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 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!
After breakfast and a promise of your return, we travel for approximately 45 minutes to the border with South Africa at Nerston. The border post is manned by very pleasant people who seem to enjoy the sometimes misty conditions that the surrounding man-made forests thrive on! The forests of pine, wattle and pipe tobacco farms are the main agricultural activity of the district. The sawmill and processed wood product factory is a major contributor for the economy. Our well-informed tourist guide will tell you about the grandiose plan for a Scottish settlement which bears testament to the names of local towns such as Lochiel and Lothiar. The 5-hour ride to Dundee takes us through pleasant countryside and towns with interesting names and history such as Amsterdam, Piet Retief and Vryheid. Leaving the man-made forests of Eucalyptus, Pine and Wattle behind, we drop in altitude to the plains of kwa-Zulu Natal. This area is famous for its battlefields where the Boer and Zulu wars took place, (the battle of Blood River), Boer and British military encounters during the Anglo-Boer War and where the British encountered the might of the Zulu Army under King Cetshwayo at Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, amongst others. We will be staying, if available, at the Royal Hotel which has been dedicated to the British regiments and the décor reflecting the battles of the past.
Today is spent visiting the battlefields of Isandlwana where the British experienced their greatest defeat ever. We also visit Rorke’s Drift which was defended by approximately 120 British soldiers (most of whom were ill or recuperating) who fought off an attack of 4,000 warriors! There were 11 Victoria Crosses awarded to the gallant soldiers who put up a tremendous resistance. THIS TOUR IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – but please note, that a Specialist’s Guide Fee is applicable here and will be for your own account.
After breakfast, we travel to the Battle of Blood River site, the most important event in Afrikaner history, as it was here that the Afrikaner met the might of the Zulu nation (16th December 1838) and they made the vow to God (the Covenant) that if they were able to defeat the mighty Zulu, they would commemorate the victory and dedicate the day and forever keep it holy, as an indication by the Almighty that they were, in fact, the chosen race. In the afternoon we will visit the Talana Museum in Dundee which embraces the history of coal, military relics related to the Voortrekkers (the Dutch pioneers), the Anglo-Zulu and Anglo-Boer Wars, an excellent glass collection and a typical street scene of the period, (1912), wagons etc.
We leave immediately after breakfast for Winterton en-route to Cathedral Peak Hotel. We pass through the towns of Glencoe and Ladysmith where the siege of Ladysmith took place at the beginning of the Anglo-Boer War. This caused great distress for the people in far-away London (“How on Earth could the British be held to ransom by these backward Dutch farmers?”). We continue our trip through cattle-farming area, stopping en-route at the Spionkop battle site which involved so many British regiments during this futile encounter with the Boers. (Date 1900). At a football match at Anfield in England at that time, a reporter, looking up at the stand, remarked that it looked like Spionkop. There are a number of “kops” at different football grounds around England which remind one of Spionkop. Winterton and Zulu villages at the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains where the cattle have right of way and the friendly folk doing their laundry in rivers and pigs and free-range chickens, give us a true Zulu experience! We arrive at Cathedral Peak in the late afternoon, giving us enough time for a short invigorating walk before dinner.
Today, we take a hike into the mountains, swimming in crystal-clear streams and taking in the magnificent beauty and tranquillity of the surrounding mountains. The Cathedral Hotel is fantastic! The food, the setting, the sporting facilities and pub will be a highlight of your tour!
A day to play golf, tennis, bowls, perhaps take a helicopter flip over the majestic mountain range of the Drakensberg Mountains (activities for your own account). We could take a ride to the Champagne Valley and even visit the world-famous Drakensberg Boys’ Choir school.
We depart after breakfast for Clarens passing through Winterton and Bergville. We leave kwa-Zulu Natal via Oliviershoek Pass to enter the Free State. We stop for lunch at a sandstone restaurant which was once an old trading post. The view over the kwa-Zulu Natal plains below us is truly breathtaking and it was here that the Boers entered Natal in 1838 under the leadership of Piet Retief. The subsequent battle of Blood River was the turning point of the history of South Africa. Also, for engineering buffs, the engineering feat of the Tugela Vaal Hydroelectric Power Scheme where water is pumped over the mountain into the Sterkfontein Dam and which will eventually supply Johannesburg and the Witwatersrand industrial areas, will be interesting. The Eastern Free State is dominated by sandstone cliffs which have been weathered over millenia into colourful formations. We ride through the spectacular Golden Gate National Park with its incredible sandstone buttresses and willow trees lining the crystal clear mountain streams. The village of Clarens is a weekend escape destination for arty people who unwind in good restaurants, pubs, art galleries, antique shops and surrounded by beautiful scenery. We dine out this evening at a good restaurant.
The clear fresh mountain air in Clarens gives one a good appetite for a healthy breakfast after which we leave for Fouriesberg. A perfect rider’s road! The sandstone cliffs which give off a golden hue in the sunlight and the beautiful Caledon River which is the border between South Africa and Lesotho, escorts us to Fouriesberg. Fouriesberg Hotel is popular among classic bike riders. The Velocette Owner’s Club gather here each year! We return to Clarens in the afternoon after shooting the breeze with fellow enthusiasts.
Passing farmlands of maize, wheat, dairy and sheep farms we arrive at Dennysville. The Historic Motorcycle Museum is situated here. The famous English owner, John Boswell and his wife Charmaine, run a very festive pub and grill. Bikers congregate here in their hundreds over weekends to admire the magnificent collection of motorcycles and let their hair down in the pub. WELL WORTH A VISIT!
After breakfast and a “regmaker”, we sadly depart for Johannesburg. We will take a slow relaxing ride back to the City and our home base.
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)