Cape Town – East Coast – 325 Km’s

The second day of our Cape Tour started more easily than the first. We already had the bikes, and Roni and Art came to our hotel in the silo district of the waterfront for breakfast. After we had fuelled ourselves and the bikes, we slipped onto the highway out of Cape Town towards Paarl. The major road arteries come right into the centre of Cape Town, so it doesn’t take long to get out of town. We headed down the N1 highway for about half an hour, then turned off towards Stellenbosch.

Bikes outside our hotel

Stellenbosch centres one of the 3 major wine regions around the Cape, and is one of the oldest established towns in the country. The wine estates are generally very pretty, and we enjoyed the views as we wound our way in towards the town. Once through Stellenbosch, we took the Helshoogte Pad (Hells heights road) to Franschhoek. This has to be one of the prettiest and most enjoyable biker roads I have ever ridden. Windy roads through pretty hills and beautiful curves, alongside the stunning farms and spectacular views make this ride special.

Franschhoek means “French corner” and is named after the French settlers that arrived in the 1600’s. The French legacy remains strong there, with many of the farms, shops, restaurants and hotels having French names. It was reminiscent of riding through rural France for a time.

From this little piece of France, we rode down the hills and passes to the Theewaterskloof Dam, a huge piece of water acting as the largest water storage and supply for Cape Town. We stopped on the bridge over the dam for some views and more pictures, and had a chat with another biker who had stopped to do the same. From here, we took the R321 road to Grabouw, and then headed east for about 5km’s to our lunch stop.

Bridge over Theewaterskloof dam

Art had told us about the Hickory Shack, a Texas barbecue stop. Just of the main road, a shady building with a large, covered verandah is home to this meat feast restaurant. Happy to get out of the sun for a bit, we drank litres of cool water and then happily chewed through our ribs and brisket. Well cooked and with lovely sauces, I was in my element. Well watered and fed, we mounted up once more and headed out for the next section of the ride.

From our lunch spot, we headed further east over the Hottentots-Holland mountain and then turned south towards the coast. We met the sea at Kleinmond, and then took the amazingly pretty coastal road all the way around Betty’s Bay into False Bay, smiling all the way at the pretty sea views and lovely curvy roads. Through the nice towns of Pringle Bay, Rooi Els and Gordons Bay we rode, through Somerset West where we left the coast for about 10KM;s before turning back down to the area of Khayelitsha.

Betty’s Bay

Khayelitsha is both the largest and fastest-growing township in South Africa. Located on the dunes, many of the houses are built from scrap, and most don’t have their own water or electricity supplies. We saw no tarred roads, just sand tracks between the shanties. It was a real reminder of the poverty that many in this wealthy country suffer.

Past Khayelitsha, we rode on towards the distant hills of Cape Point. We passed alongside Mitchells Plain and closed in towards Muizenberg, when we found the road closed by police. We were expecting to be diverted back in the direction we came from, but the police waved the bikes through. As soon as we got closer to Muizenberg we realised why they had shut the road – the holiday traffic had rendered Muizenberg pretty much impassable. We took advantage of the slim profile of the bikes to filter through the traffic and pass miles of very slow-moving cars, which was very satisfactory.

Around the coast we continued to Fischhoek, where we turned north and rode over the top of the Point peninsula towards Noordhoek, and the rode the superlative Chapman’s Peak Drive. Many car adverts and some movie scenes have been shot along this road, recognised by many (including the BBC) as the worlds most beautiful marine drive. We stopped for more pictures, then went through the toll booth before finally reaching Hout Bay, where we dropped Roni and Art to collect their car etc.

Chapmans Peak Drive

My Satnav had run out of battery by this point so I navigated the final half an hour by feel, but didn’t run into any problems. we rode through Constantia and Newlands, and we ended up back at the hotel in one piece. I think that the ride today has probably been my most enjoyable of any that I have done before. The views, mountains and passes, the wine estates and the roads, the ever-changing landscape and the indescribable beauty that nature can provide, all under the clear blue, sunny sky all contributed to this amazing biker day. I would recommend this ride to everyone.

