Guests will usually arrive at Cape Town International airport in the morning. We will be awaiting your arrival at the airport to take you directly to your hotel in Cape Town to relax after your flight and get comfortable with South Africa’s beautiful springtime weather. By noon you will meet the other members of your group and we start a casual city tour of this beautiful city. At our first group dinner we will de-brief you about your trip, go over the special rules regarding riding motorcycles in Africa and hand out map books and review the routing.
Cape Town is shouldered by a wide range of low mountains, and the passes that transect them are local favourites. We will ride as many as we can before hitting the west coast lunch and coastal ride up to Lamberts Bay. After checking in at the hotel, we take our dinner in the most unusual and popular of open air restaurants around – the beach side ‘Muisboskerm.’
Leaving the coast we pass through the citrus farms of Citrusdal and climb into the Cedarberg mountain range and the Koue Bokkeveld Range to bring us to a plateau overlooking the barren Klein Karoo plains. This is our first day on gravel stretch, and these empty back roads are the perfect introduction to gravel road riding in Africa. We transect the Tankwa Karoo National Park on these gravel roads to allow us to get the true feeling of being a part of this sparsely populated part of desert. We drop down into the Karoo, and make our way to an old British influenced one-horse town where we will stay the night. The local Karoo lamb is recommended for dinner, as it spending time in the old bar.
We are now in the Klein Karoo and have exchanged our coastal views for low hills and scrub brush before arriving in Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of South Africa. This will be our base for the next two nights. First stop: Cango Caves, one of South Africa's top 10 tourist attractions where a guided tour takes us through the massive caves.
How are you feeling by now? Want more riding? Then we are on a 200 km loop on well -maintained farm roads, quaint little art towns, waterfalls and into the funky little town of Prince Albert for lunch. After lunch we crawl up the Swartberg Pass and descend back into the hotel in the mid afternoon.
If you want to rest on this rest day, you can sit by the pool or take a wine tour, visit the Cango Wildlife Centre, have a spa day, shop for ostrich leather goods, or do nothing at all!
No trip to Oudtshoorn would be complete without an up close and personal trip to the ostriches, whose feathers made a few personal fortunes here a hundred years ago. We visit the Ostrich farm on the way out of town (and if you weigh less than 75kg, you can ride one), and once on the road we make our way to our national wildlife park for the night. We will arrive in the late afternoon and reserve the sundowner drive into the park to watch the sunset. Too numerous to mention all the animals that may be sighted, the larger ones include the lion, leopard, cape buffalo, black rhino, zebra, spotted hyena, wildebeest, kudu, and eland. Your chalets tonight look over the water hole. Addo is as far east as we will get, and tomorrow we swing south.
If you are keen on more animals, you can join an optional sunrise game drive from 6am – 8am. We will breakfast by 8:30am and get onto the road by mid-morning. Todays ride is very short, but we want to get to Jeffrey’s Bay by noon to park the bikes and get to the beach for afternoon surfing lessons. Jeffrey’s Bay is South Africa’s most famous surfing spot and a stop on the Billabong Pro Surfing Tour.
This is our second optional day. Riders will head up into the Baviannskloof (Baboon Gorge) for some challenging riding on gravel road passes, and since the route is out and back, riders can choose their level of commitment. Drive out until you've had enough, then turn around and head back to the beach. For those who want a day off, the beach is one block from our hotel, and surfing lessons are cheap. All equipment can be rented. Across the street from our hotel are the factory stores from Billabong and Quicksilver, and horse riding on the beach can also be arranged.
On the way to Knysna today we pass a few optional places you may want to consider stopping at. The first is a 216m high bungee jump which is too scary for any of the staff to do. The second stop has three wildlife encounters you may want to take in. There is the World of Birds, Monkey Land, and an Elephant Sanctuary where you can meet, touch, ride the elephants and even get an elephant neck massage. This ride goes through the Tsitsikamma National Park which some consider the most dramatically beautiful section of the garden route. Cliffs, seaside forests, massive gorges, and angry surf to tie them all together. The distance today is not long, but packed with scenic passes which we will not be in a hurry to pass by.
Knysna (pronounced Nyze-nah) is famous for a relaxing waterfront, homegrown oysters, and it's forests and sea setting. Our hotel is on the waterfront.
Todays choices are to come riding on a big day that takes in 12 passes, most of them gravel. For those who want to relax, we can help to arrange self guided walks in the hardwood forests, a spa day, golfing, kayaking the lagoon, or eat oysters and drink local wine all day - your choice! We have a sunset cruise at night so just be sure to be back by 4pm to get ready for that.
We sneak up one of our favourite passes for lunch in Barrydale and then to the mouth of South Africa's largest river estuary for the night. More southern right whales are born here than in any other place in South Africa, and they stay here until late November/early December, so the chances are good we can see moms and calfs just beyond the surf. Or watch the kite-surfers, but they are here year round.
After we cross the last human powered ferry in South Africa we head south to Cape L'Agulhas. There waits for us the lighthouse, and of course the most southern point on in African. Not far from here we find our rest for the night, in the charming, beach side Arniston Hotel. Beside the hotel are the nationally land marked Fisherman’s cottages with their whitewashed walls and thatched roofs set off against a turquoise sea and colourful fishing boats, a magnet for photographers and artists from around the world, spurred on no doubt by the proclaiming of Arniston as one of the World’s Ten Best Hideaways by Time Magazine (May 1996). By special arrangement we have organized a fresh, traditional, fish dinner from one of the old fishing families that still lives in the village. Our hotel is also a spa, so with a little planning you can also arrange for some pampering as a reward on our last night on the road for this trip.
We begin the trip south back to the Cape Town area using quiet seaside roads as often as we can. We stop by Hermanus for an early lunch, the self-proclaimed whale capital of South Africa. Our continued route along the coast and through the Cape Point Nature Reserve offers quiet roads and panoramas of green fields, rocky cliffs and the legendary Cape of Good Hope. As we near Cape Town we take on one of South Africa’s most scenic ocean side roads – Chapman’s Peak Drive.
Our last day, and after breakfast the final paperwork is gone over for the bikes, and our trip is officially over. If you are curious to stay in Cape Town or the surrounding areas longer to do more riding, wine tours, shark cage diving… let us know and we can get you on the right track.