Rhodes trip report - a stayover at Kinmel and a visit to Tiffendell





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  1. #1
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    Default Rhodes trip report - a stayover at Kinmel and a visit to Tiffendell

    At the beginning of this week, the wife and I and our 2 year old embarked on a trip to Rhodes in search of some snow. Coming from PE and not being familiar with the route via Grahamstown-Queenstown-Cala-Elliot, we decided to take this route and experience a change in scenery.

    Leaving on a Monday there was not a lot of traffic, but there were a lot of passes and it was a long road. The 560 odd kilometers took us 7 hours to complete.

    We were using Waze for navigation and I recorded some of the tracks with Motion-X on my iPad. Waze wanted to take us via Barkly East and having done some scouting of the route beforehand I knew we weren't meant to travel via Barkly East. About 100km from our destination and tired of the long road, my wife saw a sign which said "Rhodes - 79km", and suggested we take the gravel road shortcut, which she instantly regretted! This is where we turned off the R58 onto the R393. What a hectic gravel road! This then meets the R396, where we turned right towards Rhodes. The R396 is the gravel road from Rhodes to Barkly East, and is marginally better than the R393. The people here obviously haven't heard of a grader but a reliable Prado and some good strong tyres meant that the road was tackled with relative ease.

    We got to our accomodation at Kinmel and unpacked a few things and went to Walkerbouts Inn for a nice lunch. The pizza's at Walkerbouts were really good and the hosts were really accomodating. Very nice people and a nice place!

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    Default Re: Rhodes trip report - a stayover at Kinmel and a visit to Tiffendell

    First two pics are of Rhodes and then a pic of me in Walkerbouts Inn and a pic of the pizza
    Lastly, my son enjoying the drive and my Prado parked at Kinmel and our supper
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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Rhodes trip report - a stayover at Kinmel and a visit to Tiffendell

    Some pics of Kinmel Guest Farm. Nothing to complain about here, besides the fact that Rhodes is so very dry! We bought wood from the farm, although supplies are limited. We also bought some wood from the Rhodes Tourism and Information centre (they also sell eggs, rusks, walnuts, coffee sachets, medicine, and some scarves and beanies, etc.).

    Backtracking a bit on the story, it was only when we got to Walkerbouts on day 1 when we realised that we had forgotten to bring eggs with. This is when the hosts pointed us in the direction of the Tourism and Info centre, otherwise we would've probably missed it.

    Kinmel was basic, but neat. Bedding is clean and there is enough blankets to keep you warm, although the house does get quite cold at night. At 2m tall I fit perfectly in the shower and the kitchen also has all you need. One thing we remarked on is that the cottage had enough beds to sleep 9 people, but only 1 queen size bed and then 7 single beds...who has 7 children?!! I mean really!! There is a second cottage, which I think is pretty similar to the first one. There were 3 bedrooms upstairs and 1 of the single beds downstairs in the living area. Two bathrooms, one with a bath and one with a shower.

    I don't know if it was just this time of year or what, but Rhodes was surprisingly windy. At least the nights were nice and quiet with no wind.
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  5. #4
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    Default Re: Rhodes trip report - a stayover at Kinmel and a visit to Tiffendell

    We decided to take a trip to Tiffendell for the day to play in the snow and have a bit of fun. The road from Rhodes to Tiffendell (Carlisleshoekspruit pass) was by far the best maintained road in the area and the best gravel road that we travelled in this trip. The road is nice and scenic. The steep section was steep but not THAT steep, and is cemented. It was in the dry though and I know it would be a different story if it were wet or icy. Rhodes was very dry. We saw the most birds (eagles and what not) on this road. See the video below, can anyone tell me what kinds of birds they are? I've got no clue....
    https://youtu.be/WNlj3Xuj8qg
    Rhodes was so dry that I'm sure the cow that the eagles were feasting on was biltong already!!

    This road was nice and scenic and as you approach Tiffendell you can see a little bit of snow on the mountains...but not much
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    Default Re: Rhodes trip report - a stayover at Kinmel and a visit to Tiffendell

    At some of those night time temps there, the frost just nails everything. No surprise it's brown. Beautiful part of the world. Hope you did some of the passes there?
    Gavin

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    Default Re: Rhodes trip report - a stayover at Kinmel and a visit to Tiffendell

    We got to Tiffendell and were pretty much the only people there, which was nice as we had the place pretty much to ourselves. By the time we left there were about 5 skiers, but they came out to the slopes (I mean slope) late, which is the opposite of what happens in the Alps. Entrance was R80 per adult for the day, which is not bad. Tiffendell was a big disappointment and I can't believe it is so expensive for what you get! The staff were friendly, but the place is in need of a fresh coat of paint and lacks the experience you get in the Alps in a big way! If they weren't trying to copy and Alps experience and offered an African experience for half the price I'm sure it would be much more popular. A similar setting to something like Tenahead would much better suit the place. My opinion, take it or leave it but I won't go there again.

