Secret Passes of the Karoo Tour

Karoo Passes Tour: 1 to 6 March 2019

Would you like to ride six isolated yet spectacular gravel passes and experience the Karoo like never before? Do you want to put your new (or old) adventure bike to the test, without concern about getting lost and where you’ll eat or sleep? If you’ve answered ‘maybe!’ to one of these questions, join us on the Bike Routes Karoo Passes Tour, 1 to 6 March 2019.

Bikers riding up Gannaga Pass in the Tankwa Karoo
Gannaga pass in the Tankwa Karoo is one of the passes on our route.

Who, where and what

The route meanders through some of the Karoo’s most scenic parts and crosses six of its most spectacular gravel passes, including the Ouberg, Molteno and Gannaga passes. Two of the passes we will ride are well hidden and known to just a few lucky people.

We will be a small pack of seven to ten riders. We will ride smooth, well-maintained dirt roads, but also exciting, lesser-known trails. Some of these roads require special permission that we negotiate with farmers in the region.

Karelskraal Pass
Karelskraal Pass. Picture yourself and your bike here.

Riders will sleep in comfortable beds and be served two hearty meals (breakfast and dinner) each day. A double-cab bakkie (pickup) with bike trailer will follow behind the riders, so you don’t have to carry your luggage or extra fuel.

Your guide  on the lead bike – will be Willem van der Berg, an experienced tour leader for Weg! and Go! (magazines) and Mpafa Travel.

Willem van der Berg with two BMW adventure bikes
Willem van der Berg will be the guide and lead rider on this tour.

Duration

This is a 5-day tour. This excludes travel time from your home to where the tour starts and your return journey.

A motorcycle riding a gravel road on the secret karoo passes tour
All bike brands are welcome, but a range of at least 300 km to a tank is advised.

Experience needed

Riders need to have experience of riding dirt roads of varying quality. Riding with a pillion (passenger) is not recommended. If you don’t have the required experience yet, we can recommend a riding coach in your area. That way you can still join us after some training. Don’t leave it too late!

Where the tour starts and ends

We meet at the Lord Carnarvon Hotel in Carnarvon (Northern Cape) between 14:00 and 16:00 on 1 March 2019. We’ll enjoy dinner at Lord’s Kitchen that evening, overnight in Carnarvon and start day 1 the next morning. The tour will also end at the Lord Carnarvon Hotel, on 6 March (day 5). If you wish to transport your bike to Carnarvon on a trailer, we will arrange secure storage for your car and trailer. Carnarvon is 866 km from Johannesburg, 540 km from Bloemfontein and 600 km from Cape Town.

Day 1: Carnarvon to Beaufort West

We start with easy but interesting gravel roads to Loxton before heading in the direction of Beaufort West. But before we reach the town we’ll turn off to ride the beautiful, hidden Trapvoet pass. We overnight in Beaufort West.

Sheep on a gravel road near Beaufort West
Heavy traffic near Beaufort West

Day 2: Beaufort West to Merweville

From Beaufort West we scale the Molteno pass before riding towards Fraserburg. Before we reach the town, we change course to travel south and through Oukloof. We have lunch in the kloof and there might be a chance to splash through a small river. Now we follow wide, open gravel roads to Merweville where we overnight at the Springbok Lodge – think bonfires and Karoo chops on the braai.

Merweville in the Karoo
The town of Merweville, where we will overnight at the Springbok Lodge.

Day 3: Merweville to Sutherland

We won’t cover a great distance today, but ride a largely unknown Jeep track over a spectacular mountain pass. After lunch in Sutherland there’s time to relax and after dinner we’ll go stargazing at Oom Jurg’s place.

Day 4: Sutherland to Gannaga pass

This will be a big day, with Ouberg Pass and exciting gravel tracks lying in wait. We will stop for lunch at the well-known Tankwa-padstal (farm stall). From here we ride through the Tankwa Karoo national park and up the magnificent Gannaga pass. We overnight at the top of the pass at Gannaga Lodge.

Day 5: Tankwa to Carnarvon

Today we visit the tiny hamlet of Middelpos before we ride to Williston on smooth gravel roads. Quick lunch at the Manna restaurant before we take on our last stretch to Carnarvon, through a unknown but lovely part of the Karoo called Perdekloof. Tonight is our last dinner and a small prize-giving function!

What’s included and excluded

COST: R9 900 per rider. Because of the (moderate) difficulty level of the route, we recommend that you tour without a pillion rider. But speak to us if you’ll miss her or him too much.

INCLUDED: Dinner, breakfast, a warm and comfy bed, a backup vehicle, an expert guide and access to roads few have access to.

EXCLUDED: Fuel, bike or bike rental, lunch, snacks and drinks.

Joining us?

If you would like to join us on tour or receive more information and the terms and conditions, e-mail justus@bikeroutes.co.za or call +27 82 440 4410. Willem can be reached on +27 82 906 5784 or e-mail wn.vanderberg@gmail.com. Also feel free to discuss bike rentals with us if you will be joining us from another country or do not own a suitable bike.

A BMW F800GS coming up for air
Get in touch to reserve your place. Your bike will be jumping with joy.
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