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Cycling South Africa: Cape Town & the Garden Route

Spectacular cycling, dramatic coastlines, inviting wine country, and rugged mountain scenery all make this new tour an experience that’s simply unforgettable. We’ll begin in Cape Town and wind our way through the Little Karoo Valley before ending up on the legendary Garden Route.

  • 12 Days
  • Activity Level: Easy / Moderate
  • Daily Mileage: 13 - 26 mi
  • Daily Biking: 2 - 5 hr
  • Small Groups: 20
  • Biking Activity
  • Ideal for energetic beginners to more experienced riders.
  • Airfare Packages Available

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Cycling South Africa: Cape Town & the Garden Route

As we cycle from spectacular Table Mountain, along the craggy Atlantic coast, to the lush lagoons and secluded coves of the Garden Route, we explore a part of South Africa beloved for its rare and fragile beauty. But there’s more. We’ll share experiences that impart the robust glow of daily life: tour an ostrich farm, share a picnic at Buffels Bay, visit a penguin colony at Boulders Beach, taste delicious wines at a vineyard luncheon, and discover a vibrant local township. From the forest-lined passes of Tsitsikamma National Park to the glorious wine valley of Franschhoek, discovery is all ours.

Cultural Highlights

• Ride the Table Mountain Cableway to visit the top of this iconic mountain
• Discover a multitude of flora at the world-famous Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
• Learn about life at a Cape Town township during a guided visit
• Gather with a local family for a memorable home-cooked dinner
• Marvel at the African Penguin Colony at Boulders Beach
• Cycle the wild Atlantic coast of Scarborough and Misty Cliffs
• Encounter the Franschhoek region and it stunning wines at a tasting and lunch
• Pedal around the village of De Rust, admiring twisting sandstone formations of the Cape Fold Mountains
• Delight in the remarkable ostrich on a tour of a breeding farm
• Savor a traditional South African braai, or barbeque, at your lodge
• Follow a bike path along the Knysna Lagoon and onto Thesen Island
• Pedal through rolling farmland and indigenous rainforest landscapes
• Share a seaside picnic at Buffels Bay and take a dip in the ocean
• Pedal along old, quiet roads through Nature’s Valley Pass and Bloukrans Pass
• Enjoy lunch and leisure time in Tsitsikamma National Park by the Indian Ocean

What To Expect

This tour offers a combination of easy terrain mixed with moderate hills. The VBT van support shuttle is always available for those who need assistance. This tour is ideal for beginning and experienced cyclists.

Average Daily Mileage: 13 – 26 miles
Average Cycling Time: 2 – 5 hours

Climate Information

Average High/Low Temperature (°F) – Cape Town
Jan 77º/63º  Feb 78º/63º  Mar 76º/60º  Apr 72º/56º  Oct 69º/54º  Nov 72º/58º
Dec 75º/61º

Average Rainfall (in.) – Cape Town
Jan .5 Feb .5 Mar 1 Apr 1.5 Oct 0 Nov 0 Dec 1

What’s Included:

Bicycle Vacation Only – Without Air

  • 9 nights in 4-star hotels and guesthouses
  • 23 meals – 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 6 dinners

Air Package Plus

Both Vacation Options Include

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Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $495 | Land Only Single Supplement: $495

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. 2017 Prices include all airline surcharges and Government taxes and fees. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What’s Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.
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Please note that Advance Seat Reservation is available on flights operated by South African Airways and additional fees apply. FEES: Emergency Exit seat is $60 | Leg room seat is $40 | Any seat is $25. Visit our Air FAQs page for additional details.

Itinerary & Map
Or, Expand All Days
DAY 1: Depart from home / Fly overnight to Cape Town, South Africa

Depart from home for South Africa. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

Please note: Passports for travelers to South Africa should contain at least two completely blank (unstamped) visa pages each time entry is sought. These pages are in addition to the endorsement/amendment pages (as many as four) typically found at the back of U.S. passports. While South African statutes require only one completely blank visa page, this rule has been applied inconsistently by South African immigration officials. In addition, any trips to neighboring countries would necessitate another blank page upon return. Travelers lacking adequate blank pages in their passport may be refused entry into South Africa, fined, and returned to their point of origin at their own expense.

