South Africa, Swaziland

Cycling tour in Eastern South Africa and Kingdom of Swaziland 16 days

DISCOVER THE EASTERN REGION OF SOUTH AFRICA AND THE CULTURALLY RICH KINGDOM OF SWAZILAND WHILE CYCLING SHORT DISTANCES ON QUIET ROADS. – Individual and group travel

African Bikers has extended its Classic Trip of 13 days by an additional 3 days, thereby including one extra bike day in the Eastern Drakensberg, another Safari experience in the rhino rich Mkhaya National Park, and a beach day at Cape Vidal in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. This popular bike tour will introduce one to the highlights, landscapes and cultures of eastern South Africa and the Kingdom of Swaziland. The cycling excursions, which include several ascents, average between 17km and 54km per day. While walking or hiking, the tour guide will introduce you to the regional variety of flora and founa as well as the different cultures. The cycle route will lead one along the Panorama Route to the Blyde River Canyon, and you will undertake safaris in the Kruger National Park and be able to observe diverse species of animals. Experience the Swazi culture firsthand before travelling to the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve, where the largest rhino population in the world is to be found. Visit the renowned St. Lucia Greater Wetlands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and go on a boat ride. Cycle and walk in the Ukhahlambra Drakensberg Mountains. Cycle through the beautiful Valley of a Thousand Hills, the country of the Zulu people, and experience their warm hospitality. For the greater part of this tour, 2 consecutive nights overnight accommodation will be booked at each point of arrival while en route, resulting in fewer transfers and more available time to discover this region by bike.
As of June 2015, African Bikers Tours has pledged 1% of the income generated from this tour to the World Bicycle Relief Fund, and will purchase a bicycle suitable to African conditions, which will be donated to a mentor mother of the mothers2mothers/m2m charity organization during a visit to the Piggs Peak District Hospital in the Kingdom of Swaziland.

Tour schedule:

km = kilometre, hg = toal climbing per day in meters

Day 1 Depart from Johannesburg via Dullstroom to Graskop

Upon you morning arrival at the Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, you will be met by your tour guide and transferred to Dullstroom, a town knwn for its trout breeding, lying at the start of the Drakensberg Mountains.Continue over the Long Tom Pass in the eastern Drakensberg Mountains via Sabie to Graskop, where one will stay for 2 consecutive nights at the charming Graskop Hotel 3*.

Day 2 Bike Tour from Pilgrim’s Rest via Bourke‘s Luck Potholes to the Blyde River Canyon

Visit the historical African gold mining town of Pilgrim’s Rest, cycling onwards to Bourke‘s Luck Potholes, an imposing system of potholes, through which the Blyde River makes its way to the Blyde River Canyon. Thereafter, continue cycling along the Panorama Route to the Three Rondavels view point which affords one the most spectacular views of the Blyde River Canyon. Return transfer by bus to the hotel. (57km, hg 280m, tar/gravel road) (B)

Day 3 Bike Tour from God‘s Window via the Lisbon and Mac Mac Waterfalls

Cycling in a loop along the Drakensberg escarpment, one will visit The Pinnacle and God’s Window. The former is an imposing rock column and the latter a view point with a marvellous view over the Lowveld (hg 914m) below. A short ride takes us to the Lisbon Waterfalls, followed by a longer descent into the Lowveld en route to lunch in Graskop. In the afternoon,
cycle through rainforest and fields to the awesome MacMac waterfall. (40km, hg 590m, tar/forest tracks) (B)

Day 4 Bike Tour MacMac Plateau to Hazyview

The gravel road will lead one along the Great Escarpment and down into the subtropical Lowveld. Transfer in the African Bikers bus to the Kruger National Park to the world famous Kruger National Park, where one may see lion, elephant, zebra, hippo, rhino, giraffe, buffalo, antelope, wild dogs as well as a colourful array of birds and diverse types of vegetation. Overnight accommodation will be in a Kruger National Park Camp 2-3* in the south of the park. (45km, hg 450m, tar/forest road) (B)

