Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 111 - Nico Smit's farm to Beaufort West, South Africa

No rush this morning, as our destination was only Beaufort West, but we had some mountain passes to go over and a local told us we should take our time to enjoy the scenery.  Our farm host showed us the deep, narrow gorge from where he collects his drinking water and irrigation water for the farm.  Quite an intricate network of plastic pipes from the spring to the farm.  The temperature dropped several degrees as we hiked in.  During the rains you cannot walk in as the water rages down the gorge at a depth of a few meters.  On the way back out Nico asked if we were interested in a hike up one of the hills to a cave where there were some ancient bushman rock paintings.  Apparently he had asked experts to take a look them and they authenticated them.  It was a quick but grueling hike up.  Very nice rock paintings (see pictures below).  After the hike, Nico spent some time working on the mounting hardware of my bike while RobC got his beast ready for today's ride.

Main building at the guest farm and the gorge in the the background

You can barely tell the difference between the tree trunk growing along the gorge wall and the rock.

Bushman rock paintings.

View from the cave out over the farm

Nico prying the luggage support back out so I could open my fuel cap alongside the seat.  Yes, the bike spent some time resting on its side this morning.

 One of the many ostrich farms along the road.  They even gathered under the shade of a tree out of the sun like cattle would back home.  It was a funny sight to see.

We rode along N9 south, which took us along the river through the Swartzberg Mountains. Then we headed north on a gravel road over the top of the same range.  Single-lane, narrow road with beautiful views of the valley below.

South end of Swatzberg Pass

View from the top of Swartzberg Pass looking north. The gravel road winds all the way to the bottom.

 View at the summit, 5080  ft (1500 m)

 Flower detail
 North side of Swartzberg Pass.

Posing at the top of the pass.

Next, we rode through the historic town of Prince Albert, whose main street (Hoofstraat) is lined with old renovated homes in the early Cape style architecture, all of which were guest houses, restaurants and shops. Very nice.

Nice samples of early Cape architecture, modeled after 17th Century Dutch architecture, according to the Dutchman of our team

The day ended in the city of Beaufort West at a nice guest house, the only place in town with Internet ... until the power went out in the town due to a bit of lightning.  Not uncommon, they say.  Seems like South Africa is a first world country with third world problems.

Only 350 km (225 miles) today, but it was a beautiful ride.

1 comment:

  1. Hallo RobC and RobT
    After I followed you on my computer screen through South America I am now enjoying with you the for me totally unknown landscapes of South Africa.
    Good luck