After burning through almost two months of our three-month South African Tourist Visa, we are finally out of Cape Town! The paperwork and prep on our motorcycles took a *LOT* longer than we had thought and now we smash through Cape Town's city limits like a dog that's been straining for too long at the end of its leash, finally let loose to run and roam.
There's a heat haze lingering in the late morning air as we head north-east. Although it's comfortable now, temperatures are supposed to soar this afternoon as the drought continues in the Western Cape region. At least the strong coastal winds that constantly threaten to blow us off our bikes have dissipated as we head further inland.
We make a beeline to all the motorcycle roads that we've researched in the area - Bain's Clumsy Goof Pass
I'm eager to crack the throttle open and toss the bike around twisty roads that are free of big city traffic. We ride through the city of Paarl and Wellington and into the Limietberg Nature Reserve, where orchards and olive groves sprawl across the landscape.
Ahhhh, it's so good to be out in the middle of nature once again! Here's some fossil-fuel-fed carbon emissions for you, Mother Nature! Hehe, so hypocritical...
Passing by the charred remains of blackened trees due to a fire that raged through Bains Kloof area during the drought of 2017
Yet another orchard on our left, the Hawequas Mountains up in the distance. That's where we're headed: up and over
The road climbs and we peer over the edge to the Kloof (hey, I'm using the word correctly!) below
Bainskloof Pass rises up to almost 2,000 feet above sea level. The views are Nice-Nah/Lekker up here!
We make the descent down the other side of the pass into the small town of Breede River. Before the turnoff into town, we stop at a small diner to top our bellies up with a little brunch.
We talk excitedly about the morning's ride over all-day breakie at the Calabash Bush Pub
Can't get over how cheap food is in South Africa. It's so easy to be gluttonous: bacon, eggs, toast *AND* boerewors for this guy... 8D
It's gotten noticeably warmer since we left Cape Town this morning. We waddle back to our bikes, our full stomachs pressing against the waistbands of our riding pants. Feeling a little bit gross, especially in the afternoon heat. The motorcycle seats are hot to the touch from the relentless sun overhead as we gingerly clamber on. Gotta remember to park in the shade during the afternoons!
Back on the road, I glance down at the dashboard computer, which confirms our seat of the pants thermometer: 33°C. Geez.
We are riding further east. Mountains in the background and orchards brimming with apples, pears, apricots and peaches
Taking a mini-mountain pass called Cogmanskloof Pass over the Langeberg Mountain Range
It spits us out the north side of the mountains down into the very pretty town of Montagu
Lining the nearly empty roads are white buildings with thatched roofs. I found out later, these are prime examples of Cape Dutch architecture. When the Dutch settled here in the 17th century, they tried to mimic the style of the buildings from where they came from.
I remember seeing similar kinds of architecture in Malaysia, from when the Dutch colonized the town of Malacca, also around the same timeframe.
"Die, Clumsy Goof!" Apparently Montagu does not suffer awkward fools.
"Padstal" in Afrikaans roughly translates to "shop next to the road", like our travel plazas in North America, maybe not as modern. It's where travelers can stop to stretch their legs, go in for a bite to eat in the restaurant or diner, or pick up some snacks for the road. And by snacks, I mean Biltong...
Kickstands down on nutshells, happy to stop for the day here
Montagu is situated in the Keisie valley. The climate and soil here is perfect for growing fruits. This tiny town is famous nation-wide for one thing: The Montagu company that packages nuts! Well, dried fruit and nuts. We see the orange-coloured packets of delicious morsels in every supermarket here.
The parking lot of the Montagu factory is covered in shells instead of gravel!
At the HQ's factory shop, we can pick up nuts at a discount.
Because of the heat that we're traveling through, food spoils very quickly in our luggage. Especially the metal cases, which get dangerously hot to the touch during the day. The bare-metal aluminum boxes are actually cooler inside than the black anodized cases that Neda used to have on her old bike. She was basically carrying three mini-ovens behind her!
Typically, we'll only pack slow-to-perish items like dried meats and breads, mustards instead of mayonnaise. Nuts and dried fruit are actually the perfect snack for motorcycle travel, they're compact, calorically-dense and won't go bad if left beneath the baking sun for long periods of time.
I stock up on my much-beloved cashews, Neda is more adventurous and opts for a large bag of peri-peri-flavoured peanuts. We've discovered that the Portuguese spice is very popular in South Africa! Mmmm... These nuts aren't going to last more than a couple of days.
Riding by more Cape Dutch buildings in our search for a place to sleep tonight
NGK (Afrikaans for Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk) - Dutch Reformed Church in Montagu.
Our campsite in Montagu, it's actually a farm right in town
We settle in for another evening in the Western Cape. It's feeling like our motorcycle trip has well and truly begun! Finally! :)