The African Bikers Backyard Route Mountain Bike Tour

by jpc_touring-bicycle

In case you’re on the lookout for a various mountain biking journey in Southern Africa the place your meals, lodging and transportation particulars are all taken care of prematurely and your solely process every day is to get in your bicycle and luxuriate in a difficult mountain bike experience in a brand new and extremely scenic location, then look no additional, as a result of the African Bikers Desk Mountain to Addo Elephant Park mountain bike tour could be the biking expertise you’ve been on the lookout for.

African Bikers is a small tour firm headquartered in Cape City, South Africa that gives a variety of mountain climbing, biking, and journey excursions in 10 of Southern Africa’s most lovely international locations. One of many bicycle excursions they provide is a 14-day guided mountain bike tour throughout the southern-most part of South Africa – an space referred to as “the Backyard Route.”

I had the distinct pleasure of collaborating on this specific biking tour with African Bikers… and on this evaluation I hope to share with you my experiences from the tour. I’ll clarify what a mean day on tour was like, inform you what my favourite (and least favourite) a part of the journey was, clarify how expert of a bicycle owner you’ll want to be in an effort to take part, offer you a whole evaluation of the corporate itself (it’s guides, lodging and the meals), and eventually I’ll inform you whether or not or not I like to recommend collaborating on this specific mountain bike tour (SPOILER: I completely advocate it! The service the corporate supplies is superb, the biking is various and the landscapes are lovely… as you’ll quickly see.)

Arriving In Cape City For The Begin Of The Tour

After a number of lengthy flights I arrived in heat and sunny Cape City, South Africa. It took practically an hour for my baggage to spill out onto the conveyor belt on the airport, however I grabbed them up simply as quickly as they arrived and carried them out into the arrivals space the place I noticed a pleasant, sun-tanned man holding a white and orange “African Bikers” signal.

“This have to be Steve,” I although to myself. “My tour information!”

I approached Steve and launched myself. He fortunately knowledgeable me that I used to be the primary of our group to reach and that I ought to go and get some meals within the airport’s eating space whereas we waited for the opposite tour members to get their belongings and collect close by.

A short time later I used to be launched to Harry and Kirsten (from Merzig, Germany) and Sandra and Erwin (from Hamburg, Germany). Introductions have been made in German and I did my finest to maintain up with the group, however it was apparent (to each myself and everybody there) that my German expertise have been missing. Steve (who’s fluent in each English and German) was blissful to translate our first few conversations collectively, however I later realized that nearly everybody in our group may converse no less than a bit of English.

Now collectively for the very first time, Steve, Harry, Kirsten, Erwin and Sandra and I walked our belongings out to the curb the place our driver, Anthony (we known as him “Kim”), was ready for us. Our gear was then loaded right into a white passenger van pulling a small trailer behind it and we have been pushed from the airport to 2 completely different places within the metropolis the place the ultimate two members of our 14-day bicycle tour throughout South Africa have been picked up.

Collectively now for the very first time, our group of 9 consisted of:

Steve – our tour chief
Kim – our driver
Harry and Kirsten
Erwin and Sandra
Michi (from Vienna, Austria)
Julia (from Eggenfelden, Germany)
And myself (from Ventura, California, USA)

We made a rapid cease on the guesthouse the place we might be staying in Cape City, modified our garments after which jumped again within the van. Kim then drove us as much as the cable automotive, the place we bought round-trip tickets to the highest of Desk Mountain – the well-known flat mountain that hovers above the town of Cape City, South Africa.

The views from the highest have been unbelievable. In a single course you might see all of Cape City. Within the different course you might see nothing however inexperienced crops and blue ocean.

After an hour or so on Desk Mountain, we rode the cable automotive again right down to our ready automobile. We have been then dropped off as soon as once more at our guesthouse within the middle of Cape City and informed that we had only a brief period of time to bathe, relaxation and prepare earlier than dinner.

A short time later we have been picked up on the guesthouse and pushed throughout city to an area restaurant, the place we ate collectively for the very first time, shared tales and questioned what our first day of mountain biking in South Africa is perhaps like.

Pictures From The Bike Tour

An in depth breakdown of each day from the bike tour (together with pictures) could be considered by clicking the hyperlinks beneath:

What Is The Common Day On Tour Like?

Whereas no two days of the African Bikers Desk Mountain To Addo Elephant Park mountain bike tour have been precisely the identical, our routine every day was comparatively comparable.

We’d get up early, eat breakfast at our guesthouse (often between 7:30 and eight:30 AM) after which leap in our van and drive to some close by mountain biking vacation spot, the place we might then unload the bikes and put together for a superb, lengthy experience.

After 2-3 hours of biking, we’d cease and eat lunch (more often than not at a restaurant, however every now and then carrying a packed lunch with us or being supplied with lunch at some roadside location). Then we’d conduct one other mountain bike experience within the afternoon (or go to some close by vacationer vacation spot) earlier than calling it a day.

Now completely worn out and deserving of a scorching bathe and a superb meal, we’d drive to a brand new guesthouse someplace alongside South Africa’s Backyard Route, bathe, relaxation after which eat dinner at an area restaurant (usually occasions inside strolling distance of the place we have been staying… and typically on the visitor home itself).

Then we’d go to mattress early and get up the next day and do it over again.

As you will notice by studying the every day tour accounts above, there have been a couple of exceptions to this every day routine (For instance: our relaxation day half-way by the tour, our half-day on the African Penguin colony, and our safari journey in Addo Nationwide Elephant Park).

Highlights From The African Bikers Mountain Bike Tour

There are such a lot of nice issues to say concerning the African Bikers mountain bike tour, however for me, there are three fundamental highlights price mentioning:

Initially, the variety of the tour is unbelievable. Whereas the routine every day might have been just about the identical, the biking experiences we had over the course of the 14-day tour was remarkably various. Every mountain bike experience was completely different from the others. Sooner or later we’d be biking up steep forest roads and the subsequent day we’d be darting over small hills within the desert. Then the subsequent day we’d be driving slim single-track trails in a jungle-like setting and the next day we’d be biking by the sand on the shores of a wind-swept seashore.

Earlier than collaborating on this bicycle tour, I might have by no means guessed that South Africa had so many various kinds of mountain biking terrain. The tour is extremely well-designed on this regards. African Bikers has gone out of their technique to not solely discover a few of the nation’s most lovely mountain biking places, however it has created a tour the place each day is a brand new journey in a brand new location with its personal distinctive challenges and rewards.

The variety of the bike rides on this 14-day mountain bike tour throughout South Africa is by the far the very best factor concerning the tour itself.

The second-best second from the tour was our 2-hour safari drive by Addo Nationwide Elepahant Park on day 13.


Whereas we did no biking on this specific day, the truth that we acquired to see zebras, springbok, warthogs and greater than twenty completely different elephants roaming round within the wild, was positively a spotlight.

I’ve seen elephants in zoos earlier than, however by no means (earlier than this second on tour with African Bikers) had I seen elephants strolling round of their pure habitat.

Not solely did we get to see an elephant within the wild, however we noticed practically two dozen elephants stroll inside just some meters of us. It was really unbelievable… and considered one of my all-time journey highlights (not simply in South Africa, however wherever on the earth).

Lastly, whereas I’m tempted to say our bike experience alongside the seashore or a few the precise guesthouses we stayed at as a spotlight of the tour (as a result of we stayed in some really exceptional places), I really feel the necessity to point out the corporate itself – African Bikers.

There may be a lot analysis and planning that goes right into a long-distance bicycle tour like this… and there are numerous alternatives for one thing to go improper. However this tour went actually, very well from a administration and logistical standpoint.

Steve, our tour chief, was unbelievable. He’s not solely a talented bicycle owner, however a wonderful navigator, a real people-person, and a logistical professional.

Doreen, who runs the primary African Bikers workplace, was a pleasure to work with (and was at all times prepared to reply my questions or go above and past the decision of obligation).

And Kim (our driver) was pleasant, enjoyable, and expert at his process of delivering us from one location to the subsequent in a protected and well timed method.

I not solely felt at house with the folks in command of the tour, however I felt assured of their skills. I had no fears concerning the tour falling aside any level alongside the way in which. I may inform (even after a brief period of time) that the administration behind African Bikers has actually completed their job.

The corporate has created an unbelievable mountain biking expertise with this tour. They ship their service with nice ardour and effectivity, and they need to be recommended for the tour that they’ve created.

Whereas I participated in simply considered one of African Bikers’ many out there excursions, I’ve little doubt that the others excursions on provide by the corporate are as equally well-produced.

How Troublesome Is The Biking?

If I had something unfavourable to say about my expertise with African Bikers, it must do with the velocity at which the driving on the tour was carried out.

