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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
One of our favourite riding districts is an area to the East of Pretoria & Johannesburg called Mpumalanga. It used to be known as the Eastern Transvaal & is universally known as ET. The reason we like this area is that it’s full of forest & mountain twisty roads. I was first introduced to this region some 25 years ago by a guy who has written on this forum previously as a two-time Triumph owner; I think under the name of ‘Strumpet’. He now lives overseas, but is now on a vacation visit to South Africa & we put together a few days in ET on the Sprint & the Tiger.

Firstly, to set the scene, I’ve dug up a pic from our first visit together from 1983 when we visited on our Ducatis:


We subsequently visited ET many times on a variety of bikes

This time round we stayed in the town of Nelspruit (pronounced ‘nelsprate’) in a hotel that cost the equivalent of $16 a night per person sharing (room only).



Unfortunately the weather can be very wet in December and we were caught out a few times, so this sequence of photos starts up with one of the better days that we enjoyed.

The town of Sabie (pron ‘Sarby’) is located at the geographic centre of the region. The road that links it to Lydenburg is called Long Tom Pass which is 56km/35mi long and rises to around 7,000 ft asl at its highest point. The cannon on top is a replica of one used in the Anglo-Boer wars:




 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Long Tom Pass:




We then turned North & then East to visit the Blyde (pron ‘blayder’} River Canyon, supposedly the world’s third biggest river canyon after the Grand Canyon in the USA & the Fish River Canyon in neighbouring Namibia.

A rondavel (pron ‘rondarvle’) is a traditional circular rural African hut:


so it’s no surprise that this rock formation is known as The Three Rondavels:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The road that runs down the western lip of the canyon is a real belter:


We had lunch in the town of Graskop, whose main claim to fame is its pancake shops (I think that says it all really). We then rode up the only Alpine style road in the region to the old gold mining settlement of Pilgrim’s Rest which has become a major tourist attraction/trap. We continued on up the splendidly named Robber’s Pass, which is extremely tight & technical in places but more open & routine in others. Some pics of the pass:




Strumpet on the Tiger:
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
We spent a few minutes in Pilgrim’s Rest. This is the Royal Hotel where we had stayed all those years ago:


We left to return to Nelspruit but we got caught in a torrential downpour in the mountains. We arrived back at the hotel as a pair of drowned RATs, much to the amusement of the hotel staff. But we are enterprising souls & we managed to dry our boots out by standing them inverted on the room’s air-conditioner. But, alas, we got caught out again the next morning. This was the scene in a very wet & miserable Sabie:





It was a rather sad way to end our short visit.

If someone had suggested to Strumpet & me in 1983 (when we were in our mid twenties) that we’d still be riding the roads of ET on motorbikes 25 years down the line I think we’d have been astounded. To suggest that we’d be doing it on a pair of Triumphs made in the 21st century would have been beyond all belief!

But beyond all of this, it was just great to ride with & talk to someone who has been a true friend for 25 years. We spent evenings down the excellent restaurants catching up with times, reminiscing on past riding experiences & then planning our next day’s ride; it doesn’t get much better than that.

Happy trips :),

DaveB.
 

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Travel writer????

I think you may have missed your calling!
Good to have another kindred soul to share/re-share with.
We are counting down the days when we'll be through that same area, 69 days, can't wait and your ride reports have just spiced up the anticipation.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
We are counting down the days when we'll be through that same area, 69 days
We usually get a lot of rain in Dec & Jan in the northern half of the country, but by March things should improve! Let's hope so.

Have you considered renting a Triumph whilst you are here? Please pm me if you'd like details :).

DaveB.
 

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Nice pic's and report Dave. Pity about the weather though.
My first trip to Sabie and I also got the rain. The trouble in this part of the world though is all the paper mills - the trucks haul alot of mud onto the roads when it rains eh? Then it bakes onto the engine.
Still it's all good fun though - can't complain about Sabie, even the cops are cool there.

...
 

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Hi All

Just re-registered on the forum so I can reply to this. I haven't been around here since I sold my old 900 Sprint three years ago, although I have owned and sold a 955i since.

As DaveB has already told you we go back some 25 years or so... what he omitted to say was that he hadn't heard from me in some 13 years, but was still good enough to lend me a bike, arrange insurance for me, and arrange a four day break away all with about two weeks' notice. He then left his Tiger with me for the rest of the month so that I had wheels in SA. This is a massive public thanks for helping to turn what could have been a relatively average trip to visit in-laws into a holiday of a lifetime. Thanks!

Our trip was fantastic for me... I hadn't ridden a bike in SA in 10 years or so, so it was great to go and explore those old places again in the company of an old friend. As DaveB has said, half the fun was catching up with each other and reminiscing about the old days. An interesting aside that he didn't mention was that every afternoon when we got back to the hotel, the barman would greet us with a "bucket of beer"... 6 bottles in an ice bucket... which we managed to kill each day chatting by the pool before finding a restaurant (and another drink or two). Since I haven't been in the country for eight years and he booked the hotel, I can only assume it was his reputation that preceeded us! :)

It was interesting to compare our attitudes to the weather... while it was a shame it rained a lot, to this Pom it was nice to ride in rain and still be relatively warm, and I'm not sure I would have survived four days in bike gear if it had been the usual 35 deg. C up there. I managed to cover 1000km in three days on the Tiger, so we got in plenty of riding despite the weather.

I had three other good rides on the Tiger while I had it, out to Hartebeespoort Dam on a sunny Sunday morning with the good lady on the back for a breakfast run, again with my son on New Year's Day to celebrate his 15th birthday out round the 'Cradle of Mankind' and then down to see a mutual friend at Walkerville on another stormy afternoon. The bike was superb, took everything from two up touring to high speed corner carving via tiptoeing through torrential tropical downpours in its stride. It's not a bike I would ever have considered buying before, I've always been more of a sportbike fan, but it's made me completely rethink my biking needs... an all-rounder just makes so much more sense for most of the time.

Anyway, once again, thanks DaveB - I had an absolute ball.

Strumpet08 (back in a grey, wet and cold UK)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Howzit Strumpet08 & welcome back to the forum. In the last week we've been discussing crash helmets made from vegetables, alien attacks on wind farms and why men prefer Thruxtons to women, all on these very pages :).


what could have been a relatively average trip to visit in-laws
Well, we couldn't have that could we :rolleyes:?

Anyway, I'm glad you had a good hol & liked the Tiger.

DaveB.
 
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