ExpeditionPlus! South Africa
Join us for a journey of over 1500km (900 miles) through the Eastern and Western Cape provinces of South Africa. Our route follows roads used by pioneers in ox wagons as they pushed into the interior, through the "thirstland" of the aboriginal Khoikhoi and along the breath-taking coastline towards the Cape of Good Hope. Please note, this route is subject to small changes as we finalize hotels.
- THE EASTERN CAPE - Frontier country, heartland of the Xhosa people and homeland of Nelson Mandela.
- SIBUYA GAME RESERVE - Pristine African bush experience.
- ADDO NATIONAL PARK - Famous for its herds of elephants.
- THE KAROO - Home of the country's largest ostrich farms.
- HERMANUS - Sea Safari and rest day at this beautifully situated coastal hotel.
- CAPE TOWN AND THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE - After an epic cycling journey across rural South Africa enjoy modern and vibrant Cape Town and a spectacular ride out to the Cape of Good Hope.
***Read more about the ExpeditionPlus! concept to see if this type of tour is for you.
We require that all participants complete the Expedition Acknowledgement form which emphasizes the daily protocols on an ExpeditionPlus! ride. ***View Day-by-Day ItineraryHide Day-by-Day Itinerary
Day 1: Port Elizabeth
Highlights: Welcome to South Africa
Your guides will meet you on arrival at the Port Elizabeth airport and transfer you to the hotel to rest up before the welcome dinner. We meet this evening for dinner together, to kick off the start of your Cape journey.
Cycling Distance: No Ride today. Meals: D
Lodging: Isango Gate or Singa Lodge
Day 2: Port Elizabeth transfer to Bedford
Highlights: Coastal warm-up ride
Today we will have a bike fitting followed by a practice ride along the Indian Ocean coast line. Stretch out your legs after a long day of travel while enjoying the scenery around one of Port Elizabeth’s favored coastal training routes. Return to the hotel to freshen up before we have lunch and shuttle to the town of Bedford. We will check into our guesthouse with time to spare for a walk around town or to take short ride before dinner.
Cycling Distance: 34 km (22 miles). Meals: B, L, D
Lodging: The Duke of Bedford Inn
Day 3: Bedford to Grahamstown
Highlights: Colonial Grahamstown
We have a big day of riding today to loosen up our legs and settle into the Eastern Cape’s iconic landscape. Founded in 1820, Colonial Grahamstown offers many restaurants, bars and churches to explore. This afternoon, a local raconteur will join us to recount the events of the Frontier Wars which ravaged this region for 70 years during the 19th century. You will have dinner on your own tonight. We will offer many suggestions and allow you to discover all that Grahamstown offers.
Cycling Distance: 94 km (58 miles). Meals: B
Lodging: The Graham Hotel
Day 4: Grahamstown to Kenton-on-Sea
Highlights: Sibuya Game Reserve
This morning we ride towards the coast, passing aloe-covered livestock farms along the way. We cycle to Kenton-on-Sea, and will then take a boat up the Kariega River to the Sibuya Game Reserve. We will enjoy an afternoon game drive to view some of the wildlife roaming the reserve. Tonight we will sleep in a tented camp with elephants and rhinos nearby in the African bush.
Cycling Distance: 60 km (37 miles). Meals: B, L, D
Lodging: Sibuya Game Reserve tented Camp
Day 5: Sibuya Game Reserve to Addo Elephant Park
Highlights: Nanaga Farmstall, elephants
This morning we pedal inland towards the Addo Elephant National Park. Our route takes us through a historical dairy farming region and game reserves that once served as livestock farms. For lunch you will have the opportunity to sample many of the local specialties at the Nanaga Farmstall. We will spend the next two nights in Addo National Park where you will enjoy daily elephant sightings from the terrace of your chalet overlooking the park.
Cycling Distance: 112 km (70 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Addo Elephant National Park Main Rest Camp - Chalets
Day 6: Addo Elephant Park
Free day! Rest your legs and relax in Addo National Park as we enjoy a game drive and marvel at the wide range of biodiversity. Choose from several activities to sign up for and explore South Africa’s third largest national park.
Cycling Distance: Day Off. Meals: B, L
Lodging: Addo Elephant National Park Main Rest Camp - Chalets
Day 7: Addo Elephant National Park to Kirkwood
Today we venture further inland towards the province's citrus-growing region in the Sundays River Valley. We will stop for lunch at the Daniell Cheetah Breeding Project where you will have the opportunity for a brief cheetah encounter before continuing to Kirkwood for the night
Cycling Distance: 84 km (52 miles). Meals: B, L, D
Lodging: Kronenhoff Guesthouse
Day 8: Kirkwood to Steytlerville
Highlights: Big sky country, beautiful canyon riding
We leave this morning for a long ride to Steytlerville, a farming hamlet boasting a proud history since 1875. Our ride takes us through classic Karoo country, with big skies and sheep farms with warm hospitality.
