Thousands of years ago, the entire area was teaming with wild game, elephant to be exact. They, together with the San people moved through this area in search of greener pastures.
The Garden Route, one of South Africa's richest botanical treasures is an awe-inspiring stretch of land, offering spectacular coastal landscapes with Indian Ocean breakers, pounding shores, evergreen broad leafed forest of Yellowood or Milkwood trees, home to the elusive Knysna Lourie, lush rolling hills of fynbos (protea and heath) and ancient rivers carving their way to the coast via deep rocky ravines.
The mountains and their passes linking the Garden Route to the Klein Karoo are situated between two ranges in the north and the south, and are regarded as the most spectacular in the country.
The Little Karoo with its mystique landscape and friendly people, will captivate your mind as you pass through the Ostrich capital of the world and the fruit and wine growing areas of the Cape Route 62 with its ever changing colour, scenic passes, vineyards and orchards.
KM = distance cycled by bike, AM = altitude climbed by bike, B/L/D/W = meals included (Breakfast/ Lunch/ Dinner/ Wine tasting)
After meeting your Cycle Africa crew we drive along the Nelson Mandela Bay heading north towards Addo Elephant National Park. The afternoon is free, to relax by the pool of our comfortable lodge and to set up your bicycles for the next day. Drive time: +- 1.5hours, Meals: D
No time for the wicked, it's up EARLY for an open vehicle safari in the Addo National Park. You have a good chance of seeing elephant, buffalo, lion and a multitude of antelope which the park has to offer. Returning to the lodge for breakfast, we load up on those needed carbs before we then drive east, heading to the start of our cycle on the Garden Route and on to our accommodation in the heart of the Tsitsikama region. Drive time: 2hours, KM: 70km, AM: 230m, B
After a scrumptious breakfast we leave our lodge by bike and head towards the unforgiving coastline on the Indian Ocean, passing through typical coastal fynbos. We get to the Tsitsikama National Park, a marine park stretching 5km out to sea, protecting inter tidal life and home to the southern right whales which visit these waters to breed and with luck, spot dolphin as they play in the waves. We also take a walk to the suspension bridge crossing the Storms River, offering a breathtaking view along the coast. Our route then takes us back up onto the plateau. We cycle through a large paper producing forest and get to see the world's highest bungi jumping bridge from BELOW (210m). We then work our way out of the dense gorge and head towards the coast yet again, stopping for lunch in arguably the most beautiful part of the Garden Route, before heading up the Grootrivier Pass and onto Plettenburg Bay (Bahia Formosa) for our transfer to Knysna, our estuary situated accommodation and fall asleep to the sounds of the Hadida Ibis.
Drive time: 1hour, KM: 61km, AM: 260m, Meals: B
Today we get to cycle our first real mountain pass (850m) offering mountain fynbos and crisp air at the top with views over the surrounding area into the arid Little Karoo. Here the climate changes from a moist coastal to a dry warm environment and home to the ostrich farming community. The downhill is long and fast as we head towards the ostrich capital Oudtshoorn, passing inquisitive Struthio camelus with their long necks and sexy eyelashes. After lunch we head towards the limestone ridge parallel to the majestic Swartberg Mountains and do a tour of the dripstone caverns with their vast halls and towering formations. We cycle from the caves going through the Schoemanspoort valley finishing at our accommodation.
Drive time: 1.5hours, KM: 20km, AM: 798m, Meals: B
Today we change from bicycles to feathers !!!! well for the first two hours of the day that is. When in Rome, do as the Romans do..so we visit an ostrich farm and learn the ins and outs of this fascinating bird. We then cycle along the R62 stopping in at “Ronnie`s Sex Shop” and slowly make our way to the port wine area of Calitzdorp. After lunch we continue, taking in the Huisrivier Pass (655m) and eventually arrive in Ladismith to spend the night in a comfortable B&B with a view onto the Swartberg Mountains. An impressive mountain peak called Towerkop (2198m) looms above Ladismith. Local legend has it that a witch, flying overhead, struck the peak in anger with her wand because it obstructed her passage over the mountain. Her anger resulted in Towerkop's unique appearance – come see for yourself.
