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About the trip:

Our sister publication Motorcycle Sport and Leisure’s deputy editor Bruce Wilson has joined up with Trailquest and 11 other adventurers who’ll be crossing South Africa on Triumph’s Tiger 800. Each day we’ll follow their story as they make their way 2000 miles from Johannesburg to Cape Town, ticking off some of the best routes and trails the nation has to offer.  

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No one could have predicted our guide rider was going to crash and break his ankle, just like no one would have guessed a wild ostrich would jump out of nowhere and tag on mid-pack in our chain of bikes for two miles. I guess that’s the reality of adventure bike riding, which has proven fantastically unimaginable so far on this trip.

Day two kicked off where things left off the night before; each of us nestled in our tented accommodation, shivering away in the freezing night air. For the majority of us, that much-desired sleep was hard to find, and a chorus of exotic sounding wild life from 4am onwards meant we were all a little flagging by the time our 6am alarms started ringing.

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Today was set to be a huge day, with no less than 600 kilometres of road and trail waiting for us to tick off. We hit the road for 7am, and headed due south on a vast carriageway which was surrounded by huge expanses of grassland. This region was called Gauteng and it was best known for its gold mining and subsequent claim to bringing in around 40% of South Africa’s wealth.

We passed quite a few mines on the road, along with quite a few exotic animals, like eland and kudu. As if that wasn’t enough, we also got our first sight of baboons which sat lazily at the edge of the smooth surfaced road. As straight and boring as the route was, there was plenty to look at along the way.

Eventually we reached a town called Parys, which had two major claims to fame; the sight of a 32km wide crater from a meteorite, and the Vaal river which marked the border of the Free State. It was here that we picked up our first dirt road. I’ve ridden a few before over the years, but this one was a particular beast, with several inches of deep sand littering the best part of the track’s width. This is where we lost our guide, who got carted off to hospital and was told he’d broken his ankle, a metatarsal and picked up a dislocated collarbone. It hit the group as a stark reminder of the nature of our gig, which was proving really great fun, but pretty challenging for the group; especially the lesser experienced guys.

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