We meet at our home base in Edenvale, east of Johannesburg, Gauteng, at 08h00 to load our support vehicle with luggage and essentials. Over refreshments we will have a debriefing session and a chance to meet fellow participants. We leave at 09h00 to avoid Johannesburg’s early morning traffic travelling on the on the freeway in an easterly direction towards Mpumalanga (where the Sun rises), one of South Africa’s 9 provinces. This area of Mpumalanga is known as the Highveld (approximately 1700 metres above sea-level) and is a farming and coal mining area. We will pass Witbank, famous for the Churchill Shaft where Winston Churchill was hidden during his escape from Pretoria to Lourenco Marques during the Anglo-Boer War. South Africa is the 5th largest coal producer in the world with much of it for export, whilst the rest of it is used to generate electricity in the power stations you will see scattered around the countryside. South Africa has only one nuclear power station which is in Cape Town. One of the world’s biggest stainless steel producers (Highveld Steel) is situated in a town called Middelburg. We stop for refreshments and chat about our steeds and relax! We continue our journey eastwards on the freeway to Belfast and turn off towards Dullstroom. Belfast was named after Belfast, Northern Ireland. Your guide will give the history of this town. Dullstroom is about ½ hour ride from Belfast and is an arty trout fishing village with many of its streets lined with Elm and Beech trees. Many people from the city escape to Dullstroom over the weekends. We will book into our overnight accommodation. After settling in, we will meet at a very good trout restaurant for lunch (own account). There is plenty to see in Dullstroom. We will meet again for sundowners, get something to eat and retire for the evening.
We meet for breakfast at 08h00 to prepare for departure at 09h00. The scenery changes from here becoming hilly with nice serpentine roads. The country-side is scattered with willow-lined trout stocked dams. There are a number of Anglo-Boer battle sites and graveyards here and we will stop to pay our respects to the fallen heroes. In Lydenburg, (“the place of sorrow" in Afrikaans) is of great historical importance to the Afrikaner (descendants of the Dutch). Your guide will give you the history of this town during the Anglo-Boer War, the significance of its position on the 26th parallel. You will see an early armoury and Voortrekker buildings. After refreshments, we will begin our trip to Sabie over the Long Tom Pass (2,150 ,mts). We will visit the Lydenburg Museum renowned for its early clay masks, (circa 490 AD) and stone structures built by early Black inhabitants. The crest of the mountain of Long Tom Pass will present the spectacle of South Africa’s man-made pine forests lying before us. On a clear day, the Lowveld where the Kruger National Park lies, is clearly visible and the mountains separating South Africa and Mozambique can be seen. The twists and turns of the Long Tom Pass is motorcycling heaven! We will stop to view the replica of the Long Tom Gun and incidentally (for birders), a colony of the rare and illusive Blue Swallow migrate from Europe to here. Sabie (“the place of fear”) is a forestry town with an excellent forestry museum. The historic church, designed by Sir Herbert Baker, built by Italian prisoners-of-war, is worth a visit. After settling into our most pleasant country resort with its cottages spread around the estate, we will rest up a while before taking a ride to the Lone Creek Falls. We will have sundowners and dinner at the Woodsman Pub where all bikers meet.
Today, after breakfast, we hit the roads of the Mpumalanga Panorama Route (regarded by most motorcyclists as being some of the best motorcycling roads in the world) and let’s pray for brilliant weather because the scenery is just too incredible! We travel to Graskop (google Mpumalanga Panorama Route) and view Pinnacle Rock and God’s Window where the fit can run up to the top of the hill and enter a rain forest! We visit the Lisbon Falls, the Three Rondawels view site and Bourke’s Luck Potholes. After a 45-minute hike down to these potholes and return, we will have refreshments. Lunch will be had in Graskop at one of the famous pancake houses. After lunch, we ride to the historic gold-mining town of Pilgrim’s Rest which is worth a visit. Alec (Wheelbarrow) Patterson was the first gold prospector to enter this valley and pitched his tent at Peach Tree Creek. When the word got out that there was great deposits of alluvial gold, approximately 1,500 prospectors streamed into the valley creating an instant tent-town with all the glamour and festive atmosphere when people become instant millionaires overnight. We will go to the cemetery to view the famous Robber’s Grave – it was an unwritten rule that you do not steal from your fellow prospector, but the thief decided otherwise and was chased out of town, but he returned and was promptly shot. He was buried where he fell and he lies at 90 degrees to the other graves of the dearly departed. For English soccer fans, The Old Trafford Sports Ground will be a highlight and the replica shops of the period will delight you. It is customary for our groups to have a beer in the pub that was once a Church! After this outing, we return to our accommodation in Sabie to rest and meet for dinner later which will be a typical South African braai (barbeque). Friends of the Classic Motorcycle fraternity in South Africa, who live in Sabie, will be invited to join us this evening. Guaranteed a great time!
