Serendipity is a wonderful thing. We had some work to do in a nature reserve near Ladismith in the Little Karoo and needed a place to stay for the night (long story...). A search on the internet revealed Wolverfontein Karoo Cottages in the middle of, well, nowhere. Thank heavens we decided to take the Haibikes along on the off chance we'd get in a ride, because I had spotted a couple of roads on Tracks4Africa that could make a nice route. The tracks would take us to Vyversrus. Vyversrus? Well, we hadn't heard of it either...
We took to Google and the most extensive write-up I could find on Vyversrus was as follows: "Vyversrus is a populated place and is located in the Eden District Municipality, Western Cape, South Africa. The estimated terrain elevation above sea level is 373 metres". Admittedly not a vast amount of information. Or, particularly exciting...
Similarly, there's not a huge amount of information about Wolverfontein, except to say that it is a delightfully quirky and peaceful place to spend a few days. The ride takes you through Touwsberg Private Nature Reserve (7 000ha on the slopes of the Touwsberg) and then along the foothills of the Swartberg Mountains. And this is what makes this ride very special.
It was late in the day when we started riding from Wolverfontein, Ashley and the two Ridgebacks waving us off at the farm gate, the lure of the slopes of Touwsberg getting the blood rushing around in anticipation. And they are a pull, but once you have reached "altitude" things level out and it's an easy ride all the way to Vyversrus. After you clear Touwsberg Nature reserve, the farm gates start and while we didn't count them there are certainly quite a few!
The views and environment were just delightful, the Swartberg Mountains providing a dramatic backdrop for the tapestry of sights, sounds, smells and emotions as we pedalled along. At Vyversrus we headed south and west, loosely following the old railway line and, later, the Groot Rivier before heading north again. The road rejoined our earlier track on the way back to Wolverfontein, at a dot on a map called Boerebonefontein.
The sun was low on the horizon and you could feel the evening chill creeping into the fresh clean air as we freewheeled down Touwsberg, marvelling about just where we were and what we were doing. Ashley and the dogs were waiting to greet us when we got back, a little concerned about the lateness (a nice touch that) and we wasted no time in pouring a couple of reds and getting the braai fire going. What an end to a splendid ride!
Track Distance: 55km round trip.
Route conditions: Good roads and wonderful views pretty much sum it up. This is remote country so be sure to carry tools and puncture repair kits as well as adequate water. This part of the Karoo gets searingly hot so if you are riding un summer, do it early in the morning so that you are back before the heat of the day sets in.
Wolverfontein Karoo Cottages: S34° 03.022' E19° 36.518'