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[8 days] Karoo Crossing Cycle Tour Klein Karoo, Western Cape, South Africa

  • Trip Type: Self-Guided
  • Group Size: Min 2, Max 6
  • Departure Date: Flexible
  • Bookable From: March - November
  • Duration: Weeklong (7-9 days)
  • Physical Rating: Very Strenuous

Experience the Little Karoo in a unique, exciting, and eco-friendly way. Take a break on your bicycle and breathe in the fresh Karoo air while exploring the beauty of the landscapes under your own steam.

This trip is a self-guided cycling tour with a backup vehicle fully supporting you along the way. The tour can be tailored according to your needs and fitness level. After arriving in Cape Town, you’ll be transferred by vehicle to Knysna, where the cycling will start. This 358km (222.5 miles) cycle route goes through the Karoo region from Knysna to Calitzdorp and takes you over mountain passes and along gravel roads, with time for traditional dinners, wine tasting, and even a massage along the way.

Highlights:

  • Cycle through Swartberg Nature Reserve and Meiringspoort
  • Swim in waterfalls
  • Cycle over Swartberg Pass (the Rubicon of gravel road passes)
  • Enjoy a traditional South African braai (barbeque)
  • Halfway through your trip, rejuvenate with a full body massage in Prince Albert
  • Discover local cuisine and wine tasting in Calitzdorp
  • Explore the beautiful, historic architecture in the small towns along the route

This route has its own unique charm. Every road sign that leads you to a town, whether it be by gravel or tarred road, will fill you with a deep sense of wanderlust. Journey through the Central and Klein Karoo, passing through historic towns boasting Victorian, Cape Dutch, and Georgian architecture. Cycle through Meiringspoort, established in 1858, part of the Swartberg Nature Reserve. Meiringspoort is the result of land formations from over 200 million years ago when Africa was still part of the larger continent with Australia, South America, India, and Antarctica. You’ll also cycle over winding mountain passes boasting fascinating legends. Appreciate the heritage of the Karoo told through historic rock art and engravings dating back thousands of years.

🌤️ Seasonal Notes: The best time to do this trip is during autumn (March to May) or spring (September to November) when temperatures are mild.  It is also possible during winter (June to August), but winter gets cold and sometimes there might be a little snow in the mountains. Summers (December to February) are extremely hot and can go over 40°C (104°F) in certain parts, so we don’t advise this tour during these months. It also rains frequently during the summer season.

📋 Itinerary

This itinerary is customizable. Contact Yūgen Earthside for more information.

Day 1: Cape Town to Knysna [South Africa] (arrival day)
Day 2: Knysna to De Vlugt (cycle 59km | 36.7 miles) - Escape to nature
Day 3: De Vlugt to Buffelsdrift (cycle 69km |42.9 miles) - The wonder of water
Day 4: Buffelsdrift Road to De Rust (cycle 71km | 44.1 miles) - True farm feel in the heart of Meiringspoort
Day 5: De Rust to Prince Albert (cycle 80km | 49.7 miles) - Meiringspoort and massages
Day 6: Prince Albert to Matjiesrivier (cycle 31km | 19.3 miles) - The Swartberg Experience
Day 7:  Matjiesrivier to Calitzdorp (cycle 58km | 36 miles) - History on the R62
Day 8: Calitzdorp to Cape Town (departure day)

🌱 Sustainability

🌱 We believe in travel that is sustainable and healthy, embraces the local culture, and conserves the natural environment. We have been given the gift of stewardess of this planet and need to be more conscious of how we interact with her.

🌎 We have recently begun working with Fair Trade Tourism (a Travelife partner) to actively become a more sustainable company.

↔️ We promote tourism dispersal by designing trips that aren't just in big cities and instead go through numerous smaller cities and towns, economically supporting them along the way.

🚲 Cycling is a low-carbon impact activity. We help you see South Africa using this method of green transportation and avoid taking in-destination flights.

🏡 Accommodations throughout this trip are small and locally-owned and operated. Among our accommodations, we'll spend one night at a sustainable farm that uses hydro and solar power to generate its own electricity.

  • Social / Environmental Impact
  • Tourism Dispersal
  • Small Group Travel
  • Use Renewable Energy
  • Green Transportation
  • No In-Destination Flights
  • Vegetarian/Vegan Restaurants
  • Local/Organic Restaurants
  • Supports Local Businesses
  • Tours Benefit Local Community
  • Connect Travelers to Local Products
  • Act Mindfully of Local Health
  • Provide Authentic Experiences

📌 Location

Use the Google map to orient yourself about where in the world this trip is. The location indicates the starting point for this trip.

