Decoding the Journey East: Franschhoek to Montague

Share Facebook 0 Twitter Pinterest Google+

As we coasted through the final meters of the Franschhoek Pass descent, elation quickly faded as we faced the first part of the riddle to our passage East.

The descent following the climb to the pass was a mesmerizing and visually intense ride through some huge spaces between seemingly fantastic mountains. The mountains here are different. They feel old and flowing, like a continual wave of strata that suddenly jutted fangs of pointy stone.

At the T junction we could either turn right, follow a southerly route and achieve the milestone reward of standing on the furthest point South in Africa, or steer our wheels North and meander through the magical backwaters of the Karoo and its maze of lengthy ranges made up of razor-sharp and colorfully painted limestone peaks. We chose North.

I plotted several sub-routes through gravel and dirt passes that would keep us off of the highways, and far from the holiday drivers that treat the rural roads like the African Autobahn. After contending with several kilometers of necessary tarmac, we began our rocky odyssey through some of the most serene and psychedelically beautiful foothills sculpted from fertile fields of wine grapes, citrus, plum and game reserves. Along the ride we spotted ostrich, mongoose, Tompson’s Gazelle and birds of all sorts. As we got closer to the river and pedaled beside countless orchards we were offered more plums and apricots than we could fit in our bags. I am pretty sure we are heading in the right direction.

Bike Touring South Africa - Franschhoek

A look back over the Cape Winelands around Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.

Bike Touring South Africa

The Franschhoek Pass.

Bike Touring South Africa

The mind melting tar descent down the back of the pass.

Bike Touring South Africa - Franschhoek

Huge spaces. For perspective, check out Gin in the lower right… this was with a 135mm lens.

Bike Touring Dirt Tracks South Africa

Bike Touring South Africa - Bree Rivier

The scenery seemed so so visually overwhelming, Gin had to listen to Dark Side of The Moon on her iPod to help make sense of it all.

Bike Touring Back Roads - South Africa

The winding dirt road as it winds ahead.

Bike Touring Back Roads - South Africa

Catching some kids playing on a farm.

Bike Touring Back Roads - Fruit Farms - South Africa

Gin picking some apricots for a mid-ride snack.

Bike Touring Dirt Tracks South Africa

Gameland off-road tracks.

Flowing strata in the mountains seems to go in all directions...

Flowing strata in the mountains seems to go in all directions…

Bike Touring Dirt Tracks South Africa - Thorns

Guys picking plums on an orchard.

Bike Touring Dirt Tracks South Africa - Thorns

The porcupine spine, as they are called by local mountain bikers, who usually go tubeless and carry plugs.

Bike Touring Dirt Tracks South Africa

I finally captured this guy on a wire. They are quite shy.

Bike Touring Dirt Tracks South Africa

A peacock in the pecan orchard.

Bike Touring Dirt Tracks South Africa

Yet another peacock shot.

Tags

  • Dale

    Reckon you saw springbokke, not Tompson’s gazelle…we don’t get those in SA ;-)

  • http://www.pedalingnowhere.com/ Logan

    Looked like a Tommy, but I’ve never seen a springbokke, so it’s a first for me. Ate some the other night though :) Thanks for the clarification. Cheers.

  • http://Www.adventurefamilyinmotion.com/ Adventure family in motion

    Cool picture of that peacock. Enjoying the pics and info on your trip.

  • http://www.pedalingnowhere.com/ Logan

    Thanks! More coming soon… been away from connectivity in the bush…

Share This

others did. Support us and pass it along...

Follow Us

and join the conversation.
art