Mount up and get spaced out in a place where Quiver Trees (kokerbome) and lunar rockscapes mount plains as old as the continent itself.
Ride off from Main Camp along this undulating dirt ride, taking care when pedalling across the low-water crossing just over a kilometre out of camp as it is covered in a slather of slippery moss! A few gentle climbs will bring you to the turn-off by Moon Rock – turn right to explore this magnificent magma mound shrugging up from the arid scrub.
Scan the camelthorn gullies for kudu and eland, pedalling back to the main road and on to the Ararat viewpoint. Don’t miss this: a slip-n-slide dirt chute that bangs you down onto the precipitous edge of the Augrabies Gorge, from where an end-of-the-world view lurches over the chaotic rock canyon. The return climb links you onto a dogleg right towards Oranjekom for a swashbuckling free-ride and another spectacular panorama - take a breather, take in the view and revel in the hard rock splendour of this amazing place.
Once you’re back on the main road, turn right and spin along for 2.3km, here the road forks left towards the Fonteintjie Lookout and right towards Echo Corner. Do the Fonteintjie Lookout first, cruising the sandy flats to fully synch into desert mode. Then it’s onto the piece de resistance - the rollicking ruckus of a run down into Echo Corner.
Saddle up for a ride at the Kalahari River & Safari Co, situated just 23km outside Kakamas along the Namibia/Riemvasmaak dirt road. Nestled along the meandering course of the Gariep (or Orange River, if you will), this adventure destination is one of those places you always find very difficult to leave.
The extensive property is not primarily a mountain biking destination, but its location makes it perfect for riders of all levels who are keen to test their two-wheel skills. If you want to go play-biking, the 7km of gravel roads and quad bike tracks crisscrossing the rugged kopjes along the banks of the Gariep offers an amusing diversion for an hour or two.
If however you’re keen to trip into Bear Grylls territory, then set course north-west towards Riemvasmaak. An undulating gravel ride (with a short tarmac interlude) which totals 37km to the hot springs, where a welcome dip will be sure to restore your spirits. From here, you can circle back to the Kalahari River & Safari Co via the Augrabies Falls National Park. All in all, you are looking at in excess of a hundred kilometres on your bike, so go prepared with enough food, water and puncture-proof inner tubes.
Riemvasmaak’s 75,000ha of fascinating desert wilderness is bordered by Namibia in the west and the Orange River in the south. This vast expanse of land, returned to the original Riemvasmakers by the government during the 90s - it encompasses the contorted ranges surrounding the course of the Molopo River.
Riemvasmaak offers harsh rides along three 4x4 routes, with the terrain varying from thick sand and rugged tracks to deep dongas and rocky plateaus, so you can expect some ‘suffer and push’ as part of the deal. On the Molopo 4x4 trail you will find the hot mineral springs in a deep ravine, so take time out to relax in one of the two pools while being dwarfed by the 80m granite cliffs.
The friendly Riemvasmaak people take pride in preparing delicious traditional meals or performing traditional dances if you’re staying over in one of their 6 self-catering chalets set amongst the craggy mountains.