By Simone Sribrath
Animals, adventure, and a pit stop for riders off Johannesburg’s city limits.
It’s sunrise on a Saturday morning in South Africa and I am wide awake. Spring is one of my favorite seasons. With spring, comes the uplifting scent of the Jacarandas as they start to bloom, the smell of the wet earth and freshly-cut grass mixed with the smell of exhaust fumes as I pass the sights and sounds as a pillion passenger on a motorbike.
Just before the expedition, I ensure all necessary safety checks are done and take the winter lining off my jacket. I stand, rubbing my hands together to beat the misty morning cold as my fiancé turns on the ignition, warming up in preparation for our daytime two-wheel adventure.
Helmet on, inhibitions off and we’re on our way. The silence on the roads is rattled by the noise of the engine revving up at each red robot and my ears slowly adjust to the muffled noises of the outdoor world as I wear ear plugs to protect myself from the whistling wind and the screaming engine.
I hold on tightly as the city and red robots fade away and the views begin to unfold of open, uninterrupted roads. We encounter other bikers and a respectful nod is passed between riders in the split second they’re able to glance at each other. There is an assault of fresh air through an opening in my helmet.
Riding around the Cradle of Humankind site northwest of Johannesburg gifts us with sceneries of green rolling hills and sleepy farm life. The long and winding roads are adorned with bikers and cyclists alike, all of whom pause at certain points on this Saturday morning to take in the valleys and knolls that dot the landscape.
The last few kilometers to our destination prove tenuous to me at best as the pot holes and speed bumps are a challenging experience. The Black Horse Brewery & Distillery is a hidden gem nestled away in the rocky green mountains of Magaliesburg. Stopping here is the norm for bikers.
Accompanying the delightful breakfast spread here are the animals who roam between tables looking for nibbles. A stoutly Pekingese and genteel Maltese wait patiently as they receive attention from loyal patrons.
Outside, horses trot around rather majestically as they return to their stables from their morning canter. Meandering through the property reveals a garden and grounds that could be the picture for a postcard.
The rustic feel of the buildings and intimacy of the architecture make this a popular venue, as evidenced by a wedding party preparing for their special day.
Having meandered through the grounds one last time and thanking the warm staff, we don our gear and make our way to the exit. Mounting the bike, I smile because our journey begins again. More adventure awaits.