Skip to Main Content

Cycling South Africa: Cape Town & the Garden Route Reviews

5 out of 5 stars

Amazing South African adventure!

The range of places that we saw on our South African tour was staggering; from Kruger park on the pre-trip, through Cape Town, to the interior of the Western Cape “Little Karoo” area, all the way to the Indian Ocean and the gorgeous Garden Route!
Our leaders gave us a massive welcome and shared their hearts and souls with us. We learned about the country’s history and multi-cultural makeup, as well as the flora and stars of the southern hemisphere. I am now looking for a night-sky laser pointer like the one that Henk used.
The food was delicious everywhere, and the local South Africans are always smiling, super friendly and approachable. The home hosted dinner in Cape Town was a highlight.
The scenery is always changing and uniquely fascinating, and we saw so much of it, including mountains, river canyons, coastal beaches. Wildlife is ever present and varied – yes, there are baboons and impalas everywhere it seems.
The leaders and drivers were such a cohesive team that made us all feel like special guests in their beautiful country! We were spoiled with a designated bus that transferred us to and from our rides and explorations every day.
I cannot say enough about what an amazing tour this is.

Caroline, Vermont

5 out of 5 stars

Extraordinary People

Everything positive you can say about a tour applies, but the extraordinary part was what happened when my husband fell and broke ribs. Middle of nowhere and we could not continue on. Guide who wasn’t supposed to be on trip at all make sure we were ok, VBT exceptional service in rebooking flights, and then there was the La Plume owners. She took personal care of me for days, negotiating with hospital staff, driving back and forth, and seeing to all needs. Extraordinary! Then her husband drove us an hour and a half to rejoin group. Think of the last time anyone spent 3 hours driving total strangers. Then Belvidere totally booked found a place for us for two weeks. Problem with a rental car? No problem- the owner drove us an hour to George airport. Our extended vacation has introduced us to some of the nicest people ever.

People lover, Winchester, CT, United States

5 out of 5 stars

TIA-This is Africa

If you love stunning scenery and photography, animals, shopping ( exchange rate on SA Rand excellent) beautiful African crafts and jewellry, delicious food & Wines & CYCLING, this trip is for you. It is an adventure and VBT endeavours to make it a SAFE, unique, enriching experience for all. We learned so much about the people of South Africa from our outstanding guides Kevin & Luke. #1 highlight was our pre-trip Kruger safaris! Unbelievable experience! Langa Township (Capetown’s Soweto) with a local was very eye opening and we always felt safe in our group. The cycling is listed Easy/moderate, but the Garden Route is mountainous! There are some VERY steep, challenging climbs and FAST, hairpin turn descents. Do hill training for this trip! There was always the option to shuttle up or down and our guides clearly explained this. No need to read maps at all, very straight roAds with little turning, or the van would be there to direct. We loved the SA singing and dancing that we also experienced ( not on itinerary) at the African Cafe evening and at V&A Waterfront. Did I mention the ANIMALS? Seeing The Big 5 on safari was incredible. We also did a day trip from Zimbabwe to Botswana for an additional safari in Chobe. Victoria Falls is beautiful and very WET, but 1/2 day walking there or a fly over would suffice. See a travel Doctor regarding up tp date vaccinations and malaria medication. Also, you need 2 or more pages for Visas for Zimbabwe and Botswana. Bring Rand and $USD with you and don’t leave ANY valuables in your suitcase ( I had Canadian $80.00 stolen during luggage transfer).

SarahL, Toronto, ON, Canada

5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic South Africa - Just do it!

From our first day at Kruger National Park until the last day when we said goodbye to our wonderful guides this trip exceeded our expectations. The diversity of scenery combined with the enthusiastic knowledge of our guide, Henk, made this biking adventure one that will not be forgotten. The biking was super, accommodations were great, food delicious and the people friendly. We enjoyed the hospitality of everyone we came in contact with leaving us with many great memories.

