Bike Rides in South Africa Part 2

Beware of dirt roads when on a motorbike. It’s almost the same as riding on ice! Be sure that your bike is suitable for riding South African gravel road conditions. If setting off from Cape Town it will be plain sailing along the tarred N2, up Sir Lowry’s Pass (enjoy the twists), and up to the Peregrine Farm Stall, and turn right onto the R43 and on towards Caledon. About halfway there, at Bot Rivier, you will leave the tar and go onto the gravel. If you are lucky, it will have been graded, and if not, you will have your teeth loosened on the grooves. Be aware of farm gates – if you encounter one, make sure you close it behind you – or have the farm animals following you with the shotgun-wielding farmer not far behind.

Join the N2 at Caledon and enjoy the tar few a few kilometres, and take the turnoff to Greyton – back to dirt riding – and then heading south enjoy the vineyards and orchards. Accommodation can be found at quaint B and B’s, so, if you’ve had enough for the day, stop and experience the friendliness and generosity of the locals (most of them speak English).

Then over the N2 again towards Napier and pass through the farms of sheep and more sheep. If you are at the correct time of the year, you will ride through fields of yellow canola fields as far as the eye can see and witness the Blue Cranes – the National Bird of South Africa – feeding on the sheep feed. Also, see many Egyptian Geese and Sacred Ibis searching for a tiny morsel. You will pass roadside farm stalls selling anything from bottled water to honey and fruit and vegetables. Take a break and cool down a while.

The R319

Cross over the R317 and onto the R319 and onwards to the east. If and when you pass petrol stations, stop and fill up if you need to – it may be a long time before you see another petrol pump. You will give just to the north of the De Hoop Nature Reserve and if you have the time. The road then follows the course of the Breede River, known for its annual canoe race from much further inland, and cross the water by hand-drawn ferry, one of the last in South Africa. If you’re lucky, you will catch a glimpse of the Breede River Zambezi (Bull) shark, the biggest ever found in the world. The Zambezi is all along the coast, but no further south than Port Elizabeth about 500 kilometres to the east, so these guys have been on their own forever.

The last leg

On then to Witsand on the W324, home to one of the biggest gatherings of whales in the world, coming to calve in the warm Indian Ocean. And on to Stillbaai, a lovely retirement and fishing village, on past Stillbaai, Gouritzmond and Pinnacle Point, the caves believed to be the first civilized settlement in the world (where your ancestors came from), and on to your destination, Mossel Bay.

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