Spring in South Africa: time to ride. The bikes are ready to go, our international group is arriving - South Africa, here we come!
First riding day - welcome to South Africa and its left-hand traffic.
But we all enjoyed the scenic ride up into the misty mountains, with interesting stops on the way. Very memorable: lunch in Middleburg and the coffeestop in the fly-fishing capital Dullstroom.
The day started as the last one ended: with a great ride over Long Tom Pass. The old golddigger town Pilgrim's Rest was the next stop, before we enjoyed our first picnic prepared by master cook Christo.
A long ride along the gorgeous Blyde River Canyon brought us to our destination - Kruger Park.
After the early start yesterday it was great to be back to our normal times. At 9:00 we departed, crossed through gigantic banana plantations, tasted these bananas at South Africas friendliest fruit stand - and then we reached the Eswatini border. Fortunately the formalities didn't take too long, so that we could soon enjoy our first miles in this wonderful country. Before reaching our destination for today, Mbabane, we had one last stop at a glass factory, for shopping, sightseeing - and good coffee!
After an informative visit at the famous Swazi Candle Factory we returned to South Africa. We enjoyed a great lunch in Pietretief and then explored the beautiful Zulu region with its rolling hills and endless fields of sugar cane.
Today we reached the Indian Ocean for the first time - breathtaking views! After lunch we rode up into the hills until we reached Pietermaritzburg, where we visited the famous Gandhi-statue and the city hall, Africas largest brick building.
Another long day lay ahead of us, 260 miles... We started with a visit of the impressive Howick Falls and then continued the site where Nelson Mandela was arrested by the police in 1962. Next stop were the Drakensberge, an impressive mountain range that reaches up to 3500 meters. With a few drops of rain and some serious lightning, we reached our destination Mthatha.
Today we all had agreed on one goal: to reach our beautiful hotel on the Indian Ocean as early as possible. That's why we only made a short stop in East London to visit the German Settlers Monument and to grab a quick bite to eat. And then we followed the R72 all the way to our hotel - and it was worth to get here early, the beach is just to beautiful to be missed!
Waking up to the waves of the Indian Ocean - a good start to a great day. We followed the Indian Ocean today, with a little sidetrip into the pineapple plantations and the beautiful city of Grahamstown. For lunch we were back on the Indian Ocean, and then we hurried to arrive in Port Elizabeth - there is a lot to do and see here.
Today was a day full of highlights: Port Elizabeth, the world's highest bungy bridge, where two brave members of our group, Sully and Michael, did actually jump, the famous Garden Route, Knysna with its oysters - and fiinally the desert-like ostrich region around Oudtshoorn.
The ride up the Swartbergpass is definitely one of the big highlights of this tour - and 9 of us were up to the challenge. Just as special was the visit of an ostrich farm - a very unique experience. After a great and typical South African lunch we continued on Route 62 to Montagu, where we enjoyed a great wine tasting!
Today we reached the end of the (African) world: Cape Agulhas, the southern tip of the African continent. Hermanus would have been our second highlight, but this time unfortunately the whales did not show up in the bay. The little disappointment was quickly forgotten when we reached our destination, Franschhoek - one of the prettiest towns in South Africa.
Rest day in Franschhoek: as there are so many things to do in this little town, only 6 riders (and one brave passenger) headed out for the rest day ride into the surrounding mountain ranges. They were rewarded with great views and excellent and twisty roads - while the others were rewarded with great wine at one of the many vineyards of the region.
The last riding day has arrived, it's another day full of "once in a lifetime" sights: penguins, the Cape of Good Hope, Chapman's Peak Drive - and finally: Cape Town! Our memorable tour ends with a walk through the famous Waterfront and a very tasty farewell-dinner. The tour has ended - but the memories will stay!