Monday, 10 October 2011

SA/Namibia 2011 - Day 11. Calvinia to Karoo National Park.

View 11th September: Calvinia to Karoo National Park in a larger map

Today was yet another early start. We had 566 kilometers to ride today. Here is Tony - ready to roll.

 Tony outside Steenkamp se Woonstelle

It was cool to start with but again we were confident that the day would warm up later. We refuelled in Williston, but there did not appear to be anywhere for breakfast so early on a Sunday morning. No problem, we rode out of town with full tanks and Carnarvon on our radar - 147 km distant.

A few kilometers out of Williston we were overtaken - with a friendly wave - by a pair of BMW motorbikers.  We met these two guys a little later under a tree at the side of the road. We picked their brains about the question of re-routeing via Fraserburg. 'Mostly dirt,' they said. 'But no problem with that. We ride dirt roads at 180 kph!'

After a meeting under the tree we decided to stay on the asphalt because we did not have dirt bikes, we did not have dirt tyres, we had no dirt experience, and we were not young Evel Knievels. Carnarvon, Loxton, Victoria West, Three Sisters and Beaufort West - this was the track; long but not unreasonable.

We pulled into Carnarvon. We had traversed a stretch of the Karoo. There was a choice or two places to eat. We chose de Meerkat and a good choice it turned out to be. de Meerkat is a terrific restaurant. The owner's name is Breda and he made us very welcome.

de Meerkat

de Meerkat menu

There was only one slight disappointment; we wanted breakfast, not lamb, stew or springbok. 'No problem,' said Breda. 'We can do breakfast. What would you like?'

Eggs, bacon, sausage, toast and coffee - perfect! Two other positives: our two BMW biker friends were also in the restaurant - Louis and Daniel, from Somerset East and Perth, Australia, respectively AND rugby was on the TV - South Africa v Wales.

 South Africa 7 - 0 Wales at this point.

 This is the world inside de Meerkat.

This is the world outside.

All too soon we had to make tracks because there was still more than 300 km to go. We exchanged photos and emails with Daniel and Louis.

 Dan and Louis - intrepid riders heading to Somerset East.

After Loxton we rode into Victoria West for fuel and also for a look around.

Queen Victoria had quite an impact in the 19th Century.

 Old houses with history and corrugated iron roofs interest me.

 Victoria West is a town of character. Very quiet on a Sunday.

  zzzzzzzzz - Sunday in Victoria West!

Nice stoep. I always think of sundowners with stoeps!

 This is Tony (just visible). We were doing some freestyle exploring.

John K doing the same.

 An old wagon at Victoria Trading Post.

Low Emission Vehicle. Green engine.

Victoria Trading Post.

 We left Victoria West minus a few shirts and Rs. These lads remained plus a few shirts and Rs.

 Soon we were on the N12 heading for Three Sisters. Here they are. I think I can also see one Brother.

Now we turn right and head for Beaufort West.

We stopped briefly in Beaufort West in order to phone ahead to the Karoo National Park. Some months previously, on making the reservation, I said, 
'Do you mind motorcyclists riding into the park to the accommodation?'
'Not at all.' 
'Good - we'll see you on the 11th September about 17h00.'
'Okay. We look forward to seeing you. Just one thing ......!'
'What's that?'
'Phone us before you get to the gate and we will be able to tell you where the lions are!'

We were assured on the phone that the lions were not in the vicinity of the gate, or the road to reception and the accommodation. We made some rapid calculations: motorbike acceleration vs lion acceleration. Then we checked the oil levels and lubed the chains.

 The Karoo National Park gate just south of Beaufort West.

Just about to enter the Karoo National Park - and trying to look unattractive to lions.

Maybe Gortex and Cordura wouldn't taste good.

It would be nice to stay for a while - but we were only over-nighting.

Our accommodation.
The motorbikes also had some down-time.

The walk back from the restaurant was illuminated. A very pleasant evening. 

Distance Today: 566 kilometers. 352 miles.
Trip Total: 3 268 kilometers. 2 031 miles.

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