Day 5 Safari Trip in the Kruger National Park

Wildlife is generally very active in the cool morning temperatures. Join a guided walk with a ranger (optional, to be booked well in advance, only 8 places available). After breakfast, drive along the periphery of riparian forests and granite mountains to another camp in the park. In the afternoon, undertake another game drive in an open top game viewing vehicle. (B) Overnight accommodation will be in another Camp in Kruger Park 2-3* in thatched chalets. (B)

Day 6 Bike Tour in Swaziland : From Forbes Reef to the Malolotja Nature Reserve

Undertake a morning safari prior to departure from the Kruger National Park to the Kingdom of Swaziland, home to the Swazi people. NEW! During a visit to the District Hospital in Piggs Peak, African Bikers together with tour guests will hand over a bicycle purchased by African Biker from the World Bicycle Relief Fund to a mentor mother at the mothers2mothers charity organization, which fulfils a crucial role in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The bike route takes us from Forbes Reef through the green highlands to Mbabane. Continue through the Ezulwini Valley to the interesting Mlilwane Game Sanctuary. Do game watching on foot or by bicycle – it is completely safe, there neither buffalo, elephant nor other predators in the reserve. In the evening, during a traditional dinner, learn more about the dance, beliefs and customs of the Swazi people. Overnight accommodation for 2 consecutive nights will be in the furnished Swazi-styled beehive-shaped houses in the Mlilwane Game Reserve 2-3*, when you will fall asleep to the sounds of Africa. (18km, hg 70m, tar) (B)

Day 7 Bike Tour from Mantenga via Mlilwane to Manzini

After breakfast, brief transfer to the uSutu Forest. On the quiet country roads, cycle past many kraals before reaching the famous Swazi candles workshop are made to the accompaniment of local music. Continue riding to the Mlilwane Animal Protection Park, while observing zebra, blesbok, impala, ostrich, and, at a dam, hippo en route. The return trip to our accommodation takes as past the Royal Palace. (67km, hg 400m, tar/gravel road) (B)

Day 8 Bike Tour from Mlilwane to Siphofaneni

After a brief transfer to Manzini, ride into the the tropical landscape of the Lowlands, where diverse acacia and aloe species grow prolifically. En route, you will pass many Swazi kraals. After arriving in Siphofaneni, transfer by shuttle to the Mkaya Game Reserve. Spot the many black and white rhino while in an open top vehicle. Overnight accommodation will be in comfortable chalets at the Mkhaya Game Reserve 2-3* bush camp, where you will enjoy a delicious dinner. (62km, hg 490m, gravel/tar) (B,D)

Day 9 Safari in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve

En route into the idyllic Zulu country in South Africa, one will pass villages and fields of sugarcane. The Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve is known worldwide for its white and black rhino species protection program. Undertake a wildlife safari in the African Bikers vehicle. In addition to the BIG 5 – lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and buffalo, the beautiful lowland nyala antelope is also found here. Overnight accommodation for the next 3 consecutive nights will be at the Lidiko Lodge 4* in St Lucia, a small town situated in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. (B)

Day 10 St. Lucia – Boat Ride and Day of Rest

In the morning, enjoy a boat trip on the St. Lucia Lagoon (optional), where, in addition to crocodiles and hippo, one can see the African fish eagle, the goliath heron, and many other bird species. The rest of the day is at leisure. Swim in the warm Indian Ocean, take a walk in the rainforest, or visit and explore a small township by bicycle in the company of an enthusiastic local guide. (20km, hg 50m, tar/gravel) (B)

Day 11 Hiking and Swimming at Cape Vidal

Today’s goal of this day excursion is to reach Cape Vidal in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a World Heritage Site. En route, one may spot elephant, buffalo, duikers, kudu, antelope and diverse bird species. The beach is protected by a reef and, therefore, one can enjoy a safe swimming experience or else to take a stroll along the beach. (B)

Day 12 Bike Tour in the Valley of a Thousand Hills

Continue travelling to the lively harbour city of Durban close to beautiful beaches. Commence cycling from the Wartburg, one of the old German settlements, and cycle past numerous Zulu kraals through the Valley of a Thousand Hills. Thereafter, brief transfer to the hotel, where the overnight accommodation for 2 consecutive nights will be at the Blue Waters Hotel 3* on the Promenade and in close proximity to the beach. (37km, hg 200m, tar) (B)

