Day 5: Mpande to Port St. Johns

Day 5:  32km in 8hrs. Deceivingly easy to start with, we enjoyed graded road rolling up and over the hills clocking up our best average time to date : some 20 odd km in as little as 2hrs. However once that ended some serious bundu-bashing and sandy tracks brought us back to the wildcoast ( so appropriately named) It took us another 5 hrs to complete the final 15km which brought us to our finishing point at 2nd beach Port St. Johns. 
An incredible 210km trip along a spectacular coastline. Definetly rates as one of my top rides ever!
View from Mpande where we spent our last night
16km of relatively open road we clocked up some of our fastest speeds and best average times on the trip. Short sharp ascents ensured we didn't get too nonchalent about it all.
Get your drivers license here at 'Mtheluza Driving School'. Road Spares also available at the shop on the right.
Jenny crests one of those sharp ascents before dropping down to the Umgazane estuary.
Pausing for a pic. The roads we've come along.
Umgazana estuary. Forests of mangroves, turquoise water and white beaches: another idyllic setting.
No swimming this one. We waited (very happily) until we found a willing 'ferryman' to take us to the otherside.
Umgazana crossing
Across wide open beaches we climbed up once more onto the sweeping coastal grasslands with great track in places. Jenny with bike on back the strongest girl bike-porter I know!
Back to the beach, down swervy sandy tracks.
Beach bike art by bridget

I may be wrong but I think this is 'carissa bispinosa'. I love the way it simply sprouts out of the beach-desert.
More astounding views as we approach the Umgaze river mouth.
Coastal forest, grasslands and ocean interspersed with the Xhosa homesteads.
Sarah enjoys the fabulous cattle tracks cut across the hillsides through Aloe dotted grasslands.
Firey orange cape honeysuckle
The deadly wag-a-bietjie (wait-a-little) thorn. Amazingly no punctures could be attributed to these nasty needles.
Pack of dogs belonging to Simon from a nearby village. Friendly hounds indeed, however if the truth be told these dogs are used for hunting game.
The final descent and then excrutiating bundu-bashing ascent through the Silaka Reserve, just before Port St.Johns. We lugged our bikes up the forest headland in this photo. A bush scramble most of the way.
Aloe-ah! Almost there!
After the scramble, Justin considers the final 5 kays.
Jenny emerges from the bush-whacking climb. Even shredded shins dont take the smile off her face. Indeed some of the best cycling I have ever done!
Loosing our trail we loose our sense of humour too: 8 tough hrs on the bike covering a mere 32 km. Palms thwack back and forth in the gail force wind that had picked up. Gert refuses to back track, Sarah and the rest of us (behind her) think otherwise!
Sarah's van that carried the load! I have to say, nice to have back-up.
Handsome amapondo boy
The team

Bridget Ringdahl

Pedaling has been natural to me since the tender age of three. Cycling is practical, fun, it gets you to the corner café, across countries, continents, keeps you fit and is by far the most efficient and environmentally friendly transport option around, being virtually carbon neutral.

I live in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal which is great cycling country, within 10 minutes I can be bouncing along some of the finest single tracks in the province.

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One thought on “Day 5: Mpande to Port St. Johns
  • Matthew Drew

    Hi Bridg! Very nicely written and illustrated. You have a very creative eye..... brings back the good memories! Thanks for taking the time to write this.

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