JBF1, Cape Cod, MA, United States

5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic Trip -- Unlike Any Other!

This was our tenth VBT trip, and will rank among the best. We did the pre-trip safari in Kruger Park and the post-trip extension to Victoria Falls. Taken as a whole, this was an amazing experience. The safari adventure included four rides through the park, with sightings of mating lions, baboons, giraffes, impalas, elephants by the ton, and zebras, just to name a few. The trackers were knowledgeable and the staff at the camp most hospitable. Biking in and around Cape Town was great. The scenery is outstanding. The excursions (Table Mountain, Cape of Good Hope, penguins, Wine Country, hosted dinner, township visit, etc.) were each uniquely interesting. Staying in the “Little Karoo” is educational and enjoyable. Ostrich meat is delicious! The Garden Route is beautiful. Victoria Falls is magnificent–taking a microlight flight over the Falls is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you will remember forever (but they’ll sell you pictures if you think your memory will fade…!).

Our tour leaders in South Africa, Henk and Gareth, were top-notch: enthusiastic, knowledgeable, responsive, caring, friendly, and good-humored. They are the kind of folks with whom you’d like to establish long-term friendships. And they went beyond the expected–retrieving an inadvertently-dropped ATM card from a restaurant, accompanying a guest who fell with her bike to an evaluation at a Cape Town hospital, and ensuring we got where we needed to be at the time we needed to be there.

I can’t say enough about this trip. It included great biking, fantastic scenery, exposure to contemporary issues of race and economics faced by South Africa, history and culture, and great camaraderie. Wonderful trip!

DougG, The Woodlands, TX

5 out of 5 stars

Spectacular trip! Would do it agian!

We Traveled To South Africa in January.
The weather was perfect!

Jennlee, Cape Cod, MA, United States

5 out of 5 stars

A bucket list trip

This trip will exceed your expectations on every level, the beauty of the countries, the animals you will see in the wild, the accommodations, the knowledge you will gain about South Africa from your trip leaders and the kindness and courtesy of the people you encounter.

Pesty, Pittsburgh

5 out of 5 stars

Great variety

Saw lots of different things. Henk, one of the leaders, was exceptional with his wealth of knowledge, enthusiasm, and humor.

kd551, Delaware, United States

5 out of 5 stars

S. Africa exceeded our best expectations

I never dreamed S. Africa could be so beautiful nor that the people there would be so gracious and friendly. Accommodations on this trip were 5 star including meals and lodging. I have to give credit to our Guides Henk and Kevin. They were walking history books and added volumes to the enjoyment everywhere we went. Anything we asked or needed they could provide. We have taken 20 or so VBT trips all of which have been wonderful however this trip is number one .

Golden Girl, Atlanta, GA

5 out of 5 stars

Africa?? Really??

This was probably the most enlightening trip I have had with VBT. ( we have been on nine of them) In many ways it was what I had hoped it would be and in many ways it was very educational for a dumb Yankee. The guides were experienced, delightful, helpful and interesting, a trait I have found in most VBT personnel, but these guys made the trip a delight. The fact that they brought Champaign for my birthday has nothing to do with this review.

BrumBelize, Delawhere

5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful variety of countries features

We had the best time seeing so many different parts of the country and its people. The riding was varied and the scenery was beautiful. We had every kind of weather South Africa has to offer including snow on the mountain tops and we enjoyed every minute of it.

BrumBelize, Delawhere

5 out of 5 stars

Gorgeous country

I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to South Africa including the pre-trip to Kruger, a highlight for sure. We had plenty of cycling, great food, wonderful accommodations and great support from the VBT guides and drivers.

4 out of 5 stars

Our Crazy Adventure

We loved our trip to South Africa including Kruger National Park. All of the accommodations were excellent except for the airport hotel in Johannesburg. It was only okay but had good food. Alan and Kevin, Henry and Yusuf were excellent guides and support. The rides were fun and a little challenging. We did have to do more highway than we prefer, but it was only a small part of the overall. I would have rated this trip five stars but the travel time to get to Zimbabwe for the post trip was unnecessarily long. We should not have had to stay over night in Johannesburg to get there. Overall, it was great fun!

