15 days, 14 nights|
Cape Town, South Africa|
Guides, ground transportation, lodging, all breakfasts and most lunches and dinners, support van, trail permits, rafting equipment, and fully inclusive safari. We will be staying in hotels, bed and breakfasts and bungalows. All accommodations are shared. Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions and we will try to accommodate your needs. Please contact our office for assistance in obtaining competitive airfares and making airline reservations.|
Air to Cape Town, in-country airfares, your cycle, personal clothing and accessories, medical, baggage and trip cancellation insurance, airport taxes and gratuities.
The extraordinary world of Southern Africa awaits you! Uncover the coast and interior of this African jewel by bicycle, foot and jeep. From Cape Town your journey begins with cycling along the coastal Garden Route. Your next stop is Durban, an historic colonial town where we savor a traditional braaivleis or barbeque. Enjoy a brief but magical journey through the Drakensburg Mountains, and then a three night safari in the Kruger National Park.
Day 1: Arrive Cape Town for overnight.
Day 2: Day spent in Cape Town, cycling along the coast, and, time permitting, take a cable car ride up Table Mountain, and sightseeing in Cape Town.
Day 3: Drive to Stellenbosch, the second oldest town in South Africa, known as the "town of the oaks" for its many oak trees planted by the first settlers. We'll cycle to Boschendal, one of the foremost wineries for lunch under the oak tree, weather permitting. Overnight in Stellenbosch.
Days 4 & 5: Cycle through the winelands of the Cape, winding along country roads amid whitewashed homesteads and tradition-rich cellars that peep out of the vine-covered hills and valleys. We'll be passing wine farms and fruit farms, and will have ample time to sample the delicacies of the area. Our nights will be spent in the heart of the winelands.
Day 6: Today we will head back to Cape Town for our flight to Durban. We'll have some time to spend exploring Durban, which offers a subtropical carnival atmosphere, endless summers, golden beaches and a distinctive Indian flair. Overnight at Umhlanga Rocks, beach town north of Durban. We'll have a traditional BBQ (braaivleis) at the home of a South African. Overnight in Durban.
Days 7-9: Drive to the Drakensberg Mountains. We will spend our days hiking the trails of this incredibly scenic area. The majestic Drakensberg is the country's highest and most impressive mountain range rising to over 3 000 meters. Here you will find unique flora and fauna, covered with wildflowers and a lush green hue. We will spend 3 nights in beautiful inns in the area.
Day 10: Early morning departure and drive to Johannesburg to connect with our flight to Skukuza, Kruger National Park. From there we will begin our safari, exploring the best of the 2,000,000 ha reserve. The Kruger National Park supports the greatest variety of wildlife species found on the African continent. Overnight in the park for the night.
Day 11: A full day for game viewing and overnight in the park.
Day 12: Our final day game viewing in the Kruger Park.
Day 13: Morning departure from Skukuza to Johannesburg to connect with our flight to Victoria Falls.
Day 14: Rafting safari on the Zambezi. Day 15: Depart Victoria Falls and fly to Johannesburg for our connecting flights back to the U.S.
What is special about this trip?
This adventure of a lifetime combines a cycling trip though one of the world’s most scenic locations with a game safari in the most diverse wildlife refuge in Africa.
How do I get there?
The national airline is South African Airlines, though many large US airlines fly to Johannesburg and Cape Town.
What papers do I need for travel?
US citizens need a valid US passport that has at least one visa page that is entirely free of stamps. Non-US citizens should contact their South African embassy for document requirements.
Do I need to get any shots before traveling?
No inoculations are required for entry to South Africa, however, if you work in healthcare, it is encouraged that your hepatitis B vaccination is up to date.
How and where will you meet me?
We will have a copy of your travel itinerary and meet you at the airport. A guide carrying a Northwest Passage sign will greet you.
How long will it take me to get there?
The flight from London to Cape Town takes almost 13 hours and about 23 hours from New York to Cape Town.
Where should I stay overnight around there?
If you plan to arrive early or stay late, give the office a call for a recommendation on a great place to stay.
What money should I take?
Just about all your trip costs are built into the adventure price, except for some of the lunches and dinners (see itinerary). Also bring some money for drinks and gifts.
What’s the currency? Exchange Rate? Where can I exchange money?
The currency is the ZAR Rand. As of December 2010, 1 US dollar equals 6.92 Rand. You can exchange currency at most hotels and banks in Cape Town.
Do they take plastic there? Are there cash stations?
Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in South Africa. American Express is accepted in slightly fewer shops and restaurants. Cash stations are easy to find and generally accept all international bank cards.
What’s the weather like?
We visit during the South African summer when it is warm and dry. Expect beautiful sunny days and warm evenings.
What are the accommodations like?
We stay in hotels, bed and breakfasts and bungalows on the cycling and safari journey.
What do I need to bring?
Upon registering, we will provide you with a detailed clothing and equipment list to guide you in your packing. Casual clothes are the order of the day- no need for anything fancy. Cycling shorts can make a big difference in your comfort level! Having at least 2 pair of cycling shorts is key so that one can be washed and drying while you wear the other. Keep in mind, cycling shorts are designed to be worn without underwear (Some of you may find this so obvious that you can’t believe we’re saying it. But we’ve learned through experience that not everyone who owns cycling shorts is aware of this fact!) Leggings/tights can also be very helpful. Again, having a good layering system can be very important as your temperature needs will generally vary significantly over the course of the day. The bikes have rear racks to which one can attach panniers and front handlebar bags which can fit quite a bit.
Can I drink the water?
The tap water in South Africa is safe to drink although it may have a slight aftertaste since it is purified with chlorine. Bottled water is available in just about every town as well.
What’s the food like?
South African cuisine is meat heavy, but there is also great seafood and fresh produce. South Africa is also influenced by many different cultures, and regional cuisine reflect that fact. One area may prefer fruity and sweet dishes while another prefers Indian inspired curry dishes.
What time zone will I be in?
South Africa time is GMT +2.
How can people reach me in an emergency? Can I call home?
Upon registration we will provide you a with a list of all your accommodations’ contact information. Internet cafes and wireless zones are quite prevalent throughout South Africa, and phone cards are available for purchase from most convenience stores and petrol stations.
How much time do we spend traveling each day? How many miles? Do I have free time?
Typically we cycle between 15 and 35 miles a day. Also, the support van is always available if you would like to take a rest from cycling.
What kind of equipment do you use?
Bring your own bike if you like, but we rent high quality hybrid style bikes. These bikes are fast on the roads but rugged enough to track well on looser packed trails.
How many people are on this trip? How many guides? Who are the guides/ what are their qualifications?
Our group size for this trip ranges from 8 to 12 participants. Your guides will be knowledgeable Northwest Passage staff members who are highly skilled in all aspects of cycling and wilderness travel and have years of experience leading groups. They all have training and/or certification in Wilderness First Aid.
How can I prepare physically for the trip? How much prior experience is needed?
While no cycling experience is necessary for this trip, you may enjoy it more if you go for a few rides before the trip. Having a base of fitness prior to the adventure lets you focus your energy on enjoying the amazing scenery rather than haggardly pumping your bike along the road. You don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy this trip, just going biking, jogging or even brisk walking a couple times a week will greatly enhance your enjoyment of the trip.