Clarens - The tenth step ... SISA Episode II - CycleBlaze

April 5, 2021

Clarens

Today's ride was pretty short but had six hundred and twenty meters of climbing.  It was also a lot warmer today so the climbs were more apparent than on the cooler days we have enjoyed over the past while.  There was quite a bit of traffic but the road had a great shoulder so it was no bother at all.

Now that I have got that behind me, let me say that today's ride was one of the best we have enjoyed in the past five years of cycle touring.  What made it so special were the wonderful views we enjoyed from the moment that we rolled out of Fouriesburg and the views from within Clarens are almost as good.

Heading out of Fouriesburg.
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Nice views across to Lesotho that just got better and better as we rode.
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The Maloti Mountains.
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Fields of beans looking back towards Fouriesburg.
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Cosmos were our constant companions.
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Looking across the Caledon River to Lesotho.
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Looking westwards towards Fouriesburg.
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Leigh making her way up to the highest point for today at 1899 meters above sea level, also the highest for the trip so far. Just before this I met a Sotho in his late teens scrambling up the hill from the Lesotho side. He asked me if there were any soldiers around to which I replied "No". Only then did I realize he was hopping across the border without documentation. Quite honestly, it makes no sense to me that there are restrictions on the cross-border movements of people between the SADC countries. From Wikipedia: The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is an inter-governmental organization headquartered in Gaborone, Botswana. Its goal is to further regional socio-economic cooperation and integration as well as political and security cooperation among 16 countries in southern Africa.
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All that lies between us and Lesotho are some bean fields.
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Surrender Hill is where, on the 31st of July 1900, General Marthinus Prinsloo and four thousand three hundred men were surrounded and forced to surrender to the British troops during second Anglo-Boer.
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We have got a really nice cottage in Clarens for the next three nights.  It was a really stiff climb to get into Clarens from road and then a steep descent on a gravel road to the cottage.  It is about a kilometer away from the tourist centre of the village and even further from the shops so it's location isn't perfect but it came at a good price and has everything else in its favour.  The local brewery closes at six this evening so we are heading out to grab a beer and an early supper as soon as I have finished my journal entry.

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Today's ride: 39 km (24 miles)
Total: 1,090 km (677 miles)

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Mike AylingGreat photos with all that blue autumn sky!

Mike
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1 week ago
Jean-Marc StrydomTo Mike AylingHi Mike. The weather has mostly been great. The skies up here seem to carry on forever. In your time in Umtata you must have enjoyed similar views when looking north towards the mountains.
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1 week ago