Whereas I’m an skilled bicycle owner (with 1000’s of miles beneath my belt in dozens of various international locations all world wide), I’m not an excellent skilled mountain biker. I knew that the mountain biking is perhaps a problem for me once I signed up for this tour, however in the long run, it wasn’t the technical expertise that ended up tiring me out essentially the most – it was the velocity.

I used to be the youngest individual on this bike tour, with a few of the different members being a number of many years older than me, however I used to be often the slowest individual in our group. Our bikes rides every day have been at a extremely fast tempo (a tempo that I used to be not used to), and I struggled at occasions to maintain up.

Whereas I used to be struggling to maintain up with Steve (our chief), Harry and Kirsten needed to go even quicker than nearly all of our group.

This is likely one of the troublesome issues any time you get a bunch of individuals collectively for a motorcycle experience. Every individual has a distinct aim. Some folks need to experience quick and be the primary individual to cross the end line. Others need to experience gradual, cease and take footage alongside the way in which, and customarily benefit from the experience. And others simply need to make it from the begin to the end with out stopping all the manner.

Holding everybody proud of the tempo of our driving was a problem we confronted all through the tour, however after only one or two days our small group of 9 had developed a technique that appeared to work for us. Harry and Kirsten would experience in entrance of the remainder of us (utilizing Steve’s instructions to accurately navigate the course), whereas the remainder of us would comply with behind. Typically I might sprint to the entrance of our group (often to take a photograph) after which I’d be left behind (and should wrestle again into place in an effort to catch up).

Primarily based on the velocity of this tour (and the technical driving expertise which are required), I must say that this specific mountain bike tour is just not for newbies. The tour is designed for the reasonable to some-what severe bicycle owner. I’d price the problem of the tour as an 8 out of 10 (with 0 being the best and 10 being essentially the most troublesome).

The rides every day are on common about 25 miles in size (40 kilometers) and require about 3,000 ft of climbing (915 meters).

Technically, the driving isn’t all that tough (though there are many single-track trails lined in rocks, tree roots, street particles and extra, that might journey you up). As a substitute, it’s the velocity (and the dearth of stops all through the day) that I believe some folks may wrestle with. I do know I certain did!

Earlier than committing to this specific tour, you’ll want to have a good quantity of mountain biking expertise. You need to have the ability to experience up steep hills for lengthy quantities of time, deal with downhills at comparatively excessive velocity, bunny-top over small rocks and tree branches, and customarily navigate your manner whereas protecting a gradual tempo.

For extra data on the velocity of the tour and the abilities you want as a bicycle owner in an effort to take part, you should definitely contact African Bikers immediately. They will most likely clarify the skill-sets wanted for the tour higher than I can.

Why Take part In A Guided Bike Tour In South Africa?

There are a selection of causes folks take part in guided bicycle excursions (the truth that some one else does all of the planning, the associated fee financial savings (when you think about renting a automotive and driving to all these locations by your self), the chance to make new associates, and so forth.), however private security is an enormous situation in a spot like South Africa… and it’s one other good cause for conducting a tour with an organization like African Bikers.

The primary benefit to touring with a bunch is that you just turn out to be much less of a goal that manner (in comparison with in the event you have been to journey alone) and the non-public security of every individual within the group is simpler to handle.

African Bikers goes above and past to be sure you have a protected time in South Africa, by placing you up at great visitor homes, guiding you alongside protected mountain biking roads and trails, and even delivering you on to the airport on the finish of your tour. While you journey with African Bikers in South Africa, there actually is nothing to be afraid of.

Ought to You Deliver Your Personal Bicycle Or Not?

While you join the African Bikers‘ Desk Mountain to Addo Elephant Park mountain bike tour, you’ve the choice of bringing your personal full-suspension mountain bike to make use of on the tour, or letting the corporate offer you a motorcycle.

Irrespective of which selection you make, you have to a full-suspension mountain bike, because the roads and trails on this tour are bumpy!

For my specific tour, about half of the folks collaborating selected to deliver their very own bicycles, whereas the opposite half had African Bikers present them with a motorcycle.

In case you select to be supplied with a motorcycle for the tour, there may be an extra value, however the bike you get is a high quality one.

African Bikers offered me with a 29″ Large Anthem full-suspension mountain bike for the tour, whereas the others driving firm bikes selected to experience 26″ autos of the identical identify. The bikes match nicely and carry out excellently on the forms of roads and trails you’ll be touring on throughout this specific mountain bike tour.

