1. Total distance of route?
508 km in total, of which about 180 km are gravel roads.
2. How long did it take to complete? Were you going fast or travelling leisurely?
Two days. I started the Saturday morning at 07:00 and arrived at my overnight destination at 15:00. On tar I was averaging 100 km/h, but I rode slowly on the gravel roads. On Sunday I departed at 10:30 and arrived back in Melkbosstrand (home) at 15:30. I stopped often to enjoy the scenery.
3. Why do you recommend?
The gravel road is off the beaten track and there are lots of connecting roads to explore close to Kromrivier and the surrounding area. There are four tarred mountain passes, a small gravel pass just before Kromrivier farm. The gravel roads in general are windy and exciting to ride.
4. Please tell us how the route runs.
Start in Melkbosstrand or Cape Town and travel towards the N7. Follow the N7 through Malmesbury, pass Moreesburg and Piketberg and turn off the N7 into Citrusdal. In Citrusdal, turn left into Voortrekker street. Just outside Citrusdal this becomes a gravel road. About 27 km from Citrusdal you will reach a four-way stop – go straight ahead. After about 20 km you will turn right towards Algeria. (Relax, you won’t need a visa. – ed). Continue for about 50 km and take the Kromrivier turn on your right. A few kilometres down a small gravel pass and you will reach Kromrivier farm.
From the campsite, continue on the road you came in on – it leads to a T-junction where you turn right. From here the road takes you all the way to the small town of Op die Berg. Continue to Ceres and from Ceres towards Wellington/Worcester. Go towards Wellington and over the Bain’s Kloof pass. From Wellington, join the R44, then the R312, the R304 and onto Malmesbury Road towards Philadelphia. Proceed through Philadelphia. From here you join the N7 back to Cape Town.
5. What kind of motorcycle is the route suitable for?
The route is suitable for dual-sport, adventure and enduro bikes. I rode my BMW 650 X-Country.
6. Please name significant points of interest.
The stretch next to the Clanwilliam dam is beautiful. The Cederberg area offers plenty of accommodation – http://www.cederberg.co.za/accommodation.html
I enjoyed staying at Kromrivier. Kromrivier has a little shop and you could have some meals there as well. There is a variety of activities on most of the guest farms.
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 a petrol station in Citrusdal. Kromrivier informed me that petrol is available at the neighbouring farm, Driehoek at S 32º26’35” E 19º11’24”. (Phone Driehoek on 027 482 2828 before you arrive.) Fuel is also available at Op die Berg during work hours, but possibly not on Sundays.
8. Are there any dangers along the route?
Nothing dangerous, but I noticed lots of tyre trenches on the clay-rich dirt roads, indicating that riders struggled when the roads were wet.
9. What did the trip cost in fuel, meals and accommodation?
Fuel – R320 (R10.69 per litre)
Food (2 x lunch, dinner and breakfast), beer, wood – R235
Accommodation – R150
Total – R705 per person
10. Did you use any special gear or equipment?
I used OruxMaps, an Android phone application, to follow the route I had planned and it recorded the route as I travelled. It’s a useful tracking and navigating application that can export your route as a gpx or kml file. You can also use OruxMaps to download map sections from Google maps, to save on your phone if your route takes you beyond cell phone reception.
11. Any must-do activities on the route?
Stop as often as your schedule allows and enjoy the beautiful scenery and peacefulness of isolated gravel roads. See point 12.
12. Do you have any other comments or advice about the route?
If you can devote three days to this route, you will have a day to explore Kromrivier Park.
13. Are there any doctors and/or hospitals in the area that you know of?
Citrusdal Hospital: +27 22 921 2153/4/5
GPS: 32° 35′ 17.86″ S; 19° 00′ 43.77″ E
Ceres Medical Centre: +27 23 316 1728 / 1211
Marais, Laubscher & Kruger, Ceres: +27 23 312 1350
Ride report by Riaan Greyvenstein