Why Klein Pella Tour, you ask? Klein Pella is the name of the magnificent date farm owned by the Karsten Boerdery group, situated near the missionary settlement of Pella and on the banks of the Mighty Orange River. It is also the starting point of the legendary Namaqua 4×4 trail that is the focus of this spectacular tour that shares its name with the farm.
The 10-day adventure started near Kuruman with a short Sand Riding Instruction refresher session in the red dune sands at the apply named Red Sands Lodge, after welcome dinner and briefing the group departed the next day on an easy introduction to sand ride route, to the little gem of Van Zylsrus near the Botswana border, where an optional red dune climb challenge was on offer. Sundowners and awesome venison pastry starters on a dune culminated in a scrumptious lamb shank dinner at the Vanzylrust Hotel. Well rested the following morning ride offered typical Kalahari twee spoor paadjies along the Botswana border fence line, this is where the sand riding training came in very handy. Pizzas around the “fresh” pool at the Molopo Kalahari Lodge then sundowners on Koo Pan, saw the kid come out in the riders, with impromptu drag races and power slides inspired by the vast flat space.
The next day offered a more relaxed day with wine, Gin & Brandy tasting and a steak lunch at Die Mas van Kakamas wine farm, with the barge cruise on the Orange River at Khamkirri offering stunning sunsets to end off the day. The following morning, after picking up Roosterkoek in Riemvasmaak at Bergendal coffee shop owned by Norbit from Voetspore – a must stop if you in the area, the participants visited the popular hot springs for a good warm soak to ease the muscles. The day still held some good riding on the 4×4 trail towards Augrabies and the after a refuel in Pofadder, the first section of the rocky Namakwa trail along the orange river offered more spectacular riding, the day ending with succulent lamb chops & braai broodjies on the braai and obviously delicious homemade Date Balls at the Klein Pella Guest House.
Witbank on the Orange River was the starting point for the days trail to Vioolsdrift that reminded participants of a “Dakar Stage” with dry riverbeds, rocky sections, and vast open plains with stunning scenery in every direction. Rhamensdrift is a green oasis on the Orange River offering an ideal lunch and relaxation spot, where Jacqui excelled ones again providing stunning lunches on route. The afternoon stage offered faster sand sections that all the riders handled with ease, 4 days on the sand has made them all masters of riding sand.
Vioolsdrift offered a rest day that included the opportunity to go river rafting in the morning and a short technical ride into the Richtersveld that afternoon, that got voted the best ride of the tour. The participants where spoilt that evening with a home-grown culinary feast at the “Growcery” Restaurant with stunning veg gardens and trees at this idyllic riverside camp.
Packing a rock cairn at the iconic Helskloof expansive cairn site, that has seen thousands of Richtersveld travellers pack a rock cairn, for good travel luck, was on the cards on the second last day of the tour. A huge “G S” was the obvious choice with rocks being transported in on the tour support trailer, as all the rocks had already been used by other budding artists. Look out for it when you are riding the sandy riverbed tracks trans versing that area. That evening consisted of seafood platters, snoek and patats and tour “Straff Dop” awards, at Vespetti restaurant in the quaint seaside village of Port Nolloth.
The last day saw the riders take the long tar ride back to Kuruman, with music in the helmet and a head full of unbelievable experiences to reminisce, made the day not too long. The last scrumptious supper saw the tour quiz finalised, testing participant memory of places visited, experiences and photos shared. This iconic tour is the flagship tour for Sabie Valley Rider Academy. Visit www.rideracademy.co.za to be part of the adventures.