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Cycle The Cape

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Cycle The Cape

1-Join tour Cape Town; introductory ride
Join the tour in the wonderful city of Cape Town. Cape Town embodies the feeling of energy and hope that South Africans feel for the future of their country – with its spectacular natural assets, modern high-tech city centre and mixed population. Cape fur seals can often be seen playfully frolicking in the harbour waters. Having settled in to our hotel we waste no time in getting fitted up with our bikes. We then head out on an introductory ride, most likely on the face of Table Mountain for spectacular views, then back to our hotel. This will be our first encounter with some of the unique and colourful flowers from the Cape Floral Kingdom, which has more indigenous plant species per square metre than anywhere else on earth! (Approx. 26km cycling)
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Room option available

2-Drive to Cape Point Nature Reserve via Hout Bay; cycle to Kommetjie, or Simon’s Town
The focus of our activities today is the area of the Cape Peninsula. The Cape of Good Hope was first seen by a European in 1488 when Diaz sailed round it on his search for a sea route to the East Indies. A century later Sir Francis Drake described it as ‘the fairest cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth’; but it was another century before the Dutch East Indies Trading Company established a permanent settlement to supply ships with cattle and water traded from the indigenous Khoi who reared livestock in the land around the coast. In Hout Bay, weather permitting, we enjoy a boat ride to view Seal Island, where a population (7,000 approx!) of Cape Fur Seals have made their home. There might be whales or even pods of porpoises there too. From Hout Bay we drive over Chapman’s Peak to Cape Boulders beach where we get a close up view of Africa’s only resident penguin species, the African Penguin. From here we continue on to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope for lunch and a chance to explore this wild place. After lunch we cycle back through the Nature Reserve and head out along the Atlantic seaboard to the seaside village of Simon’s Town or Kommetjie. (Approx. 37km cycling)
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Room option available

3-Drive to Stellenbosch; cycle through wine farms to Jonkershoek Reserve
Today we’ll head out of Cape Town to explore the Stellenbosch region. To the north and east of Cape Town are the Cape Winelands, whose rugged mountains rise sheer from rolling green valleys, neatly planted with vineyards and dotted with whitewashed manor houses. This is an image more reminiscent of a central European fairy tale than ‘Darkest Africa’! A settlement was first established in Stellenbosch in 1679 following the discovery of a river running through a fertile, green valley by Simon van der Stel, then Governor of the Cape. Grapes were planted in the fertile valleys and soon Stellenbosch became the centre of the wine industry. It now produces some of the finest ‘New World Wines’, wines that have been honed over several centuries by the Afrikaans wine growers. So after enjoying a cycle ride through the stunning scenery you may like to reward yourself by sampling some of the latest vintages. (Approx. 26km cycling)
Overnight: Standard Guesthouse
Single Room option available

4-Drive and cycle through Red Stone Hills to Oudtshoorn
We start early on our scenic drive along Route 62 to the ‘Little Karoo’. En route we pass through the heart of the verdant Breede River Valley, the largest of the Western Cape’s fruit and wine producing valleys. As we continue eastwards along the world’s longest wine route, passing through Barrydale and Ladismith the scenery changes dramatically to the stark and arid landscapes of the Little Karoo. At Calitzdorp, we turn off the main road into the beautiful Red Stone Hills at the foot of the Swartberg Mountains. Here we take to the bikes and marvel at the dramatic panorama of ancient red and orange sandstone the area is famed for. (Approx. 7km cycling and 5km optional)
Overnight: Standard Lodge
Single Room option available

5-Cycle Swartberg Pass; optional visit to Cango Caves
After a hearty country breakfast in view of the magnificent surrounding mountains, we board the coach and head to the top of the dramatic Swartberg Pass. Once at the top we mount the bikes for the steep, exhilarating cycle down, enjoying the fresh air, magnificent views and birdlife. The towering mountain walls provide welcome cool and an extraordinary backdrop for our cycle as we move through from one distinct ecological area to another. The Swartberg Pass is one of 34 that were built by Andrew Gebbes Bains in the middle of the 19th century to open up the interior and extend the trade routes down to the coastal areas. Our cycle ride takes us to the world famous Cango Caves. There we have an optional guided tour of the natural chambers and an insight into how the area has changed through the ages. (Approx. 26km cycling and 13km optional). Please note: in the high summer this ride can be very hot and exposed. Your Tour Leader may substitute another route if necessary.
Overnight: Standard Lodge
Single Room option available

