Aging motorcycle travel guru Ted Simon and author of ‘Jupiter’s Travels’ (diary of a four-year journey across 45 countries on a motorcycle), describes why he travels by motorcycle: he poignantly underlines that all your senses are heightened from the seat of a motorcycle as you experience a multidimensional 360 degree view that brings you closer to the fauna, flora and climactic conditions; this you cannot experience in an air-conditioned vision-limiting car. When on a bike you feel like ‘King of the Road’ while still being aware of your own human frailty all the time. Respect the two-wheel mode of transport and you will enjoy the ‘ride of your life’.
Why is South Africa such a great place to do a tour of this nature?
South Africa is an incredibly special place to tour on a motorcycle, mainly due to the incredible diversity - from mountain vistas to the ruggedly beautiful Karoo landscapes, from subtropical humidity to the pungent bushveld and so much more. In addition, we enjoy one of (if not the best) road networks. Recent Australian visitors continually commented on the continual ‘stream’ of amazing roads, particularly great for motorcycling. Finally, the huge array of wildlife on our doorstep is unmatched - from the Big Five to whale watching and great white sharks. A day spent in the Kruger, iSimangaliso or a similar wildlife haven makes for a great ‘rest day’ after which riders are chomping at the bit to get back on the saddle.
When on a bike you feel like ‘King of the Road’ while still being aware of your own human frailty all the time. Respect the two-wheel mode of transport and you will enjoy the ‘ride of your life’.
Can you pinpoint some interesting adventures, pit stops and not-to-be-missed sites along the way?
Interesting adventures are a daily occurrence on motorcycle tours, from dodging storms to getting soaked to the bone. Picking up on a few really great spots to visit is always difficult. However, if pushed (and in no particular order) the ‘must do’ list includes the mountains of Lesotho as well as Swaziland, Meiringspoort Pass (near ‘De Rust’), Abel Erasmus Pass (near Hoedspruit), Blyde Canyon and God’s Window offer great roads for riding too! Storms River Mouth in Tsitsikamma National Park, R44 Whale Coast is a brilliant road between Gordons Bay and Rooiels, Hogsback, Oribi Gorge (near Port Shepstone), St Lucia and the iSimangaliso Wetlands. And, there are more!
How does one prepare?
The main ingredient for a motorcycle tour, other than the obvious ability to ride a motorcycle, is a sense of adventure and a willingness to absorb whatever experience comes your way each day. Packing light is the best tip! Also, a large refuse bag for used clothing comes in handy, keeping your clean stuff fresher. Ensure your bike is fitted with decent quality panniers (luggage), hard luggage is preferred but the soft strap on panniers work pretty well and are relatively inexpensive to acquire. The kit you wear each day (helmet, touring jacket, riding pants, gloves and boots) should be the best you are able to afford. A service and decent tyres are also a good idea for the bike.
Why choose Due South Motorcycle Tours as your operator?
Due South is fully hands-on; owner run and operated! The ethos is to offer riders a tour that does not feel like a tour, but rather feels like a well organised ride with friends. We avoid ‘commercial’ hotels, all accommodation along the way is handpicked and often owner run. Tours are limited to an absolute maximum of seven bikes with an average of about four bikes being the norm. Large ‘caravans’ of motorcycles traversing the countryside detracts from the purity of the ride and the comradery that develops between riders.
Motorcycle Road Trip Tips
· Pack Light! Stick to the essentials: Phone with charger, wallet, maps, LED Torch, multitool, a few pairs of underwear and socks, jeans and a few t-shirts, a microfibre towel for cleaning visors and windscreens and a first aid kit. Everything else is a waste of space! Travelling light is liberating.
· Ziplock bags are useful for organizing items.
· Don't fold clothes, roll them. They take up less space.
· Check the cargo weight limits of your bike and adjust the tyre pressure and suspension accordingly.
· Do a dry run. Pack the bike and go for a short ride, then adjust the load as needed.
· Pack cold weather and raingear no matter what time of year it is.
· Wear earplugs, not just to protect your hearing from engine and wind noise, but also to reduce fatigue.
For more info and to book a tour: