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Bike Safari On A Hero

(15 - 19 June 2023)

Three Heroes run into a safari…

They meet another Hero, and a safari turns into a party!

If you’ve been around the multiverse, you must have seen the memes about inner peace, serenity, tranquility? How to allow your life to fall into calmness and quietness. To obtain a structured realm and to pass through time with more liquidity. You are told that life would be easier, that greatness lies just beyond the border of shit shedding…

Have you tried it? Have you achieved it?

Who does that?!?

Adrenaline, adventure, chaos, exhilaration, soul-stirring. These are the natural ingredients in the Tank Girls life.

If you stop living, your heart will die of boredom. Your brain will get trapped in numbing Kurt Darren songs – on repeat. Your gut will get used to Weetabix, and Groundhog Days will flood your future.

Someone calls, “The floor is lava…” and we take off our shoes.

The chicken lasagne has been out for two days – we grab an extra roll of toilet paper.

There’s cholera in the water – we gooi double Jack’s.

We all need to die of something. Rather let it be something remarkable, than mere obscure nothingness.

What would Heroes do if all humans lived in harmony? Would we end up with a Beer-Boep-Batman, an Unshaven-Superman, a Flatulent-Flash???

The universe was never created to be in harmony. In the words of Neil Gaiman:

I like the stars. It's the illusion of permanence, I think. I mean, they're always flaring up and caving in and going out. But from here, I can pretend...I can pretend that things last. Worlds don't last; and stars and galaxies are transient, fleeting things that twinkle like fireflies and vanish into cold and dust. But I can pretend...

In our never-ending quest for gasps and grey hair, we signed up for a bike safari with the Du Toit’s from Oppie Oewer Adventures. Two nights wild-glamping in the bush, riding mountains, surfing thick sand, with a slight possibility of elephant encounters. How could we resist???

A group of 11 riders escorted by Gerrit and his son Skouperdjie (upgraded from Wenperdjie), with two back-up vehicles to karwei all the luggage, food and dop. This definitely falls into our ‘luxurious adventure’ category.

Our adventure started early when Ferrari (Donovan Fourie’s Hero Xpulse200) snapped its chain on the N1 en route to Tzaneen. Luckily the girls, Crispy and Mien, were relatively close by and could rush in for a rescue. Don exchanged the Hero for a BMW1200 from the trailer, and in the meantime, Gerrit easily organized a new chain from a local shop. Crisis averted!

The next morning started bright and chilly with a sunny side up and two rashers. Some people checked their tyres, some wiped their screens… we did a double shake of our hipflasks. All was right with the world!

The first stretch took us over beautiful mountains, through lush forests, crossing bubbling streams. There were a few small bumps and grinds, a flat tyre, miscellaneous slips and lots of giggles.

Riding behind Mien, I realized that she believed in the laws of the GS-world. Trained to counter weight, balance and steer while no parts of the arse touches the seat. Slowly and patiently manoeuvring her bike around obstacles. While oppositely, the scientist in me believed in the laws of the universe. Centrifugal forces, gravitational forces and most of all torque! Approaching an object with so much speed that your will either clear said object or at least move it 4 feet along with you.

Some of you might not know, but Chikita’s middle name is GatLangs…

Somewhere along some bits of narrow mountain path we suspected that we had lost the front runners. Best was to turn around and see if we could find some tracks. There were blind curves and a steep slope straight down to Satan on our left. There is a rumour that Lucifer has had a crush on Chikita for millennia and has on numerous occasions tried to drag her down to his sizzling love pad. And yet again…

At that point we had stopped side by side and as we rolled back for the 3-point turn I heard her scream, “NEE! NEE!! NEE!!!

I thought I might have reversed into her, or she was possibly spilling her drink?!? When the NEE’s got louder I turned to find only the top of her helmet questionably disappearing down the cliff!!!!

I dropped the bike but by the time I got to the edge she had dug her heels into a small drainage pipe, holding on for dear life. Satan sneered…

As the stragglers caught up, they all first looked at my blue Hero sprawled across the road, trying to assess what was going on… Then they noticed her petrified pip, peeping subtly over the edge.

Luckily, Mien had a tow rope handy and with expertly co-ordinated team work they hauled Chikita and little Comet back up from certain death. I swear I heard Comet sigh a relief. Adrenaline is brown…

During his heart-stopping throw-down, my poor Clark broke his clutch lever clean off. In walks Gerrit with a size 10 spanner…? For a broken lever???

Well now, did you know…? Some cable ties and I was the lucky winner of the best lever I’d ever had! Dual purpose – just like my little Xpulse.

A quick lunch at Leydsdorp – the city for a day. Some roasties were swabbed, puppies were cuddled, and livers were comforted – IN THAT ORDER!

