I’m an Oos Kaap boykie, so the odds were always spot-on that I would enjoy the Trek 2 Teebus MTB Stage Race and the surrounding Steynsburg region. But man, I had no idea how much of a jol this event would turn out to be …
Photographs & Words by Jacques Marais
The far-away and fabulous corner of the Karoo where the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Free State cosy up to each other utterly blows my mind. This oft-forgotten piece of South Africa is a space where wasteland and heartland collide, fusing a rich history which is unfortunately being eroded – slowly, but surely – by urbanisation, rural neglect and the economic collapse so typical of the platteland.
A ghost town – with an Olympic-sized pool – decays in the shadow of #Teebus Peak; Paul Kruger’s old house lies locked and forgotten off the R53; the Bulhoek Pass is pot-holed, overgrown and closed to regular traffic; Steynsburg has the post-apocalyptic feel of a dorp from one of Deon Meyer’s novels … And yet, the area brims with heart-warming richness and diversity…
Characters – like Oom Charles (ask him about his gunshot wound) – are larger than life, and country hospitality overwhelms you around every corner. What’s more, the Trek2Teebus route and landscape promise to blow your mind. It is a ‘Country Crank’ on remote tracks and farm roads tripping beyond the Teebus and Koffiebus kopjes looming up from golden swathes of savanna grassland.
You will be in your element as you weave amidst nguni cattle or meander through endless fields of mauve irises. This is mountain biking heaven, and you need to lay tracks here if you event want to begin to understand the attraction of this wonderful space.
As an Eastern Cape son, to me it was like coming home, I suppose. The Baviaans River Conservancy where I grew up is but a couple of hours away, and I felt like a 58yr old kid let loose within a familiar outdoor playground. Rooigras seeds in your socks, the Lego jumble of ysterklip koppies, the whistle of wild rhebuck in the highland ridges, the smell of the fertile red soil … it all felt comfortably familiar.
For more information visit www.trek2teebus.co.za.
Best Time to Visit
Winters are generally freezing, but dry, with soft rains often setting in during Autumn. Prepare for hot summers, with the temperatures easily peaking into the high thirties or over.