A town where most Adventures start and End – Written by Willie Richards
It has taken me a couple of days to get my thoughts all gathered and at last between my crazy daily schedule I have managed to put some words down and reflect on an epic little mid-week adventure I recently had.
Let me ask you this – Are you looking for a mid-week escape? Then look no further than Montagu – this lovely town is filled to the brim with so many outdoor options. Be it running, hiking, cycling, climbing, or just exploring the beautiful town itself. Montagu caters for all adventure seekers and for those that just would like to sample their local cuisine, they even cater for the food and wine connoisseur.
A great friend of ours recently relocated to this little adventure haven situated on the R62. With their relocation, she went with the plan to start a small, tailored adventure touring business. The aim is to offer one on one and small group adventure support through tailored packages to groups no bigger than 4 persons.
Kamin Taute, the brain, and energy behind Single-Track adventures has put together some great cycling routes making use of the already established gravel roads in the Montagu area. One of her many tailored packaged gravel options is to cycle out to Gecko Rock Private Nature Reserve which is roughly 70km’s from Montagu and then spend a night at this wonderful off-the-grid resort. Gecko Rock captures all the wonderful aspects of the Karoo through beautiful views as their on-farm accommodation is strategically positioned to soak in the beautiful sunsets and rock formations out there.
My midweek escape was planned to be a gravel cycle from Montagu via Ouberg pass and then running an ultra distance back from Gecko Rock to Montagu the following day. I could not wait to get my little adventure going, and on Wednesday morning I left at 6 am from Montagu making my way towards Ouberg pass. Ouberg pass is a solid grind but the views from on top makes it all worth it. To be honest before I knew it, I was standing on top of Ouberg pass nibbling on a banana and sipping on some hydrate. A great touch to Kamin’s tailored trips is you get a 4 element Single-Track patch once you do complete the Ouberg pass without dismounting your cycle. (I got my patch)
From here onwards, the gravel road was smooth with some small rolling hilled sections supported by some intermittent downhill rewards. En route, I would stop every now and then for a photo and allow myself to soak up the beautiful vistas which only the Karoo can deliver. I really wanted to absorb every ounce of this little mid-week escape. We arrived just before 11 am in the morning where we checked in at Gecko Rock. The early arrival and check-in ensured that the onslaught of the Karoo midday heat would luckily be missed.
After unpacking at the beautiful cabin provided by Gecko Rock for the night, some coffee and snacks I started to prepare for the big run which was to start very early the following morning back to Montagu. After some discussion, I knew that I would be spending a lot more time on the road therefore we had to ensure an early start to try and miss the midday Karoo heat.
The following morning, we left long before Sunrise. I started to chip away at the km’s. The first 20km’s went quickly and before I knew it the first 20km’s was in the bag as we arrived at the Bloutoring turn-off. The ideal spot for a snack, bathroom break, and time to fill up my hydration pack for the next km’s ahead. Every 10km’s Kamin allowed for a water stop which really broke up the 60 km’s plus. Once we started to get back up at Ouberg pass the heat started to settle in and I was happy to know that Montagu was not far off.
The end point of my Ultra was perfectly planned by Kamin to be at the Montagu Country Hotel where I could wash down the dust with a finisher’s ice-cold beer. I was extremely happy as the run was just over 6 hours, and although no land speed record it was great fun and I feel that the Karoo really made me feel welcome.
After a very good night’s rest, I already started to speak to Kamin about me returning for some other routes she has on offer. I am extremely interested in a 100km run next time.
You might ask – why would anyone want to take on the gravel roads of the Karoo during the hot summer months? This little adventure was to say thank you and raise awareness for the fostering program which African Tails are running with the rehoming of rescued animals. A cause very dear to my heart. https://africantails.co.za/
Just before heading back to Cape Town the following morning, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast at Rambling Rose, and I was fortunate enough to meet the energetic and lovely Marchelle van Zyl who runs Flying Feet South Africa. Marchelle operates from the Adventure Centre located at the Montagu Country Hotel.
A budding cyclist herself, she is the energy behind the singletrack loop which runs from Montagu and also offers great cycling tours in and around Montagu. One thing that really grabbed my attention was her Ghost Tour. So, I will most definitely have to return to Montagu to experience more of the great things this little gem of a town has on offer.
If you are looking for an adventure escape, be it cycling or running reach out to Kamin and #GetOutThere
Kamin Taute 0826714022 | email@example.com