Cycling in South Africa

The breeze in your hair, the warm sun on your back and the open road in front of you - itís easy to see why cycling is one of the best ways to explore and travel South Africa. There are many fantastic trails catering for all skill levels.

South Africa is full of exciting and beautiful cycling routes that anticipate your discovery. The gorgeous town of Paarl in the Cape Winelands offers many diverse cycling routes through tree lined streets and luscious vineyards. With the many national parks and game reserves in South Africa, there are a wide variety of tailor made packages thatíll take you on some spectacular cycling tours through the exciting wild.

Did you know? The Bicycling Empowerment Network in South Africa (BEN) addresses poverty and mobility by promoting the bicycle, importing used bikes from overseas and distributing them to low income areas.

If youíre fit enough for the long haul, then why not try a group ride along the magnificent Garden Route. Various tour companies offer cycling tours in South Africa that will show you many of the beautiful highlights of South Africa, during which youíll get to stay in private homes as guests in a Zulu township, or in Mission stations, cosy guest houses, hotels or chalets. Alternatively, adventure cycling in South Africa is made complete with a tented overnight stay at one of many stunning locations in South Africa.

There are also a number of mountain bike tours covering the Magaliesberg, Drakensberg, Knysna and Cape Town. If youíre planning on cycling in Cape Town youíll be glad to know that there are some great single-track routes on Table Mountain and in the surrounding pine plantations. There are escorted cycling trips on the mountain, around the Cape Winelands and in the Cape Point section of the Cape Peninsula National Park.

The picturesque De Hoop National Park near Swellendam has many easy South African cycling trails. There are four outstanding, laid-out circular tracks in the Harkerville Forest, ranging from the very easy to the very intense. Nearby are two long and rather strenuous linear trails, Homtini and Petrus se Brand.

Port Elizabeth also has dedicated cycling trails, including one which cuts right through the middle of the city. KwaZulu Natal has its share of cycling routes, with a number of beautiful South African cycling trails in the Drakensberg and the Natal Midlands.

The Free State is known for its more strenuous cycling trails which offer more challenging cycling routes to the more experienced rider. Johannesburg is home to a huge mountain biking population who head out to the wonderful trails around Mpumalanga almost every day of the week.

The Cape Argus Cycle Tour is the biggest event on the South African cycling calendar. The Cape Argus Cycle Tour gained international recognition from the UCI, becoming the opening event of the global Golden Bike Series. This South African cycling tour is so popular that entries for the race are restricted to 35 000 and over 5500 people entered to ride their first-ever Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour.

Not far behind the size of the Argus Cycle Tour, is the relatively new 94.7 Cycle Challenge, held annually in Johannesburg. The race attracted 4 000 cyclists in its first year, but climbed to 26331 competitors in the 2012 event.

Regardless of whether you are a competitive cyclist, or just a lover of the open road, South African cycling caters for all. So on your next trip to South Africa, make sure to bring your bike (or hire one when you are here) and take part in some exciting South African cycling.

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Additional Reading

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