Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Still time to enjoy a ride during Autumn: "the second spring"

It seems like ages ago since I put "keyboard to screen"!  The Southern hemisphere is adorned with the beauty of autumn colors, to borrow the quote
Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.
Lauren DeStefano, Wither

So has been my quest at the moment, soaking in everything autumny.  I have been pinning autumn ideas on Pinterest

We visited Cullinan once again on Monday, (see one of my earlier posts on this little town Having two days off in the week and being able to get back on the bike was pure bliss!  We left a little later than usual and instead of a breakfast run we ended up having lunch at Harries pancake Cullinan.  Reason for this is the cooler autumn mornings...

Harries pancake Cullinan

I ordered a Lamb bredie with basil pesto pancake, accompanied with a mint sauce...

Hubby ordered the savory mince pancake with grated cheddar cheese:

Although in South Africa we don't celebrate thanksgiving during Fall, I would like to use this time to reflect on the beauty around and am thankful for all the many blessings!

This is a beautiful video to end off which is set to the music: "La Petite Fille de la Mer" by Vangelis...

Saturday, February 16, 2013

My personal peace of paradise (part two)

Mpumalanga is dotted with small little towns, just like in my previous blog "The quaint little town of Cullinan", where you feel as if you have stepped back in history.  The following are my favorite towns we have visited:

THE LITTLE TOWN OF PILGRIMS REST... a mining village which dates back to 1873 when a miner, Alex Patterson, discovered alluvial gold.  The mountainous pass called Robbers Pass shown in the video of my previous blog leads to this sleepy village.

The animated movie Jock of the Bushveld, stars the little dog who lived in Pilgrims Rest during the gold rush of the 19th Century.  The famous  Jock of the Bushveld book was written by Percy Fitzpatrick in 1905. For a review on the movie and the book see Rather Ronge.


...the discovery of gold in the streams around Kaapsehoop, led to the establishment of this town in the early 1800's.  Wild horses roam outside the town, and we were able to get a siting of them:

I love Kaapsehoop!  After visiting I leave with a new sense of adventure in my soul!
Our favorite stop over in Kaapsehoop is a place called, Salvador Mainstreet Bistroa tea garden, restaurant and pub

Salvador mainstreet bistro

The quirky sense of humor of the locals are depicted in some of the signs found inside and outside of the bistro:

An interesting website has an article entitled "Ghosts, granite and wild horses" and in it you are introduced to the fascinating people who are residents of this small magical village. 


The picturesque overview of the town can be seen on the slide show web link.
My most favorite viewing spot of Sabie is from this point on top of the mountain (picture below).  We rode up the mountain on one visit and weren't able to see down below because the mist was too thick...
On a clearer day we were able to see a lot more of this little town from the same view point...

Sabie is a forestry town situated on the banks of the Sabie river and in the valley of the Drakensberg mountain range.  Historically this town originated as a gold mining town and later man-made forests were planted and now forms one of the world's largest forests today.



I love the little town of Hoedspruit, situated between the Blyde river Canyon and the Kruger national park. It is here that you can see the big five animals in many of the Game Reserves. The big five animals refer to the Lion, Elephant, Buffalo, Leopard and Rhinoceros.  Unfortunately we never went to any of the Game parks!  Can you imagine what would happen to us if we were to ride in one of the reserves on our bike!
the big five found on google images search
A major problem in South Africa at the moment is the poaching of the Rhino's for their horns.  The Rhino Revolution Organisation was started by the towns people in Hoedspruit to do something about this scourge!
The town of Hoedspruit is literally along one road, "a one horse town", with many interesting things to discover if you look deeper inside!

A favorite breakfast spot of ours is the Wimpy in Hoedspruit.  A lovely cool building under a  grass thatched roof during hot summers!
Wimpy at Hoedspruit


A Dutchman from Holland named Wolterus Dull set up a company here in 1883.  The company bought two farms for settlement, which in turn attracted Dutch settlers from Holland.  Dullstroom is also known today for having the best trout facilities in South Africa.

