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Quad biking

Posted by on April 10, 2014

During our last day on the beach, I signed up for a quad biking tour of the area with Stephie, Sabrina and Andrew. At 10 am the four of us met our tour guide, who gave us a brief description of how to operate the bikes. I have never ridden a quad bike before and was a bit nervous about stalling and being the worst driver, but after a few minutes practicing in the parking lot I got used to the shifting and acceleration and had no problems.

We cruised down the main road for a few hundred meters, then quickly turned off onto a dirt road lined with palm trees. The sun was warm on my skin and the wind blowing in my face as we zipped along. It was a great pace to see the area: we covered more ground than by walking, but went slow enough that we could see the houses and surroundings. The bikes are loud though and the two-stroke engines that they use are the worst from an environmental point of view.

We were mostly on dirt/sand roads that had some small hills. You could mostly travel along in third gear, but would have to watch out for the sandy bits at the base of the hills. Several times Andrew didn’t shift in time and stalled half way up. I did not stall at all, but had some difficulties with the steering and at one point didn’t turn early enough away from a car that was stalled in the road. I didn’t hit it, but had to reverse and go around correctly.

Whenever we passed a house or hut, people waved to us and the children came running up, wanting a high-five. It was great fun.

The area is very lush and full of palm trees. Our guide told us that each tree is owned by a specific person and everyone comes to harvest their own coconuts when they are ripe. I thought this was an interesting concept: instead of owning the land and planting whatever you want on it, here the land is shared and people only own the plants and trees. That means that someone could plant a low growing plant beneath someone else’s palm tree and benefit without needing their own space.

We cruised along the interior of the area then made our way to the coast. We stopped at a few points along the way to get some views of a lighthouse and the popular surfing beach. We were on a plateau above the beach, which offered wonderful views of the area below.

At one point we encountered a local guy who was selling freshly roasted cashews that he harvested from his own trees. They were the best cashews I’ve ever had. Stephie and I split a large bag.

Towards the end of the tour, we stopped at a tourist craft market for some water and to look around. I haggled hard for a pair of shorts while Stephie got a T-shirt and Sabrina purchased some fabric. Having been to so many different craft markets on this continent, I didn’t see too many novel souvenirs that I was interested in. The young boys selling everything were quite aggressive which was also a turn off. I quickly got out of there and went to the beach while Sabrina was finishing up.

We took a different way back to the lodge and had a bit more time on the road to see how fast we could go. I hit 45 km/hour for a moment, but mostly we went about 30-35.

Our last stop of the tour was at a resort situated high up on the hill where you could look out at the Limpopo river flowing into the Indian Ocean. The entire area was covered in mangrove forest and I really wished we had one more day for a kayaking tour of that area.

Our two hour tour lasted over three hours and we were all very happy with it when we got back. It was the second best thing I did (after the amazing snorkeling).

After lunch, I went down to the beach with some others and we took turns playing with some boogie boards that they rented. I caught a few waves and zipped to the shore, but the current was very strong and the waves were not breaking regularly, which made it very difficult. I think we were not at the right beach for that type of thing.

For the most part, the afternoon and evening was very relaxing but a bit sad since it was our last day at the beach. Before dinner we all gathered for drinks at the bar and had a great time discussing past and future adventures.

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