Johannesburg to Cape Town – The Slow Way Down

Johannesburg to Cape Town – The Slow Way Down

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This tour is a great adventure, taking in mountains, coast and desert, with some of South Africa's best roads and most spectacular scenery. It also has a wildlife/safari element and great eating, but above all it's about the ride. Starting in Johannesburg, the tour travels through four of the country's 'must see' and 'must ride' areas: the Drakensberg Mountains, the Garden Route, the Little Karoo and the Cape Peninsula. We will be travelling almost the length of the country, following what for many a long-distance rider has been the final leg of a London to Cape Town epic. Mountains, desert, wildlife and coastal delights, including Cape Town – this tour has the lot.

There will be a maximum of 10 bikes available on this tour. The bikes used will be 2015-model Triumph Tiger 800s, or Suzuki DL650 V-Stroms (2014-models). The 'standard' tour bike is a V-Strom, which is fine for passengers. Upgrades (at extra cost) are available when booking. For further information on BIKES, bike upgrades and the terms and conditions of hire, please go HERE.

jb-ct 15

As a participant in this tour you'll fly to Johannesburg, to be met by Blazing Trails staff and transferred to your hotel, where there will be some paperwork to complete and where we will give you a briefing on the trip ahead. The following day we will collect the bikes and head out into deep joy.

When riding there will be a lead rider and, when there are more than five riders, a sweeper at the rear. Tour participants will navigate using a 'marker' (also known as a 'buddy') system, whereby the rider behind the leader drops off and waits to guide those coming behind.

The riding on this tour is nearly all on tarmac, and despite some nasty potholes in places, this tarmac is generally very good, with little traffic, and makes for super-satisfying riding. We will be taking a few dirt roads on this tour, but never for any distance and they are usually pretty smooth. We would certainly not describe any of the rides as 'off-roading'.

For more general information on South Africa, please see About South Africa.

Jo'bURGH TO CAPE TOWN - itinerary

CT-JB fly1Day 1: Fly

Fly from the UK to Johannesburg International airport, to arrive the following day.


flight-inclusive

JB-CT-arrive JBDay 2: Arrive

Arrive in Johannesburg, to be transferred to your nearby hotel where the Blazing Trails staff will meet you and brief you on the adventure ahead. The hotel is situated in a lively locality, with lots of bars and restaurants from which to choose.

jb-ct day 3  1121Day 3: Jo'burg to rugged glen

We will collect our bikes in the morning, before mounting up and leaving the city behind. The ride out of town is, initially a fairly straight one, but we are soon on rural tarmac, winging our way to the Golden Gate Highland National Park in the spectacular Drakensberg Mountains. From here we ride on to Little Switzerland, from where lovely, twisty riding will carry us to our cottages on the edge of a nature reserve and with awe-inspiring views over the surrounding countryside.

jb-ct day 4  1122Rugged Glen to Underberg

On leaving our cottages, the riding is again on small mountain roads until we pick up the larger road to Mooi River, where we will have lunch. The afternoon will see us climbing back into the southern Drakensberg mountains. We will end the day at a comfortable guest house in the interesting mountain settlement of Underberg, with views up to the mountains of Lesotho.

jb-ct day 5  1123Day 5: UNDERBERG to oribi gorge

A half-day ride that starts in the mountains and heads down through the hills towards the coast. Our destination, Oribi Gorge, is a wildlife sanctuary with deep forest, waterfalls and wild views. We will be staying in a classy colonial-style hotel with a good bar and restaurant.

JB-CT-oribi-coffee1Day 6: ORIBI GORGE to coffee bay

Another day; another super South African ride. We will wind back down through the Gorge and meet with the Indian Ocean at Port Shepstone. From here we follow the coast to Port Edward and head back inland on one of the best roads you will find anywhere - super-twisty, great tarmac, awesome views. The ocean again breaks into view as we descend towards Port St Johns, where we will pick up a small dirt road for the last kilometers to Coffee Bay.

jb-ct day 7  1124Day 7: in cOFFEE BAY & hole in the wall

Our hotel, with private garden down to the beach, is the perfect place from which to take a walk, or book an excursion. Horse rides are especially good value. Alternative pursuits include relaxing on the hotel deck and taking in the views with a cold beer and excellent (all inclusive) food.