We had a very welcome cup of coffee at the Old Transvaal Inn, an old building which had a quaint room with a fireplace and old fashioned artifacts and pictures all over the walls.  Dullstroom is known to be one of the coldest places in South Africa seeing as it lies at an altitude of nearly 2,100m.  You could feel it on the bike when passing through the town.  In my previous blog there is a photo of when we rode through Dullstroom in the thick mist, not being able to see 5 metres in front of us!

The Old Transvaal Inn is also famous for its home made sweet shop, which is always spoken of.

Mpumalanga introduced us to beautiful scenic mountainous rides, quaint little historic towns and not to forget lots of cups of coffee and scrumptious pancakes! (Just as an aside: in my blog "the quaint little town of Cullinan", more pancakes were devoured at the Harries pancake place there.)

Graskop Harries Pancake (In the little town mentioned in my previous blog)


Land of mountains, sparkling waters,
Fertile plains and azure sky,
We the people, Sons and Daughters,
Love thee ever `til we die.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

My personal peace of paradise (part one)

My personal peace of paradise is the mountains of Mpumalanga.  Now how does one condense hundreds of photo's and plenty of trips to my absolute favorite destination and adequately "paint a picture!"  I have to start somewhere...
Let me begin with a video I took with my Samsung Galaxy s2 mobile phone whilst going down the famous Robbers Pass.  Seeing as we don't own a helmet video camera, the mobile phone had to do!  It sure was tricky holding onto it tightly!

The feelings of exhilaration, excitement and freedom wasn't my initial experience on our first trip.  I have always had a fear of heights and on our way there along the Robbers Pass it started to rain whilst we were climbing.  I clung on for dear life, and have to admit even ended up literally crying in my helmet paralyzed with fear! And if that wasn't enough, coming back home was another test of my bravery, it was the first time we had ridden in thick heavy mist.  We never had any raincoats, so the lady at the resort we were staying in at the time, gave us some plastic black garbage bags which we cut a hole out of to put over our heads.

The one thing I learnt after that is the weather in the mountains is unpredictable!
Most of our stays were in the little town of Graskop, we made this our base station to explore the area around.  Graskop is situated in the panoramic route of Mpumalanga province.
We have stayed at the Panorama chalets, in a basic chalet with a breath taking view overlooking the Graskop gorge and beyond!

The other place we have stayed at is called Franka lodge, which doesn't have a view but is a very comfortable chalet. 

The panoramic route comprises many natural spectacular sites namely the;

...and I have left my most favorite spot for last, the Three Rondavels.  It is here that I am left speechless at the beauty and am profoundly touched by what I see! To do justice, I created a "movie" in Picasa to hopefully portray what it means to me: 

Mountains inspire awe in any human person who has a soul. They remind us of our frailty, our unimportance, of the briefness of our span upon this earth. They touch the heavens, and sail serenely at an altitude beyond even the imaginings of a mere mortal.
Elizabeth Aston

That wasn't the end of our exploration to the area, but I am going to leave that to another story...

Monday, January 7, 2013

"off the beaten track"

Our next adventure ended off the beaten track, it was here that John had to draw on his experience of off road biking.  I held on for dear life, as we climbed the mountainous gravel road.  This was the introduction to the many mountainous adventures that were to follow...

The route travelled was up the Maanharrand pass in the Magaliesberg Nature reserve.

                                                  Breedtsnek @ Ride by Schalk vd Linde

"Oct 2009"
Once again the Kawasaki KLR stood the test of time

At the bottom of the mountain, we turned right on the road to Buffelspoort...

This road led us to "Just Africa", where we fearlessly walked amongst the "wild animals"...

The curio store had lots to see...

...together with the spooky art of taxidermy

The trail had come to an end for the meantime but...