The road to Hazyview from Sabie passes through man-made forests of Eucalyptus and Pine and sub-tropical plantations of bananas, papaya, mangoes, litchis, nuts and other sub-tropical fruit. We stop at an adventure centre where you might want to abseil, do white water rafting, quad-biking and other activities – OR we can proceed to Hazyview and visit an Elephant sanctuary where you can experience a close encounter with these wonderful creatures (activities for your own account). Lunch will be had in Hazyview after booking into our accommodation at the upmarket Numbi Hotel which is run by the Fick family – members of the motorcycling community. We would like to take you to a Shangaan Cultural Village for dinner (hopefully it will be open) where you will have a chance to meet the Chief, dance with the maidens and have a Sangoma throw the bones and predict your future – otherwise dine at a decent steak house.
Today we depart in an open safari vehicle early between 05h00 – 06h00 to arrive at KNP as the gates open. We arrive early to find what excitement the night has brought (lions hunt at night)! The Southern part of KNP where we will be visiting is renowned for its animals and the likelihood of finding the Big 5, is possible. The birdlife is interesting and colourful. Stopping at Skukuza Camp or at a local picnic spot, we will take a breather and eat our pre-packed breakfast. Skukuza has a very good curio and gift shop where you can pick up that T-Shirt you promised your mother-in-law! We will spend the day in KNP and your Ranger/guide will fill you in with facts and figures and take you for lunch (own account). Late afternoon, we will return to Numbi Hotel, relax, swim or go for a ride and meet up at dinner.
After breakfast we take the R40 to the pretty little town of White River. We will visit the Casterbridge Centre – very French in its appearance with quaint craft shops and a motor museum. After this visit, we travel to Nelspruit, the capital of Mpumalanga, and have an early lunch in a shopping centre allowing those ladies on the trip to do a quick shop before taking off to visit the famous Chimp Eden. This Jane Goodall Rehabilitation Centre is an interesting and entertaining place to visit as Chimpanzees share 95% of their DNA with humans! Their antics will remind you of your cousin, Rodney, back home! Barberton is an early gold mining town and the home of the Barberton Daisy and is the Genesis of Life. During its heyday of the 1870’s, it produced colourful characters like that of Cockney Liz. Cockney Liz, a famous bartender, would sell herself to the highest bidder for her favours, but most times, she managed to get them so inebriated, that they lost out. She ended up as an extremely wealthy lady, owning hotels and canteens in the town. We will overnight at the Barberton Chalets, owned by a fellow restorer and collector of classic motorcycles. Here there is a great relationship with Charles Glass (South Africa’s master brewer). For those wishing to have a little flutter on the one-armed bandits, they can enjoy this at the local hotel.
After breakfast, we do a tour of this historic mining town before riding up the Saddleback Pass through the Umjeje Mountains to the Swaziland border. This area is known as the Genesis of Life, with the earliest rock formation in the world – 4,3-billion years old! The border crossing at Bulumbu is normally a quick and painless event. The landlocked Kingdom of Swaziland is the second smallest country in Africa (17,000 sq.kms) (bordered by Mozambique and South Africa) and ruled by His Majesty King Mswati III. He is the last absolute ruler in Africa. He and his 1-million subjects still follow strong cultural and traditional practises whilst embracing a Western lifestyle. Swaziland gained independence from Britain in 1968 but has maintained many British administrative systems and English is one of the two official languages, the other being siSwati. The 25 kms dirt road to Piggs Peak will have been tarred, we hope, when we next visit. We travel through magnificent mountain countryside through the valley of the Maguga Dam, where young children upon seeing us, dance with tree branches attached to their legs! If you appreciate their dancing, please give them pens or T-Shirts for their efforts – no money or sweets, please! The road is very scenic while ascending this mountainous terrain. After lunch at the Ngwenya Glass Factory, where we have a chance to see the glass-blowing artists at work, we have time for a bit of retail therapy at their factory shop! A one-hour scenic ride will bring us to the Forrester’s Arms Hotel. This colonial hotel which is set in a forest and beautiful garden, is just the place to relax. We meet in the pub for pre-dinner drinks. After dinner, the coffee and liqueurs on the veranda is a wonderful way to finish the day.