View from our hotel

Todays route

Cape Town – West Coast – 321 Km’s

As we were in Cape Town for a few days, we decided to hire a couple of bikes and hit the roads. We both went for Harley Davidsons:- I opted for a Softail Heritage Classic very similar to my own (though a few years older), and Lena went for a Sportster 883. Well, that was what she decided on as it was the smallest Harley the hire shop had, and she had only ridden up to a 650 previously. However, the rental folk had recently acquired a new Sportster 1200 and decided to substitute that for her 883, so she was riding a bike with an engine pretty much twice the size of anything she had ridden before. Fortunately, the Sportster is a pretty lightweight bike, so she didn’t have to wrestle with it too much.

We picked up the bikes from GS Africa, about 5 minutes from our hotel. I had done most of the paperwork beforehand, and so it didn’t take long to get out on the road. We had brought our own jackets, boots, gloves and helmets, which meant we were still blue-toothed together and able to chat on the radios the whole way. We rode out of town over Kloof Nek, the narrow pass between Table Mountain and Lions Head, then headed along the beautiful coast towards Hout Bay, about 25 minutes away.

At Hout Bay we pulled into a layby next to a cafe called Casareccio. Next to a Harley shop, there were a few bikers sat out having coffee, as well as a few civilians. We were here to meet cousin Roni and her boyfriend Art, who had also hired a bike (a Softail Heritage very similar to mine) and were going to join us for our two days of touring. Art is an experience biker from the USA, and we quickly got acquainted over stories of bikes and biking. Roni was a willing passenger, and after a coffee we saddled up and hit the road.

Roni and Art

Todays destination was Langebaan and the West Coast National Park. Not so much a bikers delight, much of the rod was flat and striaght, but a beautiful target. The early part of the ride was great though, hugging the eastern side of Table Mountain as we headed north back towards Cape Town. Once through the city and onto the R27, we stayed roughly North by North East for about 90 kms before arriving at the Nature Reserve.

I felt a bit bad as we drove into the park. My bike had pretty loud exhaust pipes, so any wildlife would have heard us coming miles away. however, most of the wildlife was hiding from the sun, and most of the visitors were heading for the white sandy beaches alongside the beautiful inlet from Saldanha bay. We did see a large Eland close to the road, as well as a seagull, a small tortoise crossing the road, and what we refer in my family as an LBJ (a little brown jobbie – a small and nondescript bird that my father could identify and provide the equivalent of 40 pages of wikipedia information on from memory). Fortunately my Dad was not present, so we were uninterrupted by birdopedia and enjoyed stunning views of the sea on one side and the lagoon on the other.

The beaches were pretty crowded, but we stopped at Kraalbaai for a bit of sunning and swimming. Art and I lay in the sun, in full biker regalia so as not to burn too much, while Roni and Lena went into the pretty blue water for a wade. They were out for about half an hour, after which we got back on the bikes and rode all the way around the inlet and back to Langebaan, which was on the opposite side to Kraalbaai. An easy lunch followed, then we topped up petrol and hit the long, straight R27 road back towards Cape Town.

We turned off the main road near Melkbosstrand, 20 ish KM’s outside Cape Town, and rode along the smaller coastal road. The views from here, across Table Bay towards the Mountain are spectacular. We stopped near Big Bay to take some pictures, and were ambushed by a newly married couple and their photographer, who wanted to take some impromptu pics with the bikes.

We obliged, wished them well, and then enjoyed the beautiful mountain and bay vistas for a while, before our final leg back to Cape Town.

View across Table Bay

We parked up outside the hotel, and popped in for a quick wash and change of sweaty clothes before heading to Camps Bay for a lovely supper with Roni and Art in a great restaurant called Paranga.

I managed to get my nose and a small strip on my left wrist quite sunburned, and look like Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.

Todays route