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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


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

  • Take the cableway to the top of Table Mountain for views of the Cape Peninsula.
  • Discover the beautiful indigenous flora of the famed Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.
  • Learn about the local Xhosa life during a memorable Langa township tour.
  • Cycle the roads of Table Mountain National Park to the coastline of Misty Cliffs.
  • Gather with a South African family for an exclusive home-cooked dinner.
  • Pedal the wine valley of Franschhoek, with lunch and tastings at a wine estate.
  • Delight in the wildflower valleys and sandstone mountains of Little Karoo.
  • Ride and explore the lush, majestic Garden Route for two days, from forest to sea.

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

  • Roundtrip international airfare
  • 9 nights in 4-star hotels and guesthouses
  • 23 meals - 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 6 dinners
  • Transfers
  • AND the option to add our Low-Cost Trip Extensions: Pre-trip: Kruger Park Safari • 3 nights for $1195 and Post-trip: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe • 3 nights for $945
  • Please note that Advance Seat Reservation is only available on flights operated by South African Airways. Please visit our Air FAQs page for details

Both Vacation Options Include

  • FREE use of a bicycle and helmet
  • Service of two VBT Trip Leaders
  • 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 12 Days Includes round-trip international airfare


Air Package Plus 12 Days Includes round-trip international airfare


Air Package Plus 12 Days Includes round-trip international airfare

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2015 Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $445 | 2015 Land Only Single Supplement: $445 | 2016 Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $495 | 2015 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. 2015/2016 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. Please visit our Air FAQs page for 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

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 about 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

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

After breakfast, we shuttle to the Table Mountain Cableway where we will visit the top of iconic Table Mountain and savor 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 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 memorable home-cooked dinner.

Hotel: More Quarters
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 11 miles (17.5 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 hearty 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 kite boarders. We head back to our hotel in the late afternoon to relax (45-minute transfer).

Dinner tonight is at a local restaurant.

Hotel: More Quarters
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 17 or 22 miles (27 or 35 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 in the late afternoon. For those with energy, there is the option to cycle a bit further in the valley.

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
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 15 or 21 miles (24 or 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 accommodations 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.

Dinner is at our 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 / 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 back in De Rust. Then after lunch we head back towards Oudtshoorn to tour an ostrich farm, learning all about these fascinating animals.

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

Hotel: La Plume
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 14 or 28 miles (22.5 or 45 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 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.

Dinner tonight is at our lodge.

Hotel: Belvidere Manor
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 14 or 24 miles (22.5 or 39 km)

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

After breakfast, we shuttle (about 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 (about 30 minutes) back to our lodge in Knysna for a relaxing afternoon overlooking the lagoon from the awesome gardens of our hotel.

Those who want to do more cycling can ride back from Buffels Bay to the railway station that we passed on our way in.

Dinner is on your own tonight.

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

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.

We celebrate our South African sojourn tonight during a festive farewell dinner at our 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 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 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: 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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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.
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 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 30,000-acre 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.

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.

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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