Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 11 - 15

Day 11 Lunaburg to Bloedrivierpoort

A day that undulates upward for most of the day but it is all gravel road riding so I can maybe take it a bit easier on this day. There is not much to say except that you are riding through farmland and end the day at a historical site where the battle of  Blood River Port was fought between Boer and Brit. The small memorial that was set up here id in a sorry state, and it looks as if it was vandalised for the copper plaques that once described the battle. The famous Battle between Boer and Zulu is on the next day's agenda.


The battle took place on 17 September 1901. This battle was fought to prevent Louis Botha’s second attempt to invade Natal. The British were outflanked and in the 10 minute action lost 16 officers, 273 men and 3 guns.

Day 12 Bloedrivierpoort to Rorke's Drift
Another flat day but there is quite a number of interesting thing to see on this day.
The first port of call is the Battle of Blood River. Just type in Bloedrivier into your Google search and the info is immence.

From here you are back in rural country and you leave the farming community behind you. Suddenly you ride past this beautiful old sandstone church. It is worth a stop to have a look inside and visit the grave of the original founder of the church. He was laid to rest in the church.

From here it is a short ride to Rorke's Drift. The same goes for Rorke's Drift as for Blood River as far as internet info is concerned's_Drift

Accommodation here is either in one of 2 very expensive very touristy luxury lodges or a typical Zulu Kraal where you will be treated to real Zulu Culture. From sleeping on the floor on sleeping mat (beds are available if you prefer, to walking the right way when entering the kraal. Women Around the left of the cattle kraal in the centre and men around the right.

Day 13 Rorke's Drift to Kranskop
138 km
A really BIG day with a very BIG profile
That is a 1300m descent in 30km. And then a 950m climb in 24 km! Eish!

The riding is changing every now and then between rural Africa and highly developed sugarcane farming
The big dip is to cross the Tugela river.
Early in the day you ride through the battlefield of Isandlwana and again this is a very well documented battle with lots of info on WWW.
Shortly after this be sure not to miss what looks like a small waterfall (Mangeni) but is quite spectacular.

The day ends near Kranskop. From Wikipedia:

Kranskop is a small town that is situated on the edge of the Tugela River valley in KwaZulu-NatalSouth Africa. It was founded in 1894 as Hopetown but the following confusion with another town of the same name in the Great KarooNorthern Cape, the name was changed. Kranskop was chosen and is named after two cliff faces that rise 1,175 metres above the Tugela Valley near the town. The name is an Afrikaans word meaning "cliff head."
The Kranskop rock formation has major significance in local Zulu legend and folklore, for whom it is called "Ntunjambili". Stories of a forbidden cave, and the hill opening to allow shelter from cannibals only for it to close on those it had lured. Another similar story is about young girls who, weary of carrying water from the river, asked the mountain to give them sanctuary. It obliged by opening a great cavern and tempting them inside with sounds of revelry. Once inside the cavern the entrance closed and they were seen no more.

Day 14 Kranskop to Dalton
Not a day to be taken lightly. The theme of rural and sugarkane mix continue and you are now properly in the Valley of 1000 hills. So the legs will BURN

Day 15 Dalton to Pietermaritzburg
Not an easy ride into town at all, but I am working on taking the sting out of the day...

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