Jan 21 – Feb 11, 2020
January 26 – Sunday – Stellenbosch
We slept in this morning, as we didn’t need to be at the tour meeting place until noon. We packed up our clothes, after four days of scattering our stuff around our hotel room, and arranged for an Uber to take us and our baggage across town.
At the Protea Hotel we met our tour guides, Hana and David. They run MotoAdventours out of Malaga, Spain, and we’d entrust ourselves to their capable hands for the next two weeks.
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Just how does one chose a motorcycle tour company? And which tour to sign up for?
For me, it was a process of elimination. When i began planning for this trip, all I knew was “I want to go to Africa!” And of course, “Africa!” is a very, very big place. What did I want to see in Africa? Well, animals, of course. Which ones? Where were they most likely to be seen? What time of year could I see them? What time of year would have acceptable riding conditions (heat? rain?)?
Once I had some more information I started to look up tour companies. For them, I had entirely different criteria. Where was the tour? When was the tour? How many people would be on the tour? What was the mix of dirt and pavement? What was included (hotels, meals, safaris, etc)? And of course, what kind of reviews did they have?
After going through a lot of sites, asking a few questions and compiling my information, I made my decision to go with MotoAdventours. I was happy with how they ticked all of the boxes, especially the one that stated a limited number of participants. No matter what, I did not want to be part of a parade on this trip!
Once I chose the company, I still had to chose the tour. I ended up Skyping with them, so that we could better discuss our skill levels and what I expected versus what they could offer us. We ended up agreeing that a fairly new-to-them tour “Cape Town to Kruger Park” would be the ideal choice.
Now let’s get on with the tour, shall we?
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Our group was made up of Jonathan (who we had met the night before), Tom, Milan and Georg. Six riders, plus our two guides. Our taxi showed up and all of our bags were stowed in the back and we took our seats. It was a 30 minute drive to Stellenbosch, where we would spend the afternoon, get our bikes, and have a short orientation before dinner.
We passed mile after mile of township housing
This is something you don’t see every day! (Cape Town Film Studios)
We pulled into Stellenbosch and I immediately felt like we had arrived in Napa Valley: it was a clean, boutique-y wine town. Tree-shaded streets, outdoor cafes and restaurant seating, fashionable stores…Stellenbosch had it all. Plus, if you drove a few minutes out of the town center, you’d find yourself in lush vineyards and fancy wineries. This is South African wine country!
Our hotel, the Oude Werf
The motorcycles wouldn’t be delivered for a couple of hours so Dan and I took the opportunity to walk around the town. It was a small place, and very interesting to explore. The culture here was completely different than Cape Town and we could also hear more Afrikaans spoken, which sounded really cool to my ears.
A quick – and massive! – pizza for lunch
After lunch we walked some more but on our return to the hotel we saw them: the motorcycles were being unloaded from a van.
Jonathan checks out the bikes
We were all assigned our bikes and spent time in checking for existing marks and scuffs before signing off on our rental insurance paperwork. Dan and I had opted for the standard 750GS, while everyone else on the tour had upgraded to the 1250GS. Dan and I aren’t fans of the 1250, and prefer a smaller, lighter, bike, and were quite happy with the 750s.
Except I got an 805GS – the rental company didn’t have two 750s to rent out, so I got an upgrade. Lucky me! And it was even red, just like my bike at home.
My 850Gs awaits
South African registration attached to the exhaust
Important instructions! South Africans drive on the left side of the road
All tucked away for the night
We gathered before dinner to review the upcoming trip: what was expected of us, what we could expect from Hana and David, and what was expected in general. There weren’t any surprises, really: David would drive a support truck and carry all of our luggage. He would also pull a trailer in case there were any problems with bike or rider. Hana would merrily lead us across the country. Easy peasey!
And now it was dinner time. We walked across town to The Fat Butcher and sat down for what would be the first of many great meals.
Link to Day 2