Bat out of Hel tour

Gamkaskloof, also known as Die Hel, tops the list of must-ride routes for many adventure bikers in South Africa. It lies in a secluded valley, deep in the imposing Swartberg mountains. Join us on a 4-day tour from Somerset West to Hell and back, from 18 to 21 October.

Total distance: 1070 km

Honda CRF250L crossing water
An instant bath for a Honda, September 2019

Day 1: Somerset West to Barrydale (Fri. 18 Oct.)

It’s a 330 km mix of tar and gravel. We start (10:00) in Somerset West and ride the beautiful Clarence Drive to Hermanus, Elim and Bredasdorp, before crossing the human-powered ferry at Malgas. Then we head north and sweep through the scenic Tradouw pass and on to our accommodation in Barrydale.

A Honda CRF1000L DCT on a gravel road
A quick pause near Bredasdorp, to admire the clouds and listen to the silence

Day 2: Barrydale to Gamkaskloof (Sat. 19 Oct.)

After breakfast (08:00) at the amazing Diesel & Crème, we ride east on the R62 and make a quick stop at Ronnie’s Sex Shop for those who want a photo or more caffeine. In Calitzdorp we refuel and then say goodbye to the tar road as we aim for the spectacular Swartberg pass. After the descent north of the summit, we enter the road to die Hel. This ride is the highlight of the tour, taking three mesmerizing hours. Distance day two: 240 km.

A BMW GS motorcycle at Boplaas Cellars, Calitzdorp
A pause for supplies at Boplaas Cellars, Calitzdorp

Day 3: Gamkaskloof to Zoar (Sun. 20 Oct.)

We have the entire morning to explore the area as we will only depart at 13:00. We’ll take the same (and only) road from Gamkaskloof to the Swartberg Pass, enjoy coffee in Calitzdorp and overnight near Zoar. Distance: 150 km.

Honda CRF250 on top of Swartberg pass en route to Gamkaskloof
The summit of the Swartberg pass. Beyond lies the road to Die Hel.

Day 4: Zoar to Somerset West (Mon. 21 Oct.)

We’ll depart at 9:00 and ride to nearby Ladismith. About 30 km later we’ll leave the tar and ride towards the Anysberg nature reserve, before crossing its southern tip. Two hours later we’ll reach Montagu, pass through Robertson, Villiersdorp, and end our journey in Somerset West. Distance: 350 km.

Cost of tour: R 4 950

Ford Ranger Raptor and Honda CRF250L on Elands Pass, Gamkaskloof (Die Hel)
Riding is more fun when your luggage is on a truck.

What’s included?

All accommodation, bedding and meals, luggage/backup vehicle, guide, technician (incl. tyre repairs), Jerrycans.

A sign says you've reached Die Hel.
Cape Nature says you’ve arrived in Gamkaskloof.

 

What’s excluded?

Motorcycle, fuel, snacks.

Required

You will need an adventure or dual-sport bike and gravel riding experience.

Kruisrivier Gallery en route to Gamkaskloof
Roger Young’s Kruisrivier Gallery, near the Swartberg Pass

What to bring: Full riding gear and boots, a towel, suntan lotion, sunglasses, personal medication.

Please note: The trip requires a minimum of five and a maximum of eight riders. The route to and from the Swartberg pass can be modified at the discretion of the organiser. Important: No consumption of alcohol will be allowed before or while riding.

To book: E-mail justus@bikeroutes.co.za, call +27 82 440 4410 or contact us on facebook.com/bikeroutescoza.

Klipspringer on the road to Die Hel
This klipspringer was completely unperturbed by bike or bakkie.
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