"I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude."
- Henry D Thoreau
The great thing about traveling on backroads is that you mostly have the road all to yourself. On my way from Kestell to the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, once I got off the R57, I was passed by only a single vehicle on more than 25km of dirt road, winding its way through the foothills of the Maluti Mountains. Other than that my only company were grazing cows, hundreds of birds and the sound of my wheels on the dirt.
Clay huts are dotted over the landscape, and are the only sign of human settlement for kilometres. Herds of cows graze in the waving grass, some of them with bells around their necks.
The dirt road winding its way up over the neck to fall again into the National Park. Luckily I didn't realise just how far I was about to cycle uphill.
Halfway up and still smiling! Below is a view into the valley, as the dirt road descends to meet the tarred road that winds its way through the sandstone cliffs.
Looking back towards the top - I lost my water bottle on the rocky descent, but was glad to stop to retrieve it otherwise I wouldn't have given this view even a glance!
Crossing Klerkspruit with my trusty steed! When I passed Langtoon Waterfall (pictured below) I again had no idea of the climb ahead of me, but the scenery along the way made it absolutely worth it!
South Africa's own Stonehenge! I saw these stone monoliths all along the way - their origin and meaning remain a mystery. If you know anything about it, please post in the comments below!
Morning sun at the beautiful campsite in the Park - everything bathed in golden light!
The Bus Stop farm stall and restaurant - I enjoyed an iced coffee on the porch and immediately felt the warm welcome of the people of Clarens - my next destination! The road wound its way through the hills dotted with guest farms and tonnes of activities along the way - horse riding, fishing, motorcycling, hiking... This is outdoor paradise!
A special thanks to Mike and Senzo from Ash River Lodge for their hospitality and generosity for accommodating me while in Clarens. Ash River Lodge has spectacular views of the mountains surrounding Clarens and provides affordable and very comfortable accommodation with warm and friendly service - a home away from home! Have a look at their Facebook Page for contact details and special offers!
The view on my way back to Ash River Lodge - mountains, skies, and kids on bicycles! Makes my heart sing! If you've ever been to this beautiful part of the world, please share your experience in the comments below.