Day 13 Aid Project and the Indian Market and Sharks

Visit the Mariannhill Mission station, where the English speaking sisters don‘t only run the guesthouse, but also one of the best schools in Durban, a hospital, a sewing centre and a bakery, and one of the sisters will introduce the you to these projects. Visit the oriental Indian spice market in the City of Durban, and in the afternoon, the uShaka Marine World Aquarium is well worth a visit (optional), where the sharks and the rays remain the highlights at this facility. Alternatively, the beaches, protected from currents and sharks, are ideal for swimming and surfing. (B)

Day 14 Bike tour Bergville to the Amphitheatre

Depart from the coast in the direction of the Natal Midlands to Bergville. The bike tour will take one initially through green farmland and then past numerous Zulu kraals. The Ukhahlambra Drakensberg Mountains (3000m altitude), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its many peaks lying above 3000m altitude, are covered in snow from April to October. Overnight accommodation for 2 consecutive nights will be at the
Tower of Pizza 3*. (50km, hg 500m, tar) (B)

Day 15 Hiking Tour in the Royal Natal National Park

Drive along the edge of the Tugela River and enter the Royal Natal National Park. On a slightly undulating path, hike into the Tugela Gorge, where the Tugela Waterfall (1300m), cascades from the amphitheatre. On a 4 to 5 hour hike, enjoy viewing the beauty of the tree ferns, proteacaea and orchids. Transfer back to the lodge. (B)

Day 16 Drive back to Johannesburg – Visit the Apartheid Museum and Transfer to the O R Tambo International Airport

After breakfast we transfer back to Johannesburg. A visit to the Apartheid Museum gives one insight into South Africa’s turbulent past. A transfer to Oliver Tambo International Airport will be the end of this remarkable and multifaceted journey. (B)

Accommodation subject to availability

African Bikers offers hard tail MTB´s, E-Bikes and Touring Bikes for hire on this tour.

The following extension packages are available to one or more participants:

Extension Cape Town – recommended accommodation for 2016 & 2017

Extension Chobe National Park & Victoria Falls for 2016 & 2017

This way to our picture gallery

November 2013: Cycling tour in Eastern South Africa and Swaziland

September 2009: Cycling tour in Eastern South Africa and Swaziland

Services

Included:

  • Qualified English-speaking tour guide on bicycyle
  • Accommodation in double/twin rooms with shower/toilet (2-4*) as stated in this itinerary
  • Meals: 15 x breakfast, 1 x dinner
  • Permanent back-up vehicle with bike trailer transport
  • All entrance fees as stated in this itinerary
  • All transfers & travel in air-conditioned minibuses

Excluded:

  • Tips for guides, porters and waiters
  • Meals not mentioned in this itinerary
  • Beverages and mineral water on non-cycling days
  • Personal expenses e.g. laundry at accommodation facilities, telephone and internet services etc.

Hints

Travel Information:

A moderate to medium level of fitness is required for the climbs on this route. It will be possible to cycle longer distances, because of the accessibility of the accompanying vehicle. During the afore-mentioned dates of travel, the climate in the Kruger National Park and in Swaziland can reach up to 25°C to 30°C. In the summer months, it can also be turbulent and rainy.

Individual travel: African Bikers offers this trip at any desired time of travel to 2 or more participants.

Trip at google maps

Categorization
Level of fitness  
Grading of accommodation  

Group size

8 - 15 Participants
Terms & Conditions
Dates and rates
Booking code: ROS
16.10.17 - 31.10.17 USD 2895 book
18.03.18 - 02.04.18 USD 2795 book

Discount

  • 5% discount on bookings made 6 months prior to departure
  • 5% discount on all land packages for returning guests
Extra services
Single room surcharge USD 380
Bike hire MTB 27/30 speed USD 240
South African Airways (SAA) offers free transport of your bike up to 20 kg on request
E-Bike hire 8 speed USD 290

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