Onwards to the Wild Coast!

After we crossed through Qacha’s Nek border post entering South Africa once more. We cut back towards the coast heading South East and spent the night close to Kokstad.
Keen to save money on accommodation and to camp out under the stars some more, we decided we would try our luck with the locals. Trent asked the owners of a nice farm we spied, if we could park our dirty and gritty selves there for the night (we’re not quite nitty yet!). They were very accommodating and we spent the night camped in the front yard.


Come the sunrise I couldn’t help but go for a run up the mountain behind where we stayed. It was a steep climb, up a grassy slope. Scrambling up the last bit on all fours.


Aware that the others would want to get going I started back, slidding down on my behind and in the process losing my Leatherman. Realising this only once reaching the bottom. So I turned around and ran right back up, unfortunately I was unable find it. Swearing from the mountain side and combing the ground of where I had been. Not a happy camper you can imagine.

Continuing onwards to Coffee Bay on the Wild Coast in the Transkei, we zoomed across the winding roads, and green rolling hills. Dodging cows, pigs, dogs, goats and children screaming for sweeties.

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We stayed at ‘Friends Backpackers’ right by the beach, for only 50 rand per person to camp. Good vibes, friendly staff, decent facilities, sweet firepit and a good place to have a shower! (It had been a while!)
That night we fire twirled on the beach, Mike and I having a fire fight with poi and staff. We were getting carried away, having fun and dancing to the rhythmic drumming coming from Friends.
When we decided to run back and fire twirl right by the drums.I left my bag on the beach. It was a stupid mistake that I realised within moments of the fires extinguishing.
I ran back. Gone.
Goodbye my journal and artbook, my little tripod and our salad mix, my toothbrush and toothpaste.
Not a good day.I should of been more conscience and aware. Should of, could of but did not. It’s a learning curve and a lesson. This is not the only time in our travels people will try and steal our things. This is Africa.

The next day determined not to be to down and to enjoy myself. Mike and I stripped the weight from our bikes and after a delicious breakfast of egg, onion, mushroom, tomato and chorizo on toast, that Masterchef Istene whipped up, we went for a ride.


Taking whichever dirt roads we fancied and hugging the Wild Coast’s coast we had an epic exploratory ride over grassy hills and past yet more goats and their herders. Can’t forget the barking dogs. One of which I had to kick at, to avoid it diving under the bike and attacking me as I took a corner. Returning to Friends, the two of us went to the beach. And there we split as I climbed around the headland. A hectic climb with a knee trembling moment. 15 or so meters above the sea crashing into the rocks below, the rock crumbled beneath my right foot and I clung to the cliff-face with fingers and toes. Kissing the cliff for goodluck I continued on. Adrenaline coursing through me, I made it. You never feel more alive then when you nearly die.
We found the others at the beach in a cave and reunited the four of us enjoyed the afternoon together. Walking along the beach and going for a swim.
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In the morning we woke up early and watched the sunrise over the Indian Ocean. Then we visited Hole in the Wall, on the way to which Istene ran out of petrol. (Always remember to turn the fuel nozzle off reserve to On!) Little bit of syphoning and we were moving once more.

It was a great way to end what was both a good and bad section of our journey. Coffee Bay was many things but it was time we moved on. Onwards to Kenton-on-Sea and Cape Saint Francis! Check out the next leg of our Motoquest through Africa shortly!
All the best from myself Tom Dirty Silva and the rest of The Nitty Gritty Nomads!

The Mountains of Lesotho.

The time had come. It was time we left comfort behind for a while and explored some of the mountainous country that is Lesotho. Leaving Durban and Trent’s cousins relatively early, we struck inland towards the infamous Sani Pass.
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Upon hitting the dirt road, we took a moment to take in the rugged mountains in front of us. Absolutely stunning.

