South Africa in 16 Days [ Z ]
From Kruger National Park to the Cape of Good Hope. The ‚Big Five’, springboks, ostriches, dolphins and whales. Jungle, the Little Karoo and the Winelands. A bike trip from the lonely beaches of the Indian Ocean to the cliffs of the Atlantic, from the Tsitsikamma jungle to Cape fynbos. Voortrekker, coloreds, Xhosa, and Zulus. A history from van Riebeeck to Sir Cecil Rhodes and on to Nelson Mandela and Bishop Tutu. A trip through the whole world in one country.
The reason we have chosen South Africa as our first non-European destination is the fantastic variety of landscapes the country offers, combined with the availability of fine hotels, excellent food and delicious wines. Furthermore, the Garden Route offers an ideal climate, small side roads and good terrain for biking. The seasons in South Africa are reversed, so that our trips take place during the African spring and early summer. Our tours in South Africa are slightly different from the regular Rotalis tours. The differences are as follows: You will be accompanied by a Rotalis tour guide, a local tour guide and a local driver. Due to the size of the country we need to plan for more bus transfers than on a regular tour. We always have a 25-seater bus at our disposal in which the entire group can travel. The minimum number of customers for a trip to take place is 8. In case of cancellation of a tour, Rotalis will inform you at least 5 weeks in advance. The deposit is € 400.
A trip of medium difficulty on small paved side roads. There are only two stretches of unpaved dirt road during the tour. The terrain is generally easy to bike, although some days include slightly hilly, but not mountainous stages. A support vehicle is always available should you want to take a rest. (184 miles)
All hotels are of at least a 3-star standard, mostly 4 and occasionally 5 stars (almost all have a pool). Some guest houses are particularly luxurious and charming. The food is of a high standard throughout the trip and excellent South African wines are available.
How to get there
The Lufthansa or Partner airline flight to South Africa leaves from Frankfurt Airport on Saturday evenings around 10 p.m. You will meet your tour guides directly after customs in Johannesburg. The flight takes approx. 9 ˝ hours with a time difference of 1 hour at the most (depending on the season).
The prices include the airfare from Frankfurt, Germany to Johannesburg and back from Cape Town to Frankfurt. Should you want to make your own flight arrangements because you are not flying from central Europe, please contact us and we will quote you a price without the flight.
Day 1 | Saturday | - | 0 miles
Departure with Lufthansa or partner airline from Frankfurt on Saturday evening.
Day 2 | Sunday | Johannesburg - Kruger National Park | 0 miles
On Sunday morning we'll arrive in Johannesburg (flight time approximately 9 1/2 hours with maximum one hour time difference depending on the season). You'll meet your tour guide immediately upon exiting customs at the airport. Together we'll take an approximately five hour bus ride to Hazyview on the edge of the Kruger National Park. The spectacular descent into the subtropical Lowveld is an unforgettable experience. Beautifully situated at the outskirt of Hazyview along the Sabie River is our very comfortable accommodation, the "Kruger Park Lodge" (swimming pool). During the cocktail hour we can already observe hippopotamus and listen to the sounds of Africa.
Day 3 | Monday | Kruger National Park - | 0 miles
Today will be dedicated to the incredible world of African wildlife in the expansive Kruger National Park, which has the same surface area as Belgium. The park is home to 3,000 hippopotamus, 9,300 elephants, 2,000 leopards, 3,000 zebras, as well as 500 bird species. With luck we'll observe the "Big Five": buffalo, rhinoceros, elephant, lion and leopard). In any case it will be an incomparable wildlife experience. This evening we'll go on a night safari in open land rovers and spend a second night in the "Kruger Park Lodge."
Day 4 | Tuesday | Kruger National Park - Port Elizabeth | 0 miles
After breakfast we'll head out on a panoramic route through the Drakensberg Mountains in the direction of Johannesburg enjoying spectacular views of the Blyde River Canyon along the way. We'll explore Bourke's Luck Potholes, a system of bizarrely carved out rock formations at the confluence of the Blyde and Treur rivers, and enjoy the famous view of the Three Rondavels. After these landscape highlights we will fly from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth in the afternoon. The "Brookes Hill Suites", overlooking the Indian Ocean, welcomes us tonight (swimming pool).
Day 5 | Wednesday | Port Elizabeth - Tsitsikamma | 23 miles
Our bicycle touring starts near Clarkson at the beginning of the Garden Route. We'll ride through an easy landscape of fields and forest bordered to the north by the Tsitsikamma Mountains, and the Indian Ocean to the south. In the late afternoon the charming "Tsitsikamma Lodge" awaits us (swimming pool).
Day 6 | Thursday | Tsitsikamma - Plettenberg | 20 miles
After a descent into the virgin forest of the Tsitsikamma Nationl Park we'll arrive at Storms River. During a one hour hike we shall cross the fantastic suspension bridge directly over the mouth of the river and see the dramatic spectacle of the river gushing into the Indian Ocean. In the afternoon, the route takes us into the depths of the primeval forest of the Bloukrans River Gorge, a magical world which was J.R.R. Tolkien's inspiration for his masterwork "Lord of the Rings". At the Bloukrans River we cross the border from Eastern to Western Cape Province, and our uphill efforts will be rewarded with a thrilling descent into Nature's Valley and miles of empty beach. In nearby Plettenberg Bay we will spend the night in the pleasant "NH Plettenberg Bay" (swimming pool).
Day 7 | Friday | Plettenberg Bay - Wilderness | 14 miles
This morning finds us on a two to three hour hike on the unique Robberg Nature Reserve, a red sandstone peninsula covered with Fynbos. With some luck we may see whales and dolphins, and most certainly the seals who have colonized the area. After a noontime break in the vacation town of Knysna, we'll travel on a natural trail through the lonely Lake District to Wilderness. Tonight's accommodation, the "Wilderness Beach Hotel" (swimming pool), will be reached in the late afternoon.
Day 8 | Saturday | Wilderness - Oudtshoorn | 20 miles
Our bus will take us over the Outeniqua-Pass to Little Karoo for a visit to the world famous Cango Caves, giant limestone stalactite caverns. By bicycle we traverse the spectacular Schoemans Gorge before visiting an ostrich farm. Here we'll learn about the ostrich life-cycle and their economic importance for the Oudtshoorn region. At the end of our ride with expansive views over Little Karoo, we'll be welcomed by the Afrikans couple Pieter and Hilda Retief at the charming inn "Adley House" in Oudtshoorn (swimming pool). In the evening Pieter will prepare an authentic South African "Braai" (barbecue).
Day 9 | Sunday | Outshoorn - Swellendam | 23 miles
Leaving the ostrich capital behind us we cross the Little Karoo by bus towards the east along the Swart Mountains, a route offering wonderful views over the endless barren steppe. From Barrydale we bike through the impressive Tradouw Gorge down to the little missionary town of Suurbraak. There we visit the Cape Dutch style mission. Riding along a gently undulating road we'll reach Swellendam. Founded in 1743, it is the third oldest city in South Africa. Tonight we shall be spoiled in the luxurious inn "Klippe Rivier" (some rooms in a comparable nearby inn; swimming pool).
Day 10 | Monday | Swellendam - Hermanus | 22 miles
Our day starts with a visit to the Drostdy Museum, former seat of the regional judge, for some insight into the life of the Boors in the 18th Century. Our cycling will take us along the Breede River through a valley of vineyards and orchards. Our lunch break is planned at a vineyard near Robertson where we can sample the local wines. We'll continue by bus towards the romantic city of Hermanus on the Atlantic coast. Often one can observe whales directly from the shoreline promenade. Their presence is usually signaled by the "Whale Crier" with his horn. Tonight's hotel is the "Auberge Burgundy." Its restaurant is known for fish and seafood specialties.
Day 11 | Tuesday | Hermanus - Zevenwacht | 20 miles
The route to Gordon's Bay takes us on a small gently climbing coastal road along False Bay. When the visibility is good one can see the Cape Peninsula, with the "mother city" already visible in the distance. Gordon's Bay has an active street life in its sidewalk cafes and along the beach promenade, offering a first glimpse of multi-cultural Cape Town. Tonight's host is the "Zevenwacht Country Inn" along the "Stellenbosch Wine Route". The inn has it's own vineyard and cozy Cape Dutch style restaurant.
Day 12 | Wednesday | Zevenwacht - Franschhoek | 21 miles
In the morning we'll ride along small roads from Stellenbosch to the nature preserve of Jonkershoek, where we bike a loop of about 8 miles. The landscape is reminiscent of Switzerland: forested valley floors surrounded by steep rock walls. The landscape has little in common with the area of Stellenbosch only a few miles away, lending truth to South Africa's reputation as "the whole world in one country." This afternoon we visit the Dorp Museum in Stellenbosch. The historic buildings bear witness to the lifestyle of the 18th Century Afrikaner. You will have time to wander through this historic university town before traveling by bus to nearby Franschhoek (French Corner). In the evening we can enjoy comfort at the well-known "Franschhoek Inn" (swimming pool). A restaurant known for its french cuisine welcomes us tonight.
Day 13 | Thursday | Franschhoek - Cape Town | 0 miles
The Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve is our destination this morning. We will do two hours of light hiking with fantastic views over the Winelands around Franschhoek. The incredible range of fynbos (1300 plant varieties) in this nature preserve is overwhelming. In the early afternoon our bus will take us to Cape Town and visit to a kindergarten in Khayelitsha Township. The visit provides an enriching opportunity for authentic contact with the black population. "The Portswood” is our splendid hotel on the Victoria and Albert Waterfront in the center of Cape Town (two nights, swimming pool). Tonight we'll dine in a well-known restaurant on the waterfront.
Day 14 | Friday | Cape Town - Cape Twon | 25 miles
Our starting point today is the famous botanical garden of Kirstenbosch directly below Table Mountain. We then continue along the Cape peninsula in the direction of the Cape of Good Hope. On the way we'll stop in Boulder's Beach and admire one of two African penguin colonies. After taking in the view from the tip of Africa, we'll ride through the Table Mountain National Park to Kommetije where our African cycling tour ends. Our bus will take us along Chapman's Peak Drive high over Hout Bay, a ride of breathtaking natural beauty. Our farewell dinner will be celebrated at one of the best-known African specialty restaurants in Cape Town. Second night in "The Portswood."
Day 15 | Saturday | Cape Town - | 0 miles
On a tour of the historic center we'll see many points of interest including the Parliament buildings and the former garden of the Dutch United East Indies Company. For our final outing a cable car ride up the 3262 ft. Table Mountain to take in the spectacular view from Cape Town to Robben Island awaits us. In the early afternoon we say goodbye to Cape Town and drive to the airport for the flight back to Frankfurt, Germany.
Cape Town lends itself for an extended stay to explore the city and/or for a side trip to Victoria Falls and Chobe National park. You'll find more information and tips in the "Rotalis Tour Information" package you'll receive with your trip confirmation, or upon request.
Day 16 | Sunday | - | 0 miles
Our overnight flight lands in Frankfurt in the early morning. From here you have excellent national and international flight connections.