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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: 15 - 35 mi
  • Daily Biking: 2 - 5 hours hr
  • Small Groups: 20
  • Biking
  • Easy / Moderate
  • Plane

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Cycling South Africa: Cape Town & the Garden Route

Experience the strikingly scenic—and dazzlingly diverse—landscapes of South Africa on a comprehensive journey stretching from cosmopolitan Cape Town to the tranquil, coastal hamlets of the celebrated Garden Route. We’ll pedal our way among the fertile, verdant vineyards of The Winelands, the stark, soaring peaks of the Swartberg Mountains, and the lush forests of Tsitsikamma National Park. We’ll also spend time with the friendly people who call South Africa home, meeting the gracious residents of a local township, enjoying a behind-the-scenes tour of a working ostrich farm, and sharing a memorable dinner with a Cape Town family.

Cultural Highlights

  • Marvel at South Africa’s fascinating flora during a visit to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
  • Share a home-cooked dinner—and lively conversation—with a Cape Town family in their home
  • Pedal among Proteas and glimpse captivating wildlife in Cape Point Nature Reserve
  • Meet the residents of a local township and learn about their daily life and customs
  • Cycle the Franschhoek Wine Route and sip acclaimed local wines during a vineyard visit
  • Enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of a working ostrich farm
  • Explore the charming ”Little Karoo” aboard a traditional donkey cart
  • Experience a true taste of South Africa during a traditional braai, or barbeque
  • Savor a tasty lunch overlooking the Indian Ocean in Tsitsikamma National Park

What To Expect

This tour offers a combination of easy terrain mixed with moderate hills and a few dirt roads. 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: 15-35 miles
Average Cycling Time: 2-5 hours

Climate Information

Average Daily Temperature (°F) – Cape Town
Jan 77°  Feb 78°  Mar 76°  Apr 72°  Oct 69°  Nov 72°  Dec 75°

Average Rainfall (in.) – Cape Town
Jan .6  Feb .6  Mar .8  Apr 1.6  Oct .1  Nov 0  Dec .7

What’s Included:

Bicycle Tour 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

  • FREE use of a bicycle and helmet
  • Service of two VBT Trip Leaders
  • FULL VAN SUPPORT
  • Daily route directions and maps
  • Welcome reception with local wine and hors d'oeuvres
  • Sightseeing and cultural activities, including park entry fees
  • 5% Frequent Traveler Credit to use on your next VBT vacation
  • Special Good Buy Discount
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Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $445 | Land Only Single Supplement: $445

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. 2015 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.

Itinerary & Map
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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.

The remainder of the day is yours to explore Cape Town at leisure.

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

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 the 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 approximately 30 minutes) to our 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 a boxed breakfast during your transfer to the airport. Or you may wish to skip the game drive and enjoy a relaxing breakfast at the lodge. If you choose to participate in the game drive, please ensure that your luggage is packed prior to the game drive so that it may be picked up, packed in the vehicle, and ready for your transfer upon your return. We will depart from the lodge and transfer overland 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 or The Three, Cape Town

DAY 3: Cycle under Table Mountain / Cable car ride to summit of Table Mountain / Dinner with a local family

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

This afternoon, we’ll enjoy a closer look at South Africa’s fascinating flora during an 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.

We also visit the townships this afternoon for a cycling/walking tour in Langa, one of Cape Town’s oldest townships. Here we will learn, from a local guide, about some of the challenges that many South Africans face in Post-Apartheid South Africa, plus lots more about the Xhosa culture. This fascinating window into life in the townships is quite eye-opening. The vibrant streets are full of color and life.

Tonight, we gather for a welcome reception. There, we’ll learn more about what it’s like to live in South Africa when we join a local family in their home for a sure-to-be memorable home-cooked dinner.

Hotel: More Quarters or The Three, Cape Town
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 11 miles (18 km)

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

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

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

In the afternoon, we 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 kiteboarders. We head back to our hotel in the late afternoon to relax (45 minute transfer).

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

Hotel: More Quarters or The Three, Cape Town
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 17 miles (28 km) or 22 miles (36 km)

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

After breakfast we 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. We’ll discover why as we cycle through the wine valley, admiring the town’s arresting French flair and lush, fertile landscapes. After exploring the village en route, we ride into lunch at a private wine estate for wine tastings and a tasty lunch before returning via shuttle to Cape Town.

Dinner tonight is at a local restaurant.

Hotel: More Quarters or The Three, Cape Town
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 15 miles (25 km) or 21 miles (34 km) – some on dirt roads

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

After breakfast, we board our bus and journey inland to Oudtshoorn (approximately 6-8 hours). We’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.

En route, we’ll stop and enjoy lunch. Late this afternoon, we arrive at our lodgings near Oudtshoorn—a charming, Victorian-flavored town nestled in the foothills of the Swartberg Mountains—and check into our lodge. Once we’re settled, we’ll set off on a short leg stretching ride exploring this beautiful area.

Please note: A morning ride in the apple region/Overberg may be offered instead today.

Dinner is at our lodge this evening.

Hotel: La Plume or De Zeekoe
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 8 miles (13 km) or 12 miles (20 km)

DAY 7: Ride through Meiringspoort / Tour Oudsthoorn

We spend this morning cycling through the picturesque Meiringspoort. A shuttle of about 45 minutes takes us to the village of De Rust where we will start and end our ride. This is a stunning, flat 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.

We have a hearty lunch in De Rust. After lunch, we head back towards Oudtshoorn to visit an ostrich farm where we learn all about these fascinating animals.

For dinner tonight, we enjoy at traditional South African braai, or barbeque, at our lodge.

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

DAY 8: Ride Knysna Lagoon / Drive along Garden Route

This morning we transfer to the scenic coastal town of Knysna. The drive bridges the divide between the semi-arid landscape of the Little Karoo and the lush, costal Garden Route. We 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 we drive through the towns of Wilderness, Sedgefield and Knysna, we’ll encounter a diverse landscape ranging from densely forested hills to craggy cliffs and secluded coves. Our ride today explores the town of Knysna. We begin on the outskirts of town and follow a bike path along the Knysna Lagoon, into and through town, onto Thesen Island and finish at the mouth of the lagoon, at Knysna's East Head.

Dinner tonight is at our lodge.

Hotel: Belvidere Manor or The Robberg
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 14 miles (23 km) or 24 miles (39 km)

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

After breakfast, we shuttle (approximately 30 minutes) to Rheenendal, just outside of Knysna. We begin our ride here, cycling through rolling farmland scenery, through some indigenous rain forest, 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, we shuttle (approximately 30 minutes) back to our lodge in Knysna for a relaxing afternoon overlooking the lagoon from the awesome gardens of our hotel.

And for those who want to do more cycling they can ride back from Buffels Bay to the railway station that we passed on our way in. A lovely afternoon cruise.

Dinner is on your own tonight.

Hotel: Belvidere Manor or The Robberg
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 17 miles (27 km) or 22 miles (36 km)

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

We 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 (Turaco) en route. Take 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.

We shuttle back to our accommodation, with some late afternoon free time for a swim or for digging into that book as you laze on your shaded patio.

Tonight, we celebrate our South African sojourn during a festive Farewell Dinner at our lodge.

Hotel: Belvidere Manor or The Robberg
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 26 miles (43 km) or 32 miles (51 km)

DAY 11: Transfer to George / Return home

VBT No-Air Package guests: After breakfast, transfer to the airport in George for your flight home.

Please note: VBT recommends scheduling your departing flight for noon or later; if your flight leaves earlier than noon, 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 approximately 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 collected for the airport tomorrow.

Hotel: Garden Court 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. La Plume is a working ostrich, alfalfa and vine farm with spectacular views of the Swartberg Mountains and Olifants River valley. A warm welcome waits at this charming 1902 Victorian homestead, where Karin has combined old world charm with modern comforts to ensure extraordinary service and personal attention. With private entrances, sunny verandahs and elegant, comfortable antiques, the air-conditioned bedrooms offer TV, mini bar, and abundant comforts.

Ilala Lodge

Ilala Lodge offers distinguished accommodation in a gracious and secluded ambiance. The hotel is ideally situated and is the closest to the Victoria Falls as well as 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

De Zeekoe

De Zeekoe is a working farm in the semi-desert of the Klein Karoo. It is situated at the end of Route 62, a fascinating inland meander that runs from Cape Town through vineyards, mountains and rivers. The guesthouse is made up of a historic colonial homestead that is over 150 years old. There are stunning views of the Swartberg Mountains and Olifants Riverbed and the whole area is malaria free so no need for medication.
Free WiFi Included

The Three

Once a residential home, The Three dates back to the 1770s and is a designated South African National Monument. Its name derives not only from its location—No. 3 Flower Street—but also from the fact that its rooftop bar and deck affords unforgettable views of Cape Town’s three most iconic mountains: Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, and Devil’s Peak. Within easy walking distance of the Gardens Shopping Centre, The Three underwent a complete renovation in 2010 and boasts an elegant dining room, lounge, and outdoor swimming pool. The four-star hotel has 15 stylish, air-conditioned rooms, each of which is comfortably equipped with a flat-screen cable/satellite television, electronic safe, private bath with shower and hair dryer, and complimentary wireless Internet access.
Free WiFi Included

More Quarters

Nestled in the heart of Cape Town’s Garden neighborhood, the More Quarters Hotel is perfectly situated to give you the most out of your Cape Town experience. The hotel—which won a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence in 2014—is within a short walk to popular boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants; as well as natural attractions like Table Mountain, Signal Hill and De Waal Park. The hotel also offers a complementary shuttle to the V&A Waterfront. Each room has a unique apartment-style layout complete with a bedroom, lounge, kitchenette, air conditioning, free Wi-Fi and satellite TV.
Free WiFi Included

Belvidere Manor

Overlooking a tranquil cove on the western end of Knysna Lagoon, the four-star Belvidere Manor Hotel consists of 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

Rhino Post Safari Lodge

Rhino Post Camp is a 16-bed lodge, set on the banks of the Mutlumuvi Riverbed, in a 12,000-hectare private wilderness concession in the Kruger National Park. This unique wilderness area offers an ideal place for encounters with the Big Five and allows visitors to track elephant and rhino on foot or from the comfort of open safari vehicles. Following a walking safari or game drive, guests can relax in the revitalizing swimming pool, or take in the views from the shaded patio, watching the abundant wildlife amble down to the waterhole. Sumptuous meals are served in the camp’s dining area.

Garden Court Hotel

Airport-area hotel, Johannesburg, South Africa. There are 253 rooms within 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, dinner, and drinks, and the option to have light meals at Rosie O’Gradys Pub.
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Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With LOw-Cost Trip Extensions

Pre-Trip Extension - Kruger Park Safari

3 nights for only $1,195

Post-Trip Extension - Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

3 nights for only $945

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