Addicted to Adventure – All roads lead to Abrahamskraal

carelvdmerwe's picture

Points: 6

Good day Everybody. Here is the trip report of the Soetes and Sop Winter ride that I hosted last weekend. As much as I want to take credit for this trip report it must go to Jani who rode pillion with me. I just want to share it with the fellow club members. I hope you enjoy the report.

I also want to thank all of you who went on this trip, you guys rocked and I hope to see you on the next trip. It was a pleasure riding with all of you.

Soetes & Sop BMW Club Ride – 14-16 July 2017

When I got into my car on Monday morning, a few things didn't sit right all of a sudden. I got into the left side, my leg didn't need much effort to find my way onto the seat and turning the ignition, I all of a sudden missed the icy whips on my knees and the silence which I found in my helmet just a few hours ago.

When the whatsapp group was created a week prior to the trip to keep arrangements clear cut and everyone informed, the common ground amongst riders was the daily weather report, as we watched daily the temperatures dropped. Even though the temperature was looking dismal, no one seemed moved by it.

Friday afternoon we started meeting up and riding convoy from the N1 Winelands One Stop. In our last stretch towards our home for the weekend in between Leeu Gamka and Prince Albert, we saw the sun set very quickly in our mirrors and the stars started filling the night sky.

Turning off the tar we headed through the last few km’s of dirt road to Abrahamskraal. At night, you don’t notice anything except an old farm style homestead and a windpump which stretches into the sky. Other than that it is pitch dark and sparkly stars.

We were greeted by a lovely couple that became our caretakers for the weekend. After unpacking the gear we all made our way to the dinner area, where there was a warm fire already burning and some ‘’soetwyn’’ to warm the insides. Dinner was served and met all the expectations of hungry riders, homemade soup and fresh ‘plaasbrood’, sold. With satisfied smiles and excitement for the next day everyone made their way off to a well-deserved rest.

The next morning we were all up and dressed for the day’s events. After a light breakfast and the briefing we headed out on the gravel and dirt roads, tar would be minimum today, and that was exciting enough to make the atmosphere warm up in the cold.

After a trip through the dirt we turned off for something to wrap our hands around for heat, and drink to heat the insides at the Klaarstroom Hotel. When turning right at this road sign, we were a bit confused by the location. It looked like a town with nothing but informal settlements. Asking a local for directions to the Hotel we were directed down the road. What a beautiful surprise. Die Klaarstroom Hotel is an old fashioned little Karoo hotel and restaurant. If you are stuck with a thirst in between the middle of all the rock you will definitely find refuge here. The sun was finally showing off and we defrosted in the garden for a moment before heading into Prince Albert for lunch. Prince Albert is a small town located on the Southern edge of the Great Karoo at the foot of the Swartberg mountains.

Arriving in Prince Albert we made our presence known unconsciously by taking over the inside of the restaurant at the Swartberg Hotel, helmets and jackets were piled out of and we sat down scouring through the menu, we rode ourselves right into lunch. The banter of the ride went quiet as we all started enjoying the good food and atmosphere. Discussion piped up again, the Swartberg Pas seemed to be served for dessert on this menu, as quickly as we un-kitted, We got dressed again. Heading out of town we took the turn towards the Swartberg Pass. The road had a no entry sign, when pushing it aside, no one saw a no entry sign anymore, rather an opportunity for something beautiful, adventurous and breath taking. Entering that mountain pass leaves you humbled by its beauty. The rock formations are absolutely overwhelming. We were humbled by the size of this majestic rock formation in front of us. The road is being repaired after the recent flooding and hasn’t been maintained which created some technical parts as we make our way to the top. The views were worth it – over and over again. We stopped at the turn of to "Die Hel’’ and the last climb to the lookout point of Swartberg pas. Some riders braved the cold and staked their claim at the top while a few took their re-enforcement liquid break down below.