6-Drive to Plettenberg Bay via George to Knysna; cycle through the Knysna Harkerville Forest
Driving south and east today through George, we return to the coast and arrive at Knysna. Knysna was originally a harbour, as well as a forestry and mining centre. Today it is noteworthy as an artists’ retreat and adventure activity base. After some exploration and lunch here, we ride through part of the Harkerville Forest for an exciting afternoon ride through an original forest, then onto our hotel in Plettenberg Bay. (Approx. 14km cycling and 20km optional)
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Room option available

7-Drive to Tsitsikamma NP; cycle Bloukrans & Nature’s Valley Passes
This morning we drive out to Tsitsikamma NP and the Storm’s River mouth. The Tsitsikamma NP is a marine and forest reserve stretching for 50km from Nature’s Valley to the mouth of the Groot River. Afterwards we drive into the NP and walk to the Storm’s River mouth. A popular short walk is to the suspension bridge that spans the mouth of the river. With lunch taken en route, we begin our afternoon ride at the forestry village of Coldstream. From here we ride through the magnificent Tsitsikamma Forest along the Bloukrans and Nature’s Valley Passes. The descents through the forest are a real highlight of the trip. (Approx. 36km cycling)
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Room option available

8-Drive to Witsand, cycle to Malgas Pont, drive Swellendam
We begin today with an optional trip to the Knysna Elephant Park where one can feed, touch and experience the majesty of these great animals. The Park provides sanctuary for orphaned and translocated elephants that need a new home. Afterwards we drive along the world renowned “Garden Route” into the wheat fields of the Overberg to Witsand, on St Sebastian Bay. We then cycle on a quiet gravel backroad through the rolling farmlands to Malgas Pont, (approx. 32km cycling). the only remaining manual pont in Africa. This carries vehicles over the Breede River. We then continue to Swellendam in the bus with views of Langeberg Mountains. (Please note that the route cycled may be reversed dependant on head winds that day)
Overnight: Standard Guesthouse
Single Room option available

9-Cycle to Cape Agulhas; return Swellendam
The destination for our last cycle ride is the wild and dramatic Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point in Africa, where the warm Agulhas current from the Indian Ocean meets the cold Benguela current from the Atlantic in a turbulent clash. The route to Cape Agulhas takes in fantastic open sheep and livestock farmland and indigenous fynbos and other vegetation and will take most of the morning to complete on some good flat gravel surfaced and sealed roads. (Approx. 41km cycling) (Please note that the route cycled may be reversed dependant on head winds that day).
Overnight: Standard Guesthouse
Single Room option available

10-Drive via Hermanus to Cape Town where tour ends
On our ultimate day we follow by bus the acclaimed ‘Whale Route’ along the dramatic south coast back to Cape Town. The small seaside resort of Hermanus is regarded as one of the premier spots for whale-watching in Africa. Every year between June and November Southern Right whales spend a few months in the Cape, mating and calving. Hermanus is one of the better places to see them as they come quite close inshore and the cliff-top offers many convenient viewing points. If time allows we may make a short stop en route here before driving to Cape Town via Betty’s Bay and Gordon’s Bay. Out of whale season we may arrive in Cape Town earlier in the day.

Tour includes:

9 Breakfast
Bicycle, Bus, On Foot
4 nights Standard Hotel
3 nights Standard Guesthouse
2 nights Standard Lodge
Tour Staff:
Driver(s), Explore Tour Leader / Cycle guide
Cycling Information:
On this tour we cycle 243 km over nine days (an average of 31 km per day) with further optional rides available. We cycle on minor roads and good tracks. A support vehicle accompanies the rides throughout the tour. We have graded the route as moderate.
Group Size:
Generally 10 – 16

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explore holidaysExplore have been running small group adventure holidays throughout the world since 1981 and have a vast array of experience, knowledge and well established close personal contacts in all the countries in which they operate, which makes them stand out as one of the most trusted adventure tour operators in the UK.

They are passionate about what they do, and above all, simply love nothing more than to travel. The founder directors ran overland trips through Asia, Africa and the Americas in the 1960s and 70s prior to setting up the company, and were determined that the spirit of adventure that was such an important part of those early pioneering days, should continue to play key role as part of the driving ethos of Explore.

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