Tag Archives: Extreme Enduro

Celebrating Southern African Getaways

Sincere thanks to the fabulous Christine Searle at SA-Venues, for including me in her awesome post: South Africans share their favourite local getaways! It’s a total treat to participate and discover what’s special to others too 😀

Picking only one favourite was impossibly tough, given the abundance we have here – as well as how privileged Dave and I have been, thanks largely to friends, family and our professional photography. I narrowed it down to the African bushveld, because I believe that nothing compares to the ‘soul vacation’ this offers. Here’s the longer list, incorporating more of Southern Africa and a few of the countless highlights we’ve enjoyed:

Londolozi private game reserve, SA – leopards:

LEOPARD CLOSE-UP – Londolozi Game Reserve, South Africa

Madikwe private game reserve, SA – wild dogs:

AFRICAN WILD DOG – Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

Schotia Safaris, SA – lions:

MUFASA – Schotia Safaris, South Africa

Welgevonden private game reserve, SA – rhino’s & elephants:

RHINO SILHOUETTE – Welgevonden Game Reserve, Waterberg, South Africa

ELEPHANT SILHOUETTE – Welgevonden game Reserve, Waterberg, South Africa

Timbavati private game reserve, SA – buffalo:

BUFFALO BULL – Timbavati game reserve, South Africa

Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana – abundant game and raptors:

HIPPOS AT SUNSET – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana

FISH EAGLE TAKING OFF – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana – wide open spaces and occasional cheetah:

DAVE checking photo’s on our roofrack – Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana

CHEETAH RUNNING – Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana

Mozambique – scuba diving, especially Guinjata Bay’s manta rays:

MANTA RAY WITH REMORA FISH – Guinjata Bay, Mozambique

ME SCUBA-DIVING – Mozambique, Southern Africa

Lesotho – enduro riding, in particular the extreme Roof of Africa:

ROOF OF AFRICA 2010 – Lesotho, Southern Africa

VIEW OF MALUTI MOUNTAINS – Lesotho, Southern Africa

Cape Town (where I grew up) – family, fun, Two Oceans & Table Mountain:

TABLE MOUNTAIN from V&A WATERFRONT – Cape Town, South Africa

VIEW OF CAPE POINT – Cape Town, South Africa

As far as wildlife goes, we’re planning perhaps the pinnacle trip for September next year: Serengeti under Canvas in Tanzania with &Beyond Africa, which follows the migration in luxury tents. CAN’T WAIT, especially since it will probably include scenes like these:



I wasn’t lucky enough to accompany Dave to Kenya, where he shot these last two pics, so that’s high on my wish-list of wildlife destinations, along with others in Southern Africa, such as Namibia (where I was born), Zambia (where my father was born and raised) and Zimbabwe (where some of our special friends come from). And that’s just for starters. Ah, AFRICA…what’s to do but LOVE YOU?

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Raising ‘The Roof’!

What a WILD few days – The Roof of Africa 2010, which concluded on Saturday in Lesotho. Fittingly tough for “The Mother of Hardenduro”, it took no prisoners, conceding twenty-two gold medal finishers from a field of about two hundred and fifty. Twenty-four riders earned silver medals and a mere six took home the bronzes. Phenomenal achievements all! The war stories brought tears to the eyes and huge respect to the heart. This event that traverses the massive Maluti mountains, is not for sissies! Unfortunately, after a solid start, Dave’s race ended in a DNF when his motor blew halfway through Friday’s gruelling stint. Here are a few photo’s that tell a snippet of our story:

Team Ysterperd’s opening pit talk – Roof of Africa 2010

Bike Prep – Roof of Africa 2010

DAVE racing ‘around the houses’ on Thursday – Roof of Africa 2010

Parked in Friday’s boggy pits – Roof of Africa 2010

DAVE’s bike in Friday’s starting queue – Roof of Africa 2010

DAVE pulling off on Friday – Roof of Africa 2010

Team Ysterperd pit crew doing their thing – Roof of Africa 2010

Team Ysterperd pit crew at another DSP – Roof of Africa 2010

DAVE in good humour at the end of his race – Roof of Africa 2010

Ramabanta DSP – Roof of Africa 2010

Chilling at Ramabanta DSP – Roof of Africa 2010

Photographing on the dreaded Bushman’s pass – Roof of Africa 2010

Another view of Bushman’s pass – Roof of Africa 2010

Rider’s view of the finish line – Roof of Africa 2010

All in all, this year’s ‘Roof’ raised the bar. It was way better organized and more spectator-friendly than last year’s, drawing crowds of fans and some top international competitors. These were headed up by New Zealander Chris Birch, who won spectacularly for the third time in a row, followed by South Africa’s own Jade Gutzeit and Germany’s Andreas Lettenbichler, ‘Lettie’ for short. Here they are at the Red Bull finish line:

CHRIS BIRCH at the finish line – Roof of Africa 2010

CHRIS BIRCH’s smile after winning the Roof of Africa 2010

Jade Gutzeit at the finish line – Roof of Africa 2010

JADE GUTZEIT with his wife Rina after the Roof of Africa 2010

LETTIE tossing his bike – Roof of Africa 2010

LETTIE punching the air – Roof of Africa 2010

LETTIE after finishing The Roof of Africa 2010

Champagne on the podium – Roof of Africa 2010

To read more about all the guts and glory, visit: www.roof-of-africa.com, and for loads more photo’s, here’s a link to Dave’s Facebook album: Roof of Africa 2010.

