Last Chance : April/May Club GS Tour : Eastern Cape Drakensberg : Dates confirmed 24th April to 2nd May
The dates for the second Tour to the Eastern Cape Drakensberg have now been confirmed as from Sunday the 24th April to Monday the 2nd May 2011.
The Sunday departure will give those that are going to Bikefest the opportunity to meet the group in PE on the Sunday night.
The Itinerary is as follows:
24th April : PE
25th April : Elliot
26&27 April : Maclear
28& 29 April : Rhodes
30th April : Lady Grey
1st May : Graaf Reinet
2nd May : Home
Duration will again be 8 nights and 9 days.
Distance : Approx 3300kms
The ride will suite most riders (not rank beginners), the more experienced with pillions. Read the reports on the forum to see where you fit in.
I have shortened day 2 over Katberg Pass by about 90kms, it was the most difficult and longest day.
Tour would be accompanied by a back up vehicle & trailer. This will carry your baggage as well as a range of spares, tyres, refreshments, etc.
Cost R5500.00 PP. (depending on numbers)
Accommodation in Hotels, Inn's, and other Accommodation on a DB&B basis.No camping!
Lunches, snacks, refreshments, incidentals, fuel, etc for your own account.
Visitors are welcome.
Herewith more details ;
Does the following Tour in the Rhodes/Maclear/Barkley East/Lady Grey area make you sit up and take notice. It should as it is some of the most fantastic Off Road Mountain Pass riding that I have ever done.
Much of the riding is breath taking in it's beauty and the amazing scenery will have you looking for permanent accommodation in the area.
Check this out :
There are 8 beautiful mountain passes linking the Wartrail/New England districts with neighbouring towns that include Barkly East, Rhodes and Lady Grey.
Naudes's Nek - Maclear to Rhodes
With a summit of over 2,920m above sea level, Naudés Nek Pass is the highest dirt road in South Africa. Connecting Maclear with historical Rhodes this pass is based on the route taken by the intrepid Naudé brothers in the 1890s. Following the path that their horses instinctively took they carved out the route with picks and shovels. Today the road is more usually travelled in a comfortable 4x4 vehicle, but it still presents a challenge, particularly in winter when heavy snowfalls are common. Local advice regarding weather and road conditions should be heeded before attempting this spectacular pass.
Carlisleshoek Pass -Rhodes to Tiffindell Ski Resort
Rhodes has a colourful history dating back to the 1880s and features many Victorian buildings. In 1997 the entire village was proclaimed as a Conservation Area in the Government Gazette which gives it official protection in order to preserve its unique character - it is the only complete village in the country that is a National Monument from one end to the other. The town benefits from its proximity to Tiffindell Ski Resort in the winter and during summer months has become renowned for fly-fishing. The road from Rhodes to Tiffindell is scenic and steep. You don't need 4x4, but you do need controlled power, particularly where the cement strips zigzag their way up the most extreme section. Approaching Tiffindell Ski Resort you will pass under the highest point in the Cape (3.001m above sea level). Known by local tribes as 'Makhollo' (Great Mother), the Europeans named this peak Ben McDhui after the mountain in Scotland and it is affectionately referred to as BenMac by local residents.
Volunteershoek Pass -Tiffindell Ski Resort to Wartrail
Tiffindell Resort was established in 1993 to give South Africans an opportunity to ski near their homes and others to ski in Africa. The carefully selected position of the resort, on the south facing slope, ensures that the snow lasts, extending the time available for snow skiing. Slopes cleared and groomed during summer quickly transform to ski runs after even the lightest of snowfalls. After traversing the high plateau, the Carlisleshoek Pass winds its way down to the farming community of Wartrail. The road is narrow with some precipitous drop-offs, so do pause to check for oncoming vehicles coming up the pass as they have right of way. After the steepest section, the road gives wonderful views of Halstone Krans and the valley farmlands beyond. There are some interesting rock formations along this section, the most notable of which is 'Funnystone' which lends its name to the farm opposite.
Lundean's Nek -Wartrail to Telebridge Border Post
Wartrail is a mountain farming community steeped in tradition. Many of the farms are still inhabited by direct descendants of the original settlers to the area. The scenery is nothing short of spectacular. Lundean's Nek connects this part of the Eastern Cape to the Lesotho border at Telebridge. You may wish to stop in at 'Woolys of Wartrail' for a delicious cake, cup of coffee and to admire their emus! You will pass by the remote Lundean's Nek police station - whose primary roles are to prevent rustlers taking stolen stock across to Lesotho and to prevent smugglers taking green grass or diamonds in the opposite direction. Just beyond the police station the summit of the pass provides fantastic panoramic views of the Maloti Mountains. As the road progresses towards Telebridge the river to your right forms a natural border with Lesotho. This area was part of the former Transkei and you will pass many remote mountain villages where traditional cultures and farming practices are still very much a way of life.
Joubert's Pass -Lady Grey to Barkly East via the Witteberg
The third highest pass in South Africa, Joubert's Pass traverses the Witteberg Mountains in a scenic loop. The road passes through beautiful farmlands before rising up through the Lammergeier Nature Reserve. Each year extreme adventure racers run across these exposed peaks in the 100km Skyrun which ends at Tiffindell Ski Resort. As you descend into Lady Grey it is well worth stopping at the town dam; the wall is 25m high and this area is makes a scenic picnic stop. You can walk up a natural staircase to the top of the dam wall. The beautiful Dutch Reformed sandstone church is a National Monument and each Easter is one of the locations throughout the town used for a passion play depicting the biblical story of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.
Otto Du Plessis - Clifford to Ida
Whilst still on the tar road between Lady Grey and the Clifford turn-off it is possible to see part of the unique railway linking Barkly East with Lady Grey to the northwest. Owing to the mountainous terrain, a system of eight 'reverses' was incorporated into the line, which has a gradient of 1 in 36, one of only two such systems in the world. The Class 19D steam locomotive that stands in Barkly East's square is a reminder of the early days of rail transport. From the Clifford turn-off the road ascents steadily through farmland until reaching the summit of Otto Du Plessis pass. This point has panoramic views from the top of the escarpment over the Tsomo valley. It is reputed that on a clear day it is possible to see the Indian Ocean. This may be a dubious claim, but there is no doubt at all that the vistas are far reaching and spectacular. As the pass descends to Ida it winds through sandstone gorges, forests, farmlands and across rivers in a breathtaking mountain wilderness. This variety of habitat means that Otto Du Plessis is one of the best birding passes in the area, so keep your eyes open for mountain 'specials' that include Drakensberg Rock-jumpers, Ground Woodpeckers and a variety of siskins.
Barkly Pass - Elliot to Barkly East
Barkly Pass is the only tarred road on the 8 passes circuit, but is still not to be underestimated as it can be extremely slippery in wet or icy weather. The sandstone buttresses and rock formations are magnificent. See if you can spot the tortoise at the top of the pass, and the hiking boot (complete with sock and laces) further down. Barkly East is well known for its sheep farming, but a lesser known claim to fame is that the town has recorded snowfall during every calendar month - although not in the same year!
Bastervoetpad - Barkly East/Elliot to Ugie
This spectacularly scenic road links the top of Barkly Pass to Ugie and combines technical driving with stunning views. The road is rough in places, so high clearance vehicles are recommended and 4x4 in wet weather. The pass is named after the Griquas who settled in the area for a while before deciding that the valleys around Maclear and Ugie were a more comfortable habitation. The rock formations in the area are of interests to geologists as there is evidence of glacial formation. The views at the top of the pass are breathtaking and reminiscent of Valley of a Thousand Hills.
However this is not all. This is just some of the fantastic riding that we will have on our ride of 8 nights and 9 days.
Oh......I guess you want to know how easy/difficult the ride is? It certainly will not suite rank beginners but the average rider with some stretch should make it without to much difficulty.
Let me know and I will get to work on it and see what can be arranged.
Let me know if you would prefer the April/May or October Dates. Also if you would be coming alone or with a Pillion & their names.
Use your real name and I need your e mail address please.
E mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org or respond on the Forum.
Hi Geoff, is this in addition to the October trip?
Yes it is DuToit!
Have 7 people so far.
I assume I am on it? If, do put me on.
I have moved you from the October Tour Chris and put you on this one.
Maybe we'll see you in passing on the way.
Due the the huge "HIGH" of this trip, Annie n I will mosey back there directly after BIKEFEST and do some of those rides again and visit the places. We'll not have an agenda, nor no where we will lay our heads, leaving that all to chance and circumstance as the mood and weather takes us.
If you see an ostrich feather on a helmet....... its probably us.
We'll aim to miss you, but the scenery and beauty may cause us to lose the plot for a day or two.
Good luck and enjoy- you are all in for a helluva good time.
Andy, hit the spell checj!!!
All bookings for the tour have now been made.
If you are considering joining us don't procrastinate too long or you will miss out.
If in doubt read GeoffE's report on the tour, it will surely push you over the edge.
Join your fellow Club members and some guests and enjoy the peace of mind that all your requirements for the Tour are taken care of in advance. Right down to the back up vehicle that carries cold refreshments and a range of spares should they be required.
Look forward to hearing from you.
Would have LOVED to join you guys, but my son has decided to get married on the 25th, and I presume I need to show my face there....?
All Hotel bookings now confirmed.
Geoff Russell (guide)
Jan & Anemie Cloete
Tian van Heerden
yes, count me in.
Booking confirmed Bruno!
Look forward to having you along!
Up to 12 bookings now. Still space for 3 bikes - 6 people!
Still some space ladies and Gents........
I know on the Transkei trip it suffered on the long stretches but was fantastic on the short routes within the Transkei area.
Is this similar to the Transkei trip and its terrain.
Is this a layback trip Geoff
Hey there Leon.
A 650 will be fine on this trip.
However like the Transkei Tour the first and last days are long tar stretches where we cruise at 120-130kph!!
We have an Xtrail (Xchallenge) can never remember which is which on this April's Tour.
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