Cycling Distance: 115 km (71 miles) Meals: B, L, D
Lodging: Royal Hotel
Day 9: Steytlerville to Willowmore
Highlights: Picutresque Willowmore, Apartheid Museum, Willow Guesthouse Bar
Today's route will boast a slow and gradual increase in altitude as we move towards the foot of the Swartberg Mountains. We will end in the town of Willowmore which in was developed in the late 19th as a gateway between the farmlands of the Great Karoo and the coastal town of Knysna. The town’s history is tightly intertwined with that of our accommodations for the evening, the Willow Guesthouse. We will enjoy dinner together at the guesthouse tonight.
Cycling Distance: 83 km (51 miles). Meals: B, L, D
Lodging: The Willow guesthouse
Day 10: Willowmore to De Rust
A big day of riding today as we leave Willowmore for De Rust. Our route takes us through the heart of the Karoo, in the shadow of the Swartberg (Black) Mountains. The long, straight road and dry, scrubby bush give great insight into why the locals called this the "Thirstland". Our hotel is located in the quiet farming community of De Rust.
Cycling Distance: 112 km (69 miles). Meals: B, L, D
Lodging: House Martin guest house
Day 11: De Rust to Prince Albert - shuttle to Oudtshoorn
Highlights: Wine Country, Meiringspoort Pass
Today we will ride up through a beautiful canyon and over the Meiringspoort pass down into Prince Albert Valley. We will have lunch in the quaint town of Prince Albert before shuttling over the dusty and rocky Swartbergs pass to Oudtshoorn. Oudtshoorn is the hub of the Karoo farming region and home of the country's largest ostrich farms. We will stay in Oudtshoorn for two nights.
Cycling Distance: 75 km (46 miles). Meals: B, L, D
Lodging: Hlangana Lodge
Day 12: Rest day in Oudtshoorn
Highlights: Ostriches, Cango Caves, Meerkats
Take the day to explore Oudtshoore, the heart of ostrich farming in South Africa. These birds were originally farmed for their luxurious feathers, catapulting the income of farmers to spectacular heights. Many of the so-called ostrich palaces still stand as testament to the sudden surge in income to the region. After the crash of the feather industry in the early 20th century, many of the farmers lost that income and some took to farming the birds for their meat. You will have the choice of visiting an ostrich farm, the Cango Caves, or participate in some Meerkat spotting this afternoon.
Cycling Distance: Rest Day or take a ride to the Cango Caves and back 52 km (32 miles).
Lodging: Hlangana Lodge
Day 13: Oudtshoorn to Calitzdorp
Highlights: The port wine region
We leave early to avoid the heat as we head out on the R62 towards Calitzdorp. Nestled between the Swartberg range and the coastal Langeberg (Long) Mountains, the route offers picturesque landscapes as we ride through South Africa's port wine region. We spend the night in Calitzdorp after tasting the region's premier port wines.
Cycling Distance: 75 km (47 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Port Wine guesthouse
Day 14: Calitzdorp to Ladismith
Highlights: Quiet country life, vineyards and beautiful views of Towerkop Mountain
We continue through the port wine region ending the day's ride at a boutique wine estate. We will take the rest of the day on this working farm to explore the vineyards and taste the grapes!
Cycling Distance: 66 km (41 miles). Meals: B, L, D
Day 15: Ladismith to Barrydale
Highlights: Eclectic Barrydale and The Karoo Art Hotel
We continue along the R62 towards Barrydale, a lively little farming town that services a community established around 1700.As trade between farmers and the larger centers increased during the late 1800s, Barrydale became an important crossroads town. Today it is synonymous with the verdant valleys of the Little Karoo. It has recently become one of many small farming hamlets that has attracted an eclectic group of urban dwellers in search of a quieter life and slower pace.
Cycling Distance: 83 km (51 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Karoo Art Hotel
Day 16: Barrydale to Montagu
Highlights: Cycling the Famous Route 62
Today we will be cycling through a mix of rolling farmlands, vineyards and citrus orchards. As we wind down Route 62, we'll pedal through valleys of the Overberg mountains before arriving in Montagu. We'll spend the night in this quaint town, best known for it's dried fruit production.
Cycling Distance: 65 km (40 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Minmosa Lodge
Day 17: Montagu to Napier
Highlights: Cycling through Cogmans Kloof canyon
Today we leave the interior and start heading towards the coast. Our route continues through the Breede River Valley undulating with several important climbs. We will spend the night in Napier where we'll be greeted with Overberg hospitality and meet some local friends for dinner.