LSP me, Salt Lake City, UT, United States

5 out of 5 stars

A truly exceptional trip!

If 5 stars is the maximum, this trip deserves 10. I did the pre-trip extension in Kruger which was an excellent addition and not to be missed. The cycling part of the trip, however, was unforgettable. Our TLs, Henk and Alan, were superb–so knowledgeable about the country, the history, and of course, all the cycling routes. Their enthusiasm and pride for country was palpable. The landscape was amazing–from Cape Town to the Karoo to the Garden Route. Every day was awesome and different and fostered appreciation for nature and this incredible country. The off-the-bike experiences were insightful and connected you with the locals which is an important component of any travel experience.
This trip was so terrific–if you’re thinking about doing it–please do–you will not be disappointed!

hmhnyc, New York, NY, United States

5 out of 5 stars

This is not an EASY trip

Hens and Alan our superb guides created an atmosphere of inquiry, humor, passion and compassion within the beauty of this land

Jacquie, Asheville, NC, United States

5 out of 5 stars

A great tour of South Africa

This cycling tour of South Africa was well planned and offered a variety of experiences and locations that provided much insight and pleasure. The tour offered excellent accommadations which made this not only a biking experience but a vacation.

KennyL, Montpelier, VT, United States

5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding trip to South Africa

Our trip to South Africa was really great. We did both the Pre and Post Trips and those were well worth the price. So many things about the trip were great. It would be very hard to try to list them all or rank them, but let me say that there was nothing about the trip that we were disappointed in. Even the very long flights from NYC to South Africa and back were well worth doing. While those were a lot of time to be on a plane, the folks from South African Airlines were great and made us as comfortable as possible.

I would strongly encourage everyone to take this trip !!!!

Mark and Sandy, Saunderstown, Rhode Isalnd

4 out of 5 stars

South Africa tour of the 2 cape provinces

This was our 5th cycling trip with VBT. Again VBT did not disappoint bringing the culture of South Africa to life for us. There were 14 guests on the trip. The trip leaders Allan and Gareth were assisted by the bus driver Yosef ( did so much more than driving the bus) and Henry (the bike mechanic extraordinaire and driver of the bike trailer). They were all very professional helpful and cheerful.
We took the pre-trip extension to Rhino Safari. In two days we saw an amazing number and variety of animals including up close ( but very safe ) encounters with the big 5 (lion, leopard,elephant, rhino and cape buffalo). Jungle accommodations were top notch (elevated cabins with canvas sided walls, secure outdoor shower, mosquitoe netted beds), animals right outside your cabin and there was delicious and abundant food on safari.
The cycling miles were short and there was more time spent traveling in the bus than we liked. There were big distances from day to day cycling spots But the cultural component made up for some of the short cycling miles. We had a sobering visit to the Capetown township and our tour leaders were very much upfront but optimistic about the difficulties that SA faces (11 official languages, a struggling economy, black middle class very slow to emerge post apartheid) A high point in Capetown was dinner in a local home. Sophia our hostess and Patrick her husband were awesome–great food, great wine, great conversation and laughter. We were made to feel that we knew them forever! Our stay at La Plume on the ostrich farm was magnificent. Overall the accommodations were very roomy with full kitchens in most (not that we ever used them because the included meals were overwhelmingly good). So many baboons seen on the cycling portion. If you take this trip DO NOT miss the pre-trip safari.

Response from: Customer Service

Thank you for your review! We have sent your feedback regarding the daily cycling mileage and bus rides to our product team.

pedirn, Boston MA

5 out of 5 stars

A trip of a lifetime

Our VBT Crew, Henk, Faizel, Ganief and Henry were the absolute best…knowledgable, fun, organized and very proud of their country! Our bike routes gave us a fabulous overview of the overwhelming beauty of South Africa. Thank you VBT, it was a trip of a lifetime.

