How to buy a classic motorcycle in SA?

'There are a few things you need to consider,’ writes bike guru Dries Van der Walt.

Top family cars in SA

Wheels24's Janine Van der Post has gone from a 'SpeedQueen' to a supermom. Check out her list of top family cars.

RAVing in Riebeek

2007-05-11 08:06

Chris Emmanuel explored a weekend away with the Toyota RAV4

Chris Emmanuel

Oh so many times in the past few years I have longed to just jump in the car and head for the countryside but alas, I never did! It just seemed to be so much hard work - the planning, the bookings and shelling out a small fortune for the pleasure.

After an average week this all just seems like a nightmare rather than a break. But it took "bribery" and "corruption" to eventually get me out of town - all of which came in the shape of a shiny new RAV4 D-4D and a complimentary stay at an upmarket guest house, Bartholomeus Klip.

Bartholomeus Klip is a delicious brick and mortar establishment lost somewhere in the middle of nowhere, a special kind of nowhere, one that is only about an hours drive from my front door in Cape Town!

The last time I was behind the wheel of a Toyota was in 1995, a 1.3 Corolla, it was red, with colour coding - oh, and lets not forget the free flow exhaust! Hell, it was awesome, your first car always is, but simple doesn't begin to explain my poor little Tainted Love as she was affectionately known!

Somewhere in the gap from then to now Toyota raised their game exponentially. Driving out of town towards somewhere we couldn't even get the navigation system to recognise, we instantly slipped into a different gear, quite literally as I have never been in 6th gear before!

Feisty is how I would characterise the pulling power and the exterior reeks of hot soccer mommy within! Huh, what, did I just write that?

But indeed that's how I felt. I kept expecting to look in the rear view mirror and see a gurgling baby with a noisy play toy strapped into a top of the range baby seat surrounded by pre teen brothers and sisters clutching the arm rests while nagging to get to ballet and soccer on time.

I think most people were disappointed to see a 30 year old man step out of the driver's seat whenever we stopped but you know, I can't please everyone...

Bye bye city life

Highways gave way to main roads, which gave way to secondary roads that in turn gave way to sandy back roads all in rapid progression.

With each change of road came a change of attitude and by the time we hit the gravel the city was a distant memory. And gravel beware, even corrugated sand stretches were taken on with ease!

Out of the darkness, the candle-lined stoep of our home for the night began to flicker, drawing us like light obsessed moths, of which there were none, much to my delight - not being a bug man myself!

The most noticeable was the silence. The total lack of a reception area makes you feel like you have arrived at the family farm, not a paid establishment, and the long corridor with doors leading to many soft pillow filled rooms welcomes the tired soul!

After the welcome drink and first round of wine paired with the starter we started to laugh, something received with hushed stares and disbelief by the other soft spoken retired couples scattered around the place.

We felt we stood out, which indeed we did but at 30 only the most prematurely successful of us could really afford to stay the night. It takes a few more years to reach that point of decadence! So in honesty, I think the RAV and I were a little out of our depth!

Olive festival

The following morning the sun rose, as it tends to do in the mornings, and after a brisk run around the dam and a massive breakfast we lobbed our overnight bags in the back of the RAV and headed into town for the much-anticipated Olive Festival - an annual invasion of Riebeek Kasteel, a tiny town just outside of Wellington and just a 10 minute drive from our accommodation.

The town is just that little bit too perfect in truth, and each time you drive past yet another perfectly restored home with a fenceless garden you cant help wonder what lies beneath. A little "theme-parkish" you expect to look more closely only to find scaffolding holding up fake facades.

The festival itself is more like a congested nightmare, parking far away and walking into town being the order of the day and as much as olives and olive products are on display you feel a decided lack of focus on them and more of a focus on excellent marketing to draw the thousands of people to complete the film set feel. Extras in abundance!

Would I go again, well to the guest house most definitely, but only in 20 years or so when it seems calmness and candour overcome people of that age and wealth, to the Olive Festival, the jury is out on that!

Maybe if I rented one of the idyllic homes in the centre of town, got there before the rush and stayed until after it receded and didn't care much for olives in particular but more for a frenetic fun time in a new town, then yes!

The RAV on the other hand I would certainly like to keep for a little longer, like say a few more years, until the next model arrives that is! It's a dream to drive, relaxing and crisp with no offensive behaviour besides trying to operate the dash controls!

So soccer mom's behold, just because you have kids you can still indeed ooze a reserved sexiness especially with this stunning little car and all its airbags to keep you and the kids on track, on time and most of all safe and if hubby has to work late next Friday, you can head up to the family farm ahead of him in firm confidence that you will get there with ease!

  • Accommodation was provided by Bartholomeus Klip. For more info visit www.bartholomeus.co.za

    Inside Wheels24

    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.