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SOUTH AFRICA - We can't believe the dream is over! (SAT1301)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 | Markus Hellrigl | Africa

January 26th – twelve travellers from five nations meet in Johannesburg with the Edelweiss tour guide and the South African local, driving the support vehicle. A remarkable day, because it is the beginning of a two weeks adventure.

Day 1:

Leaving Johannesburg on the motorway we exit at Middleburg. Being a kind of used to left hand traffic in the meantime we cruise through the Highland Meanders, passing through Dullstrom and Lydenburg, before we finally end up at Misty Mountain.

South Africa we're coming!

Almost as good as in Tirol!

What a great first day!

Day 2:

The weather god shows us why this place got the name. Taking off in dense fog we climb back across Long Tom Pass. At Pilgrim’s Rest we take a rest as well and charming Mrs. Nutseller #3 sells us half of her stock of Macadamia nuts.

God’s Window had unfortunately its curtains closed, but Blyde River Canyon offeres an outstanding view.

Realy a misty mountain!

Mrs. Nutseller #3

At God's Window the curtains were closed...........

........but Blyde River Canyon offered an outstanding view!

A lot of fun!

Happy birthday Werner!

Day 3:

In the tour book it says rest day – but for relaxation we have to wait until afternoon. We are chased out of bed at 5.15 am, but it is worth the struggle. With two Landcruisers we explore a small section of Kruger National Park and it looks like the rangers set a new record: the “Big Five” (elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard) within 1 ½ hours!

Traffic jam at Kruger

That big cat was watching us too


We are leaving Krugerpark in the morning heading for Swaziland. Crossing the border you can feel a change. It is hard to describe, but Swaziland is different. A long day including a visit at the Swazi Glas factory finds its end at the Royal Swazi Spa.

Beautiful Swaziland


Our first stop today is at the House on Fire, a hot spot for Swazi and international musicians and artists. The real artist we find at the Swazi Candle Factory, where a young man forms in less ten ten minutes a wax elephant. Öjen got to try to make the elephant baby. A great ride takes us to the border and back into South Africa. The Ghost Mountain Inn in Mkuze is a great place to be!

some serious studies in the morning

 Real artists at the candle factory

Öjen giving it a try

Swaziland at it's best

Day 6

Leaving Mkuze we follow the main road towards South. A side trip to St. Lucia surprises us first with rain and than with one of the most beautiful beaches. The permanent change of weather, the Indian Ocean and the beauty of it is overwhelming. We stay longer then planed, so we skip RichardsBay and head straight for Shakaland. Not knowing what to expect we get thrown into Zulu cuture – sawubona!

Beach at St. Lucia

Riding in KwazuluNatal

sunset at Shakaland

Zulu warriors and maidens awaiting us for the show

Day 7

More Zulu experience in the morning, some of us get to throw the spear, others fight a warrior with the stick – just to practice. The blacksmith explains how the spears were made and  learn about the sangoma. Our ride takes us to the beach at Salt Rock, were Bethuel waits for us – it is picnic and beach time! After relaxing three hours we mount our bikes again and ride through Valley of Thousend Hills to Wartburg.

Alejandro fighting the Zulu warrior......

.........Pat looks like a professional

Picnic at he wonderful beach of Salt Rock

What a surf!

Zulu house in Valley of Thousand Hills

Day 8

A perfect morning! Looking out the window at 7 a.m. fog hangs in between the trees. By eight the sun burned all the clouds and fog and we start out in a great day. It is one of the long days on this trip, but the roads are like a permanent race track. Up to lunch the weather god shows his best side, afterwards we enter the Transkei and ride into a black wall of storm clouds. Nothing to hide or shelter, trenched wet in five seconds, but we got through the storm quickly. A challenge for most of us!

 Day 9

Taking off in Umtata we have a decent ride through the transkei. In Dutiwa, were hundreds of locals line up in front of shops, ATMs and banks, the police doesn't want us to stop at the redlight. Blocking the traffic with the car, sirenes on, the wave us through. After our lunch in East London we head for Mpekweni, stopping along the way at the Birma Craft Store, were local ladies make some earning by knitting carpets.

Transkeien settlement

What a happy crowd!

100% hand made - checked by Jan

Day 10

Most of us could hang out at one of the most fabulous places at the coast. In spite of walking the endless beach we ride through Pineapple Country. In Badhurst we vist the Big Pineapple and the Agricultural Museum, a collection of old machinery, tools and just everything that's old. At Grahamstown we experience the Camera Obscura befor we had via Kenton-on-Sea to Port Elizabeth.

An endless beach......

What a big pineapple

At the museum in Badhurst

Lunch break

Day  11

 After a short loop in town we leave Port Elizabeth and head West towards the Garden Route. Unfortunately a school class is doing Bungee, so that our brave adrenalin junkies can not go for the jump. Instead we keep on going, riding through the Tzizikama Rain Forrest, stopping for Italian coffee at Mario in Knysna, enjoying the sweepers on OutiniquaPass and cruising trough the Little Karroo to Oudtshoorn.


Beach at Wilderness (Garden Route)

Day 12

 An eventful morning! Some us take off to see and ride the ostrich, others go to climb Swartbergpass on their bikes. Breathtaking sceneries – first at Meirungspoort, a spectacular gorge framed by red rock walls, later from the top of  SwartbergPass, were the climb gets awarded with outstanding views into the Greater Karroo with its unlimited horizon.In the afternoon we roll to Montague, not missing the stop at Ronnie’s Sex Shop.As the last highlight of the day Greta from Ashton Cellars introduces us to their excellent wines.


