Hemel en Aarde Bike Trip – Motorcycle Route
The Hemel en Aarde Valley motorcycle route is a gravel and tar trip starting from Sir Lowry’s Pass in Somerset West, continues through Elgin Valley on Highlands Gravel Rd, includes the Hemel en Aarde Rd that also forms part of Shaw’s Mountain Pass en-route to Caledon. From Caledon the return is through Botrivier on the Van der Stel Gravel Pass and a final scenic stop on Franschhoek Pass.
The main highlight and focus of this trip however is on Highlands Gravel Road, the Hemel en Aarde Valley, and Shaw’s Pass.
Route Map:Get it on Google Maps
Hemel en Aarde Bike Trip Highlights:
- Sir Lowry’s Pass
- Highlands Gravel Road (Elgin Valley)
- Hemel en Aarde Valley
- Shaw’s Mountain Pass
- Van Der Stel Pass (Bot River)
- Theewaterskloof Dam
- Franschhoek Pass
Hemel en Aarde Motorcycle Trip Report:
Once again it was time for a quick motorcycle trip to charge the batteries a bit (both mine and the bike). Initially this trip was planned to only cover the Highlands Gravel Road in the Elgin Valley area but you know how it goes… Once on the bike its a bit more difficult to get off. The journey continues.
I started the trip on Sir Lowry’s Pass in Somerset West. On Sir Lowry’s Pass the wind can be extremely unpleasant during certain times of the year and on this day it was no exception. The wind was intense and keeping the bike upright was a mission. I stopped at the lookout point at the the top for the compulsory photo and while there met up with another avid biker on his way home from work. Interestingly he told me that he rides this route daily between home and work and feels blessed for his daily journey. Fellow biker on your F700GS you are greeted and enjoy your journeys. (Sorry I forgot your name…)
After cooling down in the chilly wind It was onward to Highlands Road in the Elgin Valley Area. Highlands road starts out as a tar road and only approximately 50% of the road is gravel. The gravel road rejoins the tar near the R43 en-route to Hermanus.
Highlands road has been on my to do list for quite some time and I was not disappointed! It is a well kept gravel road with minor potholes. This gravel road supplied magnificent views as far as the road snaked over the valley. The road surface had some minor soft sand spots but nothing major to worry about (I ride with road bias tyres – Anakee3’s and it was fine). The amount of traffic on this road must be noted. You need to keep an eye out for vehicles not staying on their side of the road as everyone tends to focus more on the views than on the road.
With my personal batteries charged it was time to head to Sandbaai. The reason for the Sandbaai stop is quite simple. I have an addiction with the ocean. I simply cannot go on an outing nearby the sea without having to stop to take in the its beauty, its smell, and the tranquility.
From Sandbaai I continued straight onto the Hemel en Aarde Road. This tar road connects Hermanus to Caledon and includes Shaw’s Mountain Pass overlooking the valley.
At the top of Shaw’s Pass there is a scenic lookout point overlooking the farmlands in the valley. If you ride this road take that couple of minutes, stop and enjoy the views. It is all worth it.
After the quick stop at Shaw’s Pass I reached Caledon. From Caledon I got onto the N2 and headed towards Bot River. The N2 although being a major national road offered some pretty scenic views between Caledon and Bot River.
At Bot River it was gravel time again. This time Van Der Stel Pass. Now Van Der Stel Pass has been covered here previously but as it is such a great road offering such amazing views I tend to include this road on most bike trips in this area. This time the video footage starts from Bot River’s side as where the previous post covers the route from Villiersdorp’s side.
My next stop was Theewaterskloof Dam to see the current dam level. I must say that it is amazing to see this dam at its current level. As most of you know we here in Cape Town are experiencing water shortages and seeing this dam it is current state was amazing!
By this time it was getting a bit late and the sun was starting to set. I headed homeward over Franshhoek Pass through Francshhoek.
Enjoy the videos and photos below.
Hemel en Aarde Bike Trip Videos:
Hemel en Aarde Valley Road incuding Shaw’s Mountain Pass:
Van Der Stel Pass: (from Bot River’s side)
Hemel en Aarde Motorcycle Route Gallery: