Diverse, dramatic and outrageously beautiful, South Africa is a must-visit for any lover of the outdoors. While its reputation is largely forged as the world’s best safari destination, the country offers so much more. Varied picture-perfect landscapes range from the stunning Drakensberg mountain range to the breathtaking coastal roads that lead to the sensational Cape Point. Better yet, South Africa offers up a multitude of excellent routes for bicycle tours, meaning you can cherish every moment sat atop the saddle.
On any visit to South Africa, there is no better place to begin than Kruger National Park. Covering 19,485 km2 (7,523 sq mi) and home to the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo), this is glorious reserve provides an awesome opportunity to observe these famous mammals in their natural habitat.
But if it is landscapes that excite you, then you must breathe in the beautiful Drakensberg ranges in Lesotho. Lush greenery, the sound of baboons and a pleasant undulating ride make this an oasis for exploring.
Equally, there are few better routes in the world than South Africa’s Garden Route. This a primetime trail for hikers, cyclists, and road trippers. Beginning four hours outside Cape Town, it winds its way down the coast, past mountains, national parks, and gorgeous forests. It is a pure feast for the eyes.
While it does not finish in Cape Town, there is no doubting you must visit what is known as one of the most beautiful cities on Earth. While it may be small in size, this port city on the southwest coast, crowned by the Tabletop Mountain National Park - where there are plenty of excellent cycle routes - is absolutely mesmerizing and leaves many a visitor enraptured.
While in Cape Town, history buffs can seek to better understand the country’s chequered history with a visit to Robben Island, the prison - and now a museum - where Nelson Mandela was held for 27 years.
Wine lovers will rejoice on picturesque rides out to famous Winelands destinations, such as Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. However, truly it is the wild coastline supported by a rugged interior and quiet roads that make this one of the world’s best places to cycle. Stopping off in Hermanus to spot whales just adds to the thrill of visiting South Africa.
Finally, for those cyclists who love pushing themselves, South Africa offers the world’s largest cyclosportive event - the Cape Town Cycle Tour. This stunning 109km (68 mi) circuitous route attracts more than 35,000 riders a year and shows off the Cape Peninsula at its more breathtaking, but be warned you have to complete it in under seven hours for your time to be counted. But with so much beauty supporting every turn of the tires, why not give it a go? After all South Africa’s warmth, vibrancy and stunning surroundings make any odyssey here well worth the effort.