Barb C, Denver, CO, United States

5 out of 5 stars

Great country

We Added on to a trip to the Congo to trek gorillas

Olive, Breckenridge co

5 out of 5 stars

Diverse trip

This was definitely one of the better VBT trips I have been on. In addition to the cycling, there were lots of additional activities planned that really helped us learn more about South Africa

1234, New York, NY, United States

5 out of 5 stars

BEST EVER

This trip exceeded our very high expectations. Pre trip safari was exceptional., biking portion was special – spectacular scenery. Trip leaders so much fun, accommodations excellent. Enjoyed Victoria Falls as well.

5 out of 5 stars

Tremendous variety of experiences

I have been on 6 VBT vacations, but found this one to have more variety, by far, than any of the other trips. From visiting a penquin colony, an ostrich farm, a gorgeous surf-crashing beach, a black township, outdoor bazaars, and vast vineyards to riding a huge gondola to the top of the mountain, the South Africa trip as it all. The food was amazing, tasty and nutritious, the company great, the guides super. Great experience.

Gene Jarstad, Seattle, WA, United States

5 out of 5 stars

Best VBT trip yet!

It’s tough to be disappointed when on a bicycling adventure in a foreign country. I was looking forward to this trip a lot, but I had no idea I would love it as much as I did. I was so impressed with the diversity of cultural experiences, the variation of topography, habitat, and geology, and the exposure to diverse and wonderful people. I very much appreciated the commitment to sustainable living emphasized during this trip, and I think the rest of the world can learn a lot about the importance of embracing diversity from South Africa. This trip was healing for me on so many levels and is one I will treasure for the rest of my life. Only trouble is I can probably never return as I can’t imagine ever being as enamored as I was on this trip.

Jennjar, Seattle, WA, United States

5 out of 5 stars

beautiful and bold

Our biking, our dining and our activities offered us a broad range of experiences. We ate in an African restaurant where I had my face painted beautifully and at a vegan family owned farm dedicated to sustainability, music and native wild life. Our rides varied from mountain to trail to water front. The waterfall stop gave us a fun cool down and let the brave jump in from rock cliffs into the deep and beautiful pool. Of course, the pre-trip safari was a highlight with an abundance of sightings of so many animals.

nancee, Minnesota, United States

4 out of 5 stars

Great Trip; Some Negatives

The pre-extension safari was amazing. Truly the highlight of the trip, as was the friendships we made with our fellow travelers. The VBT tour leaders were great and highly knowledgeable. The food was generally very good with some truly excellent meals. The biking was good but not great; there was no back road biking and some of the routes lacked imagination. There was way too much time spent on the motor coach. We visited too many locations that were crowded with tourists which is unusual for a biking trip (this was my 5th biking tour). Having said all that I would still recommend this trip. South Africa is beautiful and the people are wonderful. And while this trip flowed differently from most biking tours it was still a trip of a lifetime; we visited many interesting venues. One additional note: we skipped the Victoria Falls post-trip and spent 3 days on the beach in Camp’s Bay. Absolutely gorgeous beach with a lot of great restaurants and bars, plus the drinks and meals were very inexpensive (exchange rate was about 13 Rand to 1 USD at the time we traveled). Was a great way to finish the trip.

Bob K, Charlottesville, VA, United States

5 out of 5 stars

South Africa

We have done many VBT trips to Europe; we had always been reluctant to go to Africa. I am glad we did! The trip to South Africa was truly amazing. Not only is the area beautiful, the cycling was outstanding. I left with a much better understanding of the politics and challenges facing this lovely place. Would highly recommend this experience.

5 out of 5 stars

Trip of a lifetime...

