Nieu Bethesda - The tenth step ... SISA Episode II - CycleBlaze

March 17, 2021

Nieu Bethesda

With almost a thousand meters of climbing over not much more than fifty kilometers, we knew today was going to be a toughie.  Thankfully the weather was on our side and we had cool to moderate temperatures and a slight tailwind the whole ride.  We had set off from Graaff Reinet soon after eight o'clock and only arrived in Nieu Bethesda a bit before three o'clock.  The climb took us to over one thousand five hundred meters above sealevel over a series of steps, the last, over the Rubbidgekloof Pass, being the biggest and the most testing. 

The Karoo is looking lush after all the rain.
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A safe shoulder and a good road surface made the first three climbs quite easy.
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Looking southwards back towards Graaff Reinet.
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Someone spotted that this rock looked a bit baboon-like and added the finishing touches.
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At about thirty kilometers we turned off westwards to Nieu Bethesda. No shoulder but also not much traffic. This is the start of the last climb.
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Part of the way up.
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Then it was a gentle downhill until a few kilometers outside Nieu Bethesda at which point the road dived down into the valley at an alarming angle.
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The start of the descent into the valley.
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As we crossed the river at the bottom of the valley, the tar disappeared and last four kilometers into the town was rough gravel.  We took a left fork and headed to the local brewery where we met up with our Warmshowers host, Andre.  He seems a really nice guy and I am looking forward to chewing the fat a bit with him.  After enjoying a glass of his great IPA and chatting to some other folk enjoying his beer we headed to the backpackers accommodation that he also owns and where we will be spending the next two nights.

Our digs for the next two nights - Sneeuberg Backpackers.
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Today's ride: 56 km (35 miles)
Total: 352 km (219 miles)

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John SaxbyGreat photos of the changing town-, sky- and landscapes, Jean-Marc! Glad that you guys managed to survive/dodge the thunderstorms. When I was cycling around Pretoria all those years ago, I found myself wondering, "Jeez, whatever will I do if I'm caught in a highveldt thunderstorm?" (It's not as though there were many overpasses offering shelter...) Thankfully, it never happened. You've had some great lodgings, nicely described. Safe journeys, John.
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