Africa Blog

The Ride to Half a Million Miles

Mountains, Passes and Rivers

These next few days were very interesting to say it in simple words.   We would ride the Swartberg Pass and

Meiringspoort / De Rust.  Very much like the area of Zion and Bryce Canyons in Utah.   Reddish color stone formations.   I kept slowing down Tony as I kept stopping around every corner to take a photograph.

    Baviaanskloof Canyon

     Still in the Karoo area of the  east & western cape I kept hearing about the Baviaanskloof Pass.  Not only from Tony but from other riders and locals.   The stories were getting larger and scarier.   Well there is truth to that.

      This morning we left the ranch cabins that are about 15 miles out side the town of Willowmore where if you haven't done your business by 2:00 pm on a Saturday afternoon your out of luck.   After a short ride on asphalt we turned off onto a dirt road.  The morning was cold and with a light rain and very fog at times.    Not to long after peaking the mountains we started heading down hill into the canyons.  Again amazing reddish stones coming out of the grounds. 

      As  we neared the entrance to  Baviaanskloof which means Baboons canyon we stopped by a local artisan shop.

     After a few more miles we finally arrive to the gates of Baviaanskloof reserve.  Like the other reserve that we across a few days back we had to sign a waver stating that of the Rhinos kill us its not there fault. 

    This was a very pretty ride into the reserve with many dozens of different monkeys and some sort of bucks.    As much as I looked for the rhinos I didn't see any. 

    Two of the most difficult parts of the reserve were the river crossings and towards the end of the reserve having to climb out of the canyon.

    Most of the river crossings where rather easy.  One was a bit challenging because its more of a flood plan and you can't really see the bottom of the river.  Tony mentioned that  it looked like the water level was low because the river didn't look as wide.    Well he had confused the this crossing with the larger one that was about 100 yards wide and a bigger challenge.   For the large crossing I went first.  I started out doing ok going slow to avoid creating a large wake plus the water was very murky and I couldn't see the bottom.  All was well until I hit a large rock that stopped the GS.  I'm also fighting not to tip over as I'm at a bad angle.   I wasn't sure how big the rock was as I couldn't see in to the water.   As I would let the clutch out the rear tire would spin and start to dig itself into the river bottom.   I started to worry that I had dug myself into a hole.  Finally the front tire broke free of the rock and I was able to move.  Now I wanted to move into the direction I needed to go but  the water flow was  telling me where to go!  After fighting with the tall grasses and shrubs I was headed back on course.

     Finally free of the rivers  I could relax and enjoy the wild life and amazing views.

    Not so fast, the fun isn't over yet.  Now we had to climb out of the canyon.   Already tired from fighting the river we had to deal with the shale steps as in the other canyon.  This time it would be up hill with tight switch backs.   My biggest problem was fatigue,  my chest, arms, and hands where very tired and having to muscle the big loaded GS was taking its toll.  Again with these kinds of roads momentum is your friend.  The problem is when your tired you can't afford to miss calculate your next move.  And for this leg it was several miles of this shale road. Finally we made the top of the pass and the rest was gravy.  I had ridden the  Baviaanskloof Pass with my trusty GS.  No photos as my hands were very busy at this point.