This was our 16th VBT trip and South Africa did not disappoint in gorgeous landscapes, historical and cultural perspectives, exceptional food/accommodations, and safari animal sightings. Pre and post trips are an absolute must and even consider adding more on to the front or back end since you’re travelling so far. Itinerary allows you to get a good “feel” for all of South Africa from coastal Cape Town to high desert of Klein Karoo to garden route in and around Knysna…however….major downside is the amount of shuttling to and from bike routes…and if you’re not comfortable riding on the “other” side of the road with little or no shoulder with considerable traffic and drivers with little consideration when passing bikers, then you’ll spend even more time on the shuttle…that being said…put South Africa on your bucket list!!!

janejoe, Coronado, CA, United States

5 out of 5 stars

A fabulous introduction to the Western Cape

Our trip was packed with highlights and our March/April weather was perfect. The guides and the rest of the team did a great job in providing seamless support. The biking provided a good, if challenging, start to the biking season for those of us coming off a winter without outdoor biking. The scenery was fantastic and the guides knowledgeable and fun. Three days of this trip are taken up with getting to and from South Africa. That was the bad part, but truly worth it. The lodging and meals were excellent.

dawnm, Oregon, United States

5 out of 5 stars

Best one yet

Fantastic trip. The scenery is stunning and lodgings are unique. Loved it! The bike riding was easy to moderate and the trip leaders were amazing. Funniest group we have ever been with. Couldn’t have been better.
Deborah Finger

Debie, Castle Rock, CO, United States

5 out of 5 stars

An extraordinary experience.

Our VBT guide team was knowledgeable, professional and great fun. They introduced us to the stunning scenery and to the political and social complexities of life in South Africa while fully attending to ride support. The pre and post extensions to Kapama and Victoria Falls provided exposure to wildlife and to beauty of the African bush and simply cannot be missed.

chrisw, Lexington, MA, United States

5 out of 5 stars

Astounding variety: trip exceeded expectations!

Extraordinary number of different experiences made this trip a stand-out! Fabulous pre-trip safari included game drives, bush walk, and visit to an elephant rehab center, plus fantastic guides and accommodations. Challenging to sit quietly as a male lion roared and walked within 2 feet of our legs, while a female vocalized from the other side of the Rover. Fascinating to watch the interplay between a giraffe kicking at hippos, while an injured hippo stayed away from the group, and Cape buffalo and huge number of stunning birds enjoyed the same water hole. Charmed as a herd of elephants taught a 2-week old how to pick a branch and steer it to the mouth, then shuffled the baby to the center of the pack and circled the wagons to protect it when other females trumpeted an alarm (due to pesky young bull elephants who were hassling them nearby.) Biking was not the point, but a means to see this stunning country, and we cycled far less than other VBT trips we’ve done. Traded time on a bike to enjoy hike out a boardwalk to see penguins, tour of national gardens (fabulous – our group would have spent more time here), magnificent cable car ride to top of Table Mountain, hikes at Cape of Good Hope and along beaches, interesting tour of an ostrich farm while housed in the luxurious guest house, quick stop in lovely Stellenbosch (another place we’d love to have spent more time), bike ride and wine tasting in elegant Franschoeck (think Napa with the Alps on either side of a narrow valley), desert ride in the Karoo with swim at beautiful waterfall, bike rides along the coastal Garden route watching whales and some of the most impressive surf our surfing friends had seen (also included two of the harder rides of the trip). Visits to a poor township with a candid and eloquent resident and a talk by Mandela’s former prison guard and friend added significantly to the depth of the trip and understanding of this country that still struggles with remnants of apartheid. Long bus rides on a few days flew by as our knowledgeable (and hilarious) guides shared history of their country, which reflected their blend of pride and rueful cynicism about its prospects. Post-trip extension to Zimbabwe was a must-do too as our group split between helicopter ride to see Victoria Falls, raft trip on the Zambeezi (19 named rapids and biggest whitewater our group had done, including Grand Canyon and other major rivers), and a horseback safari with close-up visits with Cape buffalo, elephants, kudu, impala, baboons, and giraffe. The charming village at the Falls and our lovely hotel were delightful. Sunset cruise above the Falls to see hippos, crocs, bird life, and mist rising from Falls as you’re served canapes and drinks was a romantic final toast to an amazing trip. Wherever we were, we encountered wildlife and birds at close hand (think of sipping a glass of wine and reading on your patio while baboons, warthogs, and kudu are less than 10 feet from you) and the most varied ecologies we’ve ever seen in such a short area. Truly a vacation to remember.

