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Garden Route to Cape Town

23 April 2017

Trip Prospectus: 1–18 November 2018

Along the white beaches of the Indian Ocean, through evergreen forests and the desolate Karoo, through the wild solitude of the Swartberg Mountains, in the Wine lands of the Cape and further to Cape Town, one of the most beautiful metropolises in the world. Mountain passes, solitary gorges, breathtaking coastline—all on very good, European standard roads. From November to March is the South African summer, which means, cycling with lots of sun in warm temperatures in the Cape Province.

Dual Ride Options

We will offer two ride options daily:

  • Moderate: effort will be 50% of normal, given the pedal-assist electronic bicycle. This group will cover about 65km (40mi) during the day with about 600m (2,000ft) elevation gain, at average moving speed of 15–22km/h (10–14mph). Some days may have shorter distance & higher elevation. Other days may be the opposite.
  • Advanced: compared with the moderate, this group will go longer (100km average, higher (1,000m average), and faster (20–30km/h average).

Both groups will not drop anyone behind. We will frequently regroup. We will have backup plans to cut the day short when we must.

At a minimum everyone on the trip must be able to join the moderate rides daily.

Bicycles

We will offer two bicycle options:

  • Electric pedal-assist bicycles: default bicycles, unless you want a regular bicycle, then you need to speak with the leaders.
    • Put 50% of the effort or cover double the distance.
    • These are not “motor-bicycles”. They do not drive on their own. They simply assist you as you pedal. You still have to put the effort & retain full control of the bicycle.
    • The electric motor does not assist when speed is higher than 25km/h (16mph).
    • This is a great option for those who want to enjoy the full experience for the trip, joining the advanced rides, with less fitness requirement.

  • Road performance bicycles: you get a road bicycle with carbon frame & Shimano 105 compact group.

Vehicle Support


Our accompanying vehicle transports your luggage, water, & snacks. It also transports participants & bicycles based on route itinerary. There will be times when we have either a remote start or stop. That will require transfer from or to our lodging destination.

All participants are expected to be self-sufficient while on the road with extra food, bicycle repair equipment, tubes, clothing layers, etc.

Lodging

We overnight in selected guesthouses, lodges and small hotels in a personal & relaxed atmosphere.

Facilities range from ★★ to ★★★★, depending on the area we are staying in. Such information is indicated in itinerary where available.
All rooms are double occupancy.

Itinerary

All distance & elevation information are approximate based on representative maps.

The leaders reserve the right to change the itinerary for reasons such as weather, road conditions, availability of accommodations, group preference, etc.

Destination Route Moderate Advanced
Thursday 1 November 2018: depart the US on evening flight This departure date is highly dependent on flight route. Depart on Thursday for low cost flights over two days.
Friday 2 November For US departure on Thursday, arrive in Europe for connecting flight, with extended full day stay to tour the city & relax from travel.

Another option is to depart US on Friday on more expensive flight with quick connection in Europe.