jb-ct day 8  1125Day 8: cOFFEE BAY to hogsback

A small and potholed road carries us away from the coast and onto the sweeping N2 highway. We will leave the highway after some 150km to climb the twisties into the relative cool of the Amatola Mountains. Our stop for the night is in Hogsback, a small hamlet in the cloud forest.

jb-ct day 9  1127Day 9: HOGSBACK to addo elephant reserve

From Hogsback we will travel back down the mountain and ride on to Grahamstown for lunch in this interesting British-colonial town. Then back on to the N2 highway, which swoops its way through many wildlife reserves. Turning onto minor roads we will pass through yet another park en-route to the small town of Addo. We will end the day with a fine dinner in a very comfortable farm cottage resort.

jb-ct day 10 1126Day 10: in ADDO

A bike-free day to explore Addo Elephant reserve, should you choose. The park contains many elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo - among others. You shouldn't expect to see all of these animals in a single day, but your chances of spotting elephant in their natural surroundings, and much more, are high. The day will again end on the farm, enjoying a relaxing dinner.

jb-ct 5Day 11: Addo to Storms River

We will make our way back to the main coastal highway and, heading south, we'll enjoy fine views over Jeffreys Bay and the ocean. At Storms River we will stop for the night, taking dinner at a retro diner, complete with classic American cars (or, if closed a chrming period hotel garden).

jb-ct day 12  1128Day 12: storms river to mossel bay

Today we tackle the famous Garden Route, with the ocean to our left and mountains building on the right. In the Tsitsikamma National Park we will leave the highway on a twisty loop, where we will stop for lunch at the Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre. Here we will be able to take a guided tour through the cages of many of South Africa's wild cats, including meeting cheetah up close.

jb-ct 8Day 13: In mossel bay

Near our accommodation by the beach there are a number of activities that can be arranged, from sitting in the sun drinking a fine Pinotage, to shark watching (including cage-diving), fishing, beach-strolling or visiting the caves of early hominids. It is also possible for us to arrange game drives and 'walking with lions' experiences nearby. The dining in Mossel Bay is also excellent, with super seafood in abundance.

jb-ct day 14  1129Day 14: Mossel Bay to Montagu

Today we will climb the stunning passes towards Oudtshoorn and descend into the wild scrub-desert landscape of the Little Karoo. We will soon join the famous Route 62, cruising long, straight stretches through ostrich-filled fields, interspersed with loopy passes and striking rock-scapes. This varied ride takes us through to Montagu, a small town set between desert and mountain, and an excellent hotel.

jb-ct day 15  1130Day 15: montagu to cape town

The last leg of the long trek south carries us through the spectacular open scenery of the R318, with a couple of nice passes thrown in. After 80km we hit the main N1 highway, a dual carriageway that carves its way through the mountains approaching Cape Town. We will cut from the highway to climb over the Toitskloof Pass before coming down into Cape Town. But it ain't over yet, oh no…

Around ct1DAY 16: around cape town

We will head from our Cape Town base out around the Cape Peninsula National Park and on to Cape Point itself for lunch. Leaving The Cape of Good Hope, we'll thread our way out to the N2 highway, to return to the city via Betty's Bay, and Gordon's Bay. This is one of the most amazing rides you will ever experience.

jb-ct 24DAY 17: In cape town

Have a super day exploring this world-class city. Top options will include taking cable cars up Table Mountain, a boat ride around the bay, a trip out to Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was detained), or simply hanging out in the waterfront area, eating, shopping and enjoying the fine spectacle of Cape Town. Or, indeed, a combination of the many.

jb-ct day 18 1131DAY 18: fly away home

Cars to the airport. Farewell.

Jo'burgh to Cape Town - What the Tour Price Includes

Included

  • International Flights
  • Fourteen Days of Bike Hire
  • Luggage-carrying Support
  • All Internal Transfers
  • Sixteen Nights Accommodation
  • Meals: 10 breakfasts; 1 lunch; 4 dinners

Not included

  • Other Meals
  • Tolls, Entry Fees and Excursions
  • Fuel
  • Damage Excess on bikes.

Jo'burgh to Cape Town - Flights & Timings

Tickets will be emailed to you on the address provided when booking.

