Remember our Tibet Tour as one of those extraordinary travels we ever had.mkeep riding high. we'll join you in one of your future travels. Best. Yoram & Ran
Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 19:16

To all who watch that blog: Our South Africa tour group is having a wonderful time and we enjoy traveling through this amazing country. Keep watching that blog and be part of our experience - you might come to this country to see everything yourself someday!!!
Alan Magnoni
Sunday, February 5, 2012 at 05:01

Hello Karin,
oh yeah we will follow ! ! ! ! enjoy it and greetings from new zealand


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