This tour sees us step back in time when Pilgrim's Rest had electricity before London, England.
The long weekend tour kicks off on Thursday 23rd September at Bushboys in Tonteldoos, a firm favourite amongst the adventure riders. Be there by 18h00 for the tour briefing, followed by one of Joe & Ruth's scrumptious dinners. At Bushboys, for those who haven't been lucky enough to stay there before, we will be staying in the converted old veld skool, rustic but comfy en-suite square-dawels.
Friday morning after a hearty breakfast we set off in the direction of the historical Gold Mining town of Pilgrim's Rest via Vermont, Makubalaan Pass & the Old Habour Road to reach our accommodations for the next 2 nights at BRU Inn on Robbers Pass - a family farm in the heart of Mpumalanga, amidst the majestic mountains of the Robbers Pass between Pilgrim's Rest and Ohrigstad. Here we will be staying in the converted Horse Livery the perfect, peaceful accommodation from which to explore this adventure riding paradise.
Saturday is when it is all happening... we take an adventure ride via Molototse Pass, Kaspersnek, Moremela down some steep drops to the reason for the whole tour, the Belvedere Hydro Electric Power Station.
Belvedere Hydropower Plant - just 70km for Sabie and 11km from Bourke's Luck Potholes, nestled in lush greenery at the foot of the canyon where the Blyde and Belvedere rivers meet, you will find this abandoned hydroelectric power plant. Sadly vandalised but still steeped in history of a bygone era.
The building of the hydropower station was accomplished within a year, with estimated building cost around R250 000. The first shovel was put into the ground on June 7th, 1910 and the first water was released on 20 June 1911. Leading to the official opening of the plant on July 31st, 1911, crowning it as the largest hydroelectric power station in the Southern hemisphere.
The turbines were imported from Pelton Water Wheel Company in Sacramento California, from where they were shipped to Lorenzo Marques, then moved via rail to Machadodorp and finally transported by ox wagons to Belvedere. The last leg of transportation must have been a horrendous task since the gradient drops quite steep at a few spots. (Definitely not a trip for the faint at heart but well suited to the adventure rider). The plant provided electricity to all the gold crushers in Pilgrim's Rest. By 1966 the station produced 484 million units at an average cost of 0.141 cents per kWh.
Upon entering the plant a 109 years later, you are left in awe that the structure is still standing, even though the inside is plundered, leaving only an empty skeleton forgotten at the bottom of the valley. Carried away in a wonderland of the past and how now a forgotten hydropower station once was a revolutionary part of history.
A must visit and the whole reason for this tour!!
After exploring the historical and interesting site and even a quick dip, weather permitting, in the Belvedere river we head to London Waterfall for a picnic lunch on the rocks and more swimming before returning via Pilgrim's Rest to BRU Inn for a traditional Braai and a cold one at the fire-pit.
Sunday morning its breakfast and 'Home-Sweet-Home, until we ride together again!!
Thu, 23 September, 2021
18h00 Tour briefing followed by dinner at Bushboys, Tonteldoos
Fri, 24 September, 2021
After breakfast ride via Vermont, Makubalaan Pass, Old Harbour Road & Pilgrim's Rest to BRU Inn on Robbers Pass. Picnic lunch en-route.
Sat, 25 September, 2021
After breakfast ride Molototse Pass, Kaspernek and Moremela to Belvedere Hydro Power Station with a picnic lunch at London Waterfall
Sun, 26 September, 2021
Sunday morning its breakfast and 'Home-Sweet-Home...
Right of admission reserved.
One month prior to tour / event entries are subject to availability at the lodges.
NO REFUNDS within the month prior to tour / event as suppliers have been paid, sorry.
Participants to have own medical insurance & general insurance for themselves, their property and motorcycle .
Open to all makes of road legal dual purpose / adventure motorcycles (600cc+), you do not need to own a BMW.
Participants are required to wear FULL protective riding gear including full face riding helmet, riding gloves, riding or ballistic jacket, riding trousers, hydro pack, riding boots.
Vented and / or rain gear as weather dictates.
Arrive with a full tank of fuel. Closest town Pilgrim's Rest 19km.
Please make sure you are prepared for any emergencies that may arise especially punctures.
Please make sure you have sufficient allergy and / or scheduled chronic medication and take it as prescribed.
NOTE - all COVID-19 protocols will be adhered to at the various venues by the venues and in addition to that wearing your mask, sanitizing & social distancing is totally under your control.