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

March 22, 2021

Steynsburg

We had a very comfortable stay at Mount Melsetter yesterday.  Tea was served at four o'clock in the afternoon and was enjoyed in the company of some of Mike and Candy's friends.  Later I took a walk to a bird hide overlooking a dam for a bit of birding, returning only after dark.  After a good supper with our hosts we had a good night's rest. 

The view from the bird hide soon after the sun had set.
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We were in no rush to leave this morning.  It was pretty cool  with heavy cloud cover and we only had forty odd kilometers to go.  So we enjoyed late lie-in and a substantial breakfast before setting off at about ten o'clock.   The first half and hour was cold enough for us to wear our jackets and buffs but the clouds soon lifted and we enjoyed a pleasantly warm ride.

In South Africa a flat topped hill is called a "koppie" which translates as "little head".  Koppies are as characteristic of the Karoo as its famously flavoured lamb, stunted bushes, wind pumps and endless blue skies.  Two of the best known are Teebus and Koffiebus, which translate as tea pot and coffee pot, are found between Schoombee (where Mount Melsetter is located) and Steynsburg. 

These koppies owe their existence to a period about 180 million years ago when molten magma forced its way up to the surface of the earth from hundreds of kilometers beneath the surface. This created narrow dolerite sills which, being harder than the surrounding rock, formed hard caps which today give us this typical Karoo feature.  Teebus and Koffiebus are visible from some distance away and it was nice to see their shapes change as we approached and then left them (the road runs between the two).

Approaching the koppies. Koffiebus on the left and Teebus on the right.,
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Teebus's cap is laterally compressed.
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Leaving the koppies.
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Almost twenty kilometers away and they are still in full view.
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After passing between Teebus and Koffiebus we had to do a quick tortoise rescue exercise.

This pork-pie sized chap looked as if he was on his way to Middelburg. Not a good idea.
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Bill ShaneyfeltCute! Might ge a leopard tortoise?
https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/40092-Stigmochelys-pardalis/browse_photos
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3 weeks ago
Jean-Marc StrydomTo Bill ShaneyfeltI agree with Leopard Tortoise. They can get very big here but this fella was only bite-sized.
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3 weeks ago
Its seems like mountain biking is big business here.
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Just outside Steynsburg we came upon a monument commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the Great Trek.  The Great Trek was as result of the Afrikaaners wanting to escape British rule but reasons for the commemoration were less than glorious.

A strongly held personal view that I had written here has been deleted, thankfully before this journal was made public. 

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Today's ride was relaxed and quite enjoyable, there being very little traffic and the views interesting enough.  We got to Steynsburg just after two o'clock.  It is a rather downtrodden little town with not many prospects for its inhabitants.  We managed to get over-priced accommodation at one of its three guesthouses but are looking forward to pushing on to Burgersdorp tomorrow.

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Today's ride: 45 km (28 miles)
Total: 543 km (337 miles)

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