Melkbosstrand, Piketberg, Darling – day trip (adventure bike)

1. Total distance of route?

360km – 110km on gravel.

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

It took me 6,5 hours, with many stops. I rode leisurely. On gravel I kept it between 40km/h and 80km/h.

3. Why do you recommend this route?

The Versveld Pass is beautiful. Piketberg mountain is quite interesting at its summit, at Piket-Bo-Berg, with its villages and farming activities.

Versveld Pass
4. The route

The route starts from Melkbosstrand beach front. Get onto the R27 and continue north for 19,9 km and turn right at the sign marked “Darling” (right across the Grotto Bay turn-off). From here it is a gravel road for about 13 km. When you reach the tar road  T-junction, turn left towards Darling. Continue through Darling and turn right at the “Yzerfontein, Saldanha, Vredenburg” sign. After 700 m turn right onto the gravel road. After 5,9 km, turn right at the fork and continue for another 20 km, where you must take a right at the next fork. At the next four-way stop turn left and ride 5,5 km on the tar road before turning right onto a gravel road marked “Koringberg”. Continue for 29 km where you will drive into the small town of Koringdorp. Turn left just after the shop called “Spaza Winkel”. Ride for 2,6 km and turn right when you have a farm house on your right. Ride for 4,5 km until you reach the N7. Turn left towards Piketberg. Continue until you reach a traffic circle where you will make a left at the first exit.  Turn right onto the R366. After 2 km turn left up Versveld pass. Ride up and explore the Piket–Bo–Berg area.
When coming back, pass through Piketberg and turn right towards Cape Town. Turn right  towards Moreesburg after 26 km. About 2,7 km outside of Moreesburg turn right onto the R307 gravel road and continue on this road for 37 km to Darling. Make a left at Darling main road and continue towards Mamre. Just after Mamre turn right at the sign “Cape Town”. When you reach the R27 turn left towards Melkbosstrand.

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

Adventure or enduro. 110km of this route is on gravel road that are sandy at stages and in the Moreesberg area there is a lot of clay. The bike I used was the BMW 650 Sertao. I won’t recommend doing this route without knobbly tyres.

6.  Please name significant POIs (Points Of Interest) along the way, e.g. eateries, supermarkets, accommodation.

On the first stretch of gravel road you will get Groote Post wine farm. In Darling go check out the Darling Brewery at 5 Main Road. Piket-Bo-Berg offers accommodation, hiking trails, fishing spots and horse riding.

7. Are there petrol stations along the way?

There are petrol stations in Piketberg, Darling and Moreesberg.

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

I saw small buck running across and along the gravel stretches. Be very careful of the clay gravel roads when wet, they are extremely slippery. (The rider, Riaan, knows what he’s talking about, as he got a really close look at the clay. – Ed.)

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

R250 per person. This includes fuel and snacks bought to enjoy on route.

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

I used Oruxmaps, an android phone app, to follow the route that I had planned. I also used it to record the route. It’s works well for tracking and navigation. You can use it to exports your route as a GPX or KML file. You can also download sections of maps from Google maps to save on your phone if you are going to be without cellphone reception.

11.  Any must-do activities on the route?

Stop somewhere along Versveld Pass and enjoy the scenery.

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

Once you have explored the summit of Piketberg mountain, instead of retracing your steps, see if you can return by following the dirt road starting at Langeberg road. Please note this section would only be possible if there are no locked gates. (You might have to get permission to ride here.) This will lead you to the N7 again.

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

Piketberg Medical Centre, tel: 022 9131146, GPS – 32.9091650, 18.7547420

Melkbosstrand beach front

Route submitted in 2012 by Riaan Greyvenstein

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