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Old 05-15-2017, 09:30 AM
swazi_matt swazi_matt is offline
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Default Swaziland Ride reports

Just a short report on an awesome ride we did a week ago. I didn't have my go-pro so could only snap some shots every now and again.

the intention of the ride was to ride to the top of Emlembe mountain. This is Swaziland's highest mountain at 6,109 ft / 1,862 m (for those of you with proper mountains please don't laugh!) and forms a beacon for the border between swaziland and south africa.

We started the ride from Maguga Dam at about 2100 ft/ 650m and headed through some beautiful countryside that i will just show in pictures below. Maguga to eMlembe is about 23km as the crow flies but i think we rode about 50km there and about the same back

eMlembe peak is the furthest right on the horizon, this was about 10km in first ktm repair stop lol


Komati River footbridge


single track


a mean steep firebreak path, good if you get it right in one go


the start of a long switchback downhill - an old mine route. peak is behind the pylons on the horizon.
the grey (mid-left is the asbestos mine dump at the old mine town of Bulembu)


Awesome!!




we stopped for a break in bulembu town, a coke and a bag of crisps. this is a really interesting town. founded on the discovery of a huge asbestos deposit and a town built around it that lasted about 60yrs (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulembu). It closed down around 1999 and pretty much became a ghost town for a few years until it was taken over by a charity www.bulembu.org who took over the town and turned it into an orphanage mostly for hiv/aids orphans (a huge problem in Swaziland - smallest country in the southern hemisphere with the highest hiv infection rate) https://mg.co.za/article/2014-09-04-...tos-mine-dumps I believe they are also making a tidy profit out of the forestry that came with it!
Anyway the mine is about to be reopened to process the tailings and the orphanage will need to move - we thought we should hit the highest peak before they close it off for mining. I didn't take any pics while i was at the town but you can google those lol


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Last edited by swazi_matt; 05-22-2017 at 10:42 AM. Reason: re-title thread
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:31 AM
swazi_matt swazi_matt is offline
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this is taken from the other side of the town looking back to where we started in the hazy distance.


and this was the nonsense we were riding up!!




but worth it for the view of the swazi-SA border (we headed right along the side of the gorge to the right


but the riding didn't get easier, we had this boulder field to pick our way through ... a sort of carls dinner for the weekend warriors (you can see one of them exiting in the distance)


and eventually we made it to the top
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:43 AM
swazi_matt swazi_matt is offline
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then it was down the other side and across an old ox-wagon pass called Devils Bridge. It was impossible to photograph properly but it is basically a pass linking to mountains. about 30m long and about as wide as an ox-waggon (although sections had washed away which resulted in me having to dig my eat cover out from my but-cheeks once i got to the other side!) with near vertical drops either side (through the trees)


through the trees on the bridge


looking back across the gorge - you can see some of the old ox-waggon trail on the far grassy bank to the right of the cliff


here you can see the whole ox-waggon trail - those poor oxen must have sweated going down that! I know i did. These were the ox-wagons that took supplies from delgoa bay (now Maputo mozambique) to the gold mines in eastern south africa (jock of the bushveld era) when men were real men!!


and the last bit of nonsense before heading back - a full day's ride and only covered about 100km
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Old 05-15-2017, 12:59 PM
Neil E. Neil E. is offline
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Superb photos. I'd want 12/53 gearing to ride there.
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Old 05-16-2017, 03:16 AM
swazi_matt swazi_matt is offline
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12-48 is just fine with a squeal here and there!!

this is pretty much the route to the top
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Old 05-16-2017, 07:26 AM
RBrider RBrider is offline
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Now, That's an Adventure ride! You guys are tough.

Thanks for posting. I enjoyed it. I did about 25 miles of mountain trails yesterday, 3,000 to 5,000 ft elevation. It was a cakewalk compared to your ride.

RB
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Old 05-16-2017, 02:50 PM
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Great pics and write-up swazi! Can't believe the incline (or decline) in some of those pics, and the boulder field must have been a bear to navigate through.

Looks like awesome terrain, albeit a bit insane in some spots...lol.

Thanks for posting
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Old 05-17-2017, 09:43 AM
swazi_matt swazi_matt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liv2day View Post
Great pics and write-up swazi! Can't believe the incline (or decline) in some of those pics, and the boulder field must have been a bear to navigate through.

Looks like awesome terrain, albeit a bit insane in some spots...lol.

Thanks for posting
Yep the boulder field was something really different. Chain came off and lots of new scratches. Best approach was to try and ride the boulders rather than go between them. Makes you feel like Graham Jarvis when you get a good run ... thought disappears when you are painfully stopped by a slightly bigger gap between boulders lol.
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Old 05-22-2017, 10:02 AM
swazi_matt swazi_matt is offline
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Since i am training (in the loosest sense of the word!) for a semi-extreme 3 day ride (www.theimpi.co.za) in about a months time i figured i would be doing a few interesting rides and just post them here rather than starting new report after each one, so i have changed the thread name.
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Old 05-22-2017, 10:20 AM
swazi_matt swazi_matt is offline
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Default Nkonyeni - Punchys

so this ride is in the middle of swaziland just about and a good spot to do some big climbs and ride a lot of rocks, lots and lots of rocks, so much so that half my pictures look the same so not so many to show this time.
I also need to get my gopro fitted because i have realized that i only take photos when we (I) stop and that is normally when i am stuffed and need a break, usually in the hectic rocks

the ride started from Sidvokodvo (try it out loud!) and followed a district road for a few miles then up an old jeep track onto the ridge.

you can see the path we are trying to find, but this was the nonsense we had to get through. Swaziland had a severe drought last year and then heavy rains early this year, and i think the invasive plants survived the drought a bit better. this is the single track we were following:



with a lot of this

A tetament to tubliss, no punctures (to my tires, i have been pulling many of these out of my knuckles and arms since saturday!!)

not all rock


there was an awesome gulley downhill after this that went on for ages - the kind of downhill that is so fun - a bit like a toboggan run - and was so long that your thighs start to really burn from standing. Then after this it was up the hellish rock climb known as punchy's (after a friend who discovered it shortly before being killed in a freak accident RIP!) This was a hellish long uphill of rocks and more rocks see below!



we had loose rocks sitting on loose sand on a steep incline where the only way to make progress was by sitting right at the end of the seat and having your front wheelieing along the tops of the other loose stones
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