Great African Divide Ride Day 17: Wednesday 12th October

Ons Pan to Volksrust
Distance: 51kms
Altitude gain: 510
Altitude loss: 530
Difficulty: A bit of tar, but mostly gravel
Temp: 27
Max heart rate: Not measured
Average ride speed: 14.4


We started off with an uplift from Ons Pan back onto our standard route. In Amersfoort we found a hardware store that refilled our gas cylinder (whew!). We headed out of town on the N11, which was busy and not exactly a safe, calm space to ride. About 5kms out we left the N11 and used a gravel road instead. Of course gravel brings its own challenges – but they aren’t life threatening like 30 tonne coal trucks travelling at 120kph, or worse, BMW sedans flying along at 180kph. I should NOT be so judgemental – I know there are a few BMW owners out there who drive at the speed limit, are courteous to cyclists, and no threat to life (Hi, Charles, you are one of them).


Anyway, we trundled down the gravel road towards Volksrust and were in a pretty good mood. It really was one of those “ho hum” days. Patrick (our photographer) snapped a few pics but in general the countryside consisted of gently rolling pastures, usually with a few cattle or sheep dotted around. The occasional farm had some bontebok – see Patrick’s pic of one that was a bit upset with us for disturbing his midday meal.


We had booked into the local caravan and campsite – about 5kms out of town on our NOT favourite N11 – it meant a bit of heading in the opposite direction. Anyway, Patrick and Chris took a sort of shortcut to bypass town. I met up with Diana and Patch at the Volksrust Spar to ensure that their shopping included the essentials – beer and milk. Patch, being vegetarian, and one of those planet-savers, tends to buy food that rabbits, sheep and pigs find more attractive. Anyway, I met up with the two shoppers. Patch with just one functional arm is still a formidable lady in a shop, so I did my own thing.


As I was checking out, the manageress came up to me and asked where I had come from and what I was doing. I explained we had ridden most of the way from Vic Falls and were raising awareness for the plight of pensioners in Zim, and some other OLT promotional garb. She stood there gobsmacked – and asked to wait a few minutes. I stood there in my helmet, ride kit, gloves etc feeling just a tad awkward, but literally just a few minutes she was back with two bags full of goodies – sparkling water, hot sausage rolls, biscuits, ham, smokies, jam, grapes and a bunch of other stuff. What a treat to meet someone like her. But now the embarrassing part. I wrote her name down on a slip of paper and put that slip into the box of grapes. I know I have a shockingly poor ability to remember names. A mistake it was, putting that slip into the grape box, I know that … because with folk like Patrick, Patch and Chris around, anything not deemed useful is tossed … and I suspect one of them tossed away the empty plastic box once the grapes were devoured. Writing these notes I was mortified I had forgotten her name. Fortunately, Chris has remembered the name – Fabienne. She is a treasure, her name is perfect. If you are ever in Volksrust, please take the time to drop into the Superspar and buy as much as you can.
The campsite outside Volksrust is on a small lake – and a fine place it is too. There was some rain threatening and pretty serious wind. In fact, the wind was so serious that we had to construct a windbreak around the kitchen part of the trailer. But all in all, a good place to spend a night.

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

You might also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept

Privacy & Cookies Policy