Saturday 3 November: arrive Port Elizabeth (PLZ) Relax, adjust, & recover from flight
Sunday 4 November: Transfer in group shuttle to Addo Elephant National Park. Game drive in the National Park. Lodge ★★★★ Relax, swim in the pool, & check the bicycles. Take a game drive in the open jeep in Addo Elephant National Park. Apart from the elephants there are also, amongst others, zebra, lions, buffalo, ostrich, tortoise, warthogs and bontebok. Transfer to Humansdorp on the Garden Route.
Monday 5 November: Cycle Humansdorp–Tsitsikamma. Stay at a charming lodge ★★★ Along the old Cape road our first afternoon ride takes us along the boundary of the Tsitsikamma Mountain Range. ➡️70km
⬆️600m
➡️100km
⬆️750m
Tuesday 6 November: Cycle Tsitsikamma National Park–Plettenberg Bay. Transfer to Knysna to a comfortable lodge ★★★★. Knysna is famous for its ‘Heads’, two steep, towering cliffs, which mark the entrance to Knysna Lagoon Our second ride takes us into the Tsitsikamma National Park. Visit the Storms River Bridge. Once on the coastal plateau again, we are soon taken down into the deeply cut river valley of the Bloukrans and later through Nature’s Valley. A break on one of South Africa’s most beautiful beaches. Back to the plateau and towards the seaside resort of Plettenberg Bay. To Natures Valley:
➡️65km
⬆️620m
➡️96km
⬆️920m
Wednesday 7 November: Cycle Groot Brakrivier – Oudtshoorn. We stay for two nights in a charming historic guesthouse ★★★★ After a transfer to Groot Brakrivier our ride takes us over the Robinson Pass Pass (850m) with beautiful views back along the coastline. Within a few kilometers the landscape changes from the evergreen coast to the dry expanse of the Little Karoo. The host invites us to a traditional South African barbecue evening, called a Braai. Of course, ostrich steak cannot be missing! Ruiterbos to Oudtshoorn:
➡️75km
⬆️650m
➡️100km
⬆️1,150m
Thursday 8 November: Cycle to Cango Caves and Ostrich Farm From the ostrich town of Oudtshoorn we cycle through Schoemanns Gorge to the well-known Cango Dripstone Caves. After the visit carry on to an Ostrich farm where you learn more about this curious bird. ➡️60km
⬆️400m
➡️60km
⬆️400m

Optional transfer to nearby De Rust & ride through beautiful Meiringspoort: ➡️48km ⬆️250m

Friday 9 November: cycle Oudtshoorn–Calitzdorp–Ladismith. We stay overnight in a simple but clean guesthouse ★★ We cycle on level ground to Calitzdorp, which is well-known for its port wine. After a lunch stop, we cycle up to the Huis River Pass (670m). Along the Swartberg Mountains we reach Ladismith, with the over 2,000m Towerkop towering over it. To Calitzdorp:
➡️50km
⬆️200m
➡️110km
⬆️1,130m
Saturday 10 November: cycle Ladismith – Barrydale. Stay at the charming Karoo Hotel ★★★ Through the grand expanse of the Little Karoo, full of unique succulent plants, we reach Barrydale a little hamlet on the foothills of the Langeberg Mountain. ➡️80km
⬆️650m
➡️96km
⬆️750m
Sunday 11 November: cycle Barrydale–Montagu. The hot springs, for which Montagu is famous, are very close to our comfortable hotel ★★★★. A benefit for our tired cyclist muscles! Lots of indigenous Fynbos plants like protea and heath can be found. Following the Langeberg Mountains we climb on top of Op die Tradouw Pass (950m) before following the undulating route into wonderful Montagu, a wine town in the Cape Mountains. Barrydale to Montagu:
➡️60km
⬆️750m
Pretty Tradouw gorge across the Langeberg Mountains:
➡️96km
⬆️1,200
Monday 12 November: rest day There are many leisure excursions to be considered, hiking in the Bloupont region, drive with a tractor and trailer on the 1,400m high Papageikop, golf in Robertson, wine tasting on a wine estate in the Breede river valley, Montagu museum, or simply relax by the pool.
Tuesday 13 November: cycle Montagu–Bonnivale–Robertson. Stay in a beautiful guesthouse in the winemaking town of Robertson. Today we continue cycling through the charming Kogmanns Gorge after which the landscape opens up. We ride through the Bree River Valley with vineyards on either side of us to Bonnivale. Along the way we might stop at a winery and do another wine tasting. Different route in between and joins the Valley road at Bonnivale:
➡️65km
⬆️350m
➡️100km
⬆️600m
Wednesday 14 November: cycle Robertson–Worcester–Wellington. Stay in comfortable cottages on a lovely wine estate. In front of the impressive backdrop of the over 2,000m Hex River Mountains we cycle through the Bree River Valley to Worcester. We pass wine estates before entering the idyllic Bainskloof Gorge and ride up onto Bainskloof Pass (600m). Along the way there is a chance to swim in one of many natural river pools. After a long downward ride, with wonderful views over the Cape Vineyards, we reach the winemaking town of Wellington. Start riding from Worcester to Wellington:
➡️60km
⬆️500m
➡️110km
⬆️700m
Thursday 15 November: cycle Kleinmond–Gordons Bay. We will stay in a ★★★★ hotel not far from the sea and waterfront. The seafood cuisine in Cape Town is outstanding with lobster being their specialty and also affordable. A short transfer takes you to Stellenbosch, the second oldest settlement in the country with lots of nice homes build in the unique Cape-Dutch style. We do a guided walk pointing out the most interesting ones. We start riding from nearby Kleinmond and cycle together along the beautiful False Bay coast line to Gordon’s Bay. With a bit of luck we can spot some Southern Right Whales in the bay whilst riding! A short transfer brings us to Cape Town, one of the most beautiful situated cities in the world. ➡️50km
⬆️300m
➡️50km
⬆️300m
Friday 16 November: cycle around Cape of Good Hope Transfer to Simonstown where we visit a penguin colony. Start of the awesome ride around the Cape of Good Hope. In the National Park we might find Eland and Bontebok antelope as well as Baboon and Cape Zebra. On the Western side of the Cape Peninsula we cycle along the Atlantic Ocean back to Cape Town. The coastal road over Chapman’s Peak and Hout Bay are truly one of the most breathtaking stretches in South Africa. It is not by chance that the popular annual Cape Town Cycle Tour, with over 35,000 participants from all over the world, takes place here. Start at Cape of Good Hope & ride all the way back to Cape Town:
➡️65km
⬆️850m
➡️95km
⬆️1,100m
Saturday 17 November: Transfer to Cape Town Airport. Return to US Before the airport transfer and depending on your flight departure time, you may have time to do the following, go up Table Mountain and enjoy the amazing views over the town (optional), or for example visit the prison cell on Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held captive for the majority of his prison sentence (optional). This versatile tour ends with your transfer to Cape Town Airport
Sunday 18 November: arrive US

