Home / Annual Recap / 2011 Recap!

2011 Recap!

2011 will be the last year where I will do a “Recap” post as I have done for the other years. The reason for this will become clear at the end of this blog post. But things have changed significantly for me at the end of 2011, so this post will be short with lots of pictures!

(Click on any picture to see the full gallery of pictures)


During 2011 I did some great trips no doubt and you can read about them here:

aimageedit_3_8788856901                                                           2011escarpment-100


As always, I have done quite a number of rides in between. These included a few rides out to one of my favorite play areas, the mine dumps of Maraisburg! Maraisburg is situated on the outskirts of Soweto on the south eastern side of Johannesburg. Gold was (and still is) mined in this area and has been for well over a hundred years. This has resulted in massive mine dumps scattered all over the southern parts of Johannesburg. As we do not really have any sand to ride in Gauteng, the mine dumps provides the best alternative we have. I will let the pics to the talking to give you an idea of the fun to be had on the dumps!

The bikes making a struggling entrance to the dunes!


Jules having no problems in the sand!


Some of the 1200’s struggling a bit!


Marnus showing how it should be done on a big 1200GSA!


Two great and crazy friends, Shangali and Deon (RIP)


Always have to be very awake on these mine dumps, this donga was not there the last time we rode here, it is changing all the time.


Jules 100% focused!


Plenty of donuts and general buggering around!




And just like me, Jules also seem to find the nastiest, stinkiest mud hole to get properly stuck in!


Another favorite riding area we have is the ride out to Beestekraal Station northwest of the town of Brits, northwest of Pretoria. The canal service roads towards Beestekraal is a well-known route for many dual sport riders and always a favorite. But beware, during the rainy summer months these roads can become a mud fest and I have seen a bike and rider ending up in the canal before!


Adriaan on his legendary old lady, the R80GS!


The R80GS eventually evolved into this….. a HP2!


This bike eventually became mine!! I have very big plans for this one!


The Hartebeespoort Dam in overflow mode!


The 950S having fun on the way up Breedt’s Nek


Always nice water crossings on the Canal Roads!


Another fast crossing on the way to the Canals


The 800GS is at home on this fast open dirt roads


Jules showing everyone how to go flat taps!


There was a few rides out to other places as well, namely Secunda in Mpumalanga, Cullinan east of Pretoria, Loskop Dam towards the north east of Pretoria, and another great playground called De Wildt.

You know you are in for a hard and fast ride when two really good riders arrive on these things…..


HP2…….what a bike


Pikkie having no issues with a nice water crossing close to Cullinan


Some of what De Wildt has to offer the big bikes. De Wildt is actually an Enduro bike play ground, but there are some tracks for the heavies


Marnus and I swapped bikes for this one, so this was my ride to Loskop Dam


And Marnus making the 800 look tiny!!


I also attended two days of training and skills fun at ADA’s facility. This was great fun and resulted in many laughs and jokes with a great group of friends. The training and skills was great fun and the out rides onto the surrounding farms was even better!

The group that attended the training week-end.


Some of the stuff we did, lots of fun!


Some more of shenanigans we got up to, me having to stop dead still on a steep down hill. Then Johan showing off doing a bunch of moves with Skinny on the back!


Lynn taking a tumble in the dirt, and extremely proud of it!


Me and Skinny entering a cave in the Magaliesberg mountains. I really love this photo!


You should go and read all about Skinny’s crazy biking adventures here: Skinny!! – Click, go and subscribe to her newsletter – JUST DO IT!!


A work function in Mpumalanga granted me the opportunity to take a ride to the coast for the week-end following the work get away. This was a great trip and the solo ride down to Vryheid was just what I needed! In Vryheid I met up with my long time riding buddy Sephton and we hit the road down to Sodwana Bay for a rough night of rum, bikes, catching up on old times and a good deal of partying! The next day was a loooooong day back to Pretoria from Sodwana Bay!

The road down to Sodwana Bay let me past the beautiful Chrissiesmeer in Mpumalanga


And past stunning views of dams visible through the plantations


Not many pics of our party at Sodwana, but just to show you that we were there!


See, the sea. We went all the way there!


My final trip of 2011 was down to Fouriesburg and the Monontsha Road in Lesotho yet again. I just cannot get enough of this route. This time I would lead the BMW Club during the Club’s annual year-end function. Hopefully no broken bones this time around! On entering Lesotho, we (Marnus and me) were given quite a hard time by one particularly hard-arsed border official who wanted to fine us as we did not have exit stamps showing that we exited Lesotho on our previous visits. (I exited Lesotho in March 2011, and Marnus in Dec 2010). These exists were at crossings where there are no Lesotho border post, only a South African one (Monontsha and Ongeluks Nek), and we had the South African entry stamps. She would have none if it and wanted to fine us R 200 ($14) per day. For Marnus this worked out to something like R70,000 ($5,100). She blamed us of exiting Lesotho at a post where Lesotho does not have a border post. We argued that it is not our problem if Lesotho does not bother to put a border post. We had an entry stamp into SA, so we did in fact exit Lesotho. Then the waiting game started, she would have none of it and we would not back down either. Luckily we know how these things work and after a few minutes she realized we are not moving and her boss was now on her case as the line kept on growing with other travelers wanting to enter, so she gave in and stamped our passports….Hahahaha

Crossing the Ash River north of Clarens


The beauty of the Lesotho mountains just never gets old!


You might recognise this crossing from previous blog posts!


Pauli from GPS4AFRICA having fun on the open plains


Always a welcome surprise seeing wild game running free!


This is the size of the pipes used to pump the water via the Lesotho Highlands Water Scheme!


And as usual, have a look at this Interactive Map showing where I went in 2011!

[map style=”width: auto; height:400px; margin:20px 0px 20px 0px; border: 1px solid black;” kml=”http://www.etiennexplore.com/wp-content/uploads/EtienneXplore_2011.kml”]


This was to be my last ride for quite some time, well, almost a year! You see, towards the end of 2011 I was offered a job overseas. I took it. This meant that I had to pack up everything I owned, lock it away in a storage unit and give up my life in South Africa. It was a hard thing to do, but I know it was the right thing. The biggest issue was what to do with my bike. I eventually made an agreement with a friend of mine to look after the bike for me and I would ride it when I visit back in SA. This actually worked out quite well. So on 1 January 2012, I boarded an Airbus A380 and headed north……


Thanks for reading, next post will involve sand, camels, crazy drivers, fancy pants world cities, a Dakar Rally winner, and lots of shenanigans in the land of sand!!


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