Upon arrival in Johannesburg we drive directly to the Golden Gate Highlands National Park in the Maluti Mountains of the Northern Free State. The park's name comes from the golden hue on the parks sandstone cliffs as the sun hits them. With 11,600 hectares of highland habitat, the national park is home to a number of animals including springbok, zebra and wildebeest as well as the rare bearded vulture and bald ibis.
During the afternoon we set up the bikes for each individual and we can enjoy a short test ride into the reserve on good tar roads
Getting up early, we cycle 25 km on tar roads through the national park. The ride is mostly downhill through a winding mountain pass which then levels out with a good opportunity to see local wildlife from the saddle. At the park exit we transfer towards the Northern Drakensberg (60km) stopping at the 'Vulture restaurant' for the views over the Sterkfontein Dam and an early picnic lunch. We then get back on the bikes and cycle down the Oliviers Hoek pass all the way to Sungubala, our overnight stay. Cycle distance is approximately 30km on good tar roads. We will stop at the top of the pass to enjoy the view of the Northern Drakensberg.
In the morning we cycle the 22km back road route, undulating a little but generally following the contours fo the Royal Natal National Park in the Northern Berg. After entering the park, we continue on our bikes for approximately 2km to our picnic spot - before lunch we'll walk the short distance to the cascades waterfall for a well deserved swim. After lunch there will be time to explore or simply relax before jumping back on our bikes and returning , via an alternative circular route (approx. 25km) through local villages to Sungubala.
Today starts with a 175km (approx. 3 hour) transfer by road to Dundee where there will be time for a little shopping and resupply. After a hearty lunch it's back onto our bikes for the 45km ride to Rouke's Drift. This is a stunning ride through the scenic cattle country, with the last 17km on good, compact dirt road that brings us to the Rouke's Drift Museum. A guided tour will show us around the area where 150 British and Colonial troops defended a small garrison against nearly 5000 Zulu warriors.
We have an early morning transfer (300km about 4 hours) towards the hot springs town of Badplaas in the Mpumalanga province. After lunch we get on the bikes and cycle the last 40 km (tar road) to our destination where we will have a chance to relax and soak aching muscles in the hot mineral bath.
This morning we climb back on the saddle and cycle the 70km of tar road to the old gold-mining town of Barberton. This full-day cycle ride takes us through a beautiful mountainous forest region as we negotiate the Nelshoogte and Bothasneck passes.
Today we head north towards the Kruger National Park. We start off by cycling along the Kaap River Valley as it winds its way to Kaapmuiden (50km). We will then trade the bikes for the van and transfer the remaining 30km to Kruger National Park.
This morning we get up early and head out on a game drive before returning to camp for brunch. We will then get back in our vehicle and head further into Kruger NP as we look for its abundant game. The park is home to many of the most emblematic animals of Africa and a good pair of binoculars as well as a good camera are recommended. Eventually we will arrive at our next camp where we can relax in the heat of the day before going for a late-afternoon game drive. Please note that the included game drives are done in our minibus but you do have the option of doing a game drive in one of the park's open vehicles (though this will incur an extra cost locally).
Today we aim to spend most of the day in the national park. We start off, once again, with a pre-brunch game drive. We will later head out on another game drive as we make our way towards the exit of the park and the town of Hazyview. We should arrive in Hazyview in the late afternoon at which time we will go shopping and resupply for the next section of the trip.
Today we get back on the bikes for one of the toughest days cycling. Leaving Hazyview behind we will make our way the escarpment towards Sabie and eventually Graskop. This is 70km cycling on tar roads and up mountain passes. If these passes prove to be too difficult you can take advantage of the support vehicle which will be at hand. We will stop en route for a pic-nic and visit the Mac Mac Falls.
Our final day cycling (about 65kms)will take us through yet more beautiful scenery as we cycle along the tar roads of the Panorama Route. In the morning we will visit God's Window known for its breathtaking scenery and Bourke's Luck Potholes' with its unusual rock formations. After lunch we will cycle to the look-out point over the Blyde River Canyon before finally reaching our lodge on the edge of the escarpment for our final night in South Africa.
After a leisurely breakfast on the edge of the escarpment we drive through Ohrigstad, Lydenburg and Dullstroom on our way back to the Johannesburg international airport