Anysberg - A Tale of Two Trips

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WannaBeJoe

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We visited the Cape Nature Anysberg site in mid-January and in also recently in mid-February of this year. First and second visit. Trailered the two bikes (KLR 650 and my son's Honda XR400R) in as junior cannot ride his bike on public roads (14 years old and counting). This time around we could not use our beloved G-Wagen as he (named "Dirkie" by my mechanic... WTF!?) is getting his head examined .... literally. It is a long, sad and rather expensive story. The good news being that his head is not cracked. But I digress .....

It starts with a call to the crowd at Anysberg where I am met with indifference-leaning-towards-negativity. One neutrally-delightful lady comes to mind in particular.

Q: Are bikes allowed?
A: Bikes have been here before, but it is a nature reserve so we do not really like bikes.

Q: So there is a no-bikes rule in place?
A: No, but they are rather noisy and could scare the animals away.

Q: So sorry to harp on this, but I am taking a 4 hour drive and really need to know if we can unload our bikes and go on a tour of nature over there. Ons gaan baie mooi saggies en stadig ry.
A: Groups of bikes have come through here before, so I guess we cannot prevent you from riding your bike.

A definite maybe then, and on the strength this tentative promise we head out, on a Wednesday nogals, to Anysberg. Using the Nissan NP300 to tow the bike-trailer and carry our immortal souls and earthly belongings.

For those in the know: the site can be reached by one of three gates. East, West and Somewhere-Else. We chose West. After the compulsory stop at the Patriot shop-and-restaurant just outside Touws Rivier we sleeped through said town and headed for the hills. A 70 km drive to the camp site, aptly named "Indifference" .... no, sorry ...... named "Vrede". The road is perfectly passable until you get to a plaas-opstal, I think called Kruisrivier, where the road splits. The gate to the reserve, 27 km distant, is just down the road. This is where the fun started: the official speed limit is 30 km/h ........ if you can do that with a bakkie-and-bike-trailer combo you'd be up for the Nobel Prize, all six of them. We hardly managed 15 km/h on average with numerous small, dry river crossings, rocky outcrops, rocky sinkplaat-pad etc etc. Man and machine took a beating of note and we arrived just shy of sunset. Two hours out of Touws Rivier. Of course, on a bike, the ride would have been fun. Just saying .....

And here the doors of paradise opened. Well, not completely, as I still had to negotiate terms with the Indifferent-One at the office. But then the doors of paradise opened: the camp site is an absolute stunner, recently done over for all those who would but could not attend during Covid (yep, had to get the word in here). Communal kitchen with chest fridge and chest freezer, gas burners furnished with stainless steel kettles. Deep, spacious sinks with dish cloth, sponge, drying cloth and detergent provided. Ablution facilities clean, neat and tidy. Toilet paper on tap.

The camp sites are located under Bloekombome and I am partial to the Duiker site which will allow your tent to languish in the shade for most of the day. We had the privilege on the second trip but Gemsbok did an admirable job on our first try-out. Note to would-be campers: vat nou daardie 3-hoekige tentpenne wat mens so skuins inkap en sny sy pen-kant af tot hy net 15 cm lank is, nee, maak dit 10 cm ....... want dis al wat jy in daai grond ingekap gaan kry. Ons vermoed dat een of ander sielsieke 'n slab concrete daar gaan gooi het so 200 of 300 jaar gelede, topsoil daaroor gestrooi het en lank gewag het vir sy grappie om tot werklikheid te vorm.                                                                                                 

We did most of our riding on the next day. Took it very easy with a first trip to the Eastern gate which revealed the 21 km between the camp site and gate to be a much easier ride for 4-wheeled transport. After the morning's ride we went and sampled the dam at the camp site. About 20 - 30 m in diameter with a wooden deck built up to the edge. About the sexiest plaasdam that I will ever swim in.

