Following part 1 of our Fatbike adventure, we leave the quaint seaside town of Sedgefield en route to Buffalo Bay for our second and final overnight spot. More unscathed, pristine coastline, lined with jagged coral formations greeted us as we enjoyed another perfect South African autumn morning. Seemingly endless banks of black mussels lined the shore with luminous green seaweed breaking the different shades of black and grey. On our left, the tall cliffs that have dominated the skyline for most of our trip started to shrink and we stopped off at one of the caves for a mid-ride snack.
Approaching the Goukamma river/lagoon mouth, the perfect Autumn temperatures gave way to an angry African sun, and we were forced to take a dip and refresh before doing the final stretch along the tar road to The River Deck. Three options of accommodation are available in Buffalo Bay, two of which requires you to bring your own camping gear, and the other (River Deck) offers a permanent canvas tent setup, good ablution facilities and bedding/towels - perfect for not carrying around too much luggage as in our case. With the sun now on maximum, we pulled into our final destination for the day and proceeded with our lunch-time tradition of ice cold beer and fresh fish & chips.
Up again at the crack of dawn, we started prepping for the next leg of our journey which would include some fibreglass and paddles. We weren’t yet 100% sure if this would work but proceeded to dismantle our bikes and loaded all our luggage in our very flexible yet seemingly waterproof kayaks. A few nervous paddle strokes later and we were all set and heading off, snaking along the farmlands en route to the Goukamma mouth where we would abandon our water crafts (to be collected again by the friendly people at The River Deck). Cattle and Egyptian Geese kept a watchful eye over us as the first rays of the day popped over the hills and created some amazing reflections. But even the most amazing natural scenes couldn’t hide the fact that we weren’t ‘paddling-fit’ and we soon started to realise this rowing thing might take longer than anticipated. The banter died down, body language changed as the river bent again in the wrong direction. Arriving at the mouth, we were glad to have done this part of the mission, but also relieved to get back to using leg power to continue the rest of our trip.
The short stint along Buffalo Bay beach towards Brenton-on-Sea flew by and soon we were heading up the tar climb into town. A part of this day that I was not particularly looking forward to as the gradient is not very fat bike-friendly. Let alone loaded up with luggage and under another angry African sun. Rolling over the crest however into Brenton-on-lake, we could see our final destination across the Knysna River lagoon, with only a swamp and a bridge to navigate. We followed the ribbons of ’singletrack’ revealed only during low tide, and made our way along the edge of the lagoon onto and across the decommissioned Knysna Lagoon railway bridge. As we rolled through the harbour and straight into Mitchell’s brewery, our mini fat bike adventure had come to an end and there was only one more thing to do…
This project is made possible by:
RiverDeck GPS: 34°02'02.6"S 22°56'22.6"E
Riders : Dayle Holmes | Danie du Toit
All images by Ewald Sadie