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The most beautiful places to cycle in South Africa

cycle - South Africacycle - South Africa
cycle - South Africacycle - South Africa

The most beautiful places to cycle in South Africa

Whether you enjoy the ruggedness of mountain biking or the energetic thrill of long-distance cycling, beautiful scenery is something that all cyclists can appreciate. South Africa is known for having some of the most breathtaking views in the world, and what better way to experience them than on your bike? Below is a list of some of the most beautiful places to cycle in South Africa for those adventurous enough to try them!

 

Helshoogte Pass, Cape Winelands

In many bicycle shops, you may hear murmurs about the breathtaking Helshoogte Pass in the Cape Winelands. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful cycling routes in South Africa, and for good reason.

The route stretches from Stellenbosch to Franschhoek and winds past fruit farms and vineyards. You will have the stunning Simonsberg and Jonkershoekberge mountains to keep you company, as well as some of the wildlife found in the area. Visit the small, scenic town of Pniel along the way, home to historic wine farm Boschendal Winery. Helshoogte Pass has some steep inclines, making it more suited to advanced cyclists.

 

Cape Point Nature Reserve

Cape Point Nature Reserve lies 60 km outside of Cape Town and forms part of the Table Mountain National Park. Here you will find up to 7,284 hectares of gorgeous indigenous fynbos, hiking trails with outstanding vistas and pristine beaches.

For those who are not fans of off-road biking, the Cape Point Nature Reserve offers a network of tarred roads for cyclists to use as they traverse the area and explore the natural and historical sites in the area. The main route is a 40 km round trip, which starts at the entrance to the reserve and ends at the Old Lighthouse. The main route climbs gradually and then becomes flat, and along the way, you may spot some zebra, antelope and other wildlife.

 

The Owl Route, Eastern Cape

For those who enjoy mountain biking, the Owl Route in the Eastern Cape is the perfect route for you. It is a 50 km route which leads to the quaint town of Nieu Bethesda near Graaff-Reinet. Once you arrive in Nieu Bethesda, be sure to stop off at The Owl House, a work of art created by Helen Martins.

The Owl Route which traverses the Sneeuberg Mountains is relatively flat, and is more about the scenery than it is about the physical challenge. Some of the road is gravelled, making cycling easier but be sure that you are able to handle a route that may have bumps along the way. The roads to follow are well sign-posted so you will find it difficult to become lost. This route is suitable for any skill level.

 

Karkloof, KwaZulu-Natal

The KZN Midlands offer some of the most breathtaking vistas in South Africa, and exploring them by bike is one of the best ways to do so. In Karkloof, you will find a plethora of mountain biking trails which utilise Sappi’s widespread plantations.

The options to choose from include a scenic 7 km Forestry Trail, a 15km Falls Trail and a Supa20 Trail. Along all of these trails, you will find unique scenery, but it can be challenging depending on which trail you choose. Some of the paths have high difficulty levels but offer rewarding views, while others are more suited to those just starting out and who want to experience nature in a more energetic manner.

 

Glengarry Holiday Farm, Kamberg

Another KZN beauty is the Glengarry Holiday Farm. Here you will find vistas of stunning farmland no matter the season, as well as small clutches of forests with gently burbling brooks and streams to explore.

There are several loops to choose from, and rides can be anything from a short 5 km meandering around the farm, to a winding 60 km ride that explores the entire area. The routes differ in difficulty, and even beginners will be able to have fun. All tracks are mapped and marked for easy riding, and to avoid becoming lost in an area you may not be familiar with. Children are able to bike for free.

 

The Knysna Forests, Garden Route

The lush Knysna forests along the Garden Route have several unique routes which are perfect for discerning cyclists. The forests are scattered with large, fallen Yellowwood trees and are home to amazing bird life.

You will be able to take part in long outrides, which will require you to bring water, food and even extra clothing. There are routes ranging from 20 km to 35 km, and during winter you will need to bring a headlamp as you will be returning to the start of the ride in the dark. If you would like your children to start mountain biking, there are junior training clinics available from Knysna Cycles.

 

A feast for the senses

Cycling in South Africa is not only a feast for the eyes, but for the ears and nose as well. In the forests of Knysna, you will see, hear and smell the rich verdant green of the area while in KZN you will be inundated with unique forestry scenery. Cape Town’s routes offer interesting challenges and mountain vistas to rival any across the world. No matter which route you choose, you will be experiencing South Africa in a remarkable way.

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