Participants

Profile

You should enjoy traveling and be comfortable traveling in areas which are unfamiliar to you. You should recognize that you may find yourself in closer quarters or be less comfortable than you are used to at home. You should make it a priority to help others on the trip and contribute to their having a great time. If you do that, we guarantee that you will have a great time.

Experience & Risks

People wishing to participate in this trip must have previous group bicycle experience, at the intermediate level or higher. Several of the days are long and strenuous. You need to be prepared to commit yourself to keeping in shape between the time you sign up for the trip to the time you depart on it.

When you participate in this activity, you should be prepared both physically and mentally, and equipped with the appropriate gear. You should always be aware of the risks involved and conduct yourself accordingly. We are not responsible for your safety—you are.

Nonetheless, it may happen on any trip that a leader decides that a trip member is or becomes unable to participate in one or more of the planned activities. Leaders in their sole judgment have the right and obligation to refuse participation in any activity to any group member for reasons of safety, whether it be of the group or of the individual. Illness, injury or lack of proper gear or fitness for a particular activity are examples of some conditions that might result in a participant’s being unable to perform one or more activities. Leaders may try to find a substitute activity for the trip member, but this may not always be possible.

Prior to your being accepted as a participant in this trip, you will be asked to discuss your capabilities and experience with us. Please do not be offended by our questions.

Weather is likely to be temperate and sunny, although there is always a possibility of precipitation. That said, climate is unpredictable and can range from 30-80℉.

Cost


The final trip cost will be adjusted in accordance with the best final arrangements we can make and currency fluctuations. Any savings we achieve, as well as any cost increases, will be passed back to you. Our cost estimates are conservative, and so a refund is considerably more likely than a price increase.

Cost is US$3,999 per person shared occupancy. Deposit of US$1,000 is due with application. Balance of US$2,999 is due by 1 April 2018.

Includes:

  • Fifteen nights of lodging.
  • Breakfast and dinner for the entire trip, starting with dinner on 3 November through breakfast on 17 November 2018.
  • Van transport & support as a scheduled part of the itinerary.
  • Emergency medical & evacuation insurance coverage.

