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9 February 2019, Luckhoff to Orania, 45,5km
Orania Bed & Ontbyt R400


If you want to get from Luckhoff in the Free State to Orania in the Northern Cape, you have two options: 65km on the tarred R46 and R360, or 45km on a lonely dirt road. As the elevation on the dirt road was more down than up, and the distance shorter, we chose the road less travelled.
The road was more often than not a difficult ride - sometimes badly corrugated, always rough with embedded stone, sometimes covered to a deceptive depth in wheel-twisting sand dampened by the previous night’s rain, on occasion covered with loose stones that if hit just so jolted our wheels in one direction and skitted away in another; for some truly horrible distances the road was all the above. At these times I had to be particularly careful not to clack my teeth shut on my tongue, and my hands ached by journey’s end from gripping my handlebars tight, tight, tight for much of the distance (Charl says I am doing it wrong and should simply go with the flow, but I am too afraid of falling to lessen my grip).
Despite the fact that it took us almost six hours to reach Orania, and that we were exhausted when we did so, mainly what we were conscious of today was how privileged we were to be travelling that quiet road on a cloudy cool Saturday. We were alone in an isolated world, seeing only seven vehicles in over 40km. In a world where Charl could sit on an ant heap and light up a cigarette. Where a field of oryx took fright at our approach and galloped away to stop and turn and watch us with cautious eyes. Where ground nesting birds (unidentified by us) would take flight at our approach and wing away in a huge circle complaining bitterly in two tones. A world opened to us through a combination of luck and hard choices …
We hit tar again as we hit the Orange River and crossed into the Northern Cape, with the “intentional community” of Orania just around the bend. It had not occurred to us that Orania essentially shuts down at lunch time on a Saturday. We were lucky to arrive in time to find accommodation through the info centre (we had booked to camp for two nights at Aan Die Oewer, but simply could not face tenting) and to buy a lunch of russians and chips.
In the early evening we cycled the 2.9km from our guest house to the Aan Die Oewer restaurant, well-sited on the Orange, where we treated ourselves to steak and lamb chops for dinner, cycling home in the dark after a sudden and intense rainstorm.

For today's route see below photos
For overview route, click on ROUTE tab above…


Luckhoff to Orania. On the right road?
Luckhoff to Orania. On the right road?
Luckhoff to Orania
Luckhoff to Orania
Luckhoff to Orania
Luckhoff to Orania
Luckhoff to Orania
Luckhoff to Orania
Luckhoff to Orania
Luckhoff to Orania
Gertie at the Orange river
Gertie at the Orange river
Outside Orania
Outside Orania
Orania
Orania
Aan Die Oewer restaurant
Aan Die Oewer restaurant
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