To celebrate another conquered quest, refreshments were in order at the local Bush pub in Prince Albert. Glasses rubbed cheeks with each other as celebration and a sign of respect to each other for sharing in conquering this beauty, Swartberg pass, you have left your dust not only on our tyres but our souls as well. Such beauty cannot be experienced from any governmental tarred highway.

Heading back to our resting place for the evening the sun was setting fast on another beautiful day in the saddle on the dirt of this beautiful countryside.

We were welcomed by a cozy fire and a rewarding plate of ‘braaivleis’ topped with some home made malva pudding with custard. The chatter was a recollection of the day’s events and memories. As expected we all faded early knowing Sunday’s ride home would be a long haul and lots of dirt to cover.

A full buffet breakfast was served after a restful sleep for some and others it was a night of sharing a room with someone pretending to be a motorbike and others raised the roof with Pavarotti karaoke.

Everyone fueled up with a full spread breakfast and in the same dust cloud we arrived on Friday night, so we departed. The road lay ahead and we were ready to have another epic adventure in the Karoo.

We hit the dirt road, known as "Die Hekke Pad" about 20km from Prince Albert on the Prince Albert way road towards the N1. During the briefing it was mentioned that we would pass about 27 farm gates that would be opened and closed by riders, and without fail the musical gates started early in the journey. We were lucky and seemed to bypass a few gates via cattle grids next to the gates. This is a beautiful road. This road reminds me of some of our local movie scenes, where everything grows just ankle high and you can see the small lambs bounce around far in the distance. The track is loose sand and a bit more sensitive and less forgiving than gravel road. Some riders paid their respects to the earth, and moved on gratefully.

Here we met the man made beauty, Floriskraal Dam, she towers up in line with parts of the earth around her and is located on the Buffels river near Laingsburg. The dam wall is beautiful and was built in 1957. This dam’s main purpose was for irrigation. Peering over the dam wall, I had another moment that left me speechless, so much beauty, endless. And how humble I am by my place in all of this. With tired cold limbs, I stood with a full heart again today.

Meeting up for some refreshments at the garage in Laingsburg we had refueled our bikes and bodies and greeted some riders who regretfully needed to make their way back home. The rest of the team stayed back for the last party in the mud through the Witteberge which would turn us out onto the N1 over the train tracks at little station called Konstabel about 25km before Towsriver

Riding through these mountains, the temperature gauge dropped faster, and it leveled out on 4.5 degrees Celsius. The mountains towering above us were thick with white evidence of the cold that pierced through our clothes. The road was wet, muddy and very stubborn on the tyres. With an unfortunate incident one rider had to give his bike the rest of the day off, and take its well deserved break on the back of the bike trailer. Luckily injuries to this rider were minimal. 

Touwsriver’s Steers has never been such a comfort before in my life, defrosting over a take away hot chocolate was beautiful. We all said our farewells at the last stop in Worcester. The sun had set and the trip had come to its end. We convoyed all the way home, at the entrance of the toll gate we finally got out first few drops of rain for the whole weekend. The weather lasted just in time for us to get home.

Coming through Klapmuts on the N1, the city lights finally start dimming the light of the beautiful stars we had been living under the last 2 days. Our cement suburban reality was here again.

Today, and tomorrow and even the weekend, I believe some will still be washing the bike gear, and others will be rinsing the mud of the bars and tyres of the bikes. But this kind of dirt leaves its happy place deep with in the skin.

One thing again I realized this weekend, it doesn't matter who you are, age, profession, gender… if you have a heart for adventure, you will always find someone to share it with.  

Adventure doesn't ever need to end

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carelvdmerwe's picture
Joined: 2012/08/16

More photo's

Karoo sunset

Klaarstroom Hotel

Some more photo's of the venue

Floriskraal Dam


Garth Hewitt's picture
Joined: 2011/02/07

Lyk omtrent lekker Carel & Jani! Mooi verslag en mooi foto's. yeswink

Garth Hewitt

2010 R1200GSA


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