Rock Rabbits is an organisation offering guided off-road motorcycle tours in the Matatiele district. It is open to individuals wanting to join an organised ride, or to groups needing a guide to lead them.
A bit of background: Matatiele is now in the Eastern Cape, having previously been in KZN. This indicates that it is close to the border and our most common point of reference is that it is about 70km from Kokstad towards Lesotho. Lesotho is just 35 km away. What hasn't changed is that Matatiele is 70% surrounded by communal land which is used by a large population who live there and communally run cattle and sheep. They also depend largely on brushwood for fuel but seem to be contented with their very minimalistic way of life. Unfortunately, this way of life impacts heavily on the natural ecosystem, with erosion and a myriad of footpaths and sledge paths criss-crossing the land. It does, however, make for wonderful riding, and as we are not politicians or multi-millionairs, we might as well make use of the opportunity! With a clear conscience, we can say that because of the sheer vastness of the land available, as riders, our impact on the ecosystem and on the people is almost zero. We seem to be welcomed and cheered on wherever we go - probably visiting a village less than once a year.
Stuart Joyner started riding in this area in the mid-seventies. Seeing many fellow riders come and go, it wasn't until Iain McDonald decided that horses were out and bikes were in, that some really serious exploring began. For Stuart, racing took a back seat and the 1:50 000 maps were acquired and pored over. These maps have the better used footpaths marked on them and numerous ascents to the top of the Berg are to be found. The Drakensberg is not as spectacular here as further North, but it does lead to challenging access for motorcycles. Once the Berg had been explored, it was time to move on to Lesotho. Exploring all the time, the duo, often joined by mates, seldom rode any particular path more than once. On a Saturday or Sunday, we would load the bikes, drive 35 km of admittedly rough gravel and a quick border crossing, a bit more driving, offload and ride off immediately into uncharted (for bikes anyway) areas.
Iain has now generously decided to share these closely guarded gems with fellow riders. The old dog will be assisting, but Rockrabbits is largely Iain's brainchild. To ride in this area has to be as close to ultimate freedom as damn is to swearing. We do feel a bit guilty about hogging all those "firsts" but someone had to do it!
For the past 5 years Stuart and I have been exploring the vast area of Easton Cape Berg from Mount Fletcher to the KZN border in the Swartberg district (+- 2 500 000 ha). There are at least 15 challenging and beautiful routes that will take you to the top off the Berg and the Lesotho border. Qachas Nek and Rama’s Gate (Ramatsediso) are both less than an hour’s drive away, which opens up a vast area of sublime Lesotho riding. For Roof training you, won’t find better. We are offering tailor made tours of the most spectacular riding you are ever going to find anywhere.