2016-12-03 to 2016-12-05
I ride into Port Edward from Kokstad on the third. The road is being widened so their are frequent road closures and i spend a lot of time waiting in traffic. Port Edward is an on the Indian Ocean so more beautiful beaches.
On the fifth I loop back to Durban (whose traffic I was trying to avoid) to have the rear tire replaced as it is not going to make it to the Western Cape as I had hoped. Unfortunately I was not able to get a Heidenau K60 and I am having to settle for a Mitas E-07 which I am unfamiliar with.
2016-12-07 to 2016-12-08
I try to take the back roads to Port St Johns but eventually get frustrated with the GPS and resort to taking the highway as the GPS refuses to route through the countryside.
As you ride into town along the Mzimvubu river you approach the “Gates” which are two steep flat top mountains. There is an airstrip on the southern mountain (used in the filming of Blood Diamond) that has quite impressive views
2016-12-08 to 2016-12-12
On the eighth I ride in to Coffee Bay. This time I am actually able to make it on the back roads. In the Eastern Cape the roads other than the highways are in pretty poor shape, they are mud roads where the hills have been washed out and only contain 3″ plus rocks. On one of the uphills I drop the bike causing the left pannier to pop off. After much sweating and swearing I get bike rubber side down and pointed up the hill again. Given that GPS cannot route through this part of the world I am relying mostly on locals to point me in the right direction. At one point I am advised to go down the road to the right and take the bridge. There is some discussion amongst the locals in Xhosa then again in English that the road will be fine for me on my bike. The road down the valley is a little treacherous with rocks but when I get to the “bridge” I realize why the discussion needed to happen as this bridge isn’t complete. No worries I ride through the river like everyone else appears to be doing and I am on my way.
As I am approaching Coffee Bay the pannier falls off a few times. I am trying to beat the thunderstorm but eventually cede that the pannier needs to be strapped on and empty the gas can to get the weight off that pannier.
The storm really starts as I pull into the hostel.
Once there I meet two doctors Josh and Mel from the UK who have been working in Kwa-Zulu-Natal and join them and Cynthia who is also staying at the hostel for dinner at a local pizza shop.
On the ninth Cynthia and I are joined by two Canadians and a guy from Portland who are on a road trip from Cape Town to Kruger Park for a trip to the beach and for lunch. I proceed to get one heck of a Canadian Suntan (burn) at the beach but the water was excellent and very warm.
The tenth is a rainy day but I decide to brave the mud and ride over to hole in the wall. If the weather was better the pictures would be better.
After I return from hole in the wall I watch some surfers.
That evening Gian Carlo and Ricardo (cousins from Italy and South Africa) pull in to town from Port St Johns where I had briefly seen them before.
The eleventh brings more rain and I spend the day writhing in agony from my sunburn, I think I am allergic to aloe vera or whatever they put in sunburn creams as I just get an insanity causing itch on my back.
On the twelfth my sunburn has calmed down so I hike to Mtata River with Cynthia, Gian Carlo, and Ricardo. There we see a cave where ANC hid weapons during the apartheid era.