Jo'burgh to Cape Town - Useful Information

Documentation

You will need a passport and appropriate travel insurance. Currently UK citizens (and those from most countries) will be granted a tourist visa upon arrival. It is, however, your responsibility to check that you can legally enter the country. Most 'western' driving licences are also valid, but please also check your status before travelling. You will need a credit card against which to secure your deposit on the bike.

Currency

You should be able to get by on around £800 spending money if you don't do a lot of shopping. Cash and travellers' cheques can be changed at the airport and in the larger towns. Cash points are widespread and most vendors accept credit/debit cards. Cash is best for fuel stations as it speeds up what can otherwise be a lengthy process. Depending on what bike you choose and how you ride it, expect to part with £250-£350 for fuel.

Climate

At the time of year we will be visiting, South Africa should be nice and sunny, but not too hot, even at the coast. Obviously, though, we can't guarantee this and you should be prepared for the possibility of a couple of wet days. If it does rain in the mountains it can be a bit chilly, but not really cold. The maximum temperature is likely to be around 30ºC on the coast; the minimum 8ºC (at night in the mountains, if it has been overcast during the day). On the coast, especially at The Cape, it can be pretty windy.

Bike Kit

We advise riders to consider their kit in terms of layers, so you can adjust to be comfortable during the course of a varied day. Clothing as you would wear on a tour of Europe is perfectly suitable, weather leathers, or textiles. Some kind of waterproofing is a very good idea. Good gear can also prevent a minor spill causing a trip-ruining injury, so we require that you ride with no exposed skin (except your face).

Luggage

While your main luggage will be carried in a support vehicle, you may wish to bring a small rucksack, tank-bag, or tail-pack in which to carry articles you need on the road. Your main bag must be 'soft' and not a suitcase.

Fitness

You need not be any more fit on this tour than if you were riding in Europe. However, if you have any existing medical condition that may affect you during the tour, please consult your doctor and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before booking.

Riding Skills

While we insist those joining us have a full motorcycle licence, and recommend a minimum of a year's riding experience, time in the saddle and miles ridden are of more relevance to an adventure like this. There are some fairly long days in the saddle, up to a maximum of around 450km (280 miles) in a day. We do, though, try to design the tours so you get an easier day, or down day, after a long ride.

Health & Hygiene

South Africa is a very clean and hygienic country (we'd say more so than the UK), with clean ablutions in abundance, and safe tap-water, so the chances of getting even a 'holiday tummy' are low. South Africa has a very low incidence of Malaria - virtually unheard of on this route), but we still recommend that you ask your physician for advice on inoculations. If you have any pre-existing medical condition, it is essential that you consult both Blazing Trails and your physician before booking.

Eating & Drinking

South African restaurant food will be familiar to those coming from the West. Food is of a high standard and is very good value (especially meat and seafood dishes), being around half the equivalent cost of the UK. One of the world's great wine producers, South Africa is a great place to sample the grape, which is also great value for money. Decent beers (mainly lagers) are available everywhere.

On our tours, food will only be inclusive where there is little or no choice, or where we have arranged something special (barbeques etc). For the number of meals included in the trip, see 'What The Tour Price Includes' (above). We have arranged the tour like this this, so participants can choose the what, wheres and explore for themselves. Not everybody wants to eat in a group every night, eat the same thing, or at the same time. We will, however, be happy to advise on eateries…

Excursions

As with eating, we do not want to prescribe what non-riding activities you chose to participate in. In many places there are several options, so we will be happy to advise, put you in touch with the right people and let you decide.

Personal Safety

While South Africa has had some pretty bad press in recent years for violent crime, very little of this nature happens in the tourist areas through which we will be travelling. And, as ever, the media tends to sensationalize the bad and ignore the good. Being guided through the 'right' areas in a group greatly mitigates the chances of encountering unpleasantness. Petty crime - pick-pocketing and theft - happens, as it does in virtually all tourist destinations with a wide gulf between rich and poor. A few simple precautions, like keeping your wallet/docs in an inside pocket and leaving nothing unattended on the bike, should mean a trouble-free tour.

Medical facilities

Unlike our Asian tours, we feel South Africa has developed enough emergency services and an efficient private health-care system (along with European standards of driving) to mean that we don't need to travel with a fully-qualified medic. Travel insurance, including medical cover, is compulsory on this trip.

Frequently Asked Questions - South Africa

 

ARE FLIGHTS INCLUDED?

Yes, (if you are booking from the UK) all flights, international and domestic, are included in the price of your tour.

