South Africa: At Africa’s southernmost point!



Sun, 13 Aug 2017 - 09:00 GMT


Sun, 13 Aug 2017 - 09:00 GMT

The route through the /Ai/Ais – Richtersveld Transfrontier Park is a bit monotonous but it also has some beauties.via Madnomad

The route through the /Ai/Ais – Richtersveld Transfrontier Park is a bit monotonous but it also has some beauties.via Madnomad

CAIRO -13- August 2017:- Getting off the barge I used to cross Orange River, I stepped into South African soil and found myself at the other half of the /Ai/Ais – Richtersveld Transfrontier Park which is shared between two countries: Namibia and South Africa. I was in a deserted landscape and the truth is that the South African part of the park is a bit monotonous. There was a strong wind coming from the Atlantic Ocean, creating a sandstorm that was making difficult riding through the gravel roads.

The route through the /Ai/Ais – Richtersveld Transfrontier Park is a bit monotonous but it also has some beauties.via Madnomad

Once I reached the paved road, I saw on my mirrors an orange light approaching me. South Africans usually install an orange cover in front of their headlights, so that they will be easier noticed by other drivers. It was Phillip on a KTM 990 Adventure. He waved at me and we stopped at the side of the road. As soon as he asked me where I was coming from and was really amazed to find out, he immediately decided to follow me! I explained to him that my plans were to reach Cape Town the next day, as I wanted to explore some dirt roads and small roads near the ocean. Without a second thought he offered to follow me and wild camp anywhere with me. That is the charm of motorcycle riding… I suddenly had the company of a South African, whom I did not even know five minutes ago. The thirst of exploring united us in a moment!

Exploring the beaches and rivers of the west coast… via Madnomad

Using my GPS we discovered nice, empty dirt roads which were going up and down the hills. Every now and then we were coming across picturesque farms among that idyllic landscape. We soon reached the seaside again and we wild camped at the beach, in front of the waves which endlessly come through the ocean. The next day we headed south following the coastline wherever that was possible. We were passing through small picturesque towns and little villages whose names I had never even heard before. Admiring all that beauty I was thinking how pity it would be for someone to hurry his journey and reach Cape Town through the faster, yet far less appealing alternative of the highway.

Langebaan: heaven for a kitesurfer! via Madnomad

Getting closer to one of the few cities I was excited to visit, the silhouette of the legendary Table Mountain caught my eye. That’s the mountain which lies above Cape Town. Its peak is flat and therefore the mountain looks like a giant table. That is why it was named the Table Mountain. I had seen it numerous times on videos and photos and it was so touching to finally being able to see it on my own eyes and feel that I had made it almost to the southernmost point of my journey…

Enjoying the fresh air coming from the Atlantic Ocean while above Cape Town! (Photo: Cátia Castro via Madnomad

Cape Town is definitely a milestone on my journey. Not only it is almost the southernmost point I’ve ever reached but it is also the approximate middle point of my trip. Here is my chance to renew, maintain or fix my equipment. South Africa, in many aspects, is like a European country in the middle of the African continent. After one and a half year on the road, it’s very welcoming to have access to spare parts, equipment, tools and everything else the rest of Africa could not offer.

Installing the ball bearings that 3P Racing sent me. via Madnomad

Here is where I replaced the marvelous AFAM drive chain that lasted 44,000 km (27,341 miles) breaking my personal records! And imagine that thousands of those kilometers were ridden in sand! 3P Racing sent me all the ball bearings for the wheels, in order to prevent the troubles I had in Tajikistan Sena Bluetooth sent me its brand new intercommunication system, the 20S, which I use a lot even now that I am travelling alone. Not only for listening to music while riding on boring paved roads but also for live recording my narrations in my videos while I ride. There is also a radio on this model and a very useful voice command mode, so that one doesn’t have to leave the handlebars while riding. But what impressed me the most, was the amazingly loud sound coming out of those tiny speakers! When I adjusted the volume at the highest level, I though I was having some kind of high fidelity sound system inside my helmet!

The brand new intercommunication system of Sena Bluetooth, the 20S, provides a bunch of new features that truly impressed me: extremely loud speakers, clear sound, voice command, radio, a 2-kilometer (1.2 miles) range and many more! via Madnomad

On my way to Montagu Pass with my brand new boots from Motomax. I really like them! via Madnomad

Another thing I had to replace was my tent… Seven Heaven tent poles were not proved that sturdy since they broke many times during my journey, starting from the very first months of it. So, my old tent was dispatched to me from Greece, the one I was using in Asia. The only problem was that this tent was not waterproof any more. I got a waterproofing spray and I hope it will work… Last but not least, it was about time to get myself a pair of off-road boots! Motomax sent me the Alpinestars Tech 5, which are sturdy and offer great protection but I can also wear them all day long.
It seems like Santa Claus visited me in Cape Town! This is the place where I had the most special new year’s eve… In the afternoon, after a three-hour hike, I climbed the Table Mountain and from the top of it I enjoyed the last sunset of 2014. After watching the city lights tremble, I descended the mountain with the help of my torch. I rode my motorbike to Camps Bay, where various groups of friends and families were waiting for the midnight countdown. We sat on the beach and suddenly the sky was filled with fireworks! 2015 had come…

The last sunset of 2014, as seen from the top of Table Mountain! via Madnomad

The most important thing I had to arrange in Cape Town was replacing my passport. Although the one I got expires in 2017, its pages are full with all those African visas and stamps. So, I had to visit the Greek consulate and apply for a new passport. The process would take an entire month’s time.

I had missed this kind of mountainous scenery in Africa… via Madnomad

Luckily, in the meantime I could travel around and get astonished by the countless gorgeous landscapes that this country has to offer. I started with the Cape of Good Hope. On the way to the Cape, Chapman’s Peak Drive is considered one of the world’s most breathtaking routes and I can really tell why! While riding on the rocky coastline, high above the nice blue ocean water, I was stunned! This combination of green and wild, steep mountains right next to the ocean is one of a kind…

Unfortunately, as I was speechless because of this country’s beauty, I was also speechless because of the racism that exists here… I met many white South Africans, descendants of the colonizers, who were talking so badly about their black fellow citizens that I had to stop them! It’s mostly white South Africans who live inside Cape Town and in many rich suburbs. It was unbelievable to see more white citizens than black within an African town! The black residents usually live in the townships, in poor slums, located outside the big cities, where they cannot interfere much with the white people. There is also a third group of people, the “coloured” race, who are descended from mixed ancestors. They usually live in small, simple houses, all similar, that look like social housing.

I did not expect to face such a segregation… Happily, this is no longer forced by law, as it was some years ago, in the apartheid era. Nevertheless, it is still happening because of the unwritten social code. The different races hate each other. Therefore, most of the black people would not choose to live in a white people’s neighborhood, even if they could afford it. Also, if a coloured person chooses to live in a white people’s neighborhood, he would lose his friends as most of them would make fun of him and would stop hanging out with him!

It was time to head east and explore the mountains and the meadows… I started with the paved Route 62, which was kind of boring. From Calitzdorp I hit the gravel to Oudtshoorn, which is surrounded by picturesque ostrich farms. I visited the large Cango Caves, I rode some mountain passes, like the glorious Montagu Pass and I finally found myself in the legendary Garden Route. Oh, what a beauty… Especially the route from George to Wilderness has some of the most amazing landscapes I have ever seen!

So, after 540 days on the road, almost one and a half year, having covered 44,620 km (27,726 miles), I reached the southernmost point I have ever been to, Cape Agulhas! This is where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic Ocean. My GPS indicated I was at 34.5 degrees south. That is the latitude where the Greek island of Crete lies but on the other side of the equator! That’s why this region got a Mediterranean climate. The thing is that when it is winter in Europe, it is summer here, so I enjoyed swimming in the Indian Ocean

Here you can watch the first part of the video about my adventures in South Africa:

This article was originally published by Madnomad



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