Brits, Vaalwater, Thabazimbi – 1 or 2 days (dual)

Southern side of Marakele National Park and some bad weather approaching.

1. Total distance of route and date of ride?

649 km, 2012-10-27

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

It took a full nine hour day. It could easily been more, but there was a lot of tar on the way back. And I kept it pinned to get out of the rain. So this would probably be a great route to do over two days.

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

It’s a full day of riding. It takes you out the city and on some great gravel roads. It’s also a fantastic adventure route full of training opportunities with thick sand and rocky bits.

On the way to Rooiberg.
Northern border of Marakele National Park. Hopefully you like sand.
4. Please tell us how the route runs.

Refer to map for detail as many of the roads are less travelled gravel roads.
The day started in Pretoria but the trip actually in Brits. Head north-east out of Brits towards the Brits Airport. Keep on this road towards Jericho. Just outside Jericho turn off to the left towards Borakala Game Reserve. You can’t pass through the reserve, but you can work your way around it towards Rooiberg. From here keep on moving north to Marakele National Park. Pass Marakele on its western boundary and then on the northern side. Work your way through to the R517 just north of Vaalwater. From Vaalwater ride towards Thabazimbi while staying on the southern border of Marakele. From Thabazimbi take the R511 back to Brits.

Borakalalo Game Reserve’s gate.
Between Rooiberg and Marakele National Park.
5. What kind of motorcycle is the route suitable for.

Adventure bikes. And bikers with basic skills to go off the tar. On this trip you will ride everything; sand, rocks, water and damaged bridges.

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

Just to see a genuine, untouched mountain outside Gauteng was amazing. There was weird scarecrows hooked onto fences and hanging in tree’s keeping an eye on my trip.

Rooiberg is a very interesting little village with a shop and garage. Some great places to stay around there. Have a look here.

Vaalwater is another nice Bushveld town. Have a look here of what to do and where to stay.

This region has some fantastic things to do and places to overnight. Have a look at this site if you want to sleep over somewhere along the route.

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

There is enough fuel. You can fill-up in Rooiberg. They have one private owned petrol station there. Vaalwater has fuel and Thabazimbi also.

Northern border of Marakele National Park. It feels like the middle of nowhere.
Southern side of Marakele National Park on the way to Thabazimbi.
Northern border of Marakele National Park . On the way to the R517.
8. Are there any dangers along the route, e.g. loose gravel, potholes, sharp bends, oil spills, wild animals  or angry locals?

Yes warning lights should come up after leaving the Borakalalo Game Reserve. It’s really sandy from there. Around Rooiberg is where it’s getting rocky. The roads around Marakele should also be taken with caution.

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

Fuel was R520 and some pancakes in Rooiberg R12.

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

Always have my little med packs, water packs and tire repair kits at hand.

11. Did anything funny happen that you’d like to share?

Yes, I had one really awesome spill. What made it funny was that I was warned.

I stopped at Rooiberg and a man started talking to me about my trip and where I was going. He warned me that the roads were quite wild. He warned me about wild pigs running around. And about a two-spoor road which suddenly becomes a gorgeous road and then again very sandy around a corner. In that corner a lot of bikers goes down.

So I did see the pigs and some buck. I did travel on the two-spoor road. I did get to the lovely dirt road. I did speed and I did fall. LOL

The sand pit. Northern border of Marakele National Park.
Nothern border of Marakele National Park. The bridge is gone, but there is a stone wall made for crossing.
Southern side of Marakele National Park, Bakkers Pass.
12. Do you have any other comments or advice about the route?

Take pictures and have fun. It’s a nice day route with everything to get you out of your comfort zone and give you that adventure feeling.

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

Brits Hospital – 012 252 3311, GPS Co-Ordinates:  25° 38´ 41.97″ S; 27° 46´ 46.74″ E

Thabazimbi Hospital – 014 – 777 1599, GPS Co-Ordinates:  24° 35´ 52.74″ S; 27° 24´ 24.60″ E

Vaalwater Clinic – 014 755 3839, Sanddrift Road

Keep an emergency number on your cell phone.

Southern side of Marakele National Park, Bakkers Pass.
Western border of Marakele National Park.
Southern side of Marakele National Park.

The rider – Gideon Rossouw

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