Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Detail Day 5 - 8

Day 5
2km Tar into Ohrigstad
2 BIG rivercrossings - Olifantsrivier and Steelpoortrivier
A day of unavoidably riding through abandoned asbestos mining areas (Penge). A day to ride with a bit of a mask over the face

Ohrigstad is a typical old gold mining town, but does not seem to have the same lure as places like Pelgrim's Rest or Kaapse Hoop.

Day 6
about 4km of tar exit and entry of towns (Ohrigstad/Pelgrim's Rest)
Compared to the first 5 days this will be a rest day. The aim is to ride to Pelgrim's Rest over Caspers Nek Pass. Just before this pass I will cross the border between Lompopo Province and Mpumalanga Province. In 1838 Louis Trichard - in search of a port not under British rule - had reached Delagoa Bay via a particularly arduous route through the Olifants River Valley. This journey was completed at a tremendous cost in lives lost to fever, probably malaria. In 1843 Andries Potgieter - who had just founded Potchefstroom and on the advice of Trichard - took a more southerly route, which turned out to be virtually impossible - let alone arduous!! After negotiating what is known as CASPERS NEK Pass (named after Paul Kruger's father who pioneered this oldest existing road in the region still in use), the party reached the edge of the Drakensberg Escarpment down which there was no possible descent at that point, or - by line of sight - 50km in any direction.

The web has plenty on Pelgrim's Rest, but this is something interesting about a special coin that was minted during the war against the British (Turn of the previous century - 1900)

Day 7
The plan is to ride al along the escarpment to Sudwala Caves and sleep at River Wild or Sudwala or Mankele. This wil be predominantly forestry roads as this area is one of the mainstays of Komatiland. The Sudwala caves are the oldest known caves in the world.

Day 8
Sudwala to Badplaas via Kaapse Hoop

This will be a long day in the saddle and I hope not to sleep in the forrest somewhere. I also have to cross the N4 highway and the entry into badplaas is not the greatest. A bit of narrow tar to negotiate before I can relax in the hot water of Badplaas.

Kaapse Hoop was a town that came to life briefly when gold was dicovered, but better deposits in Pelgrims Rest, Barberton and Johannesburg soon took the limelight. Now Kaapse Hoop like Pelgrims Rest is 100% tourism with it's many period houses (and some strange ones to) and accommodation and eating places. The Kaapsehoop area offers protection to between nine and twelve pairs of the globally threatened Blue Swallow and is designated as an Important Bird Area.
Badplaas is a small town, established in 1876, and is located on the Seekoeispruit in the foothills of the Dhlumudhlumu Mountains (Place of Much Thunder) where a sulphur spring delivers ±30 000L of hot water (@±50°C) per hour.,_Mpumalanga

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