Awesome Motorcycle Route – Baviaanskloof

Starting one hour outside of Port Elizabeth is one of the most awesome dual sport, motorcycle routes in the world i.e. Baviaanskloof.

One full day ride into the most unspoilt African wilderness areas but a stones throw from first world infrastructure. This is a great motorbike route for novices who are ready for the spirit of adventure that comes with African wilderness motorcycle touring.

Awesome motorcycle route south africa

One of 40 river crossings. Its a good idea to avoid times of heavy rain

One can camp in the wilderness or by planning your route you can stay in one of the many B&B’s in the area that fall outside the official reserve – that’s the uniqueness of Baviaanskloof. first world facilities close to untamed natural nature reserve with a road that is challenging and exciting without being dangerous.

The road through Baviannskloof

This is no nanny state highway. This is unspoilt wilderness to recharge your city burnt batteries

Their is no petrol in Baviaanskloof so make sure your motorcycle has enough fuel for 250kms. Much more about this ride is on the main flamesonmytank website. Click on the link below.

Baviaanskloof awesome motorcycle route.

Baviaanskloof road South Africa

Its a good idea to ride the kloof with a backup 2×4 SUV or a few other riders

 

Awesome Motorcycle Route – Soweto South Africa

Motorcycle route through Soweto

This route is not perfect and still needs some work. This was my first trip to Soweto and so the route has some rough edges (U Turns etc)

A large version of the Soweto motorcycle route above

55 year old South African man visits Soweto for the first time

I have lived in Johannesburg all my life. Soweto with a population of some 3 million is a suburb of Johannesburg that I have never seen. It was a blackhole in my radar of existence until yesterday.

On my BMW 1100 GS I have visited Wuppertal, Calvina, Pilgrims Rest, Port St Johns and Alldays to name a few but my tyres have never rolled over the streets of Soweto; neither have I eaten at any of the famous Soweto restaurants better know to foreign tourists than to me a local.

I know that I am not alone so the idea of a Soweto motorcycle route was born. I chose as my guide a life long Soweto resident and pastor Trevor Nlthola; this is his route through this world famous landmark.

I did not take any photos. A camera is a block between yourself and the environment and I wanted to drink deep of the experience – this place written about in newspapers, in the news and on foreign websites.

In a short sentence – I was shocked by what I saw. I was humbled by what I felt.

The easy stuff first. It was a regular suburb like any other. Clean and well-run with roads, street lights, robots, pavements, bridges, shopping malls, fire stations, police stations, churches, parks, schools, swimming pools, libraries, hospitals and theatres. For foreigners reading this and expecting another Bombay, New Deli or Cairo, this is not it. There were places in Soweto that reminded me more of small town America not in timber, but brick and mortar. For locals reading this I was completely ignored; I was just yet another person on the street whether riding or walking. Yes, there were new parts of Soweto that are shanty towns (informal settlements) but again they were structured and well run with running water (on the corners), toilets (outside) and with areas reserved for refuse collection.

The main problem is the drainage. Even although it had not rained for 24 hours there were places on the roads where the puddles were 50m long and I began to understand why after heavy storms the radio reports flooding in Soweto. Flooding is bad for things like sewerage systems and robots.

Like the older parts of London the roads were not designed for heavy traffic. Yes there were main roads but once you left them the narrow winding roads were created for a population who walked to their destinations. I can imagine that Saturday morning shopping in Soweto can be chaos.

Digging deeper to find the soul and meaning of this place Soweto I have to say it was the roads. We were there on a Wednesday afternoon and the children were on their way home from school. The roads were just full of kids; small kids, bigger kids and teenagers on their own or in groups of up to 10 were everywhere. Children as young as 5 wandered past me, on their own as they walked home. Huh? Children in the suburbs don’t walk anywhere, don’t walk on their own and if they do they are at least 12 years old. They are taken everywhere, almost under ‘armed guard’ by their parents.

The freedom of the children on the backroads streets of Soweto was an amazing and profound thing to see and experience. Cars and taxis had to inch their way along navigating around groups of teenagers talking in the middle of the street. I began to understand that the community owns the streets. The houses are small, the properties are small and so the narrow streets are one of the places where community happens. In one place opposite Trevor’s house a man, who probably did not own a car, was sweeping the sand left by the recent rains off the street outside his house. The message was clear; he owned that part of the street was therefore needed to keep it clean and clear.

I asked Trevor about the taverns and shabeens. I had the idea that Soweto men got home before heading to the local much like the British. Trevor said no. The lions share of Soweto life is in the home, in the homes in your neighbourhood and of course on the street. This is community living.

Trevor went on to tell me about community. The community in your neighbourhood is your family. His 8 year old son disappears for hours on end and Trevor does not know exactly where he is – but he has an idea. A ten minute tour of the houses in his area will find him happily playing with his friends, watching TV or eating with his neighbours. Trevor does not get concerned until 2 hours after dark about the whereabouts or safety of his children. This is so far removed from the way of life in the suburbs where we are prisoners of our own making.

