CPT to CCA, or 'The Revenge of the GPS'
"Drive on unpaved road." These are magical words when they appear at the top of your GPS screen, and in the trip that Gavin and I did last week from Cape Town to Prince Albert, this was pretty much all I saw for the majority of the day. Little did we know when we left Cape Town that our GPS has an evil sense of humour and that she sometimes has a rather inventive interpretation of 'unpaved road'.
After our 3-day trip to the Tankwa-Karoo, Gav and I went home for one night to check that our bribe for Ouma to look after the dogs was still holding, and that the dogs had not yet eaten Ouma or vice versa.
The southern Cape has so many great gravel roads (and good coffee shops) that we decided to venture that way, doing the biggest distance on the first day and then working our way back to Cape Town over the course of a day or two; exploring new gravel roads and re-acquainting ourselves with past favourites.
We phoned around a bit in the morning and found some nice accommodation in Prince Albert. We never leave as early as we plan to (my darling husband is not an early-morning person) and decided to slab it to the De Doorns area and decide on routes from there.
I may have mentioned it once or twice before that we ride motorbikes to find good coffee in various locations, so the first stop was just past De Doorns for breakfast. At the Red Veldskoen Farm Stall they serve excellent, good-value-for-money meals, including coffee in L or XL mugs. Guess which ones we had
Over coffee Gav points to a road on the GPS. "This looks kinda interesting; we've never done this one before."
The road in question was the Witteberge road which heads off the N1 about 28 km on the other side of Touwsrivier.
It was a magical road. Smooth, scenic, phenomenal.
As is the case with all good roads, there was a gate or two. For the record, I did offer to close them.
The roads were still in fantastic condition - smooth as can be, no surprises, and with farm names like Elandsfontein and Elandskloof, the only road hazards were piles of poo on the road.
At the end of the Witteberge road, we turned right onto the Ladismith road, but turned off it within a few km's, heading past the Floriskraal Dam.
According to our GPS, you could follow this road - more or less - all the way to Prince Albert.
Somewhere along the road we found this great old car abandoned alongside the road. Who did it belong to? When and why was it left there?
Up to now, the roads were in good condition and the going was fast, apart from the infernal gates. This changed when we reached this little sign:
The road became progressively narrower and narrower. At times there was a visible cleared section; other times you had to look quite hard to see the road.
A few more sandy tracks later we finally got to a farm cottage and turned off to see if we could find someone to talk to. The house was being renovated and a very bemused painter came out to find out what we were doing there.
I was blown away when he said that we were close to the road to Prince Albert.
"Follow those trees, and then go past the dam, and then turn left at the big bush and you'll see a track that leads to a big gravel road," he explained. That gravel road would take us all the way into Prince Albert - which was only 20km away.
Just after 5 that night we reached Prince Albert and booked into the Dennehof Guest House. The classy establishment was immediately enhanced by two bikes parked on the premises, not to mention the motorbike boots on the stoep.
Lovely report. Thank you.
Wow! thank goodness for little "mistakes" - mine, not yours
I spotted that road on a map recently and decided I would take it en-route to Oudtshoorn over the Easter weekend, sans GPS. I got "lost" between Montagu and the Anysberg Reserve, ending up in Touws River instead of near the Floriskraal dam end of the Laingsburg-Ladismith road. To make up for lost time I instead rode through Rouxpos and the Seweweekspoort on to Calitzdorp, then Groenfontein (a delightful route indeed) & Matjiesrivier into Oudtshoorn.
That road will definitely remain at the top of my ToDo list, but it's clear that it's not something to tackle alone - thank you!
Fantasties Karin - jou balans tussen teks, foto's, humor en inligting is absoluut puik! Sien baie uit na die volgende aflewering...
Lekkerlees report! Baie dankie! Julle sal hierdie avontuur sekerlik lank onthou.
Ek is oortuig 'n hele paar ouens gaan daardie pad soek en ry. Dit is beslis op my om-te-doen lys.
Hi Cecil, yes it certainly was a lot of fun. I want to go back and see where the road gets to that continues straight (where we turned off to the farms) - the road we ended up on was certainly more a plaaspaadjie than a public road.
Great ride report Karin :-)
Great content and pics...as usual Karin! Would love the GPS trax.
ha, that kinda stuff happens to me all the time. Tempramental GPS, getting lost, numerous gates, the threat of not making your destination before dark.
Thats what adventure riding is all about.
I just checked my diary. I was away in Kenya when you posted this report.
How damned awesome this trip was and is.
Gav, can you or Mrs. Peddle Power please send me the tracks for this ride if yopu saved them?
I have examined a route on both Garmin and then followed it on Google Earth.
What stark remote coutnry side this is.
The plaaslike bevolking must be rarely rare people at that.
I feel a ride coming on.
Wow this is fabulous . thanks for sharing.
Hi Andy, this was certainly one of our favourite trips ever - in fact I think it should be redone within the next month or so
I am sure we still have the GPS tracks at home - will have a look and get them to you.
For the most part the route is quite easy and straighforward - it was just that last bit on the sandy footpaths going into PA that got, shall we say, 'quite interesting'.
Of course, 'quite interesting' is what makes a trip ...
Thanks for sharing... Really feel a trip there coming on. Thanks for looking for the tracks.
Karin, as always a well balanced report, keep em comin.
have the track but also have 3 or 4 emails for you, which should I use?
thanks Gavin, mailed you the correct addresses
Thanks, see it has come through, now to see aid I can load iy....
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