Does not include:

  • Airfare. The trip leaders will advise you as much as you need and will facilitate group travel. At this time, we estimate that the cost for a round trip ticket between the US East Coast and South Africa will be in the range of $1,500–$2,000.
  • Lunches, beverages, & incidental expenses.
  • Local transport between arrival airport & beginning of trip.
  • Local transport between end of trip & departure airport.
  • Insurance for travel delay, interruption, cancellation, or for baggage loss. If the possibility of such problems concerns you, individual travel insurance is suggested. The AMC has a recommended vendor whose material will be sent to you if your application is accepted.

Registration

We expect a group size of 16 people, including the 2 leaders. This trip is likely to fill quickly. If you are interested, you should apply as soon as possible. When registration is complete, we will send all participants the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all those going on the trip.

To apply, you must download, complete, and submit the application documents which consist of:

You will not be accepted and your check will not be deposited until the leaders have determined by telephone conversation with you that you and the trip are a good match. Deposit checks from wait-listed applicants will not be cashed until a spot is available, the applicant is accepted onto the trip, & they confirmed their continued interest.

Participant cancellation policy

Cancellation will not be allowed to raise the cost to the other participants or to the leaders.

The minimum cancellation fee is $500 once the trip has been declared a go. If actual costs (expenses already incurred on your behalf, and any unavoidable future expenses that will be incurred as a result of your registration & cancellation) are higher, they will be assessed instead, unless they can be applied toward another acceptable participant.

Trip cancellation policy

In the unlikely event that the trip is cancelled, everything you have paid to AMC for this trip will be refunded in full.

Participants are responsible for their own airline tickets & other external expenses. Most airlines no longer give refunds for cancellations; instead, they issue coupons for a future trip with an administrative charge and an expiration date. Trip cancellation insurance is advised—policy information will be supplied to all participants.

Disclosure

AMC Adventure Travel trips are run on a nonprofit basis. Leaders are not compensated except for their travel and administrative costs associated with the trip. A program fee is assessed toward AMC Adventure Travel program and administrative expenses.

Leaders

Mike Barry


Mike has been biking since junior high and has been leading rides with the AMC since he moved here in the 1990s. He leads rides from evening rides to local day trips to regional weekends to week long tours in New England and in Tuscany and the Czech Republic for AMCs Adventure Travel Program.

Rami Haddad


Rami is an active AMC leader with Adventure Travel, Bicycle, Ski, & Family committees. He travelled throughout the Alps region on several trips for hiking, bicycle touring, sightseeing, Boston Marathon, & Ironman Switzerland. He has been on extended trekking & bicycle tours through the Pacific Northwest, Pacific Coast, Rocky Mountains, Japan, France, & Germany.

Required Packing List

  • Passport. Tourist visa not required for US citizens. For other citizens, check with the embassy.
  • Helmet (include label with emergency contacts)
  • Water bottles or water bladder
  • Bicycle shorts
  • Rain gear
  • Casual clothing when off the bicycle
  • Warm clothing (it can get cool)
  • Tire irons, wrench keys, chain tool, patch kit, & pump

Optional Packing List

The following is a long list of optional items to bring. Use it as a reminder of additional items that can make your trip and rides more comfortable.

  • Bicycle Gear
    • Tubes
    • Helmet mirror
    • Chamois cream
  • Bicycle Clothing
    • Shorts
    • Jersey
    • Arm & leg warmers
    • Rain jacket
    • Vest
    • Socks
    • Gloves
    • Sunglasses
    • Shoes
  • Accessories
    • Swim suit
    • Toothbrush & paste
    • Lip balm
    • Razor & shaving cream
    • Contact lens solution & case
    • Glasses
    • Flashlight or head lamp
    • Mobile phone & charger
    • Deodorant
    • Sunscreen
    • Camera & battery charger
    • GPS, power charger, & bicycle mount
    • AA & AAA batteries
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