1. Total distance of route?
2. How long did it take to complete? Were you going fast or travelling leisurely?
It can be done in a day, but that’s not much fun. Some of us stayed over in a farmhouse between Caledon and Greyton and others in a cottage in Hermanus. We rode leisurely, but didn’t dawdle either.
3. Why are you recommending this route? What’s special about it?
It’s scenic, not challenging and offers plenty of eating and accommodation options.
4. Please tell us how the route runs
Hermanus > Stanford > Baardskeerdersbos > Elim > Black Oystercatcher winery > Join the R43, but ride it for just under 2km. You’ll then find another gravel road that continues in a south-easterly direction towards L’Agulhas. You can go all the way to the southernmost tip of Africa or just use this little detour to drive less of the (tarred) R43. Now head for Bredasdorp. Take the R317 north to Klipdale > Rietpoel > Jongensklip > cross over the N2 > Greyton > Genadendal > (don’t take the R406, but the road to its west) > Caledon > R320 through the wonderful Hemel-en-Aarde Valley > Hermanus.
5. Which types of motorcycles is this route best suited to?
Adventure bikes and (road-worthy) scramblers. Commuter bikes like the Suzuki 650 V-Strom, Kawasaki Versys and BMW F 800 R should cope in the dry. Between Bredasdorp and Jongensklip we had buckets of rain that made the dirt roads as slippery as a cow pat. That’s when you want the knobbiest tyres on earth.
6. Please name significant points of interest along the way, e.g. eateries, supermarkets, accommodation.
Almost too numerous to mention. Greyton is supposed to be foodie heaven, but we must have missed the Michelin Star joints. We had dinner and coffee at Searle’s Trading Post (028 254 9550) in Greyton, which was fine. The Oak & Vigne (028 254 9037) also serve decent meals.
7. Are there petrol stations along the way? Do you know of any motorcycle repair shops along the route or in the area?
You’re never far from civilization, so filling up shouldn’t be an issue. You can find fuel stations in Hermanus, Stanford, Struisbaai, Bredasdorp, Napier, Riviersonderend, Greyton and Caledon. Helderberg Yamaha is located in Somerset West at Shop 2, Urtel Crescent, The Triangle, Somerset Mall, tel: 021 850 0080, email@example.com, GPS coordinates: -34.082971, 18.819894. It’s 77 km from Hermanus. Also try www.ironhorse.org.za. Or Donford Motorrad, Cnr R44/Webers Valley Road, Stellenbosch Square, Stellenbosch, tel 021 888 4200.
8. Are there any dangers along the route, e.g. loose gravel, potholes, sharp bends, oil spills, wild animals or angry locals? Please say where.
The dirt roads can be treacherous when mixed with the kind of rain that makes the farmers smile ear to ear. Apart from that, it’s a very safe route, in my opinion. Be careful of roadworks in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.
9. What did the trip cost in fuel, meals and accommodation? (Please state whether per person / per couple / for the group). We had the women (and Justus) with us, so we didn’t rough it. The seven of us rented a farmhouse near Caledon at R1 600 per night. The GS used about 20 litres over approximately 300 km. So the fuel bill (per bike) was R250.
10. Did you use any special gear, e.g. fuel bags, that made your journey possible, easier or more enjoyable?
No. This is a very gentle area – the opposite of crossing Namibia or Africa. No special gear required.
11. Any must-do activities on the route?
I don’t care much for Greyton, but chicks dig it.
12. Did anything funny happen that you’d like to share?
Our video rider, Stuntman Philip, happened to us. He’s an entertaining young man who makes no sense whatsoever first thing in the morning, as if he’s tripping on a illegal substance. The only way to get him out of bed is to convince him he’s on a Voortrekker camp. A few months later Philip was promoted to sales manager at Donford Motorrad BMW in Stellenbosch, so he can probably string a sentence together after 8:00 in the morning.
13. Do you have any other comments or advice about the route?
A little rain is okay, but heavy rains turn some of the roads into a test for man and… well, just for man.
14. Are there any doctors and/or hospitals in the area that you know of?
Hermanus Mediclinic (with 24-hour emergency centre), Hospital Street, Hermanus, tel: 28 313 0168, GPS coordinates: 34° 25′ 22.58” S, 19° 13′ 35.40” E. Dr Paul Mostert, 5 Victoria Street, Caledon, tel: 028 2121096