Package Tour - Skyride MTB Cycle Tours
Riding some of the highest roads in South Africa is a breathtaking experience in every sense of the word. The Eastern Cape Highlands is also known as "the Wild Side of the Drakensberg" and is growing in popularity as a safe and un-commercialised mountain destination with spectacular scenery. This area is mountain biking heaven with tranquil gravel roads, crystal clear rivers to cool off in clean fresh air by the lungful. Enjoy the comfort of full vehicle support and cosy farmhouse accommodation, complete with roaring log fires. We will provide you with hearty home-cooked meals which will include locally produced lamb and beef, some of the finest in the country. Daily ride distances are adjusted according to the varying altitude on any given day - during the week this will range from 1,700m -2,750m above sea level. This tour is aimed at persons with previous MTB / cycling experience and a reasonable level of fitness, wishing to ride though stunning scenery in a pristine mountain environment. On any given day you will finish the ride by 3pm, offering the chance for relaxation, swimming in a mountain stream, birdwatching, fly-fishing or a gentle stroll around the farm. Non-riders are welcome to join the group, space permitting, and we can arrange for daily activities to keep them entertained.
At a Glance
Day 1: Barkly East to Rhodes Village
After breakfast we will set off along district gravel roads; this day is easy in terms of technicality, however some of the climbs will have you switching to granny gear very rapidly so is still a challenge in terms of fitness. The route passes through tranquil mountain valleys, dotted with farms, passing through the historic Mosheshesford where we will cross the source of the Kraai River. Arriving in Rhodes, you will be checked into your overnight guest cottage and will have ample time to explore this 'lost in time' hamlet that is a National Monument from one end to the other due to its well-preserved Victorian architecture. Dinner will be served at Walkerbouts Inn, whose quaint pub features in '101 Most Beloved Bars in South Africa'.
Overnight: Guest Cottages in Rhodes
Day 2: Rhodes Village to Wartrail
After breakfast at Walkerbouts Inn we will shuttle the group up Carlisleshoek Pass and cycle +/- 40kms so that you can ride along one of the highest roads in South Africa, but without the 1:3 climb!. This day is shorter in kilometres, but is still a full day's ride due to the high altitude conditions and unbelievable photo opportunities. At nearly 3km above sea level you are in for a breath-taking experience in every sense of the word! The route passes below Tiffindell Ski Resort and across the Loch Ness dam wall, following crystal clear streams. Look out for rare alpine flowers and numerous bird species; we may even have time to try and catch a trout for dinner. After a couple of short, but stiff climbs at the start, the road undulates across the plateau, before heading steadily down towards the Wartrail valleys. The 5km down Volunteershoek Pass is an exhilarating descent for more experienced rider, and a shuttle will once again be made available for those who prefer a steadier pace or wish to hike down. An easy final 12km through the farms of Wartrail to Reedsdell Guest Farm completes this fantastic day.
Overnight: Reedsdell Guest Farm
Day 3: Wartrail
This is an optional rest / additional day. After a lie-in and a later breakfast, there are a number of options available for the day including:
• MTB ride along the spectacular Lundean's Nek and Danger's Hoek - right on the Lesotho border. Ride out and shuttle back.
• A scenic valley hike on a route that takes in a museum of hand-crafted machinery, rock art site and dinosaur fossils.
• Simply relaxing in the beautiful gardens of Reedsdell Guest Farm, enjoying their scummy cakes and coffee, browsing a Woolly's of Wartrail craft stall and visiting their rather bizarre flock of emus.
Members of the group can choose different options, subject to a minimum of 4 people for each of the activities. In late afternoon we will transport you on the bakkie up to Lundean's Nek to watch the setting sun cast its glow over the mountain kingdom of Lesotho, returning back for dinner.
Overnight: Reedsdell Guest Farm
Day 4: Wartrail to New England
After a day's rest and a hearty breakfast, the group can look forward to a scenic and fun day's ride through the valleys of Wartrail and New England on quiet gravel roads. The terrain is moderate and generally undulating, with some steeper ascents and descents. These tranquil districts, also known as "Wild Mountain Country" reminded early settlers of the Scottish Highlands with farms carrying names such as Pitlochrie, Glengyle, Burnbrae and Ben Nevis. Accommodation will be at Kenmure House, nestled into a beautiful valley. After dinner, relax in front of a log fire and perhaps if the skies are clear enjoy a spot of star-gazing.
Overnight: Kenmure House
Day 5: New England to Franshoek
Leaving Kenmure after breakfast we will head back to our start point of Franshoek, riding via Barkly East. We will take in a spectacular waterfall, historic railway reverses and Loch Bridge, built in the 1890s this sandstone beauty spans the Kraai River and has been declared a National Monument. The final 20km back out into the mountains to Franshoek Guest Farm is undulating, but with some long ascents and descents. The final night is a good chance to swap photos and reminisce over the past few days before a braai feast.
Overnight: Franshoek Guest Farm
Day 6: Franshoek to Barkly East
With lungs full of fresh air, tummies full of tasty home-cooked food and muscles well worked it is time to head back to civilisation once again. But we'll spoil you with one more breakfast first…