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Old 01-28-2010, 04:45 AM   #1
Three Dawg OP
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Location: The Highlands of Scotland
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South Africa, Swaziland and er...

Blimey, is it a year already? Since my last RR I sold the mighty (and very wonderful) Jota and bought a weird time warp has-it-ever-been-used 1100GS. Here it is parked up near Lochinver in the Scottish Highlands:



But tooling round up here isn't exactly adventuresome (there don't seem to be any off roading opportunities at all in Scotland), so I packed my bags and headed off to South Africa to see Mpumalanga (sort of east of Johannesburg), Kruger, Swaziland, The Zulu battlefields, the Drakensburg mountains and Lesotho.

We flew into Johannesburg. We were quite surprised to make it as the weather here wasn't exactly cooperating- minus ten centigrade and tons of snow everywhere. BA were having lots of trouble keeping up with the de icing.

First off, a quick word about SAMA tours http://www.samatours.co.za/ who supplied our 1150GS. Really nice guys to deal with, very helpful during booking (unlike some I could mention) and even willing and able to pick up at Oliver Tambo airport for the transfer to their base in eastern Pretoria. Top guys and highly recommended. Of course, in my excitement I forgot to take pix of the guys...

We arrived early, got changed and packed up and with an escort from Jonathan at SAMA headed east on the N4 towards our first stop in Hazyview.

Lunch stop in Dullstroom, Flyfishing Central and 2100m above sea level. Nice wee place.



We rode the Long Tom pass, which I can highly recommend. This is the big gun at the top. The plaque giving the info was all in Afrikaans so I can't tell you anything about it, but it was a stonking run.





Our overnight was in Hazyview at the bottom of the 'Panorama Route' which took us in a big loop up the Blyde River Canyon. Anyway, that's tomorrow. Here's the Rissington Inn, our base for two nights.





Next day, The Panorama Route. Top road this and in excellent condition. Just right to ease us in to a longish trip.

Lisbon Falls where I tried (not deliberately) to pay for some souvenirs with Namibian money. Cue much merriment among the ladies manning the stalls when my mistake was discovered.







The Canyon and the 'Three Rondavels'







Bourke's Luck Potholes. River's been busy here.





We took a shortcut on the way back somewhere near Pilgrim's Rest, dirt at last!



Our last visit of the day was to God's Window.



And then back to Hazyview for a quick (outdoor) shower and 'dops'.



I can't remember exactly wwhere this was along the way, but eh???


Three Dawg screwed with this post 02-03-2010 at 02:24 PM
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Old 01-28-2010, 05:33 AM   #2
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Keep it coming. Absolutely stunning!
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Old 01-28-2010, 05:48 AM   #3
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Old 01-28-2010, 06:17 AM   #4
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Very nice

Fantastic country...
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Old 01-28-2010, 06:25 AM   #5
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Next day we had to schlep down to Nelspriut to pick up a rental car as we were heading up to a game reserve in greater Kruger. Apparently there are wild animals that might regard bikers as lunch. I dunno, a GS is pretty quick to 100kph...

Anyway, with the bike tucked away at the Rissington we headed off to Balule Reserve in some hateful Hyundai 4X4. Hideous.

We were surprised and delighted to find we had the whole lodge to ourselves. This meant that the game drives would be much more enjoyable.




OK, so maybe a bike wouldn't be so sensible



Anthony our guide (and off road loon) and Richard our cool dude tracker preparing a snack on the Landy.



We saw plenty of animals:

Noble ones





Cross ones...



Big 'uns...



Small, ugly ones...



This thing is just showing off.



As well as lions and the rest, we saw giraffe, zebras, antelopes (various) baboons, eagles, owls and a leopard. No pix of that one as we had to go out in the dark to find her, but what a beauty.

Oh, and ridiculously cute animals too. This is Charli...



The great thing about the private reserves that border Kruger (no fences so they 'share' the animals) is that you can go off road to go where the game is. Anyway, River Lodge, we loved you.



We'll be back on the bike soon on the way to Swaziland, but I've got a few pix from our drive through Kruger NP to upload.

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Old 01-28-2010, 06:43 AM   #6
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Stunning. Keep it coming
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Old 01-28-2010, 07:06 AM   #7
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In the Kruger proper you have to stay on the tarmac, but there's still plenty to see- hippos, Jackals, hyenas and these big fellers...





Back at the Rissington we spent a very enjoyable evening with the owner and some of his friends. The two young lads are English and were on their gap year. One had just finished at Sherbourne (posh private school) and the other had just left Harrow (super posh private school) I still managed to beat them to solving a puzzle on the bar, so one up to Egglescliffe Comprehensive, HA!

Chris, the owner (striped shirt with the money) was educated at Charterhouse (or Winchester, I forget), and I was beginning to get an inferiority complex. Fortunately I was also quite drunk (thanks to Humphrey, the smooth talking devil on the right) by the time I took this photo so I wasn't dwelling on my less glamorous education. Chris writes extensively for newspapers especially regarding Mpumalanga and is very knowlegable about the area.



The next day we ditched (not literally) the horrible Hyundai and jumped back on the bike for Swaziland.

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Old 01-28-2010, 07:39 AM   #8
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We were going to get into Swaziland via Barberton, but the road is apparently in very poor condition, so instead we opted for the Jeppe's Reef border post. On the way there from Nelspruit we took a dirt road shortcut from the N4 through Kaalrug. Beautiful run but muddy in places. The border was easy and we climbed up towards Pigg's Peak.

We stopped for lunch at a nice cafe with a view, but the girl who served us did some creative accounting with our bill. Could have argued, but couldn't be bothered. Must be relaxed

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Old 12-17-2011, 12:10 PM   #9
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A great set of pics. Thank you! I grew up in Swaziland but haven't been back for 35 years so many memories came flooding back.
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Old 12-18-2011, 03:30 PM   #10
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Well what a treat. This brought back so many memories as I sit here on a snowy cold winters day here in Calgary.
I was born in the Cape, grew up in Swaziland,moved back to Durban. I worked on a farm right next to Golden Gate,Have been up Sani Pass numerous times and so forth. Thanks for the treat!
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Old 12-19-2011, 05:15 AM   #11
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Ta! I just hope they don't tar the Sani before I've had another chance to have a bash at it. Wish I'd had time to get down to Durban on that trip- I used to live in Kingsburgh near Warner Beach and went to school in Amanzimtoti. BTW that rented 1150 is still going strong with 170,000km on the clock, although SAMA use it now just as an escort bike for their tours.
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