West to the Wild Coast

port saint johns Travel Blog

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Off the tar and feeling happy up in the Drakensburg

It was still cold at night and we decided to head further south away from the rains, down too the Wild Coast in search of warmer riding.  It was in deed a Wild Coast the white people told us, this was the ANC heart land during the troubled past, “fill up with fuel and drive straight through in daylight, watch out for animals on the road and the local minibus taxis!” I was told for this 400km straight route. 


Before we reached the Wild Coast we spent a night at a hotel owned by a couple I’d meet in Kang in the middle of Botswana Kalahari Desert.

Feeling a wee bit cold??
 A nice couple and only a short distance for our Natal camp but after a late morning rise the distance was good.  It took longer than we thought to leave the Drakensburg region, again, instead of the conventional main route we road up into the mountains along the gravel tracks people don’t normally take unless they have to, live there or crazy peeps like us.  Paulina was having more trouble with her helmet again, she had a very sore head and had already tightly rolled tape around the part pressing on her temples the first day we left Johannesburg.  I would have to have another look at it but in the mean time I told to ride without her helmet, to see how much it was affecting her and also to enjoy this rolling green landscape stretching out in front of us.  With the GPS you could see which mountain ranges and valleys you would be passing far out into the distance.  That always gave me a smile looking out as far as you can see from these highs to an unknown route.
MooooOOOoooove! Hahaha
  Knowing the bike and knowing that the bike was capable of a lot, this confidence was a warm virtue that has taken time, problems to resolve and 10,000’s of kms to achieve…


Once back on the main route Paulina put her helmet on as our speed would be faster and also meeting other people on the road, the brief time without her helmet was safe and she enjoyed it a lot but now we had lots of kms to do to get to the coast, our planed destination was Port Saint John’s area.  You still had the feeling of elevation riding into the Wild Coast along the baron hill tops sweeping into the rolling valleys, there were not many trees but there was many huts of brick and tin.  The reason these places no longer have an abundance of trees is human expansion rather than the nature of the land and its conditions I thought.

“Hello I’m over here beside the Indian Ocean!!”


I was riding with a sense of urgency as I could see our shadow cast by the setting sun growing as we rode south-east, and also to see the ocean, the first time I would see the Indian Ocean since leaving the Atlantic Ocean on the other side of this vast continent.  The road had its share of pot holes but not so bad as others I’d be on.  We would hear many stories from the Africanise people about the state of affairs of the country and how things have gotten much worse since 1994 when the ANC took over.  It was cheaper to erect a sign saying “beware of pot holes” rather than fixing them because fixing them costs money, and to meet targets the person in charge to get there bonus for reducing costs!  So maintenance suffered as an easy way of reducing costs.  This was the case for many of the service industry´s, electric black outs was common place and many robots (traffic lights to the rest uf us) not working.  Coal usually transported by rail was transported by road making a few people very rich, the emergency coal reserves all used to reduce short term costs to achieve a bonus for a select few.


As the light was fading I reduced my speed, this was a winding road and I started my old trick of following someone up ahead to lead me, as long as they were not too drunk! (you might laugh but this is a true fact and I’ve seen it).  Also various animals are a problem roaming for grass along the road.  It was a cold ride into Port Saint John’s especially for Paulina, I had a look at my GPS for camping and found a resort that had camping listed a few times in it so thought it was a safe bet to be open.  Down a twisty grave track we found it, complete with restaurant and bar so before we pitched the tent still wearing our riding gear we had a well earned drink and some food.


In the morning we could see how nice the place was by the river that pours into the ocean.  We moved camp position to one that had a wooden gazebo on it, somewhere to sit, cook, eat and relax, no room for many luxury items so most of the time was sat on the ground, I had my hammock tied to the bike/tree when travelling alone.  Whilst thinking about breakfast a woman camping with her friends brought over food and a can of Coke each, maybe they see us travelling by motor bike out in the elements all the time and maybe the influence of seeing Paulina with me shows such nice hospitality…?


We spend a couple of days here and went for a swim in the ocean.  Meet another couple on a bike trip, a BMW rider with another one of those big heavy GS machines but when it fell over on him (I didn’t laugh out loud and kept it inside) he managed to lift it himself.  He was a big lad and reminded me on a Olympic weight lifter the way he lifted it straight back using his legs holding the bike behind him but I’m sure with my smaller build I’d burst more than a few blood vessels.  He described a route further south of Port Elizabeth that was famous with bikers, a few hundred kms that takes 4x4’s all day he said.  He’d never been through the Bavianskloof Nature Reserve and it wasn’t on my map but he drew a line where it ran from just south of Patenise going west to Uniondale.  I was sure I would find it on my GPS, the maps I’d bought from Tracks4Africa was excellent, ones I’d downloaded from the internet and cracked were also good!  

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Off the tar and feeling happy up i…
Off the tar and feeling happy up …
Feeling a wee bit cold??
Feeling a wee bit cold??
MooooOOOoooove!  Hahaha
MooooOOOoooove! Hahaha
“Hello I’m over here beside th…
“Hello I’m over here beside t…
port saint johns
photo by: MrDuck