Echoes of the Baviaans - Tiny step 2: A week in the Karoo - CycleBlaze

January 10, 2022

Echoes of the Baviaans

The route we have chosen for the next week is through one of the least populated areas of South Africa.  So it is no surprise that we only encountered seven motor vehicles today.  At one stage we had hoped for more, but I'll get to that later.

Within a few hundred meters we said goodbye to the tarred road and started up the first hill, using the full width of the road to avoid the corrugations as best as possible.

Looking back at Steytlerville.
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After five kilometers or so we reached the turnoff to the Groot River Poort, or Grootrivierpoort in Afrikaans (one concept, one word is the standard in Afrikaans).  At this point the road improved dramatically and we had twenty kilometers of great cycling until we reached the next junction where we turned towards the Baviaanskloof Mountains.

Turnoff to Grootrivierpoort.
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Great roads with almost no traffic.
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Black-headed Persian sheep.
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Every now and then I found a koppie to climb so that I could look for plants to photograph. It also gave me opportunities to take pictures of Leigh as she cycled by.
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The Baviaanskloofberge in the distance.
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Vachellia karroo, commonly known as Soetdoring or Sweet Thorn in flower.
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From this second junction the road deteriorated quickly and we started climbing into the foothills of the Baviaanskloofberge.  The mercury started to climb and we started to flag.  Our destination for the day suddenly seemed a long way away.

We found a grove of Bluegums where we took a break to cool off. I usually despise these alien trees because of the amount of water they suck out of the ground but today I was grateful for these being planted.
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Mike AylingHi Jean-Marc
Most Eucalypts including E Globulus (Blue Gum) have very shallow root systems, a large root plate rather than a root ball so that they can harvest all the surface water after rain. The down side to this is that if you have a wind storm after good rains the tree can blow over with the shallow root plate visible to all who pass by.
Another thing about Eucalypts is that they frequently drop large branches without warning in perfectly still conditions so it is not a good idea to pitch your tent in the shade of an Eucalypt.

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2 years ago
Seems like some local farmers had a quarrel, either with each other or with outsiders trespassing. I won't translate - the language is pretty rough.
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Susan CarpenterThe last line needs no translating!
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2 years ago
Roller coaster through the heat of the day.
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About eight kilometers before where we thought our destination was we came upon a signboard reading "Echoes of the Baviaans" but the gate to which it pointed was locked.  We had been without a cellphone signal for the past few hours and so there was no way to call the owners to find out what we should do.  At this stage it seemed that wild camping was on the cards.  Water was going to be an issue if we had to do that but we fortunately found a water tank that had good tasting, clear water so we filled up our bottles just in case.  We would have been really pleased if we encountered another motor vehicle now.

Cresting a rise I noticed I had a weak cellphone signal so I called the owner of "Echoes of the Baviaans" who put our minds at rest by explaining that the sign we had passed was for an older, no longer in use part of the operation and that the co-ords we were navigating towards were correct.

As we turned off, his daughter drove in behind us to show us where the campsite was located on the farm.  She also kindly brought us five liters of extra drinking water and a few beers.

The right signboard.
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View down to the campsite.
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Home for the night.
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The wind had picked up strongly and there was very little shelter from it.   We had no option but to live with it.  We are still two months away from the less windy time of the year so wind is something we will just have to expect and accept.

Today's ride: 46 km (29 miles)
Total: 46 km (29 miles)

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