I was reading through a few news articles on the internet. In one article, the writer quoted Benjamin Franklin: “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”. Suddenly it felt like my head was cast in cold dark concrete. The water I was enjoying tasted bitter. The air I was breathing seemed dense, like Witbank’s air. There I was, trapped in the cold truth, a dark prison room built by the words of Benjamin Franklin.
A ray of sunshine then suddenly shone upon me..
I thought of my motorcycle, mountain passes, the wind pulsing against my chest, the engine’s happy cat-like purr sound. My left foot twitched into a spontaneous gear change, my right hand’s wrist pulled into an open throttle.. not too open though, my KTM 1190 has a too many wild horses that want to run free!
Talking about wild horses, when was your last visit to Kaapsehoop?
Kaapsehoop was originally called ‘Duiwels kantoor’ or the ‘Devils waiting room’.
In those hot summer days, this is an ideal destination to escape from the extreme heat, especially on a motorcycle. Kaapsehoop is cooler than Nelspruit (temperature) due to the fact that it is so high (geographically). Kaapsehoop offers enough entertainment to keep any nature lover busy for days! Recently Kaapsehoop Outdoor started guided tours on their electric scooters. Whether you are a Harley rider, a superbike rider, an adventure rider, or not a rider at all – this is fun! It makes no sound and has no exhaust fumes. You can enjoy the forest – hear it, smell it and see it, with a twist of a throttle! Contact Juliette on 072 954 6109 to make a booking.
Kaapsehoop boasts with many hiking trails, which include short hikes to the well known Adams Calender, to waterfalls and to much more! They have several great restaurants and pubs. The Pear Orchard picnic spot will steel your heart with clean lavatories, the wind whispering through the trees and a quiet creek that pitter-patters down the weir.
Time to leave Kaapsehoop..
I am sure that, after a serene and fun day at Kaapsehoop, your raging pumping adrenalin craving would be on its lazy chair.
From Kaapsehoop, follow the road to the N4, passing Ngodwana. I once heard that, years ago, Father’s Day was the most confusing day in Ngodwana!! But who really ever have certainty about who their father is??
Allow me to take you on the historical route, on the N4. You are probably thinking, what kind of biker takes the N4? Let me explain to you why.
If you reach the N4, turn left towards Gauteng. Enjoy the newly tarred N4 and probably a few Stop-And-Go’s on the way – it’s going to be worth it!
Your first town is Waterval Onder. This insignificant and forgotten town hides a jewel, the last house of President Paul Kruger in South Africa. Don’t expect to see Nkandla! This was the humble dwelling of the man who tightened the last bolt on the ‘Oosterlijn’ or Eastern rail Railway line, from Pretoria to Maputo in 1894! Take a stroll through his house and enjoy the simplicity and history that it offers.
On your way out of Waterval Onder is a small shop, The Tickled Trout. They always have freshly baked home made cookies and fudge. Take cash – no card machines or IOU’s there!
OLD NZASM BRIDGE
Continue on the N4, towards Gauteng for about 1km. After seeing a Lodge and Restaurant on your right called ‘Aloes’, you would see the old train bridge (late 1800’s) and the new train bridge right next to each other! If you are one of those ‘kyk waar jy ry’ kinds of people, rather stop and enjoy the proud history of our railways – right there. A gentleman told me that bags of coins fell from a train, years ago. He went diving to retrieve it, but gave up after finding just a few bags.
A recent Lowveld Enduro Club Race, included crossing that old bridge! I’m sure fear of heights caused a few young men to loose time in that race! Imagine riding your motorcycle over that bridge..
FIVE ARCH BRIDGE
Your next stop would be the Five Arch Bridge or Vyf Boog Brug. Avoid stopping alone. The Five Arch bridge formed part of the original ‘Oosterlijn’ railway line built by NZASM (Nederlandsche Zuid-Afrikaansche Spoorweg Maatschappi) . The stone used for the bridge was shipped from Italy! In 1963 the bridge was declared a monument.
Continue towards Waterval Boven, or now known as Emgwenya.
The tunnel also has a rich history. You will see a parking area next to the entrance of the tunnel, park there – again avoid stopping alone.
This is the original tunnel, built with steam powered machinery and by hand for the ‘Oosterlijn’ rail! At the entrance, the ‘tandrad’ or cogwheel rail is displayed. This ‘cogwheel rail’ was used to get those 40 ton trains up those hills!
Feel free to walk through the tunnel. The steam trains’ shadows can still be seen on the ceiling of the tunnel. The stones used were cut with precision, once again from Italy and shipped to South Africa. You can enjoy the beautiful view of the Emgwenya Waterfall from the wooden deck at the end of the tunnel.
Waterval Boven is a beautiful town that was given more attention than what it receives now. Feel free to visit the train station. The old signal tower still stands proudly guarding the railway line, but is not in use anymore.
Also, plan a visit the Silver Days Old Age Home and drop a few gifts, or a donation, for those beautiful grey haired bundles of love and wisdom.
By this time, I’m sure your adrenalin is well rested and ready to play again. It’s going to be your choice! You can take the tar road to Lydenburg and Sabie, or back to Nelspruit without passing through the Tollgate, or you can take the gravel road to Machadodorp, now known as eNtokomokosokozwenipoelie, or something like that. I will tell you about the ‘eNtokomokosokozwenipoelie’ route next time!!
It does not matter how dark your circumstances or your situation may seem. Get out there! Ride your BMW, ride your Zongshen, ride your bicycle or take a walk. Smell the flowers, feel the sun, touch a tree, climb over a rock! LIVE! We are destined for more than just ‘taxes and death’!
JUST TO TICKLE YOUR FANCY..
While travelling the N4, it kept on coming to me… What happened to the Kruger Millions? If you don’t know what I am talking about, let me give you a history lesson.
The story of the Kruger Millions is a legend that refuses to die. The Anglo-Boer war and events at the time gave rise to the legend of this golden hoard, which many firmly believed lies buried somewhere in the Lowveld.
When the British occupied Pretoria on June 5, 1900, Lord Alfred Milner established that gold to the value of approximately £800 000 (about R8-million in todays’s terms, but bear in mind that the price of gold has gone up manyfold since 1900) had been removed from the S A Mint and National Bank between May 29 and June 4, 1900.
Gold to the value of £2,5-million was confiscated from gold mines and, according to documentary proof, £1 294 000 was removed from the S A Mint and National Bank. Gold to the value of about £2 million had disappeared ! Milner did everything in his power to find the gold but rumours began to circulate that the gold was buried somewhere.
Apart from the account of the gold from the mint being loaded, there was supposed to be gold bullion in bar form from the gold mines that was also loaded!
A number of witnesses who had been involved with the removal of the gold from Johannesburg, Pretoria, Pilgrim’s Rest and Barberton also gave testimony. The truth in fact supports the supposition that the ‘Kruger Millions’ vanished into thin air somewhere between Machadodorp and the Mozambican border, (and then more specifically, were buried on a farm somewhere between Sabie and Watervalboven).
Taken from www.sabie.co.za