Lunch was a Wandies Place, a truly remarkable restaurant in the middle of a regular neighbourhood. Every square inch of the walls and ceiling is covered with business cards, graffiti, photos and bills. It is small and narrow and the tables are long and narrow accordingly. The food was great and the staff were friendly.

This brings me to the difficult part; the most profound experience of the tour. There is a tiny tract of land in Soweto which is Holy Ground. Sorry but that is what I’m going to call it; this is not only evidence for it but I felt it as well. Nelson Mandela’s house and Desmond Tutu’s house are in the same road. Nowhere in the world do two Noble peace prize winners live in the same road. It’s the same neighbourhood that Walter Sizulu used to live. It’s the same neighbourhood where Hector Peterson (and many others) were shot dead on 16 June 1976. It was on this tract of land that the youth of Soweto stood in front of the monolithic Nationalist Apartheid government and stopped it in its tracks. On this tract of land they did what the adults of the day could not do; they changed the course of history. Trevor says that before 1976 the feeling in Soweto was dark and one of hopelessness. As a community they felt detached and abandoned. After 1976 things began to change and although dark days were ahead there was a feeling of hope.

I walked the area dodging the hundreds of school kids milling around and you could feel something. This is no ordinary place; if I could have removed my shoes I would have.

Garmin Soweto route file
Garmin Soweto waypoint file
Soweto Waypoints text file

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Awesome motorcycle route – Around the world

Ronnie Borrageiro left South Africa for an around the world trip on his BMW GS 1200 three years ago. In his heart he had lots of demons to face; I know I chatted to him about them. His demons drove him from behind while the need to find ‘something’ pulled him forward. Well, this is what he found . .

Ronnies around the world motorcycle tour

Yep, this is what he found – Patricia. Shows that if you ride long enough and hard enough your motorbike will bring you to a happy place!

Here’s what he has to say about his 3 year around the world motorbike trip on his BMW 1200 GS. .

Dear All,

Yesterday marked the beginning of my 3rd year on the road…!!

It was also a day where between the Big Fella and I (BMW 1200 GS), we celebrated not only a “birthday” for him (140 000 km on the clock) but also  my 100 000th kilometre in the motorcycle sadlle on our journey around the world… And it was made on a brand new set of tyres, the Big Fella’s sixth set since we set out… (Another 20 000 km’s before he gets the next set will do nicely, thank you…!!)

We are in our 86th country (Sao Bento du Sol, Brazil) at the moment, and heading north to Rio de Janeiro, from where we will head west into Paraguay…

During the course of this last year, I have completed my motorbike rides through Asia and Australia, and am now working my way through South America… I had originally hoped to spend about 8 months touring this particular continent, but in the words of an old Rod Stewart number:

“Life is so brief, and time is a thief when you’re undecided,
and like a fist full of sand, it can slip right through your hands…”

And time has slipped through my hands…!! But in the main, it has been time very well spent…!!

I will certainly never regret the “lost” four months I spent in Bali, for instance…!! Or the four “follow-up visits” to see the girl that broke down the walls I was so painstakingly building around my heart…!!

Meeting Patricia and the subsequent relationship we have built, despite the distances that separate us, has been far and away the highlight of this past year…

I ended my “Year 2, Day 1″ newsletter with the words, “In the meantime, I’ll keep searching for that “Lucky Town”…” I found my “Lucky Town” in Ubud, Bali…

During the course of the year, I have visited just 17 countries, and traveled 44 000 km, more than half of that distance in Australia alone…!! It’s a big country, where I made seven rides which exceeded a 1000 km in a single day…!! If nothing else, Australia will teach a rider all about stamina and fatigue…!!

After Africa, South America is seen as the toughest continent to ride on, and possibly the best of them all… The windswept Ruta 40 in Patagonia lived up to it’s reputation for “making or breaking” a rider… Reaching Fin del Mundo was one of the highlights of my last year on the road…

I have met as many wonderful people in the second year of my journey as I did in my first, and I am sure this trend will continue… The world is filled with kind and helpful people, and I am fortunate to come into contact with them on a daily basis…

In eight months time, all the God’s willing, I will bring this amazing ride to an end… By then I will have been to the “Top of the World” and “The End of the World”, and will begin life in “A New World”, one that will hopefully be filled with a new understanding and appreciation of the people and beauty that we are surrounded with on a daily basis…

But before I can do that, I must heed the call of the Far North and Alaska…!!

Once again, my heartfelt thanks go out to all the people who have supported and encouraged me over the last year… To my family and very good friends,who have spurred me on when my spirits were taking a dive, and sent me soaring to new heights, even when I was already “flying”…!!

This ride is for all of you too…!!

In the mean time, we continue “Living the Dream”….

GB and the BF

Around the world on a motorcycle

At the end of the world in South America with Ronnie Borrageiro on his BMW GS 1200

Here is Ronnies story below . . .
Ronnie Borrageiro’s round the world motorcycle trip