The minimum distance to complete a ‘gold’ run is in the region of 8 000 kilometres. The maximum time to complete the trip, according to the criteria for ‘gold’, is three weeks. However, two weeks should be the absolute minimum, otherwise it becomes a race against time which would serve no purpose and would be an expensive and tiring exercise. Financial implications to cover 8 000 kilometres over a period of three weeks with a pillion are:
|Fuel cost||R 2 000,00|
|Service cost||R 1 000,00|
|Rear tyre||R 1 000,00|
|± 30% of front tyre||R 250,00|
|B&B : Acc. for two: (R300,00 x 20 days)||R 6 000,00|
|Meals||R 3 000,00|
|TOTAL||R 13 250,00|
The camping option can be considered, but to pitch a tent and camp every night for almost three weeks at a different spot will need a lot of convincing (especially the pillion). Out of season touring could also reduce the accommodation cost considerably. December/January is definitely not the best time to do this trip for the following reasons: It is peak holiday time and therefore very expensive. Secondly, weather wise, I think March would be a better time as it is the best time of the year to be at the Cape Coast which covers quite a large part of the trip and the far Northern Province and Northern Cape area could be a bit cooler than in December.
To do the run clockwise or anti-clockwise is a matter of personal preference. The decision at which point to start the trip is also a matter of personal planning, but I suggest that in planning the route (although it's not actually part of the criteria for the run) one should consider staying on the outskirts of the border of the Republic as far as possible. Do not try to take shortcuts inland in order to reduce the time and distance involved.
Never book accommodation in advance. The best part of the Gold Trip is to decide each day where to stay over. Once you are forced to ride, due to accommodation reservations, it becomes a strain and no longer a pleasure.
If you should decide to do the Gold Trip in a group, the group should be as small as possible. Logistics and quick decisions on where to stay or not can become a nightmare and could result in conflict.
Your motorbike must be in excellent condition, recently serviced and with brand new tyres front and rear. Long distance high speed travelling, with pillion and fully laden, generates a different wear on tyres which should not be compared to normal tyre wear. The tyres tend to run "flat" and wear faster than under normal riding conditions.
Try to limit daily distances to a maximum of ± 600 kilometres. It is a known fact that your concentration level drastically drops after 600 kilometres. If you push yourself too far on a specific day, it can take days to recover.
The conditions of the roads in general are reasonable, with the exception of certain parts through the old Transkei/Eastern Cape Province. This specific part should be planned carefully during the trip and should not be attempted late afternoon or in the dark. Most important, this trip is a discovery trip and should not be rushed. Try to visit and see as much as possible within your time limit. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Try to include Swaziland in your trip. The roads are excellent - the scenery splendid and the people very friendly.
As far as the silver badge is concerned, the only criteria are that you visit all four extreme points and that you be photographed with your motorbike at these points. There is no time limit on this qualification and the routes can be planned according to personal circumstances and are even provided for in the official club calendar of events.