The day was getting long in the tooth, but we still had a short stretch of deep sand to conquer before we could pitch our tents. It was only about 500m of deep, loose riverbed sand, but all paddles were deployed and lots of roosting ensued. Horizontal bikes, and sand beards everywhere. Eventually everyone made it to the camp site and started work on their shelters, though Donovan had to first figure out how a tent works as he has never camped in his whole life. Yes – there’s people like that!

Interesting to note how Mike and Vince, that lent him the camping gear, made sure the tent was short enough for a midget but the stretcher was at least twice as long, for the comfort of much taller midgets. His options were to sleep with either his upper or lower half outside. Decisions, decisions… with a bit of a nip in the air, mozzies, and also the dreaded chimichoongas Fabrizio warned us about! Those pesky devils love the sound of a zip…

The day ended around a big fire, with tjops on the braai and a beer in hand.

How do you discover if you don’t venture? How do you experience if you don’t exploit?

The next day started with brushing out some bush flavoured tequila from our snouts.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.

~ Baz Luhrmann ~

One thing I have learned with time is:


It is okay to not want, to not do, to not try, to not listen, to not see.

If the road seems too far, if the weather is too cold, if the book your reading is as interesting as the colour beige – DON’T!

If you tried it and it was not fun, don’t try it again. If you tried it and failed, try it again. If you tried it and you succeeded, try something tougher.

No matter how many times Chrispene fell, she jumped up, stood around a bit dazed, gave a half smile and then - got riding again. Her handlebars were bent like chicken wings and yet she carried on! Toughest tush on this trip!

Getting out of the riverbed was a challenge. No matter how experienced you were, landing gear was out in full force and even the most skilled rider face planted (no names used in order to protect everyone’s identities).

The day continued with a few smaller dry river crossings. But the insult is real when five asses in a row show you how it’s done!

Lunch was served next to the river, which even included ice cream!

Having had our fill, we continued following the Kruger fence… or rather where the fence should be! Lots of stops for fence wire caught in sprockets and around pegs. We cleaned up as we rode, noticing a ball of elephant dung every few hundred meters. They were close, these trumpets were listening in on our nonsensical tête-à-têtes.

We eventually found the Elly at the local pub. Drinks were on him.

There were a few steep rocky canyons and ditches but with a bit of pep talking, everybody made it through:

Don’t be such a wimp – take more risks!

There were some spectators when we crossed the Greater Letaba river. They were more intimidating than a snapping crocodile would have been. With all eyes on the riders, the fear of failing lay very close to the surface.

At the end of the loop-of-death was a huge step into a small buck-track up a vertical embankment. If (when) you committed, your commitment had to last you all the way to the top or you would end up where you began… having to have to do it all again.

Alta was peeping over some hedges and saw me hesitate. Then I heard her mother-bear-voice booming down to my quivering body, “Jy MOET kom!

As soon as a mother uses the word MOET (must), you know the will to refuse has been removed from your core being. Had, you had to!

As we got closer to our second night’s spot the sand got surprisingly more surprising. The 10m stretches would jump out spontaneously from behind Mopani bushes as if to say, “How have you been?”

Day two left a few scratches on our bodies and a great big bite out of our mental comfort zone. When your exhausted brain pushes your aching body to keep going, you make stupid mistakes; but there’s joy in being picked up by a friend, smiling at you with a dirt moustache and hiding their snigger with a concerned frown.

That feeling of going to sleep knowing that living has meaning is my definition of peace.

Two days of nature, and nature might start calling louder than a bike engine revving at 14 000!

What I see VS what The View sees!

The camp ground that evening was hard as concrete. In retaliation, we filled our insides with squishy, liquid tequila. The night ended on a jovial note with talks of planets on the wrong side of the earth, and filling the glasses properly for a 1-day game because it is not a 5-day game!

The stars were better company anyway. They were very beautiful, and they almost never snored.

~ David Eddings ~

None of us are youngsters anymore and the second morning waking up inside a damp nylon rag, with frozen toes and heartburn – boy, did we look the warriors!

We were ready to head home, sad to leave the discovered unknown behind, but donating a few memories to the lives of each new friend we made.

I thought the peace would be enough for me. A deafening silence swelled around me and I found that I needed more. I need chaos, and adventure, and a bit of disaster in my life. I cannot be quiet and lie still, alone in my bed, for I have spent far too long doing just that.

~ Augustwrites-sometimes ~

Sponsored by Daniel Mulder Distributors (DMD)

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Caberg Helmets (

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Hero Motorcycles South Africa (

Oppie Oewer Adventures (

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2M Lazy Lowder (


How to make new friends? Just join a bunch of adventure riders, add dust, sand, wild camping, tjops, wheelies and tequila. You will end up with broken levers, bloukolle and best buds. For enquiries – ask the Du Toit’s from Oppie Oewer Adventures.

Video produced by Jolandi Mentz (15 - 19 Jun 2023)


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Finding Chaos!

Skinny & Chikita

Instagram: @skinnyvanschalkwyk


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