Itinerary: Cape Explorer Tour
Copyright Great African Outdoors CC, 2009
BMW F 800 GS or BMW F650 GS
Good accommodation in hotels & lodges
Breakfasts & dinners
Activities, entrances & toll fees
Experienced motorcycle guide & driver
Support vehicle, trailer, tools and spare bike
Comprehensive motorbike insurance
Travel and medical insurances
Protective riding gear
Visa fees and taxes
Any personal expenses
Pre/post tour accommodation (can be arranged on request)
Fuel + Oil
An unforgettable adventure on two wheels, meeting every expectation and in typical GAO style. Beginning in Cape Town we ride in an easterly direction through wine lands and mountain ranges on to Montagu and Oudtshoorn in the Klein Karoo. Gravel roads lead us to the Addo Elephant National Park. Our route takes us back along the Tsitsikamma Forest and Garden Route with visits to Knysna and Mossel Bay along the way. On reaching Arniston, we stop off at Cape Agulhas, the southern most tip of Africa. Heading towards Cape Town, the ride takes us via Stellenbosch and the Cape Point Nature Reserve back to Cape Town.
Day 1: Cape Town - Montagu/220 km (20% gravel)
Meet the GAO tour guide. Transfer from your hotel to the GAO offices driving via Bloubergstrand. From here you can enjoy one of the most famous views of Table Mountain and the surrounding city. We continue on to the GAO offices where we meet the rest of the team and receive our bikes. After completing the formalities and checking out our bikes, the route takes us up the diverse Baines Kloof Pass with it's winding roads and great views, past the towns of Worcester and Robertson on to Montagu. This quaint town known for it's hot springs, was founded in 1851 and lies in a fertile valley between the Keisie and Kingna rivers. Arrival in the late afternoon just in time to enjoy and relax in the hot springs.
Day 2: Montagu - Oudtshoorn/240 km (20% gravel)
Today we explore the many small passes along Route 62. A stop at Seweweekspoort will give you good photo opportunities and even better biking opportunities as you wind it up in the bends on gravel. Route 62 is one of the most beautiful and diverse routes in South Africa. Between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth it offers riders an interesting and relaxing alternative to the busy N2 freeway. This country road meanders through the fertile valleys of the Klein Karoo, past rugged rock formations, the tops of which are covered in snow in winter. Time and again, the road leads over steep passes, which open up to spectacular views of the wide open countryside. Oudtshoorn would be a small sleepy town behind the mountains, if it wasn't for the ostrich show farms and it's rich history. Here we stay on a farm outside town with beautiful surroundings. Relax you weary bones in the heated baths and enjoy some of the local cuisine.
Day 3: Oudtshoorn and surrounds/220 km (40% gravel)
Exploring one of South Africa's most extraordinary passes, riding the Swartberg Pass is an absolute must! We have enough time to meander around and stop for lunch in the little hamlet of Prince Albert a colourful country town in the middle of the Great Karoo. It lies some 400 kilometers northeast of Cape Town and is surrounded by a dramatic mountain landscape. To the south we see the towering Groot Swartberg mountains (2100 metres) which separate the Great Karoo from the Little Karoo. A stunning road leads us over the 1536 meter high Swartberg Pass back to Oudtshoorn. The 72 km long serpentine of untarred road was built by the famous road constructor Thomas Baines between 1882 and 1887. In the afternoon we return to our lodge via the Meiringspoort.
Day 4: Oudtshoorn - Addo Elephant National Park/400 km (20% gravel)
Let's ride! Today we have a long day ahead of us and will be spending a lot of time in the saddle. We don't want to reach the Addo Elephant National Park too late. After all we're there to see the Big 5. Accommodation will be in the park chalets and the game drives will be done in open park vehicles - very exciting! History tells us that the first settlers in the Addo region began decimating big elephant herds because they frequently devastated their fields and plantations. The elephant numbers decreased continuously until eventually there were no more that a dozen left. The remaining elephants were placed under protection when the Addo Elephant Park was established in 1931. Today approximately 400 elephants live in the park as well as about 450 buffaloes, numerous herds of zebra and a number of other antelope species. In 2003 six lions and some hyenas were released into the park and they have adapted very well to their new environment. The park is continuously being extended and currently comprises and area of 145000 hectares.