Winding our way up the pass, over loose rocks and slippery gravel, we climbed. Going up up up. With all our luggage and weight on the bikes it wasn’t the easiest going. I came down 3 times. Once whilst stopping to take a photo. Sliding backwards and down into the gravel. Much to the amusement of the others. Trent was the only one not to fall, I suppose riding like a grandma helps 😉 but his rear tyre was flat come the morning.


That afternoon, upon completing the border crossing at the top of Sani Pass, we drank a beer at the highest pub in Africa at an altitude of 2874m above sea level. Then pitched tent in the dwindling light.The sun sets early here, sinking behind the Western rim of a mountainous bowl, and shortly darkness arrived. With the fading of the light came the cold. Ice formed on our tents in a few minutes and above us the Milky Way shone brightly.


Waking as the sun was rising, I climbed out of my frozen tent, shook the numbness from my limbs and started running. Climbing to the top of one of the mountains surrounding us and watched colour come into the world.
With the thin air, breathing became difficult but it was an amazing run and upon getting to the top I met a friendly Shepard wrapped in his brown blanket.

Fixing the hand-pump with some Pratley Steel, pumping the flat and after a breakfast of hard boiled eggs, avocados and a coffee, we were soon on our way.Onwards to Qacha’s Nek border post.

That day we did over a 100km of hectic dirt roads, straight off the beaten track. Passing the occasional village with its round rock huts and thatched roofs’ and its blanket wrapped inhabitants. Past sheep and goats and men on donkeys and horses. And the odd cow or two pulling makeshift sleds. Going up and down, up, down and around. Mountain after mountain, through some river crossings and up some more mountains. As far as the eye can see.. Mountains. It was breathtaking scenery. (Lesotho is the highest country on average in the world!)


As the sun was getting lower on the horizon we stopped at a small town and asked for the whereabouts of the chief. “Ahh the Chief is on a horse, that way.”
I found the Chief riding slowly along, with a huge pile of mealies across the top of his horse. After brief conversation, he invited us back to his house and we proceeded to follow him behind his horse. A smile broke across my face as he broke into a trot. Following the chief and his horse, in the mountains of Lesotho, on motorbikes. Perfect. For a bag of peanuts and raisins and some Australian coins we had the protection of the Chief for the night.

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We left early that morning. We still had lots of ground to cover. Around 150km or so, of more awesome dirt roads and epic mountains. But by the end, the tar was welcome! As was the chicken and pap in Qacha’s Nek after eating only a hard boiled egg with Aromat all day! We crossed the border at the Nek that afternoon and went down through the pass back onto South African soil.

It was an incredible ride and such a breath taking country. I will definitely go back one day. And would recommend it to anyone who enjoys 4WDriving, epic off road motorbiking or mountain hikes.
Sorry for the lateness of our posts, we’ve been to busy Living. The next leg of the journey will be up shortly!
All the best from Tom Da Silva and the rest of the Nitty Gritty Nomads.

Outreach – Soweto, Kliptown Youth Progam.

In the final days before we began our epic Motoquest through Africa, Istene and I went to Kliptown Youth Program (KYP), in Soweto, South Africa. That morning we bought 100 school exercise books, 10 colouring books, 30 packets of crayons, 200 pens, and 6 soccer balls. This was to supplement the things I squeezed into my bags from Australia.

In 2014 I worked at KYP for a couple of weeks and I fell in love with the place. Warm friendly smiles and a wonderful community who look out for each other. Fighting to build a better future for the youth.

To go back was an amazing experience and the excitement of the kids as they crowded around us, puts a smile on my face even now.

The Nitty Gritty Nomads plan to and will continue to do, more charity work and support outreach programs, for Wildlife and Communities on our Motoquest through Africa.

If anyone is interested in helping us, then any donations towards these activities would be massively appreciated by myself and the rest of the team. And by them of course!

https://www.gofundme.com/outreach-the-nitty-gritty-nomads
http://www.kliptownyouthprogram.org.za/

Thank you.

Tom Da Silva and The Nitty Gritty Nomads!