4168 εμφανίσεις, 24 αποθηκεύσεις
κοντά στην περιοχή Green Point, Western Cape (Republic of South Africa)
During February 2014 we cycled through the southern part of South Africa, from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. Distance approximately 1800km, 25.500 altitude meter, 23 bicycling days, total journey four and half weeks.
Great journey; a long green coastal line in the south, with a semi-arid environment (steppe climate) above it. This is about wilderness, animals, townships, friendly people, altitude meters, great rock formations, campsites, gravel roads and a very interesting but complex history with several ‘coloured’ and ‘white’ cultures involved. Away from the Cape area, more to the North, you will find good roads that are in fact very quiet. A good example is ‘route 62’(www.route62.co.za/). Where the road becomes more busy, there are mostly alternatives via gravel roads.
A planned trip to this country will definitely result in people asking you about safety when riding your bike through South Africa. People in South Africa react quite ‘neurotic’ when it comes to ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’ area’s. Although you should not become naive in such a complex rich-versus-poor society (definitely not always, but mostly the equivalent of white-versus-coloured), one person explained us that the newspapers are always full with ‘bad things that has happened the previous day’. This has led to the perception of local people that you are at risk the moment you enter an unknown area. We personally have never experienced one single problem during these weeks; neither one other couple and two individuals that were on a bike holiday as well. Good to known as well, is that several (Dutch) traveling organizations do offer individual and group cycling holidays through this part of South Africa. But as you can notice from the words that I have spent on this issue so far, you should use your common sense during your cycling trip in this country.
If you drop me an email (email@example.com), I can send you the individual daily tracks. These all end with a campsite, hotel or bed & breakfast where you can spend the night. The country is dotted with campsites, from that perspective it is very useful to bring your tent. A few of these tracks do need a bit more information:
[03 Muizenberg - Paarl]: since you are just leaving the cape, especially the first part of the track (the R310) is really busy. With this reason we went to parallel roads that were much better. If you follow this track, you will ride your bike straight through Khayelitsha via the M32. This could be a bit overwhelming, since Khayelitsha is the largest township in whole South Africa (see Wikipedia). There is even a book about it, Khayelitsha: UMlungu in a Township by Steven Otter, a white man living in this township. It only takes a few minutes to get through and we only received smiles from people at the junction with the M9, that were selling goods at passing cars. If you still want to avoid this ‘experience’ in this initial stage of the bike trip, you need to find yourself a different route.
[11 PrinceAlbert-Oudtshoorn]: after Prince Albert, we decided to drive to the coast for the so-called ‘Garden route’ between George and Knysna. After the Garden route, we went up again for the Baviaanskloof (see next point). We did not consider the Garden route as a ‘must see’; it is definitely not in our top-10 experiences. If you have less time, you could decide here to take the tar road from De Rust to the N9 and continue the journey from there.
[16 Baviaanskloof]: the Baviaanskloof is considered as ‘the last real wilderness of South Africa’. It consists out of two parts; the first part were you can easily ride your bike, and a second part which is the real wilderness in a National Park with a gate to enter. We were not allowed to enter the park with bicycles. The reason for this are the buffalo’s in the park, which could be potentially dangerous. Buffalo’s do attack without any initial warning (we were told). But we knew that others actually did go through this part of the Baviaanskloof. There is even an organised MTB-event, called the ‘trans Baviaans’ (www.transbaviaans.co.za). Local people living in the area just walk through the park. Discussing the issue further, the ranger gave us the change to continue at our own risk. At the end we decided not to take the risk. We found a driver of a pick-up that took us through this amazing park, full with abundant wildlife; a must see! Our driver told us that the road had become really bad, due to floodings. In previous months he would drive through the park within one hour, now it took us three and half hours. It definitely would have cost us a minimum 2 days to get through the park by packed-bicycles, maybe even three. There are campsites, so this is not a problem if you are not in a hurry. So, up to you! The Baviaanskloof can easily be avoided by taking the Southern R62 that runs from Avontuur (just below Uniondale). Someone told us that this is a quite road. I think this road is still considered to be a part of ‘Route 62’.
[21 PortAlfred-Ocean View Camping]: check this track before hand; it is the only one that we had to go back for a few kilometres since we were looking at a closed gate. The camping where it ends is the most amazing camping that you can think of.
- By your GPS map at http://tracks4africa.co.za/; it contains all the details that you are looking for, including all campsites. We did find it handy to print some Base Camp screen shots where campsites are beforehand, just to have the overview.
- Paper map of the Western Cape: Map Studio 1:500.000. A detailed map of the Eastern Cape somehow we were not able to find. Did you know that you can have a scanned version of a paper map in your GPS Oregon? That works great. It is done in two steps. The first step is to put the needed GPS coordinates on the digital version of the paper map through Google Earth; see www.garmin.com/us/products/onthetrail/custommaps#fragment-2. After that you can cut a large map into small pieces with G-raster http://moagu.com/?page_id=155. Now you can take the map in your GPS device.
- Buy a local SIM; it is handy for making reservations. You can buy one locally, but you need to register with the police then. You can also register beforehand, see www.b4igo.travel/home/
-For more pictures: www.flickr.com/photos/119944846@N08/albums/72157642116371993
-A good book about the history: A Rainbow in the Night: The Tumultuous Birth of South Africa by Dominique Lapierre
Drop me an email afterwards whether this worked for you. Drop me an email as well if you have a GPS track in another part of the world from which you think we should cycle that one as well.
Jeffrey Sipma and Jose Lambermon, the Netherlands