WILD AFRICA QUEST – 2
18 December 2019
There is a popular phrase that says bad start good ending, but for our team it was more like a false start when the Sprag Clutch of Glenn’s bike failed. It was back to the workshop for some running repairs and after installing an old seal spring they were back on the road again at 11h00.
Now it may sound grand and romantic to climb in the saddle of these magnificent KTM bikes and hit the road, but a lot of work and planning goes into it. For Morgan it all came after some heart soul searching. “I am a little bit of an adventure junkie and after going through some stresses that life brings, I got a bee in my bonnet and decided to do a road trip to the North of Africa. The name Wild Africa Quest came about after several glasses of wine and banter around a dinner table with my wife Kate and friends.
I rebuilt my 690 Rally and spent a little bit of money on her which pushes the value up and I will never get it back but it’s a very reliable bike for this type of trip. It has long fuel consumption; 38 litres of fuel which is a little bit of a problem when it comes to sand riding cos there is a lot of weight now on the front forks. I am carrying an extra 23kg of luggage which excludes any extras we may buy along the route.”
The good news is that the chassis set-up on the rally is well suited for carrying weight, it is stronger and is also more stable. The wheel-base is also longer than the standard Enduro KTM.
Heading north from the Hillcrest they headed up the N3, rubber on tar till just past Estcourt where they branched off the old road to the Northern Drakensberg through Winterton and Bergville. Now Natal does not boast the magnificent high peaks and mountains that many countries do but we are proudly home to a landscape believed to have been the inspiration for middle earth in the writings of J.R.R Tolkien. The uKhahlamba-Drakensberg region is home to around 35 000 examples of San rock paintings. Ranging in altitude from 2,000 to 3,482 metres Morgs and Glenn followed the route up and over the old Olivieshoek pass R74 regional road
The pass has an altitude gain of 471m and is 13.5km long offering some of the most spectacular scenery in Natal. They took full benefit of the wide sweeping bends and topped out of the pass mid afternoon.
“Its not just about riding” say Morgan. We have to keep up with maintenance on the bikes and continually check for bolts etc vibrating loose. Being a single cylinder it runs rougher causing things to vibrate loose.”
But biking snags and checks aside the spectacular scenery of the route made up for the jumpy start on the day and not long after Reitz they pulled in alongside the magnificent Sterkfonntein dam at Enkeldoorn Camp Side.
Blog posts by Debra Bouwer