And speaking of sexy, we found a naked 72-year old floating in the dam. Very much alive and chatty. A small part of me died with the thought that this might be my son's introduction to the magical beauty of the female body. We did not take her up on her offer to "do likewise" and I made sure that we had our backs turned when she finally emerged from the water to put on, yes you guessed it, her bikini. She turned out to be a delightfully opinionated and witty Southern-Suburbs tannie, nothing else but a vertebra in the backbone of a certain political party holding sway over the Western Cape. She had been there for a week, on her own, watching and listing birds. Also an expert on the local dragonfly mating protocols and we apparently had the dubious honour of watching some rare species of dragonfly do what they do best at such an upper-class plaasdam.

We then had the pleasure of meeting our camping neighbours. An English speaking lady and her husband/boyfriend who was clearly Afrikaans but insisted on gooing the Rooi Taal with us. We suspected them of being rabid vegans. Their communication was limited to whispers and knowing looks and after finding it quite boring to observe them after a while we decided to go ride some more.

We ended the day's riding by going out the Eastern gate again and following the dirt road all the way to where it joins the tar road between Ladismith and Laingsburg. The stretch outside of the reserve is a broad dirt road where one can engage in a bit of speed. Inside is closer to a tweespoor paadjie.

Next morning we slept late, went for a swim rather than a ride and then packed up. We decided to do the round trip via the Eastern gate and Laingsburg back to Touws Rivier. A total distance of around 150 km, taking about the same time as the 70 km via the Western gate but sans all the anxiety of smashing the bakkie and trailer to bits.

Speaking of anxiety, the Nissan made sure we were well-entertained by going into limp mode shortly after emerging from the Eastern gate. This is an old habit that has been confounding my regular mechanic for the best part of 4 years. It seems to be engine speed related and once it goes into limp mode it does so at progressively lower engine speeds. Needless to say the trip back to Stellenbosch was not very pleasant and nerve-wrackingly slow. On arrival I called the mechanic and we bowed our heads in a moment of silent prayer, hoping that this time something substantially had broken that would indicate the root cause of the problem. Alas, when I limped onto his premises the next day the bakkie magically abandoned all notions of limping and behaved as if nothing had happened. The theory being that it wanted a wash and some TLC and once the mechanic had done the necessary it would revert back to being a happy bakkie.

As an aside: I took the bakkie to a friend who mechanics from his home in Durbanville. He had the bakkie for a day, found the problem, plugged the naughty neutral switch plug back into the gearbox where it had been swaying in the wind for the best part of 5 years and declared my bakkie healed and restored. Turns out to be true as we used the bakkie for our second trip and she ran like a monster with nary a hint of limping.

This weekend we returned to the Anysberg, entering through the Eastern gate. We witnessed and experienced rain on the Saturday evening. The veld is in tremendous condition. We also met the dangerously endangered river hair, a cantankerous old couple who behaved as if all belonged to them and various bokke, Gems to Bles and beyond to Kudu. We sampled the 4x4 section on our bikes. What a lovely technical ride offering the whole gambit of bike-related misery: sand, rock, donga, you name it. Junior got a lovely exhaust manifold burn that will most definitely play a role in the upcoming custody battle. You live and learn. Or not. Fact is, we had another lovely half+full+half day at Anysberg. I can recommend it wholeheartedly. Just 4 hours from Cape Town and close and fun enough for a quick weekend getaway. Again, probably even more fun if you can ride your bike there and can do away with the trailer.

PS: The dog is named Krypto and he belongs to the Indifferent-One which turns out to be the best part of this engaging lady.  :)

                                                                                                                 
 

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Chrisl

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Eerste boek wat jy skryf koop ek!! :thumleft: :thumleft: :lol8:
 

Neo_za

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On my wishlist. For some reason i thought the Anysberg reserve was 4x4 territory only
 

XRRX

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Thx!! Was one of my favourite bike destinations for many years!!
For some reason I haven't been there for about 10yrs now! :(
Time to rectify that!!!
 