A specific route map is included in the downloadable detailed itinerary.

🏷️ Pricing

🏷️ Prices exclude flights to/from the destination.
🏷️ See the full list of price inclusions and exclusions in the downloadable detailed itinerary.

  • Deposit per person

    30% of trip price, refundable (see Cancellation Policy)

  • Group of 2 travelers

    Price per person (excl. flights)

    $ 2226
  • Group of 3 travelers

    Price per person (excl. flights)

    $ 1766
  • Group of 4 travelers

    Price per person (excl. flights)

    $ 1536
  • Group of 5 travelers

    Price per person (excl. flights)

    $ 1398
  • Group of 6 travelers

    Price per person (excl. flights)

    $ 1275
  • Single supplement

    Private room throughout the trip

    $ 258

ℹ️ Other Info

📧 If you're ready to book this trip, or if you still have some questions, contact us to let us know!

💯 Book with confidence: To reserve your spot on a tour, a 30% deposit will be required. However, you can book with complete peace of mind as this deposit will be 100% refundable until 61 days prior to the trip start date.

Cancelations:

Cancellation of orders by the client are subject to the following conditions:

  • Will attract a 5% administration fee.
  • 61 days or more prior to the scheduled departure date - Your 30% deposit will be refundable
  • 0 to 60 days before departure - 100% cancelation fee

COVID-related issues:

  • In case of cancellation due to updated COVID restrictions, your travel dates can be extended and your deposit will be credited for future travel.
  • We will be flexible and try to negotiate with all suppliers to defer your dates with no penalties.

📅 This trip has a variable start date, so you can plan a departure date for when it is safe to travel.

⚕️ Be sure you have traveler's insurance.

😷 If you choose to travel before a vaccine is widely available, be sure to get a negative test result prior to arriving. You should also have both a mask and hand sanitizer with you at all times.

Special precautions:

As this trip is bookable for up to 6 travelers and is an outdoor cycling tour, you can book this with your family, pod, or "Quaranteam" to enjoy a safe, socially-distant escape outdoors.

Additional procedures throughout the trip:

  • Regular sanitizing of vehicle, equipment, etc
  • Sanitizer provided to guests
  • Support driver wears a mask at all times
  • Small group trips of up to 6 persons, social distancing in place
  • When guests are transferred to the start point and from the end-point there will be open seats in between each guest

Procedures at guesthouses/lodges:

  • All establishments are adhering to the COVID-19 protocols as outlined by our National Trade Association/Government and the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (regular sanitizing, etc)
  • Some suppliers have contactless check-in
  • Lodges and guesthouses are mostly small and in remote locations

💭 Q: What does the Physical Rating of "Very Strenuous" mean? What's the difficulty level of this trip?
The difficulty level is an 8 out of 10. You should be in shape and comfortable with cycling before embarking on this trip.

💭 Q: What are the accommodations like?
All accommodations are small and owner-run. We'll stay at guesthouses, lodges, cottages, and some working farms (3 and 4 star).

💭 Q: Can I change the itinerary, difficulty level, or accommodations?
Yes, the itinerary can be changed according to your fitness level and can be shortened or extended. We can also change the accommodation to camping or more luxurious lodging depending on your needs.

💭 Q: What about the weather?
The best time to do this trip is during Autumn (March to May) when temperatures are mild.  It is also possible during winter, but winter gets cold and sometimes there might be a little snow in the mountains. Summers are extremely hot and can go over 40 degrees celsius in certain parts. Summer is also when it rains.

💭 Q: What about safety?
In South Africa, it is always good to be cautious and street smart, but overall this trip will have a full backup with a support vehicle.

💭 Q: Is the bicycle included?
Yes, you will be provided with a mountain bike and upon request, we can upgrade to an E-bike at additional cost.

💭 Q: Can I get a guide?
Yes, this trip is self-guided with a support vehicle, but if you prefer a guide, this can be arranged at an additional cost.

💭 Q: Do I need a visa?
Most North American and European citizens will get 90 days free upon entry but some nationals need to get visas prior to arrival.

⌛ Duration: The cycling trip lasts for 8 days, 7 nights. You'll cycle on 6 of the days.
🚲 Total Distance: 358km (222.5 miles)
⛰️ Total Ascent: 7212m