Although I owned several motorbikes over the past 13 years, I only used them for short distance commuting. Then in October 2007 I bought myself a BMW F650 GS Dakar .
On 1 December I joined a group of BMW drivers from Cape Town on a trip to Wuppertal. They all belong to the Cape Town BMW motorcycle club. The team consisted of three BMW 1200 GS, five BMW 1150GS, two BMW F650 GS Dakars, a normal BMW 650GS, 1x BMW R80 GS and a Honda African twin
I met up with the team in Ceres. First we had breakfast at the Wimpy. One of the riders had a flat rear tyre on his way to Ceres and first we waited for the tyre to be repaired.
We topped up with fuel at Ceres and Prince Alfred Hamlet, which is only about 10km out of Ceres. From Prince Alfred Hamlet we went up the Gydo Pass. As I already mentioned from one of our Karoo trips earlier the year, the views from the Gydo pass is spectacular. I found that riding in a group with a motorbikes limits the times I can stop to take photographs. Thus this report will have far less photographs than my other trips.
At “Op die Berg” we turned right into the Cederberge. The road is tar for another 9km and then become a gravel road. You can either turn right towards “Klein Cederberg” or continue with the road towards Wupperthal.
Where the tar stopped we all stopped to deflate the tyres for the gravel road and to get a briefing from the trip leader. We received some welcomed advice on how to drive on the gravel road. We were also warned that the views on the road is spectacular but that there are some sharp bends and if you look around too much you might get a nasty surprise.
From here the views are absolutely spectacular. I can see why we were warned not to look around too much.
Photograph taken by Geelkameel
We stopped at Oasis to rest and have something cold to drink. It was very hot, I am sure it must have been close to 40 degrees. Oasis is only a building next to the road. You can buy something to drink and to eat there.
At The Oasis
A couple of kilometers after Oasis turned right to Matjiesrivier onto “4×4 Jeep Track” This part of the road is a little more rough and not really suitable for normal cars. The little road was in a very bad condition and most of us were standing most of the way. At some places we encountered thick sand and water to cross. This takes a bit more concentration and caution than doing it with a 4×4.
Crossing a stream
On the "Jeep track" close to Eselbank
We reached Eselbank. I learned something new. Just after Eselbank there is a swimming hole. We stopped there for very welcome cold drinks, hot dogs and a swim. We relaxed for about an hour before continuing the journey.
Water hole at Eselbank
Time for a swim
BMW 1200 GS Adventure
From here the road became even more difficult. Just after Eselbank the real difficult part over the mountain starts. There were not many places to stop for photographs but I managed to take this one on the way down.
I must confess, it is a total different feeling going down this pass with a motorbike than with a 4×4. At some places you have a vertical drop right next to you if you drive in the right side track. Sometimes it feels as if the drop is pulling you to that side. Inside a vehicle it is a total different feeling, you feel much more save.
We finally arrived in Wuppertal. We stopped for some water and to my surprise we had to continue. We were camping on a farm close to Clanwilliam. So we still had to drive another odd R40km of very bad gravel road.
After a misunderstanding on the directions to the farm we arrived at “Bushmans Cave“. We received a warm welcome from our host, Erik de Milander. Erik laid out a very attractive camping site on his farm with a swimming pool and hot water showers. What more do you need after a hot day’s drive. To make things even better, Erik catered for us the evening. We had a wonderful braai with too much to eat.
It is very quiet and peaceful on the farm. It is far from any busy roads or towns.
After a good night’s rest Erik had breakfast ready for us the next morning. He told us about the unique Mountain Theater he built on his farm. It is regularly used for shows by locals artists and you can also use for for functions like weddings. It even had a honeymoon suite in one of the caves.
On our way to Clanwilliam we stopped at the Mountain Theater for a quick view.
The Honeymoon suite is at the red arrow
You can contact Erik on 027-482-2918
From here we headed back to Clanwilliam. From here the team split up. I went back home via Lambertsbaaie and the rest followed the Clanwilliam dam along the Olifantsrivier and then back to Cape Town.
All in all this was a marvelous trip. For the first time I realised what it takes to do 450km per day on a bike, much more than in a 4×4.