Day 5: Addo Elephant National Park/No riding!
The whole day is available for game drives. Experience the variety of game and bush surroundings from an open game drive vehicle. The park also deserves a visitor's attention for some of the smaller creatures such as the flightless dung beetle, which has managed to survive in only a few areas within South Africa. These quirky insects roll the elephant dung into big balls and transport them into subterranean breeding chambers. In this way, a perfect recycling system has developed and the digested plants eventually become dung for the soil.
Day 6. Addo - Knysna/400 km (20% gravel)
Today, a short ride takes us to the Eastern Cape city of Port Elizabeth. From here we take the N2 coastal freeway up to the Langeberg turn off and follow a beautiful range of mountains. The Prince Alfred Pass which is the last pass of the day, will take us two hours before we reach the quaint town of Knysna, one of the most popular tourist destinations in South Africa. Knysna's enchanting multifaceted natural setting is marked by the Knysna Lagoon and the two spectacular sentinels, the Knysna Heads, that guard the narrow entrance to the bay from the sea. An abundance of beautiful beaches and the ocean, dense indigenous forests, sweet water lakes and the Outeniqua Mountains altogether form a paradise for holiday makers. Famous for it's oysters, why not enjoy a glass of good South African sparkling wine and some oysters at the end of a long day!
Day 7: Knysna - Mossel Bay/280 km (tar)
It's time to explore the Garden Route and it's various passes. We also take time to stop off at some of the view points giving us breathtaking views of the long, white sandy beaches. Towards afternoon we arrive in Mossel Bay, our stop over for the day. There's time to visit the old museum and see the replica of a Caravelle used to sail around the Cape in 1488. The Portuguese explorer Bartholomeu Diaz was the first European to land at Mossel Bay in 1488 followed by Vasco da Gama in 1497. Following his successful landing, the place became an important port of call for many Portuguese ships to fill up their fresh water and stock up on provisions. Other attractions include the shell museum and old post office tree.
Day 8. Mossel Bay - Arniston/340km (tar)
Riding further west, we stop off in the historical town of Swellendam to visit the Colonial Museum and to admire some of the original Cape Dutch architecture. Riding on, we arrive at Cape Agulhas, the most southern point in Africa and the "official" place where the warm Indian and cool Atlantic Oceans meet. Take time to enjoy this very special moment, it's also a good opportunity to take some photos. The waters near the coast are quite shallow and known as the best fishing grounds in South Africa. They are called the "Agulhas Bank" and are less than 100 metres deep. Afterwards we take a ride to the small seaside village of Arniston where we relax and stop off for the rest of the day. Time to take a walk on the beach to relax those weary limbs.
Day 9: Arniston - Stellenbosch/260km (30% gravel)
Today we take a ride on some exciting gravel roads before reaching South Africa's whale capital, Hermanus. From here we follow the spectacular coastal road leading us all along the False Bay until we reach Stellenbosch, the second oldest town in South Africa. In 1679, the town was developed from a settlement of Dutch immigrants. We park off at our lodge and have time to enjoy a leisurely stroll through this historical university town. Enjoy a local wine tasting and great dinner.
Day 10: Stellenbosch - via Cape Point to Cape Town/220km (tar)
Make the most of our last day on the bikes! The Cape of Good Hope and Chapman's Peak Drive are the highlights. The Cape Point Nature Reserve is known for it's fauna and flora and you may be fortunate enough to see baboons, ostriches and some antelope. Chapman's Peak Drive takes you on a spectacular journey of bends and curves with strategically placed viewing points that look over some of Cape Town's most beautiful bays and beaches. From here we take our final ride back to the GAO offices to return the bikes. Transfer back to the city. Goodbye South Africa, see you next year in Namibia!
The final routing depends on the availability of accommodation at time of booking!