We couldn’t have hoped for a better place to break down. The Fairy Knowe is so chill and has so many cool people around. The party continued every night. Braai, beer, food and music. People of every combination, all coming together with smiles and happiness surrounding the entire camp.
Monday morning I contacted BMW Motorrad in George, the closest town. They told me they couldn’t help as the brake line was on backorder for two months out of Germany. BMW, as usual from my experience, was very disappointing. Next I contacted Lynne, of Beaming Motorcycle Repair, down the street from the other non helpful/caring group. She told me the same thing, backordered. BUT, they would help me. Bring it in and they would get one made for me. They were backlogged with work for almost 6 weeks, but they would help, today.
The next day I received a call by noon, and the bike was done. The entire cost of the job? Less than US$80! The non-available part from BMW was 50% more than even that. Darien showed me around his shop and some of the bikes he has built up, a couple very rare. These were two of the nicest people you could meet.
The next day we did a ride over Seven Passes. The road went from tar to gravel and back several times before winding its way to a small craft brewery. Imagine that. The Sedgefield Craft Brewery works out of an area less than 400sq ft. The bottles were filled, four at a time, and capped one at a time. It was a wonderful operation and had several wonderful beers on tap.
We were ready to leave the next morning, but first we would enjoy our last evening at the Fairy Knowe, and open mic night in the pub. A BMW showed up and a guy and his friend spent the evening giving us advice on where to travel next and what not to miss. As the night grew to an end, contact information was shared with offer of help for anywhere on our travels. Such are so many of the people we have met here.
Leaving the next morning we followed the coast west through a fine mist, casting an air of mystery on the coastline and the mountains as we rode through the valley. Turning into the mountains the mist remained as we climbed, finally breaking through to a beautiful deep blue sky. The first town we arrived at was Oudtshoorn. There is a unusual place here to stop and have a drink and lunch, Die Smitswinkel. The owner has collected unusual vehicles and movie pieces that are scattered around the restaurant. I had a roosterkoek, which is delicious bread filled with cheese, egg and ham, so good.
A mate of ours, Alex, leads tours in Africa. He had a contact at the Buffelsdrift Game Lodge, and insisted we stay there for a couple nights. What a place! This would be our extravagance for the trip. We were greated and escorted to our luxury tent on the edge of a lake, with hippos. The restaurant nearby also was built on pilings, with the seating area out over the water. We laid on the chairs on our back deck and watched three hippos lazily eating. They would submerge, take a few bites, and resurface. Occasionally one would make his presence known with a load bellow, while rotating it’s ears to expel water. We were in heaven.
But, the best was yet to come. We ended up taking a private cheetah tour. Meeting at the Land Rover, we were briefed on what to expect, then handed a walking stick. This gesture was not to assist our balance, but to use to push Black Mambas, Puff Adders and Cobras away from us, if one was near. We were to walk single file as our guide used a tracker to determine where the cheetah was. Climbing up into the old Land Rover we got settled and off we rambled. Our first animal spot were a couple Wildebeests just off the steep dirt trail.
After about 30 minutes we stopped for the first time, but no pings on the tracker. The second time, there it was. A faint pinging to our south. We would be on foot now, through the bush. Our senses were on high alert. Our eyes trained to the ground for the immediate slithering danger, then to the scrub brush, the source of the pinging. After walking a bit, the pinging changed, more rapid and intense, just like my heartbeat. Then, looking stright ahead, 20 meters away, there he was. Staring at us. The pinging of my heart may have missed a few pings at that point. As we stood and stared, he was winning the contest. Then, he yawned. A enormous lazy yawn. I’m thinking, ‘good, he’s board’. Then our guide wisperers, “Hes not bored, that’s a warning that we are close enough. Any closer and he may attack”!
We stood perfectly still, then he layed over on his side, but continued to just watch us. After a few minutes, that seemed like hours, we moved in an arc, away from this beautiful animal that allowed us into his domain, and then move away. Some encounters will last a lifetime, and this was one of those, up beside elephants in Thailand and whales in Baja.
Back at camp we enjoyed the rest of the day watching the hippos and drinking wine. What a day. Next we will head to the wine region for a wine tour with some friends, so for now…