Pretoria, Groot and Klein Karoo, Pretoria – 12 days (adventure bikes)

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1. Total distance of route and date of ride?

3 965 km. 13 – 23 September 2013

2. How long did it take to complete?

The whole trip lasted 11 days. We rode for three days to actually get to the Karoo. Then we rode for six days through the Karoo and it took us two days to get back to Pretoria. The pace of the route changed with the landscape, but most of the time we took it easy.

3. Why do you recommend this route?

Any biker can complete this route. It is not meant for skilled riders only and it does not require knobbly tyres. However, you need to be cautious of inclines and rocky roads. Also, should it rain, it will be a very interesting trip! The journey was extra special because of all the time in the saddle and days ending in the company of good friends.

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On Gannaga Pass near Middelpos
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The Tankwa Karoo in bloom
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The Dorpshuis in Calitzdorp
4. Please tell us how the route runs.

Day 1: Pretoria, Heilbron, Reitz, Paul Roux, Senekal, Marquard, Brandford, Bloemfontein (663 km)

Day 2: Bloemfontein (rest day)

Day 3: Bloemfontein, Reddersburg, Bethulie, Venterstad, Morning Glory guest farm (249 km)

Day 4: Gariep Dam, Colesberg, Richmond, Victoria West, Loxton, Jakhalsdans guest farm (435 km)

Day 5: Jakhalsdans guest farm, Loxton, Fraserburg, Middelpos, Tankwa Karoo national park (371 km)

Day 6: Tankwa Karoo national park, Sutherland, Laingsburg, Matjiesvlei (397 km)

Day 7: Matjiesvlei, Calitzdorp, Groenkloof, The Hell, Prince Albert (160 km)

Day 8: Prince Albert, Willowmore, Steytlerville, Jansenville (385 km)

Day 9: Jansenville, Pearson, Cradock, Venterstad, Gariep dam, Morning Glory guest farm (361 km)

Day 10: Morning Glory guest farm, Venterstad, Bethulie, Wepener, Ladybrand, Ficksburg, Fouriesburg (475 km)

Day 11: Fouriesburg, Clarens, Kestell, Reitz, Frankfort, Villiers, Balfour, Nigel, Springs, Pretoria (468 km)

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

The trip is suitable for any dual-purpose or adventure bike.

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Some more flowers in the Tankwa Karoo
6. Please name significant points of interest along the way, e.g. eateries, supermarkets, accommodation.

Places we stayed at:

Gariep Dam: Morning Glory guest farm; morningglorycottages.co.za, 051 654 0302

Loxton: Jakhalsdans game & guest farm; jakhalsdans.co.za, 053 381 3005

Tankwa Karoo national park: Elandsberg; sanparks.org.za, 027 341 1927

Calitzdorp: Matjiesvlei; matjiesvlei.co.za, 082 733 4556

Prince Albert: Bushman Valley; bushmanvalley.com, 082 452 8134

Jansenville: Angora Lodge; jansenvillehotel.co.za, 049 836 0243

7. Are there petrol stations and motorcycle repair shops along the way?

There were more than enough petrol stations along the route. In Loxton you have to fill up at the Koöperasie. It opens at 07:00 and close at 17:00.

The tiny town of Middelpos is owned by Koos and Helena van der Westhuizen. There’s fuel, but the pump isn’t open all hours. Give them a ring to confirm stock and business hours: 027 341 2505/7.

There’s a workshop in Willowmore and they work on bikes too. It’s Zaaymans Garage, which is the Engen petrol station too; 044 923 1007.

8. Are there any dangers along the route?

Be cautious on all the roads. We did not experience a lot of loose sand but there were quit a bit of rocks.

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Ouberg Pass near Sutherland
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On the way to Sutherland
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Seweweekspoort Pass, as the sign indicates
9. What did the trip cost in fuel, meals and accommodation?

My petrol expenses were R 2 400.
R1 500 was spending money.
All our accommodation, breakfasts and evening braais came to R 2 100 per person.
So, my total spend came to R 6 500.

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

All bikes carried tools for maintenance. We could do tyre repairs and minor repairs.

11. Any must-do activities on the route?

With a smaller group you would have more time to enjoy more of the places. All of these small towns have many interesting things to see and do, and great places for something to eat and drink. Take time to explore the towns to see what they offer.

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Near Prince Albert
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A straigh-as-an-arrow road, typical of the Karoo
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On the Lesotho border
12. Did anything funny happen that you’d like to share?

We were doing repairs to a bike and I was playing with a socket and power bar. It slipped and hit the mechanic on the head. His only response was, “I’ll be done soon”.

13. Any other comments about the route?

Take it slow.

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

One member of our group had a nasty fall. We got a lot of help from the local farmers. We phoned Bloemfontein MediClinic as it was a struggle to get hold of a local doctor.

Bloemfontein MediClinic: 051 401 6666
George MediClinic: 044 803 2000
Beaufort West public hospital, Voortrekker Street, Beaufort West

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The Tankwa Karoo
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Near Steytlerville

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Ride report by Gideon Rossouw

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