Sincere THANKS to all our friends who helped us tremendously, huge CONGRATS to the winners and WELL DONE to everyone who took part! One thing’s for sure: our deposit will be paid the moment booking opens for next year.

Now, just in case you’re thinking the event is all about the riders, this video explains a whole lot more: Continue reading

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Exploring Lesotho, the magical ‘Mountain Kingdom’

It’s early Spring in Lesotho, also sometimes called ‘Kingdom in the Sky’, thanks to the magnificent Maluti’s. High in the mountains, this independent enclave is completely surrounded by South Africa. Bright pink peach blossoms decorate the landscape, like paint spattered across dusty parchment.


YELLOW CLING PEACH TREE – Lesotho, Southern Africa

A chill still stirs the thin air, settling on the crisp lawn that’s been rendered to straw. Ramabanta Lodge and its wonderful hostess, Rose, open their arms to our Enduro World tour. This is a training trip for the extreme Roof of Africa race, scheduled for November.

RAMABANTA LODGE – Lesotho, Southern Africa

A VIEW from RAMABANTA LODGE – Lesotho, Southern Africa

Tough as gladiators in their bulky gear, the bikers tackle enndless, rock-strewn gorges. Friday’s epic 5+ hour trail takes its toll. Some of the riders arrive well after nightfall, among sighs of relief all round. Dave’s toes are badly injured, earning my sympathy, mixed with delight at having his company for Saturday 🙂


So we hop into the Touareg and head for the hills, particularly the famous Maletsunyane Falls at Semonkong (‘Place of Smoke’). The highest waterfall in Southern Africa, its single cascade drops 204 metres. Cradled in a spectacular canyon, it steals our breath away!

MALETSUNYANE FALLS – Semonkong, Lesotho, Southern Africa

TOUAREG overlooking the Maletsunyane Falls – Lesotho, Southern Africa

A local shepherd drifts over from his sheep, asking Dave (in good English) to take a photo.

LESOTHO SHEPHERD – Maletsunyane Falls, Semonkong, Lesotho

This place and its people exude peace, as if the rhythm of the seasons remains untarnished. Fields are systematically ploughed by men and their cattle, revealing rich, dark earth beneath winter’s arid dress.

MAN WITH OXEN PLOUGHING FIELD – Lesotho, Southern Africa

Meanwhile, women carry water and do the washing.

WOMEN CARRYING WATER – Lesotho, Southern Africa



Horses and donkeys are the main mode of transport. Of people and supplies, as we discover when we stop for lunch at Semonkong Lodge. The only patrons present, we’re waited on hand and foot, leaving satisfied and smiling.

RIDERS ON HORSES – Lesotho, Southern Africa

DONKEY CARRYING SUPPLIES – Semonkong Lodge, Lesotho

Dinner back at Ramabanta is a noisy affair, alive with tales of triumph and torment. Another group of guys is still out in the dark, navigating their way with the help of a few headlights. It’s a dangerous game, enduro riding. Especially in Lesotho, home of one of the world’s most extreme events, The Mother of Hardenduro.  But inside, we’re warm, indulging in a delicious home-style dinner, rounded off with cling peaches, drenched in syrup and custard. They’re the legacy of January’s harvest, which filled four hundred bottles! Judging by today’s blossoms, it seems the next one will vie for first place:

PEACH BLOSSOMS – Ramabanta Lodge, Lesotho, Southern Africa

PEACH BLOSSOMS – Ramabanta Lodge, Lesotho, Southern Africa

We’ll be back, once summer washes the gardens lush green, and Lesotho beckons the Best of the Best back to take on The Roof!

For more photo’s from our trip, here’s a link to my Facebook album: Enduro World Lesotho Tour – Sep 2010.

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Enduro World Cross Country

Dave participated in the first SA enduro of the year on Saturday: the EWXC (Enduro World Cross Country) held at Arrow’s Rest near Hartebeespoort Dam (not far from Johannesburg). We took along our cameras to capture some of the mayhem 🙂

Here’s Dave getting ready to race on his Team Pro Action KTM motorbike, not realizing at the time that he’d broken a rib only a few days before…he has a pretty high pain threshold!!

Dave got the hole-shot in the Masters Class, before a sharp rock slashed his tyre during the first lap. This put him out of the race and was most disappointing for him, but surely saved his rib any more harm 🙂

For the rest of the field, though, there was a war to contend with!

A few of the big guns took on the challenge of the extreme enduro event – and boy, was it EXTREME! This is Wild Will Gillitt of www.wildwillracing.com in action. He was also responsible for setting the gnarly EWXC course!

For a look at some more pics, here’s a link to my Facebook album: EWXC Feb 2010
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