This two wheeled adventure takes us through stunning mountain scenery and past dramatic rock formations, through abandoned gold mines, baboon inhabited forests and tranquil natural waterfalls. Part way through the trip we dismount our bikes and spend two days on safari in Kruger National Park where we have the chance to spot lions, rhinos, elephants, giraffes and various other wild animals. From Kruger we continue our pedal powered journey along the panorama route before ending at the mighty Blyde River Canyon. With perfect road surfaces and idyllic sunshine, there is surely no better way to experience eastern South Africa than by bike.
Upon arrival in Johannesburg we drive directly to the Golden Gate Highlands National Park in the Maluti Mountains of the Northern Free State. This transfer takes roughly 5 hours but will be broken up with stops along the route to stretch the legs and go to the toilet. The Golden Gate national park gets its name from the golden hue on the parks sandstone cliffs as the sun hits them. With 11,600 hectares of highland habitat, the national park is home to a number of animals including springbok, mountain zebra and wildebeest as well as the rare bearded vulture and bald ibis.Depending on the time of the group flights, we will either set up the bikes this afternoon or tomorrow morning. We will have a chance to test them out around the grounds of the accommodation before we begin the cycling.Glen Reenen Rest Camp or similar
Getting up early, we cycle 25km on roads through the national park. We start with a short climb up to a viewpoint where mountain zebra are often spotted before descending a long winding mountain pass. Later in the ride there are a few short steep up and down sections to get the heart pumping before it then levels out again. All along this road there are great opportunities to see wildlife from the saddle so make sure you have a camera to hand! At the park exit we transfer towards the Northern Drakensberg (60km) stopping at the 'Vulture restaurant' for the views over the Sterkfontein Dam and an early picnic lunch. We then get back on the bikes and cycle down the Oliviers Hoek pass all the way to the Sungbala lodge, our overnight stay. Here we have the whole night to take in the stunning view of the Drakensberg amphitheatre whilst enjoying a meal cooked by the guides. Sungubala Eco Camp or similar
In the morning we cycle towards the Drakensberg Mountains whilst following a back road route into the Royal Natal National Park in the Northern Berg. This ride is fairly undulating but the views of the Drakensberg amphitheatre at the top of each rise are well worth the effort. After entering the park, we continue on our bikes for approximately 2km to our picnic spot before lunch we can get changed in to swimming gear and walk the short distance to the cascades waterfall for a well-deserved swim in the cool waters. After lunch there will be time to explore the park and its hiking trails or simply relax before transferring back to our accommodation. Sungubala Eco Camp or similar
After breakfast we leave the Drakensberg with a 210km (approx. 3 hour) transfer by road to Dundee. Here there will be time for a little shopping and resupply before continuing onto Rorke's Drift. At Rorkes Drift we have a guided tour around the area where 150 British and Colonial troops defended a small garrison against nearly 5000 Zulu warriors. After a hearty lunch and a change into cycling kit its back onto our bikes for a 45km ride from Rorkes Drift to our overnight accommodation. This is a great ride through the scenic cattle country; the first 17km is on a good quality compact dirt road where we often spot many types of vulture and eagle flying overhead, once back on the tarmac road we have a flat ride to our accommodation where we can relax in the pool. Battlefields Country Lodge or similar
We have an early morning transfer (300km about 4 hours) towards the hot springs town of Badplaas in the Mpumalanga province. After lunch we get on the bikes and start our ride with a fantastic 17km descent before an undulating ride all the way to our accommodation located just outside of the town with stunning panoramic views of the Hlumu mountain range. Badplaas Forever Resort or similar
Today we start with a short transfer to Maanhaar, close to the border with Swaziland. From here we climb on the bikes and ride along a stunning gravel road which winds its way between the Songimvelo Game Reserve and the base of the Hlumu Mountains. We pass an abandoned mine which has now become home to Vervet monkeys so make sure you have your camera at the ready. As the road starts to climb we hop in the bus and transfer to the top of a mountain range overlooking the Songimvelo Game Reserve, we stop on this road for a quick photo stop at a breathtaking viewpoint that overlooks the valley below before getting back on the bikes to cycle into Barberton town and onto our accommodation. African Rest Lodge or similar
After breakfast we get on the bikes and start our ride through the Kaap River Valley as it winds its way towards Kaapmuiden. After about 50km we reach our stopping point and get in the van for a short transfer to a shopping centre where we can change out of cycling kit and stock up on cold drinks and snacks for Kruger. From here we have a very short transfer to get to the Malelane Gate where we enter the Kruger National Park and start our safari. We have a two hour game drive through the southern tip of Kruger to get to Skukuza Camp, keep your eyes peeled and cameras ready as the southern part of Kruger is known for its abundance of big cats. Kruger National Park Camp or similar
This morning we have an early start to beat the heat of the day and maximise our chances of seeing a predator. Because of the early start we will only have a small breakfast at the camp which will consist of a South African 'rusk' and a coffee. After several hours of looking for animals we stop in one of the designated lunch spots where our guides cook up a delicious brunch. From here we continue our game drive back to camp and have the rest of the day to relax in the pool or at the bar which overlooks the Sabi River. Tonight there is the opportunity to go on a night safari drive through the park in one of the official safari vehicles (this is an optional extra and should be paid for locally. Please see the optional activities section in the trip notes for prices and further information).
Today we aim to spend most of the day in the national park searching for animals, and once again start off with a morning game drive, but in the opposite direction to yesterday. We return to camp for some brunch and to collect our bags before heading out on our final game drive in Kruger as we make our way out of the park via the Numbi gate. From here we have a short transfer to our overnight accommodation in Hazyview where we can take a stroll down to the Hippo River or just relax by the pool.
After a few days of well-earned rest, today we get back on the bikes for the most challenging ride of the trip. After a hearty breakfast in Hazzyview we cycle from our lodge up the escarpment and towards Sabie. This first part of the ride is stunning and very different from what we have seen earlier in the tour as our route takes us through Avocado plantations and dense forests before arriving in Sabie where we can stop at a caf for a muffin and coffee milkshake. From Sabie we continue to climb until we arrive at Mac Mac Pools, here we stop for a swim in the natural pools whilst our guides make lunch. After lunch our ride heads downhill for a visit to Mac Mac Falls and continues all the way to Graskop and our accommodation which overlooks the escarpment. Mogodi Lodge or similar
Our final day of cycling will take us through yet more beautiful scenery as we cycle along the Panorama Route. In the morning we visit Gods Window to take in the breathtaking landscape view before cycling past Wonder view and on to Bourkes Luck Potholes. Here we stop for lunch and go for a walk around the curious rock formations before getting back on the bikes for the last time and cycling to the spectacular viewpoint over the Blyde River Canyon and on to our accommodation. For our last night in South Africa we will have a big group meal in the hotel restaurant which has an amazing view of the three Rondavels and the canyon. Blyde River Canyon Forever Resort or similar
After a leisurely breakfast and a short walk to the private viewpoint within the grounds of our accommodation we get in the bus and transfer through the small towns of Ohrigstad, Lyndenburg and Dullstroom as we make our way back to Johannesburg Airport. This transfer is roughly 420km but we break it up with plenty of short stops and a longer lunch break. Please note that due to the often high levels of traffic surrounding Johannesburg we leave our accommodation with plenty of time to complete this transfer. This does mean that on some occasions when the roads are traffic free we might arrive at the airport early and have a longer wait before the return flight departs.
- Discover the magnificent Drakensberg Mountains
- Search for the big 5 in Kruger National Park
- Cycle through vast mountain scenery
- waterfalls and canyons