Cross Cape Cycle | Suitable for MTBs and Gravel Bikes
This tour follows the official Cross Cape Touring Route from Plettenberg Bay to Cape Town
11 – 19 May 2018
Day 1: Arrive in Plett (0 km)
You can choose to catch a lift up with us in the bus to Plett (aiming to depart CT around 09h00) or fly to George and we will collect you at the airport at around 15h00/30 or meet us at the first overnight spot in Plett. We’ll head out to dinner together to load up on carbs for the taxing week ahead…
Day 2: Plett to Knysna (76.8km / 1413m ascent)
Leaving Plett, we cycle up the Wittedrif Road & past the lagoon before climbing steeply, first on tar, then dirt as we head for the hills and the Knysna forest. We pass the Diepwalle forestry station and stalk the remaining elephants along the Gouna Road with its steep ups and downs, before popping out at the tranquil Knysna lagoon, where we overnight at our hotel set on the lagoon.
Day 3: Knysna to George (80.2km / 1571m ascent)
The lagoon keeps us company, to begin with, then we cross over the old red steel bridge and ride up Phantom Pass, named after the rare butterfly found exclusively in this part of the forest. It is also the first of the seven passes, which lend their name to this route. Rheenendal, Karatara, Homtini are some of the towns and passes that we encounter on this challenging, hilly ride. There is an even mix of indigenous forest and dairy farms, before we emerge in the urban hub of George and make our way to our comfy overnight apartments at # 17 On Wellington Suites.
Day 4: George to Oudtshoorn (75.9km / 1003 m ascent)
Today we climb over the Outeniqua mountain range, crossing from the lush, green vegetation of the coastal rain belt to the much drier Little Karoo, which lies beyond. There is 4 official passes to choose from and we take the rather splendid winding 11km ascent up the Montagu Pass. It is indeed a toil, but the effort is abundantly rewarded with lush cool ferny vegetation and spectacular vistas, not to mention the precise workmanship of the stonemasons. Inevitably the second half of the ride is more forgiving, as we head down into the valley between the 2 ranges of mountains to just outside Oudtshoorn, one-time Ostrich capital of the world. We stay just outside town and will likely dine on the signature bird of the region.
Day 5: Mooiplaas to Rooiberg (127.7km / 1916m ascent)
Into the foothills of the Swartberg Range ride the brave and hardy cycle tourists. Here the vegetation thins out, giving way to dramatic aloes, and meerkat warm themselves in the early morning sun. The red stone hills provide a splash of colour off to the left before we disappear into the fast & flowing Groenfontein Valley, which leads us to Calitzdorp, the Port wine capital of South Africa. From here we tackle the daunting 11 km Rooiberg Pass, which snakes endlessly upward, the reward being a fast & furious downhill ending at our at Rooiberg Lodge in the middle of no-where…
Day 6: Rooiberg to Riversdale (78.9 km / 1087m ascent)
Leaving Rooiberg Lodge, the roads following are long and dusty and will put you to the test! A highlight of the day comes in the form of Garcia’s Pass, which will see you over the Langeberg Mountains down into the quaint little town of Riversdale. Here we stay at the homey B&BS.
Day 7: Riversdale to Swellendam (93.3km / 1131m ascent)
The ride out of Riversdale has us slogging up some tough rolling hills, but as we near Heidelberg, the valley of the Duiwenhoks is a delight to ride, as it keeps to the flat river course. The joy of the valley is paid for dearly with a Big Mother of a climb, known as “Heartbreak Hill”, which takes you out of the valley and up to Grootvadersbosch. Once past the oldest farmhouse in the district, it is all tar road through Suurbraak and on to Swellendam. Here we stay at a comfy B&B that is well used to hosting cyclists and enjoy a traditional braai around the pool, with all the trimmings.
Day 8: Swellendam to Greyton (108.8km / 1235m ascent)
To start we roughly follow the Breede River on rolling terrain through this grain growing area, until the Drew Bridge, where we divert to follow the Riviersonderend River through the town of Riviersonderend and on to Greyton. ‘Trapsonderend’ would seem more appropriate. Do not forget Die Ou Meul pie shop, it might be the secret weapon your legs need! We overnight at Greyton Lodge and hopefully will still have the time & energy to explore this delightful country town.
Day 9: Greyton to Stellenbosch (109.2km / 1340m ascent)
From here you can smell the end, but it is not yet over. There is a fair bit of tar and 2 iconic passes – the Franschhoek Pass and Hellshoogte to deal with, as well as a decent distance to cover before the fat lady sings. The wind can blow off Theewaterskloof Dam and make things really tough, but by now you are perfectly conditioned athletes and should take this in your stride. As you pass through Franschhoek, it would be a shame not to sample the coffee and cake at one of the many eateries, to fuel up for the last assault. You can start sticking your chest out with pride as you crest Hellshoogte and freewheel down into Stellenbosch for the finish.
*All photos courtesy of Cape Cycle Routes
*E-Bikes are welcome on all our tours and – bring your own or rent from us. Now anyone who can ride a bike can be included!
Cross Cape Cycle | Suitable for MTBs and Gravel Bikes
All participants are required to sign a copy of our indemnity form and wear a helmet at all times while cycling.
Deposit – A 50 % non-refundable deposit is required to confirm the booking. No dates are firmly secured until this deposit has been paid.
Balance Payment – Balance of payment is required no later than 6 weeks (42 days) prior to departure. Late applicants may, however, join the tour subject to availability.
Cancellations – If the cancellation is received up to 42 days or more prior to departure, the appropriate deposit will be forfeited. In the event of cancellation less than 42 days prior to departure, the following charges will apply: