itchybootstitle - Itchy Boots: South Africa

One of the best travel series I have seen on You Tube! This is just fantastic. Its about the adventures of Noraly who has done several motorcycling treks around the world. The recent COVID pandemic put a stop to her touring for a while, however she has made a fifth series which focuses on South Africa. Its a good choice especially with the vast range of scenery to be be found. Some say she does long winded videos but I don’t think so, its nice for me these are very visual and not so dependent on dialogue. In short, she she serves up loads of fascinating South African scenery. Having been to South Africa I can say its full of wonders. Itchy Boots’ videos left me in awe for I had to reply on public transport thus was limited to the more popular tourist spots. Its really fantastic to see all the different mountain ranges and passes on these videos – and the scenery – its just wow!

In the video where she visits the Xhosa tribe in Bulungula, she says ‘South Africa is amazing, and I am only scratching the surface’ (link.) Exactly! Its full of such wild and varied scenery, which I think competes with many other countries. In fact its difficult to actually compare different countries like for like as South Africa has a quite unique geology and that is what gives its scenery a special flavour compared to other countries.

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Lovely deep red coloured track on the way to the Orrie Baragwanath road.

In fact Norlay is by her line of work (or qualification from university) a geologist thus she has lots to tell us about the different countries she has ridden through and South Africa is no different. ‘Oh these rock outcrops everywhere are stunning’ she says (link.) However one thing I didn’t know (and which alarmed me considerably) is the uniqueness of South Africa’s geology has brought huge plans for fracking. When I say huge, well that’s because the potential for fracking extends across pretty much most of South Africa itself. Not one small corner of the country but practically around 75% – and when one considers how vast South Africa is – well that’s going to be some huge environmental slight. Its also cause for concern because fracking, is well, obnoxious. Humans seem to have this wish to continue extracting from the depths of the earth, we’ve had coal, oil and so on, and those have done unlimited amounts of damage. But fracking well it causes earthquakes and the rest of it. There’s no real knowledge about fracking being undertaken on a massive scale so once again its sheer human ignorance that’s doing this, thinking its going to be pretty safe. In my view that’s simply perverse because it might be ‘safe’ now but sometime down the road, in the future to be exact, it will be discovered it wasn’t so safe after all.

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Fascinating scenery! Montague Pass. You Tube

I also enjoyed the Sami Pass (where she reaches the border with Lesotho, its an incredible video because the very roughly hewn roadway is hardly any sort of road in fact) and the Bavisvankloof video. Kloof, if you didn’t know, is another name for steep sided valley, usually in the Cape Province area. There’s many places that have kloof as part of the name. Perhaps the most famous of all is Kloof Nek, where the Table Mountain cable car begins its ascent – that road is in fact a pass across the steep sided lower slopes of Table Mountain. Or Tulbagh Kloof through which the Cape Town to Johannesburg railway traverses. What impresses me is the skills she has in filming her travels both with a camera pole and a drone. Despite these bumpy dirt roads, she manages to hold the camera steady! Such as this example using the Go Pro from the rear of bike in the Swartberg Pass.

bavisvankloof - Itchy Boots: South Africa

The above image is one of those great examples of holding the Go Pro at arm’s distance as seen in Bavisvankloof.

The very best videos are perhaps those with the Xhosa tribe in Bulungula. Its just fantastic. The young female interpreter, Thabisa is so fantastic, and the other members of the tribe are too. I’ve seen this sort of thing including inside the round houses, but in a touristic setting. However at one point we did drive a good way south of the tarmac roads in Kwazulu Natal and ventured on the dirt roads through a number of villages, all complete with round houses of different colours. This at Bulungula however was such wild countryside, and natural free living and it was brilliant. The lovely deep blue coloured ocean as a backdrop was an added bonus.

bulungula - Itchy Boots: South Africa

Thabisa and Noraly on the beach at Bulungula. You Tube.

Bulungula can be seen quite easily from the air on Google Earth – one can even pick out the Headman’s houses as well as the others!

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Bourke’s Potholes formed by pebbles swirling around in the rock formations!

Cape of Good Hope had no funicular when I was there, it is quite a recent thing. (See this video.) We had to walk up from the car park. Its changed now obviously, but in a way I think the funicular is to stop people wandering off onto the steep bits of cliffs etc, so even though it has an entertainment or cute value, there’s these other reasons behind having it.

You might wonder where I went in South Africa well I went to the classic tourist places as well as some of the national parks, but not as adventurous because I relied on public transport. I visited Jo’burg, Germiston, Pretoria, Cape Town, Francishoek, Paarl and a number of other places. In Kwazulu Natal I spent a week with people my family knew in Uvongo and visited Pietermaritzburg, Durban, Umlangha Rocks etc.

As an aside, I remember part of the line to Harding (the Alfred County Railway) we crossed it several times on the routes we took into the deeper country beyond Uvongo though I have no photos. Here’s the remains of Oslo Beach station near Port Shepstone with Banana Express seen clearly on its footbridge! Its a shame to see this fascinating two foot gauge railway in such a state now. As you’ll probably know some of the locomotives are now in use on the Welsh Highland Railway!

31genevadrive - Itchy Boots: South Africa

This is where I stayed whilst in the country. This is a modern Google Street view.

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My photograph of the same place! It didn’t have a fence then. The country’s precarious nature and economic struggles has now forced many to adopt the use of fences and gated entrances.

Itchy Boots You Tube Video Channel

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