Sunday, 11 September 2011

Planning the 6 day 2500km route through the Karoo and back

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More South and Southern African motor cycle tours on our list of tour route summaries are available, where we explore these sorts of motorcycle tour routes. Just choose one of our events and reserve yourself a place on one of the future motorcycle adventure safari events.

My good friend Richard and I are planning a trip from Cape Town to Bloemfontein and back for a school old boys reunion this week. Check out pictures of a trip we did a few weeks ago one Sunday.

The reunion is only 2.5 days; Friday night, Sat and Sun, but because both of us from school days already, love our adventure bike riding, we thought - hey let's take three days off on either side and see if we can maximise dirt road between Cape Town and Bloemfontein and back. We both ride BMW F800 GS's so it's a good match speed, perfomance and where we can ride wise.

If you were to drive up to Bloem in a car on the N1 main route it is almost exactly 1000km there and the same back. So our planning is going to take us roughly 1250km there and more or less the same back, making the trip 2500km, maximising the dirt on either side of the N1 over 7 days with one full days rest in the middle.

The goal was to maximise dirt road, but there is a bit of tar to get out of the city on both ends, and because we plan to get away before rush hour we didn't want to be too dogmatic about "only" dirt road - that's the beauty of adventure bikes they handle anything equally well. I reckon we will probably end up doing about 70-75% on dirt the rest tar. On the way out the general rule is we will keep left of the N1, and on the way back we will keep to the right of the N1 (but in the other direction it's actually left again!).

Our route so far looks like this:

Day 1 - Cape Town to Sutherland (330km)

Little bit of an easy start, meet for breakfast and coffee at the services outside Cape Town, head out on the highway, and turn off to Ceres, after which we will hit the dirt. Easyish day to get into the rhythem of the trip and have about 65-70% dirt roads.

Cape Town to Sutherland

Day 2 - Sutherland to De Aar only on dirt (443 km)

Heaviest day in terms of time to get there. Estimation is its a fulls day hard riding. Mostly dirt 99%. Yee haa.
Sutherland to De Aar on dirt only
Day 3 - De Aar to Bloemfonrtein via Kimbery maximising dirt (480 km)

We get to the school and its Dinner and drinking right off the bat. This could be a hard days night!

De Aar To Bloem via Kimberly (max dirt)

Day 4 - Rest day? @ School old boys

Chat to all our old school mates and reminisce (about spelling?) - drinking and eating may play a large part. Mostly it will be about talking bollocks, as you can imagine!

Day 5 - Bloemfontein to Graaf Reinet (430 km)

We thought that after a hard night Fri and Sat night, with large hangover in the morning, we'd not push ourselves the Sunday, hence 200km tar from Bloem to Graaf Reinet. This might change as I like the look of going via Bethulie and Middleburg and getting some dirt. We also have to make sure we can find a place to watch the World Cup Rugby games somewhere that day early in the morning, which means we may just leave very late.
Easy day from Bloem via Colesburg to Graaf Reinet

Day 6 - Graaf Reinet to Prince Albert or Clalitzdorp (410km / 450km)

Lots of fun in the most open part of the semi-desert. Loads of route choices and lots of dirt road fun here!

Graaf Reinet to Prince Alfred much dirt

Day 7 - Prince Albert / Calitzdorp back to Cape Town via R62 (430km / 380km )

This is the route we have planned the least right now. If we take this option is will be about 20% dirt and the rest tar but on back roads, which depending on how we are feeling by then, may be an option, otherwise there are many dirt roads to get to Worcester, but then tar. There is a large selection not obvious on this map.

Prince Albert to Cape Town the back way - one minimal dirt option
Whatever happens it's going to be an awesome trip! Blogs on this to follow later.

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