December 06, 2007 GMT
Cape Town, 6 December 2007

In South Africa many folks had warned me about police check points in Mozambique where poorly paid officers would stop me and find an excuse to 'fine' me as I went through. In reality as with the rest of the trip all I got were smiles. But as I drove along with minimal traffic apart from the odd South African registered SUV flying past me at 150kph or so it became pretty obvious why they stop South Africans and fine them... Then leaving the country to enter Swaziland I was stiffed well and truly by the border guard who had insisted that my visa wasn't properly valid, I was in the country illegally and if I didn't want to give hime the money for a new one then I would have to go back to where I entered Mozambique and sort it out there. Heated discussions followed and off course with him holding my passport and threatening to confiscate it it ended up with me coughing up for a new visa. Then of course no visa appeared, he stamped me out and I guess the money went into his pocket.

I had a great ride across Swaziland on dirt roads and rode the old dirt road pass from Piggs Peak to Barberton. Then I got stiffed again by the South African customs officer. Not for money but there was a mistake on my visa and it actually ended ten days after had been written on it. I thought I would get a new one but he just corrected the mistake, said I would have to visit the Home Affairs Office for an extension and then studiously turned his back on me and made a point of shuffling papers around on a desk.

This made the weeks' stay in Joburg stressful. A three hour queue in the Home Affairs visa renewal office and all I got was told that I didn't have the right documents and they wouldn't even speak to me until I had, not even to tell me what the right documents might be. This was delivered by who I thought was the rudest person in all South Africa (that's you Lietze baby!) until I went to Graff Reinet. A day to get the documents I needed and then back in for a long wait and to drop them off. Then a week's wait before the decision..

In the meantime I rebuilt the Bullet's gearbox, gave it a good service and enjoyed the hospitality of the guys at the Royal Enfield SA shop again.

All this left me about 8 days to get down to Cape Town and I wanted to ride through Lesotho.

Golden Gate National Park

First stop was Clarens, a really beautiful place and hugely friendly locals. Everywhere I've been in South Africa the Bullet has turned peoples heads and served as a fanstastic vehicle to get to know some great folks.

Elliot

Lesotho was noticably poorer than South Africa and the Northern part I went through was a bleakly beautiful place, yes it was another spot that looked a lot like the Scottish Highlands. At the top of the first major pass I met Elliot. Locals seem to make a habit of trying to cadge food off of passing tourists but Elliot was a nice guy and I couldn't scoff a bar of chocolate without sharing it. He's a shepherd but supplements his income by taking his sheep every morning to a nearby view point and essentially begs from passers by in a friendly way. I said I would post his picture on to him but as his address was basically, 'Elliot, behind Oxbow, Lesotho' I'm not confident it would get there. If by the miracle of the internet anyone reads this who is passing by that way, how about printing off the picture, passing it on and sending my regards!

Sani Pass view

I exited Lesotho down the Sani Pass. It's a route that holds mystique with South African off-roaders. It's beautiful and an amazing drop from 2800 meters to rounds about 1000. It wasn't easy but then it wasn't too tough either.

Sani Pass view

I congratulated myself on the descent and then for the next two days wondered why the bike was handling strangely. I tried everything, tyre pressures, wheel alignment and then noticed the lower fork yoke had snapped. Whoops.

broke yoke

I had been thinking of riding down the coast but then heeding Brit Bike enthusiast of Barberton Camp Ground Wayne's advice to 'just remember Prince Albert!' (PA is a town in the Karoo) and getting tired of the identikit beach fun party backpackers hostels on the coast I headed into the Karoo and stopped at Graff Reinet. Here I stayed a couple of days, stripped the forks and got the yoke welded up and then met definitely South Africa's rudest person. Please, I hope to God no-one outdoes him. I had seen a sign saying vintage tractors, cars and other miscellany for sale. This is the sort of thing that gets my interest so I wondered to the outskirts of town to take a look. I walked in and saw a very fat old man moulded into a deck chair barking out order to his sweating workers.
'Good morning, I'd like to have a look at your vintage cars.', I said.
'Are you a buyer?' He then barked.
'Maybe'
'Well only buyers can look'
'How do I know if I'm a buyer if I can't even see what you've got'
'Are you going to buy something. Only buyers look'.
Then I kicked him in the bollocks and said buy that you old toad. In my head at least but the reality was I shrugged, said thank you in a vaguely sarcastic tone that had no effect at all and slouched off.

Ronnies Sex Shop

The guys at Clarens had said that I must ride into Cape Town down Route 62 as it is one of the premier bike roads in the country. I took the advice. It was a nice route but probably only a premier route if your machine has a turn of speed considerably more than the Bullet's 80kph. One of the stops on the way is the famous 'Ronnies Sex Shop' It is in fact a cafe and one of the stops for all motorcyclists on the route. The story goes that it was called 'Ronnies Shop' and then in a prank someone painted in 'Sex'. It was judged to be humerous and the name stuck. Friends, South Africa is not a place noted for subtle humour or gentle irony. I had a cup of luke warm tea and a pretty tastey slice of carrot cake served up by a sullen waitress. Or 'waitron' as they seem to like to call them here in a non-gender stereotyped but weirdly 1950's futuristic 'Dane Dare meets the waitrons' kind of way.

Now I'm in Cape Town. I've finally made it after one year on the road and Sascha flies in for a three week holiday tomorrow.

Three weeks of holiday to get ready for the ride home..

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

Posted by Richard Miller at December 06, 2007 12:21 PM GMT
 


HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.


Renedian Adventures


Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!