LaurieNH, Durham, NH, United States

4 out of 5 stars

great bike trip and leaders

There are lots of shuttling and flights, but what a great overview of South African scenery and animals you will see! The riding is more moderate than easy as it is hot and the wind does blow in your face as you climb up the hills or pump along the flats. The meals were varied and delicious allowing for many samples and flavors; the wine was fabulous at the winery we visited. Don’t miss the safari or the post trip to Victoria Falls!

Mike B, Edmonds, WA, United States

4 out of 5 stars

It was awesome but a few bumps along the way

This was the best way to see south Africa in a short amount of time! The weather was great. The scenery was exceptional! The leaders were fun. The lodging was excellent except for the Robberg Beach Lodge. (No towels, spotty dining room service, but the location was great) I think it would be a great improvement if bottled water on the bike trip and bus rides would be free and more a accessable

Response from: Customer Service

Thanks for your excellent review. Our product manager appreciates your feedback and recommendations.

Jillybean21, Louisville, KY, United States

5 out of 5 stars

It was a fantastic trip!!

My trip to South Africa and the Garden route was so much more than I expected. From the beginning every minute was filled with culture, sightseeing, and information about the country. There was a good balance between cycling and seeing/doing other things our location offered. We saw wineries, ostriches, gorgeous beaches, animals, Table Mt.& a township. We ate African food and experienced a home cooked meal at a local farm. Our guides, assistant, & bus driver were always helpful and so knowledgeable about
anything we asked. Our guides provided several surprises along the way. Once we
stopped to see a monument of Nelson Mandela at the prison from where he was released. It was an amazing trip. I would also recommend the pre and post trips.

Juanita, Castle Rock, CO, United States

4 out of 5 stars

Experience South Africa

VBT does a great job of exposing travelers to the SA experience. Be cautioned there is extensive transfers on this tour. I guess you can’t have it both ways, trade the transfers for the exposure.

Farmer Jim, Massachusetts, United States

5 out of 5 stars

Truly Memorable

A thoroughly enjoyable and full journey into the great beauty and diversity of South Africa. Accommodations, food, guides and support personnel were superior. The actual cycling though suffered with some of the long commutes and the country’s seasonal winds. Still, I would highly recommend this trip.

Alain, Hebron, CT, United States

5 out of 5 stars

Cape Town cycle

Each day better safari was 5 stars guides complement ed. Eachother

Trialathon, Ny

5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful experience

Tour exceeded expectations in all respects. Beautiful scenery, outstanding food, accommodations, leaders and experiences on the bike tour as well as the pre- and post-trip extensions. We visited many different areas of South Africa and received a great overview of the country and its people. One note – because of the size of South Africa, the bike tour includes daily shuttles and rather low biking mileage. This is not the tour to take if you are only interested in racking up miles.

VirginiaS, Athens, GA

5 out of 5 stars

South Africa - Awesome

Awesome trip with superb guides, sites and rides. Hotels and food met every expectation. Safari a must and a great life experience.

Joel, Pompano Beach, FL

5 out of 5 stars

Love it!

Biking around South Africa was the best! Great way to see the country!

Tavy, Southern Florida

5 out of 5 stars

Amazing trip with incredible guides

The guides were the highlight of the trip. Their knowledge of South Africa and their palpable love of their country made each day an amazing, life-changing experience. The scenery on the bike rides was incredible and the cultural experiences were unforgettable. I fell in love with the country and its people and was sad to leave.

BrendaQ, Denver, Colorado