 Swartbergpass - a national monunment

On the top of Swartberg

After Ronnies Sex Shop we finished the day.......

.....with a winetasting

Day 13

We leave Montague towards the coast. Riding through winyards we head towards Hermanus. Sometimes it looks like riding in painting, were shades and sun are drawing patterns into the landscape. A fantastic ride along Gordons Bay takes us into Cape Town. To top the day we go on a sunset cruise with a two mast sailboat, named "Howard Davis". good wind makes the ship lean over pretty far and the sunset is a perfect on.

Like a post card....

Charles, the captain, is telling Lynda not to sail to Rio

Having fun or what?

Sailing back to the harbour

Day 14

It looks like heaven is crying with us because the great trip finds its end! we take off in rain, heading for Cape of Goode Hope. On the way back we visit the penguines at Boulder and the weather god shows mercy by stopping the rain and offering us a clear view of Cape Town from Signal Hill as a farwell.


At the Cape

Thanks to a great group and a lot of fun during those two weeks - have a nice stay in C.T. or a good flight home!


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Friday, February 22, 2013 at 21:18

A great trip report, Markus! I'm glad you still get a tour or two as Operations Manager and congratulations on that. The tour group was lucky to have you lead the way through Africa, one of your favorites. Ride on.
Best regards - Rudey
Gil Josef
Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 11:28

Well, everything good must come to an end. It was a wonderful tour. Markus & Bethuel did a great job. I defiantly recommend everyone to take this tour and I know that some day I will be back here
Always remember "There is the chosen one and there is the fallen one, I'm the second"
Monday, February 11, 2013 at 09:18

Remember to order those 5 cases...
Thank you for being such a great team of wine tasters! I hope you enjoyed your last days in SA and be sure to visit us again soon.
Grethe du Toit
Ashton Kelder
Friday, February 8, 2013 at 00:23

Boe, McCleary and myself following your blog. Having SA envy. Luv ya. Be safe.
Pat and Lynda
Friday, February 8, 2013 at 16:09

Hi Laurie, Cathy & Boe
We just arrived in Cape Town - you are going to absolutely love SA. We have seen such spectacular scenery over the past 2 weeks. We both wish we could jump on the bike & head back to Johannesburg. The trip has exceeded our expectations!!! The fellow tour mates have been lots of fun & have helped to make the trip so special. Tomorrow we head to Cape Hope for more breathtaking views!!! We have a lot of pictures to share with you.
Pat & Lynda
Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 22:39

Markus, Looks like a great trip so far, I'm jealous, I wish we were there. Great to see the lions and the other big five or should I say four. Say "HI" to Bethuel for us. Enjoy and have a safe trip.
Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 20:41

Hello markus I don't now way but the pictures make me a dezavo
You had Abigail luck and you meat the lion in Kroger park continuo to injoy
Lynda & Pat Monroe
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 22:03

What an fabulous trip so far!! We are so lucky to have experienced the "Big Five". We can't believe how beautiful Swaziland is. The tour guides, fellow tour mates & hotels we have stayed in have all been outstanding. Can't wait to see what the next 10 days with hold in store - no doubt it will be fantastic!!! Pat & Lynda
Pierre Raymond
Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 19:22

Hi Lynda and Pat,
From the photos on the blog you are having an exceptional trip.
Hope you have listened to some Johnny Clegg and tried the Zulu danse?
From the photos you sent me you have already enjoyed the Pinotage.
I envy you more than a bit.
PS: say hello to Gil for me.
Pat and Lynda
Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 06:02

Hi Pierre We are having a fabulous tour - wish you were here with us. We have seen so many wonderful things. If ever get the opportunity, we would definitely recommend this tour. We'll send you more pics - so far we have taken 2614. Only three more days - can't believe how fast the tour has gone. The Pinotage has been exceptional!!
Lynda & Pat
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 20:57

Oh and Pat where you in charge of getting the food for the picnic that day...
Pat and Lynda
Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 06:07

No they kept me away from the food and just as well. We had a great lunch here but thinking back we sure had a great spot in Austria beside the ice cold lake. Hope you are doing well.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 20:55

Hi Lynda & Pat & Gil,
Hey, did you guys agree to all meet again on this tour? It's nice to see you're back together in South Africa!
Have fun & my best wishes!
Pat and Lynda
Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 05:54

Hi Angela we miss you on the tour, are you keeping busy? It's a long story but we all met here in SA and have made many new friends. What a beautiful country.
Pat and Lynda
Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 17:51

Great to hear you're enjoying your tour! SA is a country I would like to visit, too! Please give my best regards to my most favourite colleague Markus and please make sure that he is changing his local dress back and returning to the office!
Michael Saloniki
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 10:22

Laufa Lassa
Rod & Jody Hazard
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 07:35

GREAT tour, BEAUTIFUL country, FUN group & AWESOME tour guide!
Off to Swasiland now
Gil Josef
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 15:40

Until now we're having so much fun, just looking to have some more on the coming days, South Africa is very beautiful
We have a wonderful tour guide
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 20:50

Hi Gil,
it looks like you're having great fun down there in South Africa! To be honest, I envy you a bit
Well, with Markus you surely have the best tour guide you could wish for down there!
Ride safely!
Gil Josef
Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 11:22

Yes, Markus is great
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 15:33

Hi Gil - I am glad you enjoy the tour - just get rid of that fog! But I guess the Big Five made up for it!
Have fun!!
Gil Josef
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 20:27



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