Decoding the Journey East: Franschhoek to Montague
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.