    So we decided to go to Tenahead and having seen a sign close to Tiffendell that read "Tiffendell Tenahead Traverse", we asked reception at Tiffendell what the road condition was like and how long it would roughly take. Reception said the road is in much better condition than the wartrail and that it should take roughly an hour...hahahaha, nice one! Thanks for that pathetic piece of advice! The 27km took over 2 hours and the road was quite rough...
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    Default Re: Rhodes trip report - a stayover at Kinmel and a visit to Tiffendell

    Quote Originally Posted by gavpike View Post
    At some of those night time temps there, the frost just nails everything. No surprise it's brown. Beautiful part of the world. Hope you did some of the passes there?
    Yip, getting there...but in the end we had enough of some of the bad roads and didn't want to spend the whole holiday in the car

    It wasn't that cold when we were there now, I expected it to be colder. Views are spectacular though

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    Default Re: Rhodes trip report - a stayover at Kinmel and a visit to Tiffendell

    So onto this Tiffendell Tenahead Traverse...we also saw the sign read it is a grade 3 trail, same as the Carlislehoek pass, which was smooth and easy and in a good condition...how wrong we were haha

    The rough road did help rock the kid to sleep and made Tenahead all that much more enjoyable though. All in all, a very scenic road

    I must say though, after a 7 hour trip to get there and a few more hours doing mountain passes we weren't keen to do a lot more! For those of you who do all 8 passes, congrats regardless of the view, spending so much time in a car is not for us. Maybe things would be different if we didn't have to take into account a 2 year olds naptime...maybe not

    Enjoy the pics
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    Default Re: Rhodes trip report - a stayover at Kinmel and a visit to Tiffendell

    Tenahead was nice. Good view too, even though everything was brown. I can image how nice it will look when green or covered in snow. Food was very nice too. As expected, we were the only ones there. Lunch was nice and relaxing and afterwards we came back to Rhodes via Naude's Nek. This road WAS actually in good condition. Again, very scenic and much more relaxing to drive on. Finally, someone in the area knows how to make a good gravel road
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  12. #10
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    Default Re: Rhodes trip report - a stayover at Kinmel and a visit to Tiffendell

    A bit different
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    Gavin

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    Default Re: Rhodes trip report - a stayover at Kinmel and a visit to Tiffendell

    All in all we had quite an adventure and many laughs along the way

    We took the road home via Aliwal North-Burgersdorp-Steynsburg-Hofmeyr-Cradock, as I know this route reasonably well and was longing for some straight roads...100km further but done in the same time. Again, the gravel road from Rhodes to Barkly East was so bad that I didn't even consider taking the gravel road shortcut that goes from halfway between Burgersdorp and Hofmeyr, cutting out Steynsburg. All I wanted was some smooth tar and a straight road

    I was very happy that I had some good strong tyres on the Prado, the Wrangler Duratracs performed really well. I wouldn't do those gravel roads with highway tyres or some of the softer AT's. We passed a guy in his A3 with sports suspension driving ever so slowly on a bad section of gravel road and it looked like those dropped polo's that bounce along the road because they don't have any suspension travel anymore...shame, poor guy

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    Default Re: Rhodes trip report - a stayover at Kinmel and a visit to Tiffendell

    Quote Originally Posted by gavpike View Post
    A bit different
    Wow, what a contrast.

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    Default Re: Rhodes trip report - a stayover at Kinmel and a visit to Tiffendell

    Quote Originally Posted by tintin_85 View Post
    Again, the gravel road from Rhodes to Barkly East was so bad that I didn't even consider taking the gravel road shortcut that goes from halfway between Burgersdorp and Hofmeyr, cutting out Steynsburg. All I wanted was some smooth tar and a straight road
    Many of my family live around there and I travel those roads fairly often, but drop my pressure to 1.6 before I hit them and then they become quite acceptable.
    Gavin

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    Default Re: Rhodes trip report - a stayover at Kinmel and a visit to Tiffendell

    A lovely part of the Eastern Cape, I've been there a number of times over the years. Last visit was July 2018.

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    Default Re: Rhodes trip report - a stayover at Kinmel and a visit to Tiffendell

    That area is in a frost area so that is why everything is brown. You seemed surprised.

    I used to farm in the Molteno area and had friends visit one winter from PE, they wanted to know why everything was dead. Trees lose their leaves and the grass goes brown, nothing grows but it is a great livestock area if you know how.
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    Default Re: Rhodes trip report - a stayover at Kinmel and a visit to Tiffendell

    Quote Originally Posted by pwgg View Post
    That area is in a frost area so that is why everything is brown. You seemed surprised.

    I used to farm in the Molteno area and had friends visit one winter from PE, they wanted to know why everything was dead. Trees lose their leaves and the grass goes brown, nothing grows but it is a great livestock area if you know how.
    Nope, not too surprised about the brown, I know it's winter

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    Default Re: Rhodes trip report - a stayover at Kinmel and a visit to Tiffendell

    Is there camping at Kinmel

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    Default Re: Rhodes trip report - a stayover at Kinmel and a visit to Tiffendell

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Betts View Post
    Is there camping at Kinmel
    I don't think so, no. It doesn't look like there were camping fascilities. The accomodation is fairly cheap though

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    Default Re: Rhodes trip report - a stayover at Kinmel and a visit to Tiffendell

    There is camping in Rhodes..Very basic.

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