 

How do I book?

The tours can be booked online, by email, or over the phone on: +44 (0)5603 666788. To secure a place you will be asked to put down a deposit of £700.00 and payment can be made by card, cheque, or bank transfer.

 

CAN I BOOK FROM OUTSIDE THE UK?

Yes. If you are booking from outside the UK, please contact us and we will provide you with a non-flight price.

 

CAN I TAKE A DIFFERENT FLIGHT?

You can, but we may have to add a surcharge if you are not on the group flight. Please contact us for details.

 

Where do I get a visa?

For most nationalities, including EU citizens, a tourist visa is issued free of charge at your port of entry. It is, however, your responsibility to check current regulatuons.

 

What other paperwork do I need?

You will need a valid certificate of travel insurance.

 

WHERE DO the bikes come from?

We own and manage our own fleet of bikes.

 

WHat happens if i damage the bike?

If you damage the bike, you will be charged for the damage up to the amount of your excess. On all our bikes, the excess is £1000, so in the event of a mishap you will not be charged more than this amount. If the damage is less than this amount, then you will only be charged for that damage.

If you have damaged the bike near to this total, we may ask you to place a further deposit before continuing.

 

DO I NEED INSURANCE?

Yes, you need travel insurance to cover you for the period of the tour. This insurance must cover you to ride the bike you have booked. Blazing Trails has an agreement with Endsleigh Insurance who provide reasonably priced policies with the requisite cover.

 

Where should I change money?

We would advise that you change some money on arrival at the airport. ATMs are widespread and an efficient way to get hold of cash. Credit and debit cards are accepted nearly everywhere.

 

why did the mexican push his wife off the cliff?

Tequila.

 

How much spending money will I need?

About £300-£400 should cover food, drink, petrol and sundries.

 

Will I have to share a room?

Yes, unless you pay a supplement. Even then, single rooms may not be available at some stops as the hotels we use are popular, or in some cases small, and we have to book our accommodation some time in advance.

 

What standard is the accommodation?

It varies widely (and tour-to-tour), but is always clean and the best we can find in the area for a reasonable price in a suitable setting. We are always in clean, comfortable hotels and guesthouses.

 

Will we have electricity?

Yes, but you may need a travel plug adaptor.

 

How much riding experience do I need?

We would recommend only booking a tour with us if you have a full licence (compulsory) and have at least a year's recent riding experience. The main criterion, however, is confidence.

 

Is riding in south africa dangerous?

Riding anywhere carries with it a degree of risk, as does riding in South Africa. However, with light traffic and good roads, we would suggest that riding in South Africa is no more dangerous than a tour in Europe. For more information on the riding side of things see 'Riding' in the 'About South Africa' section of this site. If any rider joining us rides in a manner we suspect will endanger themselves, or others, or indeed displays antisocial behaviour, they will receive one warning. If they continue to display a threat to the safety or enjoyment of others on the tour, they will be excluded from the remainder (with no refund given, see terms and conditions).

 

How fast will we be riding?

We will be riding 'progressively', at or around the speed limit and according to conditions. Most South African roads outside built-up areas have a 75mph speed limit - fast enough on the twisties. There are fixed cameras and mobile speed traps in towns...

 

Do I have to book my own flights?

No, we do that for you and forward the ticket by email.

 

Can I use the bike in the evenings?

No, you can't ride independently of the tour group, sorry.

 

How fit do I need to be?

No fitter than you would have to be to tour Europe.

 

Can I take a pillion?

Yes.

 

How much luggage can I bring?

You are limited by most airlines, so check with the carrier. However, we suggest you pack as lightly and in as compact a form as possible. Space may be tight, we insist you bring soft luggage.

 

How much luggage should I bring?

Keep it minimal. One set of riding kit for the tour and a couple of sets of clothes for the evening. You can always pick up cheap clothing locally and there are laundry facilities at two-night stops. Leave some space for shopping you do in SA.

 

Isn't south africa A Dangerous crime hell?

While South Africa has had some pretty bad press in recent years for violent crime, very little of this nature happens in the tourist areas through which we will be travelling. And, as ever, the media tends to sensationalize the bad and ignore the good. Being guided through the 'right' areas in a group greatly mitigates the chances of encountering unpleasantness. Petty crime - pick-pocketing and theft - happens, as it does in virtually all tourist destinations with a wide gulf between rich and poor. A few simple precautions, like keeping your wallet/docs in an inside pocket and leaving nothing unattended on the bike, should mean a trouble-free tour. You will be briefed on sensible measures prior to setting off.

