Our waterfall tour guide actually drove our support vehicle to save us time, and everyone else rode their motorcycles to the first waterfall magnificent Magwa Falls! As we parked, the guide warned us to be careful near the edge of the falls as it was a 400 foot drop to the canyon floor! Leading the way right to the edge was Anthony followed by Don, both of them literally going right to the precipice, and looking down! The Magwa falls are northwest of the Mbotyi River Lodge, and the falls are at the north end of a canyon carved out of a plateau by tectonic activity, the drop is breathtaking and strikingly beautiful at the same time. There was the wreck of a truck at the bottom of the gorge, a reminder to those visiting the waterfall that using the parking brake is a must in this area!
It was so cool watching Neale, Anthony and Don exploring the area looking for the best vantage points to get a great shot. I got my shots and then focused on getting shots of them shooting the falls, which I found fascinating from a photography perspective is interesting to see another’s compostition of the same scene. It was extremely cool to see Neale’s, Don’s and Anthony’s photos later in the day, all of them capturing the magnificence of the falls, and beauty of the area with slightly different views! Truly I could have stayed there for hours, but we had a long day and we had a couple more waterfalls to see!
The second Mbotyi area waterfall was only about 90 feet, but it was beautiful, with individual streams of water flowing gently over the edge and falling directly into the water! Anthony and Don each found locations that worked for their personal compositions and we all talked photography and settings! Gosh it was so much fun! Soon we were off to the last waterfall which was a kilometer away from our vantage point so we really could not see much of it, I took a few photograph to show the beauty of the entire area, well worth the early rise!!!
We returned to the Mbotyi River Lodge packed up out gear and I found out that one of the riders was not feeling good, so I would get to ride his motorcycle for the next two days! I was through the roof with excitement for such an amazing opportunity, and I was literally bouncing around like a child with a new toy! My ride, a BMW F700GS, a lightweight dual-sport motorcycle with enough power to keep me happy, a grin anchored to my face, two wheeled adventure awaited!
The group geared up fast, and everyone was off like a shot before I even had my helmet on, and I was riding on my own for a long stretch of the 40km dirt road out of the Mbotyi River area. Suddenly on a straight stretch Neale came by me, rocks flying, as he was hard on the throttle passing me with about a 20 mph speed differential! Despite my road racing background, my off road skills were limited so I just enjoyed the ride and met up with everyone once we reached Highway R61.
The rest of the day was rain, rain and more rain! Regardless I was so happy to be on two wheels I could not contain myself, testing the limits (safely) of the tires in the rain! The ride brought memories from my racing days Race City Speedway (now closed) in Calgary. The road race, 15 laps was one of the most challenging things I have ever done on a motorcycle, jockeying for position with 40 other riders in heavy rain, through all 11 turns and a 1 kilometer long front straight! I learned a great deal about riding in the rain, that finesse has served me well and put me right in my element during this days ride South Africa!
There were times during the ride, especially in the mountains, when the rain and fog was so thick I could hardly see the motorcycle in front of me even though we had our 4 way flashers on! It was that crazy a day! Anthony used his GoPro Camera to capture some shots of people riding, just to show the conditions we rode in, but even the GoPro Camera ended up with fog inside the housing!
By the end of the day we arrived at our home for the night, the wonderful Stockland Farms, on the edge of the small town of Howick, in Kwa-Zulu-Natal, South Africa. We were met my Eve and Roland, and then assigned our rooms, with Don and I ending up in the pink room. It was a nice room, but really, really PINK, which made both Don and I laugh!
I could not get out or my wet gear fast enough, mindful not to have any further wardrobe malfunctions lest I give Neale and Anthony more nightmares! Soon the shared kitchenette area was filled with motorcycle gear drying, the smell of rain, dirt and sweat wafting from the kitchen. In fact there was a short video put together on how to cook your gloves, care of Neale and Anthony! Suffice to say we had a great night of laughter, sharing pictures and ride stories from the day!
Despite the rain, it was an amazing day, and the smiles on everyone’s faces as we sat around the fireplace told me all I needed to know, this was an incredible journey for all of us, and for that I am grateful!