Meiringspoot Pass
Meiringspoot Pass
Surprise, I went for a ride. Breakfast was a bit of a let down after the past few days, buffet style, the Old Mill caters for coach parties in the main I'd judge. No deal with the internet access, apparently the wireless link is often down and certainly the cell phone coverage is rubbish.

A walk around the place revealed another shed with even smaller ostriches, this time stood in cardboard buckets. I think they have a bit of a dud life really. I couldn't find the walking track unless it was one with a big locked gate. I was very reluctant to go through the grass knowing about (and having seen) a small snake and having heard about the ticks (don't ask, it's not nice)

Our ride is to be a circular trip from Oudtshoorn (more or less), through the Meiringspoot Pass, lunch at Prince Albert and then return via the Swartberg Pass.

Top of the Swartberg
Top of the Swartberg
The Meiringspoot Pass is more of a ride trough a gorge following the river. The road is all seal and in good nick, apparently they had to rebuild it a few years back when the river washed it all away. Hard to believe today it's just a little trickle. The gorge itself is quite fantastic and when you see it you wonder how you'll get in as the walls seem to close in and overhand the road.

A troop of Baboons crossed in front of us, sme of them were very big and you can see they would be problematic if they turned nasty. Don't feed them. Then just a a rounded a bend a deer jumped across the road in front of me. Brown with short horns and too close for comfort but I was going very slowly. I stopped in time to see several more pass behind while I groped for the camera.

It's not far from the pass to Prince Albert which is another surprise. A pretty and quiet little village, very small with several cafes and small knick knack shops. The Swartberg Hotel does an excellent three course Sunday lunch buffet for 95 Rand ($NZ19 ish).

Swartberg Pass
Swartberg Pass
The day was quite a bit warmer by the time lunch was out of the way and tackling the more difficult  Swartberg Pass. It's more difficult a) because it's an actual high pass (the top is 1585m above sea level) and b) it's single track gravel (sorry Joan)

This would have to be the best ride of the trip and David and I had smiles from ear to ear by the top. By the time we got back to the Old Mill the temperature had risen to just over 30 and David had had enough. I carried on to have a look at the Ostrich farm shop, I've seen enough of the brutes in the flesh I think now. The leather work is pretty nice and probably good value but how could you tell?

As you can see (I hope) Boy, the owner, got the internet fixed for me (user id and password reversed)