Eastern Cape

Submitted by Cecil Hill on Sat, 2017/04/15 - 12:52

 

We said goodbye to Rony and his bouviers and quickly got our mental frame adjusted for a slow day in the 'kloof.

 

No rush
Studtis Poort

 

Recall Oom Lionel Esau's virtual injunction the previous day that we must find Zaaimanshoek in the Baviaanskloof. He was of the view that the existence of the little missionary community was not adequately recognised - to the extent that he thought that it was not even signposted.

We were delighted to not only find a signpost but a small part of the community who are making an effort to improve their livelihoods and also benefit from tourism in the valley. We enjoyed a cup of rooibos tea and some delicious cookies baked by a group of ladies under the leadership of Tannie Hanna Magielies (Tel 049 839 1073).

 

Zaaimanshoek signpost
Zaaimanshoek Church
Zaaimanshoek Ladies

 

We were warned of buffalo "on the loose" as we entered the Nature Reserve. The advice was to simply switch off the engine and wait for it/them to move on. (Un)Fortunately, we didn't encounter any! Hugh has since sent me a link to a video of two motorcyclists being charged by a loner.

I have only entered or passed through the kloof thrice before, and it wasn't particularly wet on any of those occasions, but this certainly rates as the driest I have yet seen it.

This did not deter Hugh from dropping his bike - after crossing comfortably! - at the notorious Sandvlakte.

 

Sandvlakte 1
Sandvlakte 2
Cool crossing
Sandvlakte Oops

 

The three mountain passes east of Sandvlakte were in pretty good nick. Recent reports suggested that the concrete strips on some of the steeper sections were entirely washed away or seriously damaged but we found most of them either repaired or in the process of being repaired with the result that we crossed all of them without incident.

 

Baviaans-Pass
Baviaans - Strips 1
Baviaans - Strips 2

 

As we dropped onto the level after the last pass, about 20km from Patensie, we came across a gentleman, accomanpanied by his wife and in-laws, with this problem.

 

Patensie Tyre

 

This gentleman caused me to break, hopefully for the very last time, a rule which I have repeatedly heard of during my preparation and training for this trip and actually decided to adopt as well. It goes something like this:

"I cannot help you if you do not have the things I need in order to help you!" 

I believe so strongly in this rule that I have a bike laden with more tools than any other type of gear, on the basis that, even if I am unable to do the job, I will have the tools required for the job.

Said gentleman:

  1. Shredded his tyre because he:
    • Did not deflate his tyres for off-road driving. (Ok, it may not be essential but is good practise.)
    • Did not adjust his traction control to suit the road surface. 
  2. Did not know how to get his spare wheel from the well.
  3. Had a jack (standard vehicle manufacturer's issue) which could not lift the vehicle high enough to fit even a fully deflated wheel. (We deflated the spare in an unsuccessful attempt to get it mounted)
  4. Had a compressor which would struggle to inflate a bicycle tube.   

We spent the better part of 90 minutes sorting him out with an identical second jack, from an identical second vehicle, which came that way by sheer chance.

We ended up rushing the last 100+km of our trip to reach Addo with the sun just two notches above dusk, thus breaking my own safety rule.

 

There is a bit of a story to how we ended up at the Orange Elephant Backpackers, near the town of Addo, after our passage through the Baviaanskloof.

I keep an eye on several local and international overland (motorcycle, 4x4 etc) travel forums as a potential source of information on areas I would like to visit, so I just had to drop in after seeing the following post:

"Morning.
If any of you lot are coming to the eastern Cape, Port Elizabeth area to be more precise, and dont look me
up I will be seriously pissed off :imaposer

Pull in for a coffee or a beer and maybe even an overnight stay"

We were met, on arrival, by "The Drol" himself who was most pleased when I introduced myself by quoting the above and promptly checked us in to the Royal Suite for two nights.

Hugh chose to ride to Port Elizabeth to meet with some friends, while I spent a very refreshing day in the company of John and his family members and staff.

A visit to this establishment, including the restaurant and pub, is extremely highly recommended!
We were very pleasantly surprised - to my embarassment we were already well on our way when it actually clicked - that we were treated to one night literally "on the house" as it were.

Thanks John, as turds go, you're good shit!

Mwendo is very proud to wear pink. 

Mwendo's Drol sticker

Skirting the Addo Elephant National Park