Attaquaskloof – 1 day (dual)

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1. Total distance of route and date of ride?

50km. Early January 2014

2. How long did it take to complete? Were you going fast or travelling leisurely?

Part of a day ride, traveling leisurely. We spent about two hours on this section.

3. Why are you recommending this route? What’s special about it?

This is one of those hidden gems. If you are riding around the Southern Cape it’s easy to include this section into your ride and it comes highly recommended. It’s remote and running through pristine mountains and countryside where you’re unlikely to encounter any other traffic. Only you, riding through some of the most beautiful parts of Africa.

This is a historic route, part of the old Ox Wagon route North.  The Ox Wagon “N1” if you will.

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4. Please tell us how the route runs.

The route provided runs between the R328 (between Mossel Bay and Oudtshoorn) and the R327 (Running between Herbertsdale and Van Wyksdorp). We started from the R328’s side taking the Haelkraal turn-off (S33 56.680 E22 02.150), traveling West. After about 8km there is a turn-off right (North) with a sign “Bonniedale Adventure Farm” (S33 58.127 E21 58.086). It’s easy to miss so make sure. From here you can’t really get lost any more. Keep travelling towards Bonniedale. The road runs towards the mountains and through a plantation. There are three or four gates. Please leave them as found. If open leave open and if closed please close them again. You’ll be passing Bonniedale’s camping site. From the campsite the road through Attaquaskloof runs west. The road exists into the R327 (S33 54.373 E21 42.696).

If you start from the western side look for the sign (picture). You enter the route through a gate next to a farm yard.

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5. What kind of motorcycle is the route suitable for?

Adventure or Dual Sport Bikes. Please note that this region has Ostriches. Slow down and reduce noise.

6. Please name significant points of interest along the way, e.g. eateries, supermarkets, accommodation.

Bonniedale Adventure farm has several camping spots and facilities. Feel free to stop and look around. The owners – Nico and Danette Hesterman welcome bikers. See website here.

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7. Are there petrol stations along the way? Do you know of any motorcycle repair shops along the route or in the area?

Closest fuel or bike shops will be in Mossel Bay (approximately 50km) or George or Oudtshoorn (both approximately 80km).

8. Are there any dangers along the route, e.g. loose gravel, potholes, sharp bends, oil spills, wild animals or angry locals?

It is a good idea to find out what the route looks like beforehand. Phone Nico at Bonniedale (044 695 3175). The road is maintained but sometimes it takes a while to repair after damage because it is so remote. In good condition skills needed would be intermediate, the only worry being longish sections of “marbles” which could prove to be quite slippery. After heavy rain the difficulty rating goes up considerably depending on the damage. Mud and some water crossings possible.

In Summer watch out for snakes.

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9. What did the trip cost in fuel, meals and accommodation?

Low cost. 50km. Around 2 to 3 litres of fuel.

10. Did you use any special gear, e.g. fuel bags, that made your journey possible, easier or more enjoyable?

Camelbak with water, no rider should be without. Especially in remote areas.

11. Any must-do activities on the route?

Incorporate Bonniedale into your route / tour to include a sleepover here.

10. Do you have any other comments or advice about the route?

The Attaquaskloof valley was first inhabited by the bushmen or Khoi San, who were present until the 1700’s as there are paintings of persons riding horses with rifles and hats on their heads. A fierce Khoi-Khoi tribe called the Attaqua also inhabited the valley (arriving after the San), hence the name Attaquaskloof.

The Attaqua were a particularly aggressive and violent tribe who not only drove the San out of the valley, but also clashed regularly with the other Khoi-Khoi tribes, such as the Gourikwa, Hessekwa and Inca, stealing their cattle and other belongings.

The first European to set foot in this valley would have been Ensign Isaac Schrijwer in February 1689. He led an expedition of 21 men and two ox wagons, sent by Simon van der Stel, to barter for cattle and sheep with the Inca Khoi-Khoi near Aberdeen. On their return with numerous cattle and sheep, they were attacked by the Attaqua Khoi-Khoi, who took all the cattle and sheep. The following morning Schrijwer followed the spoor and killed 41 Khoi-Khoi in Grootkloof. They returned to Cape Town with the animals they had bartered from the Incas, and the Attaqua’s cattle and sheep that they took after the attack. That was not the last blood that flowed in this kloof. If you sleep over in the Kloof ask Nico to tell you about the mass murderer “Bloubaard”.

Isaac Schrijwer’s route over Attaquas Pass opened up the inland and soon this valley was ‘n busy trade route that flourished for 180 years. A town called Woeska was established and did brisk trade in this valley.  Today only ruins are left.

14. Are there any doctors and/or hospitals in the area that you know of?

Closest doctor / hospital will be in Mossel Bay (approximately 50km) or George or Oudtshoorn (both approximately 80km).

MediClinic George; 044 803 2000

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The rider – Johann van Tonder

Posted in Routes, Western Cape and tagged , , , .

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