 

Do I need a towel?

If you're wet, yes. They are provided throughout the tour.

 

Is food included in the price?

Only some meals (check your tour for details). We prefer that where there are choices you make your own on what and where you eat. You will find South African food of a very high standard and good value.

 

Is it safe to enter a cage full of cheetahs?

Not really, but it's quite exciting and they are very pretty.

 

Are laundry facilities available on-tour?

They are, but not every night. Check the itinerary of your tour - you will be able to get clothes cleaned at two-night stops, so consider this when packing.

 

Do I need waterproofs?

Yes. If your riding kit isn't waterproof, then bring some light waterproofs.

 

I want to see a lion, will I, will I, go on, please?

Maybe, maybe not, but if you take part in a safari at Kruger, St Lucia, or Addo Elephant Reserve you will certainly see some interesting wildlife and landscapes.

 

Will there be a mozzie problem?

Not really. There may be a few around, but you won't be plagued. Bring some repellent. South Africa is mainly malaria-free, but for advice on anti-malarials consult your doctor (take the itinerary with you).

 

what's the difference between a gnu and a wildebeest?

You can't paddle a wildebeest.

 

Do I need to bring a sleeping bag?

No.

 

IS IT SAFE TO swim in the sea?

Depends on whether there are any great whites around. We would advise you to ask locally - and then go and get a beer instead.

 

What medication should I bring & what inoculations are required?

Consult your GP/travel clinic for immunisation and malaria advice. Bring enough of any prescribed medication you take regularly. A basic first aid kit is useful (plasters, antiseptic cream, bite/sting relief, plus insect repellent).

 

Should I bring a seat pad?

Gel or air pads add comfort on long days in the saddle, but are not necessary.

 

I HEAR THAT ELEPHANTS ARE THE MOST DANGEROUS ANIMAL IN NEPAL - IS THIS TRUE?

Yes, but you're going to South Africa.


How To Make A Booking

Holiday bookings can be made by phone, via email, or over the internet.


Contact us by any of the means above.

Upon deciding to book, please pay a deposit of £700.00 into our bonded account (or the full balance if within two months of the departure date). This can be done by credit/debit card through our website or over the phone, by bank transfer, by over-the-counter payment, or by sending a cheque to our UK representative.

Having booked with Blazing Trails, you will be sent all the necessary information on timings and meeting points. You may also like to use our website, or Facebook group, to liaise with others.

PLEASE NOTE: A maximum of one week (seven days) will be allowed for your deposit payment to reach and clear in our bonded account. Should this not happen, we can suspend your booking and may have to give your place on tour to somebody else.

 

 

Touring Map

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Tour Overview

In ten words

A journey through the best South Africa has to offer

Riding Level

The vast majority of this ride is on good, smooth tarmac, with a couple of short pot-holed sections. Twisty, with little traffic, this is a road rider's dream.

Tarmac: 99%; dirt 1%.

The Adventure

Overall: approx' 3200km

Shortest day: 150km

Longest day: 450km

2 days travelling

11 days riding

4 off-bike days


Pillion Rating

Mostly like riding the best European roads, but without the traffic. Ideal.

Accommodation & Meals

Accommodation is generally in three-star hotels and guesthouses (which are of a high standard in SA). Food is western-style and cheap with huge portions. A carnivore's paradise, with seafood.

Included meals: all breakfasts; 2 dinners. Food elsewhere is extremely inexpensive.

Highlights

Golden Gates National Park; cottages in the Drakensberg Mountains; colonial hotel and great views at Oribi Gorge; hotel on the beach, with fine dining (inclusive) at Coffee Bay; safari and quad-riding at Addo Elephant Reserve; views at Storms River Mouth; walk with lions near Mossel Bay; ride the Little Karoo; visit the most southerly point in Africa; ride to the Cape of Good Hope and the coastal twists of The Cape. Cape Town – visit Table Mountain, Robben Island, museums, restaurants etc in this wold-class city.



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Departure day

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 15th May 2018  (Tuesday) Johannesburg 4250 GBP (3600 GBP)
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