South Africa, Swaziland

Cycling tour in Eastern South Africa and Kingdom of Swaziland 13 days

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

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 18km and 56km per day. While walking or hiking, the tour guide will introduce you to the regional variety of flora and fauna as well as the different cultures. The cycle route will lead one along the Panorama Route to the Blyde River Canyon, you will undertake safaris in the Kruger National Park and be able to observe diverse species of animals. Experience the Swathi 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 of the mothers2mothers/m2m charity organization during our stay in the Kingdom of Swaziland.

Tour schedule 2019. The tour program 2020 you will find below:

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

Day 1 Depart from Johannesburg via Dullstroom to Graskop

Upon your morning arrival at the Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, you will be met by your tour guide and transferred to Dullstroom, a town known 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 to Graskop

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. 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 4 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 5 Bike Tour in Swaziland : From Malolotja Nature Reserve to Mbabane

Undertake a morning safari prior to departure from the Kruger National Park to the Kingdom of Swaziland, home to the Swathi people. The bike route takes us from Malolotja Nature Reserve 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 are 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 Swathi people. Overnight accommodation for 2 consecutive nights will be in the furnished Swathi-styled beehive-shaped houses in the Mlilwane Game Reserve 2-3*, when you will fall asleep to the sounds of Africa. (19km, hg 340m, tar/gravel) (B)

Day 6 Bike Tour from Bhunya to Mlilwane

After breakfast, brief transfer to the uSutu Forest. On the quiet country roads, cycle past many kraals before reaching the famous Swathi candles workshop where candles are made accompanied by 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 us past the Royal Palace. In the late afternoon, African Bikers together with tour guests will hand over a bicycle purchased by African Bikers from the World Bicycle Relief Fund to a mentor of the mothers2mothers charity organization, which fulfils a crucial role in the fight against HIV/AIDS. (67km, hg 400m, tar/gravel road) (B)

Day 7 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 2 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 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 13 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

Tour schedule 2020:

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

Day 1 Depart from Johannesburg via Dullstroom to Graskop

Upon your morning arrival at the Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, you will be met by your tour guide and transferred to Dullstroom, a town known 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 viewpoint which affords one the most spectacular views of the Blyde River Canyon. Return transfer by bus to the hotel. (57km, hg 510m, tar/gravel road) (B)

Day 3 Bike Tour from God‘s Window via the Lisbon to Graskop

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 viewpoint with a marvelous 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. 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. (40km, hg 570m, tar/forest road) (B)

Day 4 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 5 Bike Tour in Swaziland/Eswatini: Jeppe´s Reef-Phophonyane Lodge

Undertake a morning safari prior to departure from the Kruger National Park to the Kingdom of Swaziland, home to the Swathi people. Start cycling from the border post of Jeppe´s Reef on a quite gravel road past many homesteads of the Swathi people to the beautifully situated Phophonyane Lodge. Situated close to the namesake waterfall the area is now part of a new UNESCO World Heritage Site. The exposed rock strata are 3.55 billion years of age making it one of the oldest rocks on earth and is easily accessible. In the late afternoon, African Bikers together with tour guests will hand over a bicycle purchased by African Bikers from the World Bicycle Relief Fund to a mentor of the mothers2mothers charity organization, which fulfills a crucial role in the fight against HIV/AIDS. (27km, hg 650m, gravel) (B) Phophonyane Lodge 3*

Day 6 Bike Tour : Piggs Peak-Mandlangempisi

A short transfer takes you just outside Piggs Peak. On a hilly gravel road ride to Nsanwini, a sit where ancient rock paintings og the Khoi San are to be seen. A local guide will show you around. As lower we cycle as more the vegetation changes to a thorny bush savannah. After lunch we transfer to the interesting Mlilwane Game Sanctuary. Overnight accommodation for 2 consecutive nights will be in the furnished Swathi-styled beehive-shaped houses 2-3*, when you will fall asleep to the sounds of Africa. (48km, hg 610m, tar/gravel) (B) Mlilwane Game Reserve 2-3*

Day 7 Bike Tour from Bhunya to Mlilwane

After breakfast, brief transfer to the uSutu Forest. On the quiet country roads, cycle past many kraals before reaching the famous Swathi candles workshop where candles are made accompanied by 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 us past the Royal Palace. In the afternoon, do game watching on foot or by bicycle – it is completely safe, there are 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 Swathi people.. (67km, hg 400m, tar/gravel road) (B)

Day 8 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 2 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 9 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 10 Bike Tour in the Valley of a Thousand Hills

Continue travelling into rural Zululand. 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 comfortable Lexden Guest House 3* in Pietermaritzburg, for the overnight stay. (37km, hg 200m, tar) (B)

Day 11 Bike tour Bergville to the Amphitheatre

A 1.5-hour transfer takes you to Bergville. The bike tour lead 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 12 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 5-hour hike, enjoy viewing the beauty of the tree ferns, proteacaea and orchids. Transfer back to the lodge. (B)

Day 13 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.

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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 bicyle
  • Accommodation in double/twin rooms with shower/toilet (2-4*) as stated in this itinerary
  • Meals: 12 x breakfast
  • 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 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
22.07.19 - 03.08.19 USD 2390 book
21.10.19 - 02.11.19 USD 2390
08.03.20 - 20.03.20 USD 2495 book
05.04.20 - 17.04.20 USD 2495 book
06.09.20 - 18.09.20 USD 2495 book
04.10.20 - 16.10.20 USD 2495 book
18.10.20 - 30.10.20 USD 2495 book

Discount

  • 3% discount on bookings made 6 months prior to departure subject to minimum group size
  • 5% discount on all land packages for returning guests subject to minimum group size
Extra services
South African Airways (SAA) offers free transport of your bike up to 20 kg on request
Single room surcharge 2019 USD 340
Bike for hire E-Bike Trek Powerfly full suspension/hard tail MTB 2019 & 2020 USD 320
Bike for hire MTB front shocks 30 speed 2019 & 2020 USD 270
Single room surcharge 2020 USD 300

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