 

DAY 2: Arrive in Cape Town, South Africa / Transfer to hotel / Meet Trip Leaders / Land Program Begins

VBT No-Air Package Guests: Upon arrival in Cape Town, you will need to make your own arrangements for transportation from the airport to our hotel. A metered taxi will cost approximately R400 (USD $38) and will take about 30 minutes to cover 13 miles. Please contact the hotel to advise the staff of any travel delays or changes, and they will pass your message to your VBT Trip Leaders. The remainder of the day is yours to explore Cape Town at leisure.

VBT Air Package guests: Upon arrival in South Africa at the Johannesburg airport, claim your luggage, then clear customs. A VBT representative will meet you outside the customs area in the international arrivals terminal (please utilize the carts for transporting your luggage) and direct you to the adjacent domestic terminal. Here you will need to check in with your luggage for your connecting flight to Cape Town. Upon arrival in Cape Town, a VBT representative will meet you outside the luggage claim area for your transfer by minibus (a journey of about 30 minutes) to your hotel. The remainder of the day is yours to explore Cape Town at leisure.

VBT Pre-Trip Extension guests: This morning, you have an opportunity for one last game drive, followed by breakfast before your transfer to the airport. We will depart from the lodge and transfer to the airport in time for our flight to Cape Town. Upon arrival in Cape Town, a VBT representative will meet you and assist with the transfer to our hotel. The remainder of the day is yours to explore Cape Town at leisure.

All guests arrive in Cape Town today. Your Trip Leaders, who will be wearing VBT staff garments, will be available in the hotel in the early evening for informal introductions

Hotel: More Quarters

DAY 3: Cable car ride to summit of Table Mountain / Cycle under Table Mountain / Welcome dinner

After breakfast, shuttle to the Table Mountain Cableway where you’ll visit the top of iconic Table Mountain and savor the magnificent views of the Cape Peninsula. Once back down the cableway, continue to Tafelberg Road, perched high above the city of Cape Town. After a safety briefing, orientation, and bike-fitting session with your Trip Leaders, you’ll embark on a warm-up ride under Cape Town’s flat-topped Table Mountain. The ride offers some rolling terrain. As you pedal, you’ll be treated to spectacular views of Table Bay and the Cape Town “City Bowl.”

This afternoon, you’ll enjoy a closer look at South Africa’s fascinating flora during a short included visit to the world-famous Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Nestled in the foothills of Table Mountain, the garden showcases the staggering diversity of South Africa’s indigenous plants, many of which can be found nowhere else on earth. Marvel at the endless varieties of fynbos—a distinct floral kingdom of hardy flowering shrubs found almost exclusively in the Western Cape—on display, including the pointy petaled King Protea, South Africa’s national flower. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the grounds.

You’ll also visit the townships this afternoon for a walking tour in Langa, one of Cape Town’s oldest townships. Here you will learn, from a local guide, about some of the challenges that many South Africans face in post-apartheid South Africa, plus much more about the Xhosa culture. This fascinating window into life in the townships is quite eye-opening. As you’ll see, the vibrant streets are full of life and color.

Tonight, gather for a welcome reception. There you’ll learn more about what it’s like to eat local food and experience true African vibes.

Hotel: More Quarters
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 7 miles (11 km)

DAY 4: Cape Peninsula Tour / Cycle in Cape Point Nature Reserve

This morning, you’ll shuttle (approximately 45 minutes) to Simonstown, where you’ll be treated to sweeping views of False Bay. Next, visit the African Penguin Colony at Boulders Beach, a unique conservation effort in an urban area.

