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Author Topic: Burchell's Travels by Bike, 2010  (Read 114112 times)
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tok-tokkie
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« Reply #80 on: June 10, 2010, 06:15:04 PM »

Burchell went down to Plettenberg Bay but I was wanting to push on towards home so skipped it out.  However after I did the Burchell Route with TR & LGF I did go to Plett so I have done that piece of the original trek in context already.  I would like to include this picture of the bay and lagoon by Le Vaillant because to me it is particularly attractive.


I went through Kom se Pad down to Knysna.  I had planned on taking the 7 passes route to George but time was marching on, the roads were wet and I wanted to get to Trairiders before dark so I took the tar N2 to George.  Trailrider and Viervlieggie welcomed me, fed me & gave me a room.  Many thanks.


Here is the story of the Great Fire of 1869 which took out the forest that prevented Burchell from getting to Plett along the coast from PE.

Quote
150 years ago, the Tsitsikamma Forest between Plettenberg Bay and Humansdorp was the thickest and most forbidding in the entire Cape colony, and it presented travellers with an impassable, virtually solid barrier. Many a determined explorer had to turn back, hat in hand, for the Tsitsikamma with its dense underbrush, deep ravines, mighty rivers, tangled roots and tall trees would not be conquered easily. In 1839, the chief engineer of the Cape Colony even insisted that “there is no practical way – not even a foot path – to get from Plettenberg Bay to the Tsitsikamma country“. But in 1869, nature did what armies of engineers could not. The Great Fire of 1869 was the first fire in South Africa to be officially declared a disaster. It was extremely widespread and raged across almost the whole area from Swellendam to Uitenhage and inland to Meiringspoort, through the Langkloof and over the mountains almost right to the sea at Great Brak River, Victoria Bay and Knysna. Ash fell on ships far out to sea. This huge fire thinned out the forest, and gave legendary road builder Thomas Bain the opportunity to build the much-anticipated road through the once impenetrable wilderness. With many of the trees gone, Bain’s main problem was not clearing the path, but conquering the sheer river gorges that cut through the land. With three great gorges – the Groot, Bloukrans and Storms River – to be crossed, this would be a gargantuan task. But Bain would not be deterred, and in 1885, after six years of painstaking road building, his Gorges Road was complete – a winding and complex route carefully picking its way through wooded terrain and around the river gorges.
*Source*

Unfortunately we do not have Burchell’s account of how he got through the forest from Plett to Mossel bay.  We do have his map from which we can see he followed where the N2 goes more or less from Plettenberg Bay to Mossel Bay but then he followed the base of the mountains all the way to Swellendam and beyond.
Knysna.  It was a bit misty and drizzling.


I am a fan of corrugated iron houses.  Trailrider had told me of two in Klein Brak so I went looking for them.   I have always driven past Klein & Great Brak.


I went to Mossel Bay.  There is another replica of a Portugese Padrao in the museum and I also wanted to see the Post Office Tree and the caravel.  I spent 1,5 hours there.  The Post Office Tree; it is quite likely the original tree  where the Portugese used to leave messages.


The Padrao.  It is a replica donated by the Portugese government.  It was erected by Vasco Da Gama in 1497; he came here 9 years after Dias and succeeded in getting to India. It was as padrao like this that I was expecting in PE but never found.  I am interested in getting to significant places like where Dias erected his cross & seeing a replica.  *Brief history of Mossel Bay*


A Scotsman was given a licence to hunt the seals in the bay but ended up running a pub from these buildings now in the museum as representative of what the early buildings were like.  (Many seals on Seal Island so there are many great whites in the bay.  There is also excellent surfing.)


The spring that the Portugese drew their water from is next to the milkwood tree but has not flowed above surface since the 1970s.  There is an aquarium.  These two fish as you walk in.  Sadly the spotty one was a bit quick for my camera settings.  When I was a schoolboy & you collected stamps then the Mozambique ones with their fishes (like this) were very sought after.


The highlight of the museum is the full size replica of a Portuguese caravel as used by Dias and Da Gama.  I say full size but it was how small it is that made such an impression on me.  The fishing boats in Kalk Bay are longer.  There is a person under the red cross on the sail for scale. 


I spent 1,5 hours at the museum and still wanted to get back to Cape Town this day.  I went out to the swimming pool for late breakfast and beer.  I have had two lovely surf sessions there but it was wild then & no one was out.
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tok-tokkie
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« Reply #81 on: June 10, 2010, 06:16:24 PM »

I had a nice route planned from Herbetsdale but once again T4A was wrong & the road has long been closed. I was forced onto the usual road to Riversdale.  Some ericas growing by the roadside; I have grown to love our fynbos.


Garcia Pass goes through that kloof.  The light was nice even though it was the middle of the day. Beautiful scene.


Grootvadersbosch area.  I have just passed the entrance to Gysmanshoek – a very easy pass but the Tradouw Pass was developed through a much more challenging valley simply because it was closer to Swellendam showing how important minimum distance was in the days of animal drawn vehicles.


Schumacher Grootvadersbosch.


I should be quite a bit more to the left but you can recognise that sharp peak.


Schumacher has this picture of the Drostdy at Swellendam.


My picture is from pretty much the same place.  It is all the oak trees that make it not obvious; the Drostdy is completely hidden now but the tar road runs just where the road in Schumacher’s picture goes.


Time was getting on & I wanted to get home now that I was in familiar territory so I abandoned the gravel roads of my route & went home on the N2.  Arrived home at 19h20.
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« Reply #82 on: June 10, 2010, 06:22:32 PM »

Well done sir. Epic ride and report!

Thanks for popping in. It was nice having you. A1
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« Reply #83 on: June 10, 2010, 06:25:52 PM »

Thanks again TT. I enjoyed every bit of it.  A1
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« Reply #84 on: June 12, 2010, 10:15:43 AM »

I saw this in the CP Nel Museum in Oudtshoorn. Just thought I'd ad it here.







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« Reply #85 on: June 12, 2010, 12:45:49 PM »

Thank you Toktokkie. Fascinating report.
 Big Grin
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« Reply #86 on: June 22, 2010, 02:33:38 PM »

Tok-tokkie were you using the latest version of T4A?

The problems you experienced sparked some discussion on the T4A Google Group.
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“Remember what Bilbo used to say: It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
tok-tokkie
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« Reply #87 on: June 22, 2010, 06:02:08 PM »

Yes, downloaded the day before I left. T4A gave me trouble every single day.  Closed roads, places to stay that have been closed for ages, camping said to be available where it is not, incorrect map location (tens of km off) for place to stay, remote petrol station that closed ages ago.
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teri II
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« Reply #88 on: June 23, 2010, 08:25:06 PM »

Subscribed

Awesome navorsing en baie moeite.
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Umdani
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« Reply #89 on: June 24, 2010, 06:54:45 AM »

Jy is verskriklik oplettend en noukeurig TT. Daai 2 fotos van Grootvadersbos beindruk my veral. Baie goed. Big Grin
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