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Old 11-21-2006, 09:27 PM   #1
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Middelpos South Africa



Middelpos 2006 (name means central trading post)
Central Western area of South Africa



Our 4x4 club had an outing coming up and as we are a bike friendly club the bikers were invited as well. The advert went out and Clive had put together a great programme, meet in Matjiesfontein http://www.matjiesfontein.com , a whole bunch of mountain passes, a brief interlude in Sutherland http://www.sutherlandinfo.co.za/home.htm and then Middelpos.

My take on the whole trip was rather different as Clive had invited the bike interest group to join the trip, the kids were studying and so after calling a few of the bikers Bruce and I decided to go.

Waiting at some road workings.



I met Bruce in Durbanville just after 6.30am and after filling up with petrol we were on our way. Our route was a little different and took us via the backroads to Wellington, over Baines Kloof Pass and then into Ceres www.ceres.org.za . At that time of the morning there was no traffic and when we arrived in Ceres it was Wimpy (fast food like MacDonalds) time. By now we needed our Wimpy coffee and so sat chatting and eating our tasty breakfast of dubious nutritional value.

By nine o'clock the town had started to buzz and we headed off to Theronsberg Pass, passing the turnoff to Matroosberg on the way.


The day was already hot and the Cordura jackets were no help but with Geoff's advice we "dress for the fall not for the ride". Once we reached the dirt we deflated tyres a bit and aimed our bikes in the direction of Sutherland. The road was quiet with us passing three cars in 600km.



After cresting a small hill we saw the road zigzag up the mountainside only to creep away into the vegetation at the summit.


The GPS said 8km to destination and we were 30 minutes early when we got a glimpse of Clive and the other folks waiting at the meeting place..or should I say coordinate. We took the other bikes off the trailer which was towed by Christoph and then he and Brad joined us on our adventure.





The area which is usually very dry had pools of water in every possible depression and as we started assending the Ouberg pass we saw dams glistening in the sunlight for miles around. We climbed 800 meters to the summit with views of, I guess 40km. The temperature was now 34 deg Celcius and soon the fires were going for our braai/lunch stop. The sun was really beating down and after positioning the Land Rover we managed to get a bit of shade.



It was time to move on and this time the destination was Sutherland with it's new SALT observatory. We never visited the observatory http://www.sutherlandinfo.co.za/observatory.htm but filled up the tanks and departed for Middelpos http://www.sutherlandinfo.co.za/middelpos.htm .



We passed an area with, well what looked like a group of wild horses and soon we reached Middelpos. Middelpos was as its name depicts a central trading post between Calvinia, Sutherland and Ceres.



Middelpos is one of the few privately owned towns in South Africa with it's history dating back to the early 1800's with names like Sher and Tomlinson being some of the people that moved the area forward. Tomlinson died in 1877 and is burried just outside the town. The town now boasts a population of 300 people, a general dealer, a police station and a hotel.

The hotel must have been great in the 1960's and not much has happened since. The beds were clean and the food was great so who can complain at R200 (about U$27) per person, including breakfast and dinner. We were all knackered and so were all in bed by about 10.30pm.

The next morning Christoph and I foung the grave of the English soldiers who died in 1902 and then later hiked to the gunpowder store on the side of the hill.


After breakfast they opened the local store which has everything and anything.

We then left via the Gannaka Pass for the Tankwa Karoo National Park and zigzag'd down the mountain once again to the valley below.





The Tankwa Karo National Park is not open to visitors yet but we were transiting the park and so worked our way West passing lots of ruins on the way.


We stopped at the Peerboom Pass and had lunch under the trees while trying to hide from the heat of the day.

I had an awesome weekend and would do it again tomorrow.

Total cost on a bike (fuel) U$30
Total distance 814km


Greg
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Old 11-21-2006, 11:06 PM   #2
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Very nice.

Strongly reminiscent of the ride I took in the eastern Cape a month ago.
There is a post a few pages back.
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Old 11-21-2006, 11:30 PM   #3
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keep em coming

great pics
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Old 11-22-2006, 01:04 AM   #4
Zero2
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Nice!

Makes me think of my recent trip... I love that part of SA!
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Old 11-22-2006, 06:23 AM   #5
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Great photos Greg - thanks for sharing. We lived in South Africa (Rivonia outside Johannesburg) for two years in '96 and '97. First daughter born there. Travelled all over the country (regrettably not on a bike) and the region. We had a great time, managed to avoid being carjacked, and hope to come back for a visit soon.

All the best,
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Old 11-22-2006, 11:17 AM   #6
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Talking Middelpos pic

Quote:
Originally Posted by GS_MZ
Makes me think of my recent trip... I love that part of SA!
Thanks for the pic...I glanced at it at first saw three bikes instead of four then realised it was a different pic.

I just love the fact you hardly see anybody and VERY seldom a vehicle.

Greg
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Old 11-22-2006, 01:14 PM   #7
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Nice ride and bikes! The mighty KLR is also available in South Africa?!! Excellent
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Old 11-24-2006, 08:39 AM   #8
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Nice report Greg. You should post this on the South African version of this site too. Check out: http://www.wilddogtours.co.za/forum/index.php
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