Afterward, you’ll shuttle to the Cape Point section of Table Mountain National Park, where you’ll cycle along rolling roads blanketed by pristine fynbos. Depending on prevailing winds, ride south-to-north or vice versa. Then you’ll relax and refuel with a hearty lunch at Red Hill.

In the afternoon, cycle further to enjoy the wild Atlantic coastline of Scarborough and Misty Cliffs. This stunning section of coast features azure oceans, big waves, surfers, and kite boarders. Head back to our hotel in the late afternoon to relax (a 45-minute transfer).

Dinner tonight is at a local restaurant.

Hotel: More Quarters
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 28 miles (36 km)

DAY 5: Cycle Franschhoek Winelands / Wine tasting at local vineyard

After breakfast, you’ll transfer (approximately 1 hour) to Franschhoek, long known as the “French Corner,” with many of the settlers naming their new farms after the areas in France from which they emigrated. Founded in 1688 by French Huguenot refugees, the town’s farms soon became known for producing stellar wines, a reputation that continues to this day. You’ll discover why as you cycle through the wine valley, admiring the town’s arresting French flair and lush, fertile landscapes. After exploring the village en route, ride into lunch at a private wine estate for wine tastings and a tasty lunch before returning via shuttle to Cape Town in the late afternoon. If you like, there is the option to cycle a bit farther in the valley.

This evening, perhaps you’ll choose from among the dozens of exceptional restaurants at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront for dinner on your own.

Hotel: More Quarters
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 12.5 or 19 miles (20 or 31 km)

DAY 6: View Karoo scenery and mountain passes en route to Oudtshoorn / Local Oudtshoorn ride

After breakfast, you’ll board your bus and journey inland to Oudtshoorn (travel time is approximately 6-7 hours, which includes a stop to browse some village shops in Barrydale and also a hearty lunch in Ladismith). You’ll be traveling along scenic Route 62 through the Little Karoo, a sprawling, semi-arid region known for its wildflower-filled valleys and majestic sandstone mountains.

Late this afternoon, you’ll arrive at your accommodations near Oudtshoorn—a charming, Victorian-flavored town nestled in the foothills of the Swartberg Mountains—and check into your lodge. Once you’re settled, set off on a short leg-stretching ride exploring this beautiful area and its ostrich farms.

Dinner is at your lodge this evening.

Hotel: La Plume
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 8 or 12 miles (13 or 19 km)

DAY 7: Ride through Meiringspoort / Ostrich Tour

This morning cycling through the picturesque Meiringspoort. A shuttle of about 45 minutes takes you to the village of De Rust, where you will start and end your ride. This is a stunning ride, set in a riverbed flanked by the twisting sandstone formations of the Cape Fold Mountains. It is home to the klipspringer, black eagle, and grey rhebuck.

You’ll have a hearty lunch back in De Rust. Then after lunch, head back to our lodge and join Bartel, the owner, on a tour of his ostrich farm, learning all about these fascinating animals.

For dinner tonight, you’ll enjoy at traditional South African braai, or barbeque, at your lodge.

Hotel: La Plume
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 14 or 28 miles (23 or 46 km)

DAY 8: Ride Knysna Lagoon / Drive along Garden Route/Cycle along the lagoon

This morning, you’ll transfer to the scenic coastal town of Knysna, (approximately 2 hours). The drive bridges the divide between the semi-arid landscape of the Little Karoo and the lush, costal Garden Route. You’ll leave Oudtshoorn and transfer down the Outeniqua Pass, through George, along the celebrated Garden Route, a truly spectacular stretch of coastline bordering the Indian Ocean. As you drive through the towns of Wilderness, Sedgefield, and Knysna, you’ll encounter a diverse landscape ranging from densely forested hills to craggy cliffs and secluded coves.

Your ride today starts at a viewpoint overlooking the bay and explores the town of Knysna. We begin on the outskirts and follow a bike path along the Knysna Lagoon, into and through town, and onto Thesen Island, finishing at the mouth of the lagoon, at Knysna’s East Head. Here we enjoy lunch.

After lunch you can either shuttle to the hotel or ride back along the lagoon to the hotel. Check-in and settle into your new surroundings.

Dinner is on your own tonight. You may want to try the local pub at the hotel or shuttle into Knysna and explore its waterfront.

Hotel: Belvidere Manor
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 15 or 25 miles (24 or 40 km)

DAY 9: Ride from Rheenendal to Buffels Bay / Picnic lunch at the seaside/Home hosted dinner

After breakfast, you’ll shuttle (about 30 minutes) to Rheenendal, just outside of Knysna. Begin your ride here, cycling through rolling farmland, through some indigenous rainforest, past the historic scene of an old goldmine, and finishing up with a very scenic downhill cruise into Buffels Bay, taking in the views of the Goukamma River estuary and the Indian Ocean.

After a seaside picnic lunch at Buffels Bay, and maybe a dip in the Indian Ocean, you’ll shuttle (about 30 minutes) back to your lodge in Knysna for a relaxing afternoon overlooking the lagoon from the awesome gardens of our hotel.

If you wish to do more cycling, you may ride back from Buffels Bay to the railway station that you passed on your way in.

This evening you’ll learn more about what it’s like to live in South Africa when you join a local family in their home for a memorable home-cooked dinner.

Hotel: Belvidere Manor
Alternate Hotel: The Robberg
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 17 or 22 miles (27 or 35 km)

DAY 10: Nature’s Valley & Bloukrans Pass Cycle / Eat lunch overlooking the sea in Tsitsikamma National Park

After breakfast, shuttle around 60 minutes to Crags to start your ride. Pedal along quiet roads this morning, riding the old road through Nature’s Valley Pass and Bloukrans Pass, amidst lush indigenous Afro-Montane forest. Experience the peace and quiet of these stunning forest-lined passes and listen for the call of the knysna loerie (the “Bird of Eden”) en route. Celebrate your final ride with lunch in Tsitsikamma National Park overlooking the Indian Ocean. Enjoy time here inside the park at leisure to hike through the forest or relax on the beach, where the ocean is ideal for swimming.

You’ll shuttle back to your accommodation (approximately 100 minutes), with some late afternoon free time for a swim or for digging into that book as you laze on your shaded patio.

Celebrate your South African sojourn tonight during a festive farewell dinner at your lodge.

Hotel: Belvidere Manor
Alternate Hotel: The Robberg
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 26 or 32 miles (42 or 51 km)

DAY 11: Transfer to George / Return home

VBT No-Air Package guests: After breakfast, transfer by minibus (a journey of about 1 hour) to the airport in George for your flight home.

Please note: VBT recommends scheduling your departing flight for 2:00 pm or later; if your flight leaves earlier than 2:00 pm, you must make your own arrangements (at your own expense) to transfer to the airport from the hotel.

VBT Air Package guests: After breakfast, transfer by minibus (a journey of about 1 hour) to the airport in George for your flight home.

Please note: Your flight between George and Johannesburg may not be reflected in your air itinerary. Your Trip Leaders will have the details for this flight and will assist with checking you in.

VBT Post-Trip Extension guests: Fly from George to Johannesburg, where you will spend the night at our airport-area hotel. Upon your arrival at O.R. Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, a VBT representative meets you and helps you transfer to your nearby hotel. Check in and relax. The representative will advise you at what time you will be picked up for the airport tomorrow.

Hotel: Premier Hotel O.R. Tambo International Airport
Meals: B

DAY 12: Arrive home

VBT Air Package guests: Your flights arrive home this morning.

