H.O.G. Pretoria's Riemland Winter Rally

Chapter Organiser: 

  • Chapter Rally

Total trip distance:  1376 km | Average speed: 93 km/hour | Petrol consumption: 22.82 km/L (Harley-Davidson® XL1200C Sporty 2014)

Deon Ferreira and Marionette Peens did an exceptional job of organizing the two-night Riemland Winter Touring Rally in the eastern and southern Free State. In the 1800s the grasslands were known to be good hunting grounds due to the abundance and rich variety of wildlife. So many skins were processed into "riempies" and "swepe", that the region received the nickname Riemland.

The group, consisting of 20 people - and 19 Harley-Davidson® motorcycles - gathered together at the Shell Ultra City Midrand at 8am on a cold Saturday at the end of June.

Day 1: Pretoria to Parys

Our first leg was 513km to Jimmy Jaggers in Parys for breakfast and to refuel. The vibe between the Hoggers was amazing! Everyone was n good spirit.  The breakfast was great and all our tummies was full by the time we left for our next stretch to San Jo’s in Heilbron for lunch via Kroonstad.  This is the heart of the Riemland area.  We had great pizzas for lunch at San-Jo’s and a few beverages to quench our thirst.
We made our way for the last trip for the day toward Bethlehem, passing Petrus Steyn and Reitz.

Our first night was spent in the beautiful La Croche guesthouse.  We made time to catch the Springbok's match at our dinner venue - The Wooden Spoon. We filled the pub with laugher, watched the game and chatted to each other about new and old trips.
Our dinner was out off this world!! We had a history lesson by Andre Schutte in explanation as to where where the word Riemland originated.  It came from the Voortrekker days when the area was a very popular hunting field, and the skin was used to make “rieme”, which people used for various furniture, clothing, sjamboks and many other items which is still custom today.

What a great evening amongst good friends!

Day 2: Taking the Scenic Route

As the crow flies, it is only about 40km between Bethlehem and Fouriesburg, which was our second night stop, but we took a 350km scenic route via Clarens, Ficksburg, Roosendal and Senekal.  What a joyous day this was, with nature showing us just how truly beautiful she can be. 

We had an unforgettable pit stop at Iona Cherry Farm.  What a gem of a place.  We were educated in all sorts of different ways, to which cherries (not the girls) can be used, from food, to liqueurs. We headed for our lunch venue enriched with cherry “info” and recipe ideas.

At Waterval Padstal we took a quick lunch break.  What a harmonious setting the roads stall was, decorated in a typical farm style venue.

We made our way to Fouriesburg Country Inn, via Steynrus, Lindley and through Betlhehem.  Fouriesburg Country Inn is the place to overnight if you travel in this part of South Africa. The food was divine and the accommodation out off this world. The hospitality is always warm although the temperature was freezing!
We had a fantastic supper, and George, the sneaky bugger, bought a bottle off white Cherry water from Iona, and decided to give each one a “taste” and complement them for something they’ve done out of the ordinary on the trip thus far.  Some people got more than one opportunity to taste the wonders of Cherry Water.

Day 3: The route home

All good things have to come to an end. Our 480km trip back to Pretoria travelled via Golden Gate Nature Reserve towards Harrismith. Golden Gate Nature Reserve is a MUST see for any and everyone!!  Words can’t describe the natural beauty of this area; the winding roads through these mountains are a bikers dream. We made our final stop at the Engen Garage in Villiers and said our goodbyes over a final luncheon.

Thanks again for each and everyone that made this trip a memory that won’t be forgotten! Hope to see you all on the next Rally!!

  • Article submission:  Jonty Marais
  • Photographer:  Jonty Marais
  • Editor:  Angelique Dermit
Riemland Touring Rally
Our hard-working rally organisers: Deon Ferreira and Marionette Peens
Wooden Spoon in Bethlehem
Day 2 Route
Fouriesburg Country Inn