We visited the Kerkfees at the local NG church in Loeriesfontein and got chatting to one of the local farmers, who was also partaking of their excellent fare. It was flower season (we were there in mid August) and members of the local congregation host a fees or bazaar to raise funds for the church. It's a pity it is not on for the rest of the year as well because it was sooooo good.
Anyway, we chatted away to the farmer in a mixture of English and Afrikaans and he casually mentioned the trekpad that the local Trek Boere use to move their sheep from the Hantam Karoo to Bushmanland and back. The decision to move the animals certainly seems quite an art, the decision to move depending on the season and when, where and how much rain has fallen, or if indeed any does fall at all. Of great interest to us was not so much the travelling sheep, or if rain fell in November (not good) or later in December (very good), but the trekpad itself!
"Oh yes", said Chris Lombard, owner of Rock Ridge Manor where we were staying. "Head out of Loeriesfontein on the Brandvlei road and just after the kragstasie you'll see a track heading north-west. That's it". We headed out on the Brandvlei road...
The Hantam is in the winter rainfall area and we were there right in the middle of a cold front. The occasional drop of rain splatted onto our helmets as we wound our way up the hill towards the kragstasie. Sure enough there it was - no signpost, no gate, just a little track turning off left. Kyk noord... And so we did. The track took us through vast plains of scrub, and in amongst the dry, spiky bushes patches of brightly coloured flowers carpeted the earth. Riding was easy - the occasional rut and patch of soft sand kept the attention focussed on riding rather than the surroundings, so we stopped often to take in the flowers and views.
After a while we picked up the gravel Rooiberg Road and headed south back towards Loeriesfontein. Gone was the peacefulness of the Trekpad. Cars and trucks passed us, showering us in dust - with hindsight not that bad really - it just jarred a little with the tranquility of the previous kilometres. Rather than join up with the paved R357 and high speed vehicles, we elected to take a short cut up a steep off-road climb back into town. Absolutely the right decision and the eBikes took care of much of the effort going uphill.
Route Distance: 22km
Route conditions: Generally easy riding. Watch out for patches of sand on the Trekpad and vehicles on the Rooiberg Road.
Rock Ridge Manor: S30° 57.580' E19° 26.489'