Our visa extensions were getting processed and there was little for us in Johannesburg after two and half months. We decided to return to Hazyview. Not only would it be a good distance to break in my motorcycle and check it for any further issues, but also, due to the lack of time, I didn’t even get to explore Hazyview’s surrounding areas previous time. This time Blyde River Canyon was top of my list!
South Africans have their own unique road rules, lucky for me Mike had explained them to me before we even arrived into the country a few months earlier. With a quick blink of their lights, they expect you to pull over and if possible completely off the road, so they can pass you without adjusting their steering wheel. Despite their high speeds, you can see frustration cross their face if you failed at moving out of their way.
I’ve never been one to travel at lightning speed, in fact most of the time I am sitting at eighty, but on these long boring straight roads where everyone is encouraged to speed, you just feel your handle pull your throttle around a notch more and speed up to your personal maximum speed of ninety kilometers per hour. After a top end rebuild, I was now travelling at a maximum eighty kilometers per hour, while riding pretty much in the gutter the whole way to Hazyview.
I could see a bakkie (or outside of South Africa people call it a pick up truck or a flat deck) in my mirror, I pulled off on to the side of the road watching my mirror. The bakkie bore down on me, and I started to feel frustration rise, “why won’t this person just pass and let me back on the road?” As soon as I mumbled that to myself, the lady gave me the thumbs up as well as a questioning look. I returned the thumbs up with a big forced smile. Move it lady, this is so dangerous! She moves ahead and Mike and I signal to each other, let’s have a coffee at the next One Stop (service center).
As we indicate to pull in, I notice the bakkie doing the same ahead. As soon as I had parked the bike, the lady from the bakkie approached us. “Afrikaans?” I looked at her confused, Mike replied “English” and quickly she switched language “Are you ok? Do you need help with anything? Are you broken down? I ride motorcycles too” I laughed, “No, no… My bike has just had an engine rebuild and have to keep my speed down” “Oh, I’m glad you are ok, just let me know if you need anything?” with that she turned around and walked away. It was nice to know people in this country are willing help even though I wasn’t actually broken down this time.
After my coffee, I return to my bike and gave it the once over. That’s when I noticed oil all over my engine and dripping nicely onto the ground. It wasn’t enough to pull out my tools in this carpark but it was something I would have to ponder about the rest of the way to Hazyview.
We arrived at Sasha and Martin’s house once again and were welcomed like we were part of the family. It was sure nice to be out of the city and once again amongst nature. I got to work on my motorcycle straight away and tightened bolts on my engine that felt a bit loose. We also got Mike’s seat recovered and I installed new front indicators. Now we were ready as Martin was itching to take us on a ride out with his mates. I just had to remind them, I was still breaking in my engine and would be lagging behind at times.
With Martin in the lead and Ben (Martins 10 year old son) seated firmly behind, head turning this way and that way trying to watch everyone and everything we hit the road. It wasn’t long before we turned off the main road and onto a small forest track. Feeling my tires slipping on the loose rocks, I gave the bike more gas. I was feeling so happy and in my element after all our highway riding. We stopped at the top of the mountain and looked down over Hazyview and Kruger National Park. Martin being the good guide explained at night you can see the lights of Mozambique. To be honest, I don’t think I would ever come up here in the dark – you would run into too many hippos!
The road became compacted and wide, everyone’s speeds increased as we fly pass the beautiful green hills. At our next turn we found ourselves back on a main road heading towards an old historical town. We stopped for a break and a cup of coffee, watching tourist take donkey rides. We looped back around and headed towards home. It was a fantastic day out and it ended in typical South African style with Martin behind the braai.
Mike and I were still waiting for our visa to be processed. We took our time to explore the surrounding areas. This time, I just sat on the back of his bike as we ride up to Gods Window and look out over the canyon. Some how it reminds me of Australia (compare the views and decide for yourself – click here). Too soon, the text message came – your visa is ready to be picked up please come within 5 working days. Now we will have to return to Johannesburg once again hopefully for the last time.