Jan 21 – Feb 11, 2020
January 27 – Monday – Montagu
It was a really nice, quiet and comfortable hotel. I slept well, and would have liked to have slept in longer. But there were bags to pack, a bike to set up, and breakfast to eat!
The breakfast buffet was excellent, with the basic spread of fruits, pastries, meats and cheese all laid out. And of course you could always order something hot from the kitchen. This would be pretty much standard for most of the tour; we would not starve.
I had repacked our bags so that our carry on duffels were now our daily bags and everything else was packed away in the truck, not to be seen again unless something out of the ordinary came up. Like rain. But rain was not in the forecast for this week, so into the truck it went!
While each bike came equipped with a top case, I am a needy person and wanted my tank bag. It is something that I have used for years, and would be especially missed because it is instrumental in my ability to take photos without having to stop the motorcycle. Of course this leads to an overabundance of photos, but better to have too many than too few on a trip of a lifetime like this one!
Kickstands up at 9:30 – we were off!
Vineyards outside of Stellenbosch
We hadn’t been on the road long when we stopped for coffee. While normally I don’t like to stop often (for anything other than gas, really), in this case I appreciated it. It was a good way to continue to get to know the others on the tour, for Hana and David to confirm that everything was ok, and, well, for some people to get their second cup of coffee.
Beautiful South African coin
Post coffee stop we were in for a treat: Franschhoek Pass!
First: a quick stop to take in the view:
I really liked the style of architecture in this region
And then we continued over the pass
I admit that I was having too much fun coming down the other side of the pass to take photos. I was busy chasing Hana around corner after corner after corner to comfortably pull the camera out of its pocket. Trust me when I say that it was a glorious way to start the day.
Theewaterskloofdam – what a great name!
We had crested the pass and dropped back down into the lowlands. It was hot and dry and beautiful. The mountains continued in the distance and the landscape was dotted with green. The occasional town (and township) sprang up, and with them, so did the garbage. It was nice to see that at least the empty countryside was generally clean.
We took a right turn and a few minutes later were parking at Nuy Winery. It was on a hill in the middle of vineyards in every direction. We took a seat outside under a bit of shade and enjoyed a light but delicious lunch.
After lunch it was back on the bikes and on to our day’s destination: Montagu. The roads that I saw today were amazing: great pavement, excellent curves, wonderful scenery. I had no idea that South Africa would be so beautiful!
I noticed that instead of the usual yellow paint at the edge of the road, certain areas were painted red. Along with the red paint were signs that warned travelers not to stop here, as it was a dangerous hi-jack area. Well then… I’d heard about the dangers of South Africa, but I didn’t expect them to come with signs!
Kids in their school uniforms
Fields of wind-blown garbage
Typical farm: gates by the road but the buildings are not always visible from the road
It was open country: not a lot of green, but still plenty of vegetation. Traffic was minimal and there was rarely a reason to slow down, let alone stop. It was amazing how just crossing over a set of hills would open up a whole new type of biome. In the heat, the smell of the eucalyptus wafted through the air – it was a surprisingly pleasant scent to come across. Just one of the benefits of traveling by motorcycle: you get to experience everything outside while still flying through the landscape.
Hana pulled off to the side of the road, giving us the opportunity to take in the view below. We were at Burgerspas and our view was down the valley. Just around the bend was the town of Montagu.
We made our way through the small town and then down a side street – we were at our B&B, Montagu Vines Guest House. Our hosts were incredibly friendly and welcoming. Hana and David had been here last year and they knew to expect this amount of hospitality.
We were shown to our rooms and had time to freshen up and relax before dinner. Some of us hung out at the back of the garden, enjoying the view, the drinks and the company. It had been a great day of riding, and a great start to our tour!
African chicken (ok, it is really called a “Helmeted guinea fowl”)
“Roughing it” in South Africa
Dinner that night was in town at a place called The Mystic Tin. This is where I was introduced to the wonderful taste of the Kudu. It was a tender and flavorful piece of meat and not at all gamey. I wouldn’t mind eating that again!
We sauntered back to the guest house and retired to our room. It would be another excellent day of riding tomorrow!
Link to Day 3