Baviaans by Suzuki

Charles Oertel's picture

Points: 4

I should have a bumper sticker on my bike that says "My other car is a Suzuki".  This report describes a part of our second honeymoon trip to Hogsback, where we rode through the Baviaankloof in our Suzuki Jimny.

We rode from Cape Town to Willowmore along the R62, with lunch in Barrydale at the Country Pumpkin.  The food and service there is always great, and the owner rides a BMW and looks after bikers.

At Willowmore, we checked in to The Willow Historical Guest House.

The Willow Historical Guest House

They had phoned us on the road to ask whether we would be having dinner with them or elsewhere in Willowmore.  Turns out they kept the kitchen open for us as we were the only guests.

The place is a historical treasure-trove.

Baviaanskloof

After a hearty breakfast we set off for the Baviaanskloof.  This would be my third time - the first was on Mr.Badger with Julie on the back, the second alone on Mr.Badger on tour with Geoff two years ago.

We stopped at the first shop/farmstall, and bought a commemorative t-shirt depicting a baboon driving a Jimny.

If we come through here with the club again, we should all buy the shirts with baboons riding bikes.

This is me with my Suzuki at the entrance to the reserve.

The vistas and animals and aloes were magnificent.  Of course you are waiting for Smitskraal (the water crossing), then the two passes to exit the kloof.  Well, Smitskraal takes hours to arrive, and then the passes take more hours (though in my memory it was that you are still wet from Smitskraal when you start the pass).

A "Baviaan".  Surprisingly the kloof is full of them surprise

The Holgat pass now has concrete strips on the steepest and most tricky sections.  The strips have been revamped and are not the broken chunks of concrete we had to deal with last time I was there.  There were a few places where the bottom of the concrete strip (which has be fashioned into a water runoff) was quite a step from the natural ground, and I engaged low range to ease the Jimny over it.

After Combrink pass we descended into the Gamtoos River Valley via the Holgat pass and were overwhelmed by the export oranges festooning the trees.  My mouth started watering with the prospect of an orange from a farm stall nearby - but it was almost impossible to get a pocket of oranges in all of Patensie.  Out of 10 shops we visited, only one had naartjies for sale.

Patensie and the Ripple Hill Hotel

I had made a booking for the night at the Ripple Hill Hotel.  The owner, John Moore, advertises on our club website and thus supports us.  He  also offers a free breakfast to card-carrying club members.

We were quite relieved to arrive at our destination, as exciting as the driving and scenery was, it had been a long day.

This is the view from our room after we checked in.

The floors have recently been sanded and varnished, and everything was in tip-top shape.

I was thrilled to see how much Julie enjoyed the place.

We went for a walk around Patensie (searching for oranges!).  The shops were all open into the evening as everybody was harvesting oranges(!) until nightfall.  As usual, to me, the most interesting shop was the local Co-op, and I bought some reflective tape for Honey.

When we returned to the Ripple Hill hotel, the pub was in full swing with the local farmers, and we were ready for dinner.

After a delicious supper, we were ready for bed.  The bedroom and en suite did not disappoint.

We had a really good sleep with electric blankets and comfortable pillows, and were up early for another walk around Patensie in the early morning fresh.

After breakfast our journey continued on to Hogsback, but as it was for our second honeymoon, and this is a family publication, I think I will stop now.

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