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Accommodations

The Robberg Beach Lodge

The Robberg Beach Lodge offers 29 rooms in four luxurious adjacent villas at Robberg Beach in Plettenberg Bay. Just five minutes from the bustling restaurants, galleries, coffee shops and bars of Plett’s Main Street, The Robberg is a tranquil beachside haven. This understated, private retreat boasts 5-star luxury accommodation, and is ideally situated, at Robberg’s beautiful Blue Flag Beach.
Free WiFi Included

La Plume

La Plume is a 1902 Victorian homestead on a working ostrich, alfalfa, and vine farm. Set in the tranquil Olifantsrivier Valley, the lodge demands spectacular views of the Swartberg Mountains. A warm welcome waits at this charming 1902 Victorian homestead, where your host has combined Old World charm with modern comforts to ensure both extraordinary service and personal attention. With private entrances, sunny verandahs, and elegant, comfortable antiques, the air-conditioned bedrooms offer television, mini-bar, and abundant comforts.
Free WiFi Included

Ilala Lodge

Ilala Lodge offers distinguished accommodation in a gracious and secluded ambiance. The hotel is ideally situated, close to both Victoria Falls and the town center. The National Park borders the front of property, and wild animals often graze on the hotel lawns with the spray of the falls in the background.
Free WiFi Included

More Quarters

From one of the 18 apartments at More Quarters you can explore nearby bars, beaches, great little shops, local eateries, and boutiques.  It’s an authentic experience of Capetonian living, with Lion’s Head above you, the buzz of the neighborhood next to you, and the vibrancy of the city all around you.
Free WiFi Included

Belvidere Manor

Overlooking a tranquil cove on the western end of Knysna Lagoon, the four-star Belvidere Manor Hotel comprises a main house and 28 individual guest cottages, all spread out over 24 lush acres. The historic property dates back to 1848, when a British Army officer built a Georgian-style residence for his growing family. The family’s original farmhouse is now home to The Bell Tavern, Knysna’s smallest pub, a cozy place where you can savor a pint of locally brewed beer while surveying the contents of an underground wine cellar through a glass window in the ironwood floor. During your stay, you might also enjoy an invigorating dip in the outdoor pool; a stroll through the manicured grounds, which harbor more than 270 bird species; or an al fresco dinner in the elegant, on-site restaurant. You may also wish to relax on the wide stoep, or veranda, of your fully serviced guest cottage, which will feature one, two, or three-bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a shared kitchen and living room, and lagoon or garden views.
Free WiFi Included

Premier Hotel O.R. Tambo International Airport

Airport-area hotel, Johannesburg, South Africa. There are 275 rooms in the hotel. Each room is equipped with air-conditioning, electronic safe, tea- and coffee-making facilities, and complimentary wireless Internet access. Rooms are also fitted with writing desks and chairs. Guests may enjoy services and facilities such as complimentary airport shuttle, a self-service workstation, dining at the on-site restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drinks.
Free WiFi Included

Kapama Southern Camp

Southern Camp is the proud new addition to the Kapama Private Game Reserve family, and is situated in the south of the Big Five game reserve. It offers luxury game-lodge accommodation, warm hospitality, and friendly service in a tranquil setting that will be savored by even the most discerning nature lover.
Free WiFi Included

Kapama River Lodge

Within the expansive Kapama Private Game Reserve, River Lodge epitomizes the 5-star safari accommodation. The majestic northern Drakensberg Mountains form the backdrop to the 64-suite River Lodge, which is positioned along a bend of the seasonal Kapama River. It’s the largest luxury game lodge in the Greater Kruger National Park area, and is stylishly furnished to ensure an unforgettable African safari experience. River Lodge’s 40 spacious air-conditioned suites have uninterrupted views over the Big Five game reserve from private patios, and all feature full, en-suite bathrooms with lavish amenities replenished daily. The suites are decorated to reflect old Africa in a luxury game-lodge setting. Beverage stations for early morning coffee in suite and mini-bars for sundowners on your private patio are standard in all rooms. The 20 spa suites are positioned a little way from the lodge to ensure additional privacy and proximity to the spa for unique African spa treatments. Expansive glass doors and frameless windows allow unobstructed bush views, including from the bathroom. Each suite is equipped with a mini-bar, coffee- and tea-making facilities, as well as a safe, hair dryer, and international electrical plugs.
Free WiFi Included
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