Life is pretty much about the company you keep and being a girl with an inclination to have a passion for adventure I find myself pretty much in the company of men. However, that has nothing to do with being boyish, as a matter of fact, I love being a girl, I have just inherited a passion for thrill seeking and risk-taking, it is pretty much ingrained in my genes.
Having said that, when I was invited by AKA Tours on the launch of their Motorcycle tour, I hesitated for a while, I have not been on a motorcycle for a good few years, even then that was more like a scooter!! How difficult could it be?? I spent about another 10 minutes thinking about it and then full-heartedly agreed!! Well here we go Rose, I thought to myself.
It was late afternoon when I arrived in Mosselbay and headed to offices of AKA Tours. Greeted by Bert and Jovanka with comforting smiles and warm hospitality. My tummy was doing somersaults though, eish, I thought and took a deep breath, this is going to be interesting. Bert introduced me to AKA 1 a Honda XR190CT adventure bike and even though small it still looked huge to me. With a gentle introduction I was soon on the bike and slowly the engrained grey matter started working , somewhere stored in my memory bank is a bike riding manual. In no time I was zipping around the building corners of the small industrial area. Ok, I was ready… right??
Dawn broke and the grey skies had a promise of a typical drizzly Garden Route morning. Let’s hope it clears. We rigged at AKA Tours HQ. Brian our other riding companion, I met the night before at route briefing, this made us 3 riders and a back up vehicle driven by Jovanka. We kitted up an took off in the direction of Great Brak.. the open road was calling..
Mosselbay to a Hartebeespost Guest House, which was situated on the edge of the Baviaan’s judt outside Uniondale. 252km to go. Our first stop was for breakfast at the Peperboom in Geart Brak, only 25 km down the line, but it was a good intro session for me. I relished in the warm coffee and tasty breakfast this early as it was a wetish morning and the rain still hasn’t disapated completely.
The short break made me a little more at ease with things before hopping back on the bike and heading to George, the countryside swept past us and the air was filled with the smells of farm life, dairy farms, fields with green wheat sprouting and the pepper smell of grass that is so fimiliar to me.
By the time we hit the first section of 7 passes road between George and Wilderness, the curves became a journey of natural forest and bubbling streams that crossed over yesteryear bridges and it oozed timeless antiquity. Here we stopped to listen to the whispers of time gone by and take in your natural surroundings, even if it was for just a moment.
We wound our way down to the coastal section of the Garden Route before turning to edge our way along the foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains. This part of the world is filled with forest, farmlands and the odd little stop over. The next 56km felt like a mysterious journey. You can’t help imagining what it must have been like to have build this road, the path the elephants walked. Each section in perfect balance with nature as we swept though this section with ease.
Knysna, our second stop for the day. The skies have cleared a bit and our visit to the alluring motorcycle room is a welcome break, remenesing through the old machines and reliving my miss spent youth. We snacked and chatted a while before remounting the bikes and headed for the most historical section of the Knysna forest.
By now I was super excited to actually experience the next section of history on a motorbike, somehow the feel of it was different, more open and more in touch with the outdoors. The beauty fills your being, you slow down and take in the green world around you. It’s here among the trees that most of the areas history was made, it relives in your soul and you can feel it. The return of the soft drizzle was a cool welcoming feeling while we navigated our way to the top of the Prince Alfred’s pass, the end of the days treking was near. We entered the Karoo through the town of Uniondale and a warm breeze with the whiff for Karoo bossie welcomed us to the hardy entrance of the Baviaans. It was time to rest our weary bodies, in my minds eye the days happenings played itself over and over again, overwhelmed by excitement, adrenaline and nostalgia, I smiled to myself before closing my eyes. Today was a great day!!
Waking to the soft light filtering through the window and the sounds of vast plains of the Karoo was a pleasurable moment. I stretched out like a farm cat before leaping out of bed. Coffee was the first thing on my mind. A misty dawn greeted me. What will today hold? Breakfast, kitup and ride was the oder and willingly I mounted the little Honda, come baby lets go and explore!! The spirit of adventure was high and road was calling. Zipping past the sheep farms and open veld only to stop to take in the views of the Karoo dynamics
It was the entering of the Baviaans left my with eerie anticipation. Almost like having something that is untouched in front of you and the burning sensation of reaching out and being the first. It causes havoc with your soul! The steep inclines, sharp corners and stone walled channels engulfs you and you can’t help feeling surrounded by mother earth and all you can do is surrender to its magnificence. Slowly we dropped into the valley while staring at every picturesque elevation that towered above us.
Our afternoon break was at a place called ” Uitspan“. Being in the company of curious adventurous we went of to explore the kloof, clambering over rocks and satisfiying our wanderlust for nature. With laughter and smiles we discovered the cool wanders of this little hidden gem before feeding our hungry stomachs that by now was threatening suicide. Who new that there were places like these?
Heading back to the farm house the Karoo sky changed into picturesque landscape of cloudious wonder and we marvelled at it until the promised thunder storm closed in and we were left with glorious rain and lighting display. We gathered round the huge table of our abode and replayed the days expidition with easy conversation and a beer. Tomorrow our adventure ends, but not until we take on the Klein Karoo.
Day breaks with the promise of clear skies and we gear up for the ride. I look back as we leave, saddened by the idea of leaving, but all good things need to end and with the journey home still ahead I focus on our new discoveries ahead of us.
First stop is Uniondale, we refuel the bikes and enjoy the countryside hospitality of a small cafe. The freshly brewed coffee slips down with ease and we are now ready to rock the back roads of Klein Karoo and its ostrich farmers.
We entered via Potjiesberg pass and wound our way through orchards farms. The landscape flattened out and the home of the ostrich became more imminent. Miles of them, running along the fences, racing with us while their odd formed bodies makes it seem like a huge waddle, all while prancing their feathers as if they knew we were looking.
We reach the hamlet of Herold as we exit the into the Langkloof, a quick tea break is due to wash down the road dust and replenish our souls. Now the Montagu Pass lied ahead, the last of the winding passes of our adventurous excursion. It’s here that riding became a skill for me as it plumited down to the rivers. Not to be outdone by the other alluring roads, this Pass must be the most classical of them all. With its stoned walled edging it offers the most attractive historical ride and once again we are charmed by its old fashioned bridges and road building.
A visit to a rocky stream, a timeless bridge and the old Toll House that was used in times gone by was inevitable. Satisfied by our little explorations we neared the end of the road and made our way back to Mosselbay.
I parked my motorbike, took in a deep breath of air and savoured the moment. Reluctantly I dismounted the little Honda with utter pride. I’ve done it!! 545km later the euphoria of what just happened over took me and I was in awe. Who ever knew that I would be part of such an epic journey and live to tell the story. It was one hell of a ride and definitely a bucket list adventure…
Thank you African Karoo Adventures for including me in your shared love.
Tips for riding like a girl.
1. Wear comfy underwear. Yes I mean full briefs
2. Nothing wrong with a bit of zambuk or lip-ice
3. A cotton scarf, it’s cooler than a buff
4. Leave those funky shades at home and opt for lightweight pair.
5. A good pair of hiking boots is wonderful
6. Forget about being stylish. Easy hair ties and Sun cream is the best. Pack light.
7. Comfy T’s are great. It gets hot under that riding gear
8. A good pair of gloves if you have.
9. A cell phone camera is your best friend
10. Lastly enjoy every moment. Be sensible and keep your wits about you
Enjoy the Ride!!