The day is spent in the Ezulweni Valley (the valley of Heaven). We pop into the Royal Hotel and Casino and afterwards spend some time at the craft market where beautiful basketware, fine bead work and wood carvings are available for purchase. A visit to the King Sobhuza II Monument is very interesting and prepares us for the Swazi cultural tour where we learn about the culture and traditions of the Swazi people. You will have the opportunity to dance, get your photo taken with an Swazi warrior – all great fun! We take a stroll down to the natural rock pool at the base of the Matenga Falls and perhaps take a refreshing swim. A short ride takes us to the famous Swazi candle factory where we have lunch and where many of the candles have been created whilst under the influence of Swazi mountain cabbage! We return to our hotel with the laid-back Swazi lifestyle getting into our souls!
Today – relax by playing golf, tennis, bowls, hike, ride your motorcycle, ride horses, read – whatever!
Sadly, we leave Swaziland and its friendly people to return to South Africa and ride to Badplaas. Badplaas has been built around a sulphur spring that delivers approximately 30,000 litres of hot water, 50 deg C an hour. The spa that has been developed around the spring has a number of swimming pools where you can while away the hours in the curative waters.
After breakfast, we ride the Nel’s Hoogte Road – a biker’s dream – in the direction of Barberton. Kaapschehoop previously known as “die Duivel se Kantoor” (“the Devil’s Office”) – Kaapschehoop, with its roots in early gold mining, has more than 200 wild horses, which sometimes visit the village and destroy the people’s gardens by feeding on their beautiful Petunias! If we were to overnight in this town, we might have stayed in the Royal Coach that the English Royal Family used when they visited South Africa in 1947. The other interesting thing about this town, is the nesting Blue Swallows, Adam’s Calendar (your guide will explain about this) and the graveyard accommodating the early settlers. The ride to Aloes Pub and Grill takes us through pleasant countryside, past the smelly Ngodwana Paper Mill and to a waiting cold Castle Lager, South Africa’s famous beer. Hopefully, friends of the Classic Motorcycle Association in Nelspruit will be able to join us for a few drinks and perhaps stay overnight. As this will be the last night of our tour, we will celebrate around the braai fire, enjoy 60’s music and shoot the breeze - with the promise that you will return.
We depart for Johannesburg at 09h00. En-route we will visit Krugershof, (the home of Paul Kruger when he was escaping the advancing British Army during the Anglo-Boer War) in Watervalonder (“below the waterfall”) We will have a look at the 5 Arches Bridge, the NZASM Tunnel and see the tracks of the funecular railway that connected the Lowveld with the Highveld on the Pretoria and Lourenco Marques line in 1893/4 – gradient 1 in 20. Many people believe that the Kruger Millions are buried in this area (so bring your pick)! At Watervalboven (“above the waterfall”) – one of the best rock-climbing sites in the world, we will visit Adam’s Calendar Museum and the railway station. During the days of steam, this was a major depot for steam locomotives. Sadly, these locomotives have all been replaced by diesel engines. The ride from Watervalboven to Johannesburg should take about 3 hours. We will stop for a refreshment break en-route and expect to arrive back in Johannesburg by 16h00.
Services of a highly experienced professional and registered tourist guide
MOTORCYCLE TOUR LEADER
Highly competent mechanic and all round good guy (4 motorcycles and more)
A VW minibus or similar including motorcycle trailer all petrol and tolls
We have passenger liability cover
In shared accommodation en suite
Breakfast and dinner
Bottled water on tour
We enjoy fresh in season
ENTRANCE /CONSERVATION FEES
Entrance fees for activities that are part of the tour
Conservation fees for Kruger National Park
Things of a personal nature
Lunch snacks and drinks
Visas (visas available at border posts)