The Lodging In South Africa

If you’re unfamiliar with the time period “visitor home,” you’ll be aware of the time period by the point your tour of South Africa involves an finish.

A visitor home is basically a mattress and breakfast model property that rents out rooms (and typically small villas) to particular person vacationers.

Typically the visitor homes we stayed in appeared like common metropolis homes, with the one distinction being that the place was run extra like a resort than an everyday household house. Different occasions, the visitor homes we stayed in have been located on large estates, the place massive rooms and typically small villas have been handed out to every of us as our place of shelter for the night.

The variety of the visitor homes on tour was practically as various because the mountain bike rides themselves. A number of the visitor homes have been top-notch, tremendous high-class properties with welcoming, well-kept workers readily available who have been out there to cater to our each want. Different occasions, the visitor homes have been a lot smaller and felt extra like staying in a typical mattress and breakfast (or perhaps visiting with a distance member of the family or buddy of their house). Just a few of the visitor homes have been quirky and unusual, with African-inspired structure or hosts that appeared as if they could haven’t showered in fairly a while.

The perfect visitor home we stayed in might have been the Berg en Zee guesthouse in Gordon’s Bay, South Africa, which had massive rooms, every with a fantastic view overlooking the ocean… or the distant Rooiberg Lodge, which was removed from civilization, however had free wi-fi, lovely villas, and a refreshing pool.

The worst visitor home was simply the Honeywood Lodge, which I really preferred due to its location within the mountains and the quaint little homes it had located all through its property, however disliked due to the darkish brown (Coca-Cola coloured) water it had popping out of its pipes (within the sinks, showers and bathrooms).

Total, I’d price the visitor homes on the tour as an 8 out of 10 (with 0 being the very worst and 10 being the perfect).

The Meals

Not like so many different guided bicycle excursions the place ALL the meals (or no less than a lot of the meals) is included, this specific tour with African Bikers supplies its tour members solely with breakfast every day (which often consists of fruit, yogurt, granola, bread, espresso, tea and an optionally available egg, bacon or french toast mixture) and some lunches and dinners scattered all through the tour.  Most meals are eaten at eating places alongside the way in which… and every individual is anticipated to pay their very own invoice for the meals that they order.

Which means along with the price of the tour itself, you’ll want to finances in some extra cash for meals.

Fortunately, the meals in South Africa is just not tremendous costly (even when consuming at good eating places). I used to be in a position to preserve my restaurant tabs between 90-140 Rand for every meal (about $10.00 – $15.00 USD). These consuming wine, ordering starters, and/or partaking in desert, nevertheless, typically ran up a tab that was a lot increased than this (perhaps between 250 and 400 Rand).

Apart from the additional value of the meals, African Bikers has completed an unbelievable job (as soon as once more) with deciding on really unbelievable dinning places.

As a vegetarian, I by no means went hungry, and I do know that my meat-eating companions on the tour loved their meals as nicely.

A number of the included meals (after we stayed on the Rooiberg Lodge for 3 nights, for instance, all of the meals have been included), I felt that the portion sizes have been just too small primarily based on the quantity of biking I had completed that day and the energy my physique wanted to replenish. However general, the meals on tour was actually, actually good!

Would I Advocate The African Bikers Backyard Route Mountain Bike Tour?

Sure, completely!

The African Bikers mountain bike tour from Desk Mountain to Addo Elephant Park was an unbelievable bicycle touring expertise. I met some superb folks, cycled throughout a various community of roads and trails all throughout South Africa, ate scrumptious meals, slept in great lodging, noticed plenty of wild animals, and even turned a greater mountain biker!

I might whole-heartily advocate African Bikers as an organization and I might say that in the event you ever get the prospect to take part in considered one of their biking adventures (whether or not it’s this specific tour or any of the others that they provide), I like to recommend you do it!

You merely received’t remorse your time in South Africa!

Join a bicycle tour proper now… or study extra about African Bikers at

Further Pictures From The Tour

The pictures beneath are displayed in no specific order. They do, nevertheless, display simply how extremely various this bicycle tour is with regard to the kind of roads/trails being ridden on, the surroundings, lodging, meals and extra. Get pleasure from!

Study extra concerning the African Bikers Desk Mountain to Addo Elephant Park mountain bike tour at


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The African Bikers Backyard Route Mountain Bike Tour  
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