Wolzac

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:sip: :ricky:
Was it your Mods that caused the G to rebel?
 

WannaBeJoe

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Wolzak said:
:sip: :ricky:
Was it your Mods that caused the G to rebel?

I hope not. The top gasket seems to have breached somewhere as the cooling system picked up heat and a lot of pressure. The breach is not all that visible but it is quite clear that one of the cylinders was working through some water. The truck stood stationary for a number of years on a Karoo farm with only water in the cooling system, that is, no glycol added. Might be that the gasket disagreed with this treatment.

 

WannaBeJoe

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Neo_za said:
On my wishlist. For some reason i thought the Anysberg reserve was 4x4 territory only

The other staff at the reserve are great, there is a guy called John (Johannes maybe), coloured bloke (are we allowed to say this?) and he has no problem with bikes. Advised us on routes to take, things to look out for. He has been there since 1985 so he knows his stuff.

I am very tongue-in-cheek about the Indifferent-One. She was never unfriendly, just super-neutral if that makes any sense. Her husband on the other hand was very friendly and enthusiastic. So bikes are welcome as far as I am concerned.

I also ran into a fellow at Patriot who says that they own/live on Kruisrivier which borders the reserve. Apparently they have a guest house/lodge on their farm and he mentioned that the area offered a lot of riding opportunities. I am pretty sure that using the reserve as base camp you could ride  for days. It is unbelievably beautiful at the moment: green and water everywhere.
 

Ri

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I enquired about staying over in Anysberg a few times when I rode through, but they were closed during the drought.

Wonderful to know they are open now, I'm very keen to go camp there.

I understood that the 4x4 track was off limits for bikes - it's good to know this is relative to who you talk too :thumleft:
 

Neo_za

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WannaBeJoe said:
Neo_za said:
On my wishlist. For some reason i thought the Anysberg reserve was 4x4 territory only

The other staff at the reserve are great, there is a guy called John (Johannes maybe), coloured bloke (are we allowed to say this?) and he has no problem with bikes. Advised us on routes to take, things to look out for. He has been there since 1985 so he knows his stuff.

I am very tongue-in-cheek about the Indifferent-One. She was never unfriendly, just super-neutral if that makes any sense. Her husband on the other hand was very friendly and enthusiastic. So bikes are welcome as far as I am concerned.

I also ran into a fellow at Patriot who says that they own/live on Kruisrivier which borders the reserve. Apparently they have a guest house/lodge on their farm and he mentioned that the area offered a lot of riding opportunities. I am pretty sure that using the reserve as base camp you could ride  for days. It is unbelievably beautiful at the moment: green and water everywhere.

Thanks for the info :thumleft: Always wanted to explore it, but never did and now is perhaps a good time. Heading that way soon and thinking of taking a scenic ride through. If i stay over, i will look for places that border the reserve as i think that they have a 2-night minimum stay policy which will not work for me.
 

the ruffian

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It is a brilliant place to ride and camp and hike and just hang. You’ve done it justice in this report.

I must have got the indifferent one on a good day when I went through there last August. She had no problem with the bike, and even cautioned me to take care in the muddy conditions...

Love that communal kitchen!!

And it is very affordable for solo travelers.
 

Willem-Ben

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Thank you for the nice report.

No power point for the camping but can i plug in my camping fridge in the communal kitchen?

Thanks
 
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Great report. I crashed myself at the bit of " n sielsieke" who threw a slab of concrete... a patient " sielsieke" ( no pun intended)
 

Neo_za

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Also ended up visiting recently and thus now a gick against the bucket list. Entered from Touwsriver side - enjoyed the whole route leading to the gate, through the reserve and out again to Ladismith. The road from the campsite to Ladismith is in better condition than the road leading in from Touwsriver.

The campsite itself is great...probably one of the neatest i have stayed over. Really enjoyed my stay. Will go again.
 
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