Cycling Distance: 115 km (71 miles). Meals: B, L, D
Lodging: Pascal's of Napier
Day 18: Napier to Hermanus
Highlights: Beautiful Costal views in Hermanus
This morning we head to the coastal town of Hermanus. Founded by itinerant farmer and school teacher, Hermanus Pieterse, this holiday and fishing town is a popular destination for domestic and international visitors alike. The first half of our ride climbs up and down before we start the breathtaking descent towards the ocean. We will spend two nights in our hotel which sits along the stunning Atlantic coast.
Cycling Distance: 92 km (57 miles). Meals: B, L, D
Lodging: Windsor Hotel
Day 19: Rest day in Hermanus
Highlights: Hermanus, Sea Safari
Today we will take a break and soak in this beautiful coastal town. In the morning we'll take a boat into the Atlantic Ocean for a Sea Safari. Odds are we'll spot penguins, sharks and a range of native birds. In the afternoon you'll have time to meander through the local shops or take a stroll along the coast. Hermanus also offers a wide selection of restaurants perfect for tasting the local seafood.
Cycling Distance: Rest day. Meals: B, L
Lodging: Windsor Hotel
Day 20: Hermanus to Gordons Bay
Highlights: Epic Coastal Ride
Today's ride is a coastal epic, with spectacular ocean views for much of the route. We end the ride in Gordons Bay with views over False Bay, and in eyeshot of our final destination, Cape Town.
Cycling Distance: 86 km (53 miles). Meals: B, L, D
Lodging: Manor on the Bay
Day 21: Gordons Bay to Franschhoek
Highlights: Helshoogte Pass
Today's spectacular ride winds through the heart of the Cape wine lands. After a short transfer to skip a main freeway, we start our route from Elgin through apple country and into Franschhoek over the Franschoek Pass, a hearty climb and one of the favorite training grounds for local cyclists. The views at the top of the pass melt away any fatigue from the climb. From here we'll continue into the Franschhoek Valley and stop at a winery for lunch.
Cycling Distance: 60 km (37 miles). Meals: B, L winery lunch
Lodging: Protea Hotel Franschhoek
Day 22: Franschhoek to Cape Town
Highlights: Cape Town
The route for today will pass through a mixture of farmland, urban residential and commercial areas close to Cape Town. We emerge on Table Bay coast and make our way into Cape Town via the commuter cycle network to our Waterfront hotel.
Cycling Distance: 90 km (56 miles). Meals: B
Lodging: Victoria and Alfred Hotel
Day 23: Cape Town to the Cape of Good Hope
Highlights: One of the iconic rides in South Africa
Today is a big day of biking as we tackle part of the Cape Town Cycle Tour route. Our route includes Victoria Drive and the iconic Chapman's Peak Drive as we head south towards the Cape. After a long morning of beautiful coastal riding you'll arrive at our much anticipated destination, the Cape of Good Hope! After more than 1500 km of biking across South Africa we'll celebrate the end of our unforgettable journey. We'll eat lunch together at the iconic light house before shuttling back to Cape Town to enjoy a final celebratory evening together.
Cycling Distance: 78 km (48 miles). Meals: B, L, D
Lodging: Victoria and Alfred Hotel
Day 24: Cape Town
Highlights: Walking tour to explore Cape Town
After breakfast this morning join us for a walk around Cape Town to learn a bit about the history of one of the most iconic cities in Africa.
HighlightsA game drive through Addo National Park , Coastal town of Hermanus, Visit an ostrich farm, Wine tasting in the Cape Winelands, Riding in the shadow of Table Mountain, Visit to the Cape of Good Hope and penguin colony , A Sea SafariKeep in Mind: We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.
Includes24 days, 23 nights' accommodation; use of a quality road or hybrid bicycle; all breakfasts, 14 lunches, 18 dinners; park fees at Addo and Cape Point Reserve; game drive at Addo National Park; 2 local guides and driver
Begin/EndPort Elizabeth / Cape Town
Arrive/DepartPort Elizabeth via Johannesburg / Cape Town
Total Distance1550 km (957 miles)
Daily Distance81 km (50 miles) Average per riding day.
Expect to ride between 40-70 miles a day. Hot conditions can be expected in the Eastern Cape, with possibility of windy conditions in the Western Cape. While the route generally experiences light traffic and most drivers are considerate of cyclists, due to long stretches of straight road, some traffic can be fast moving. Road conditions vary from smooth asphalt to coarse tar with the occasional stretch of single-lane concrete roads in remote areas.
TermsTerms & Conditions
Dates Price Private Room Charge Notes
* We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.
Five Reasons to Visit South Africa
Highlights on this trip of a lifetime: ExpeditionPlus! South Africa
Tour Leader Rick Lankford Explores South Africa
This article features a Q&A with tour leader Rick Lankford. Rick shares exciting tour details after his return from scouting our South Africa expedition.
- Five Reasons to Visit South Africa