Off we go!
On the morning of the 12th June at 10am we finally set off on our expedition! Despite the miserable rainy conditions, we left Cape Town in high in spirits and stoked we were finally on the road!
To avoid any potential hassles leaving the city we were escorted by our good mate Dylan Oosthuizen who took us all the way to the town of Wellington, 75km out of Cape Town. Some hearty good byes later and we off again wresting the hill passes making our way to Ceres about 170km out of Cape Town which on its own was an adventure ‘Tuk Tuking’ up some of those hills at 20km/h.
Making Better time than expected we decided to not stay in Ceres and keep pushing to the beginning of the longest dirt road in South Africa (200km +) without towns or fuel stations. Parked off on the side of the road in a sweet little spot we proceeded to set up camp and get the fire going to fill our bellies with canned meatballs and spaghetti. What a treat! Believe it or not but driving that Tuk Tuk or even just being a passenger is quite exhausting. For the driver, back pains ensued about 3 hours into the drive as well as finger cramps from gripping the accelerator, not to mention staying focused for extended periods at under 40km/h on average. For the passengers finding ways to keep yourself entertained is key. When two are in the back its far easier playing games and chatting nonsense but alone is a whole different story. At least there’s plenty of time to think and for these reasons we were in bed at a pretty unusual 9pm.
Day 2/3 (13/06/17) The Longest Dirt Road in SA
We were thrilled to be taking on the notorious R355, which we had been told from numerous people (including the internet) that punctures were the norm, if not compulsory when taking this long dirt road. Yet we pushed on determined not to let something like this stop us from taking the beast through some incredibly beautiful country.
We stumbled on a small Café/bar just 20km down the road called Tankwa Padstal, where a lovely lady gave us free coffee and Wi-Fi so we could reassure all our followers and probably slightly on edge parents that were still alive… for now. After the social media updates, we cruised on but the road quickly went arse up with an unfathomable amount of corrugations, for a Tuk Tuk anyways. This greatly reduced our speed down to an average of 20-25km/h, and in some places down to first gear crawling over these buggers.
After our kidneys were probably shook to hell and gone, we stopped for a good lunch on the side of the road and let some of the gear dry out from all the dew the previous night. Bellies fill, we packed up and headed onwards, and with a bit of dismay that the corrugations didn’t let up as we continued to bounce up the R355.
Running out of sunlight we weren’t going to complete the R355 so we pulled off at a local farm and asked two farm hands; Frans and Hannes if they wouldn’t mind us pitching our tent and staying the night. They were extremely generous and offered us a spot to pitch up, a little fire area to cook food and even gave us free wood so we could save our suppliers. We were extremely grateful for how friendly these people were, so we offered the only thing we could in return… a ride in the beast!
At this small farmstead, we witnessed one of the most fantastic sunsets we had seen before, it really took our breath away and I wished all of you could have taken my eyes to see this fantastic site, because the photo, being great, still doesn’t do justice.
The next day we prepared ourselves to climb out of the big pass that lay between us and Calvinia. We made our way up this 350m ascent at just under 20km, although slow it proved what this little Tuk Tuk was capable of as we pushed it through some pretty rough terrain. To top it all off, we defeated the notorious R355 without a single puncture or issue so we were extremely stoked with the beast.
Reaching Calvinia we took the chance to do our first oil change as required when running in a new motor. However, the oil cap came off not too far up the road and we only noticed as we pulled over again to do the tyres. This was pretty bloody lucky because if we had carried on the beast would have seized and we wouldn’t have made it very far at all. We decided not to have a celebratory beer at this point partly because of that little hick-up, and partly because it was only 9:30am.
This little hick-up aside we cruised on into the great wide openness of the Karoo. Such a majestic piece of land, so wide in reach and so flat you could see your dog run away for three days.
Getting late we pulled off into a farm that offered accommodation so after waiting a little while the lady turned up and gave us a room with a shower and sink for no charge! It was an epic piece of luxury we received and are continually being humbled by people’s generosity towards us and the expedition. Trust me we took good advantage of this shower, being the first in 3+ days we certainly made it last. What a treat!
Many more to come!
Barefoot Adventurers Club