Drive time: 20min, KM: 100km, AM: 655m, Meals: B/D
After breakfast we leave Ladismith and continue west, passing secluded farms and friendly locals, always happy for the contact and offering big smiles. After enjoying our lunch in Barrydale, we tackle the never ending Op de Tradouw Pass (750m) nestled within the Cape's ancient folded mountains offering picture perfect scenery. What goes up, must come down. The downhill into Montagu is a never ending 1:17 gradient, fast and offering a breathtaking patchwork of green quilted farmland and the Langeberg mountains as your backdrop. We spend two nights in this well known fruit growing region.
Drive time: 30min, KM: 140km, AM: 716m, Meals: B
Today you can relax! Visit the Avalon Springs with their healing powers, flowing naturally from a fissure some 5m deep, with a temperature of 43° or just walk around this picturesque town with its many coffee shops and bistros. You may like to go for a well deserved massage and wellness session. Meals: B
First we cycle through “The hole in the wall” above which is an old English fort (1899). We go through the Kogmanskloof, named after a Khoi chiefdom dating back to the 18th century and a gorge almost entirely incised within intensely folded sandstone of the Table Mountain group. We then for the next few hours cycle through the wine and cheese region of Bonnievale, hugged between two majestic mountain ranges. We stop for lunch at a prominent wine estate before continuing to Robertson, where we spend the night in a comfortable B&B and do a wine/chocolate pairing. KM: 65km, AM: 699m, Meals: B/W/D
Today we pass a sizeable area of the Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon wine growers as we make our way towards Ceres and the Mitchell's Pass (490m). We may be rewarded here with baboon sightings as we climb. Drive time: 45min, KM: 89km, AM: 481m, Meals: B
After breakfast we do a short transfer to the start of the Bainskloof Pass (570m). The never ending but gentle incline offers spectacular views into the steep valley floor, following the Witte River as it meanders silently through the fynbos covered slopes. Crystal clear pools and cape sugar birds as they feed from the protea bushes, before the long downhill into Wellington offer views fit for a King. We load the bikes and transfer into Cape Town where we spend three nights enjoying the Metropol and surrounding area. Weather permitting, you can take the cable car to the top of Table Mountain and have lunch or visit the V&A Waterfront and mix with the locals. Drive time: 1.5hours, KM: 30km, AM: 596m, Meals: B
After breakfast we do a short transfer (45minutes) to Surfers Corner in Muizenberg and then we are off.....constantly following the Atlantic coastline. In the naval town of Simon's Town we stop to learn about the famous Great Dane 'Just Nuisance' before heading on to the Penguin colony where we take a short break, to take pictures and stretch our legs. We continue heading south towards The Cape of Good Hope and the southernmost tip of the Cape Peninsular, with luck we could see baboon along the road and their ever present 'Spotters'.
Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve:
The landscape is coastal fynbos strewn with sandstone boulders. Here the decent is fast, all the way to the southern tip. We have a chance of spotting eland, bontebok, zebra, ostrich and cape mountain zebra. We also walk to the highest point and take in the view from the lighthouse before stopping for a well deserved lunch. After which we continue along the coast heading north and take in views of places like Misty Cliffs and Kommetjie before we tackle the well know Chapman's Peak and Suikerbossie, here the leg muscle will call for every bit of energy....we finish the day in Camps Bay.
Drive time: 1.5 hours, KM: 104km, AM: 1400m, Meals: B/D
After 12 days of cycling through the most beautiful landscape this hemisphere has to offer, we unfortunately have to part ways and say good bye. Depending on your departure times, there may be time to walk through the colourful Bokaap or known as the Malay Quarter before your transfer to the airport.
Drive time: 30min, Meals: B
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This tour is suited for the Cruising road biker - cycling average speeds of 18km/hour, and sit for between 3 - 5 hours in the saddle. You will need a MEDIUM level of fitness for this tour.
Starting in Port Elizabeth and following the Garden Route, into the Little Karoo (Route 62) and ending in Cape Town
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