This cycle tour is for the adventure-seekers, because there won’t be a dull moment while you are exploring and experiencing the best that Africa offers. From the urban escapades of Johannesburg and Soweto, the scenic bushveld in Swaziland, to the beautiful and popular Panorama Route, these 15 days won’t disappoint. This adventure will certainly contain a lifetime of memories.
|APPROXIMATE DAILY DISTANCE||25-70km|
|ACCOMODATION TYPE||3 or 4 Star Lodges & Hotels|
Day 1: Welcome to Jozi
Arrive in the beautiful city of Johannesburg and meet your Escape Cycle Tours guide. Get settled at the SunSquare Hotel at Montecasino, where you will overnight. Feel free to roam and enjoy the many restaurants that this prestigious casino has on offer. Kindly note this would be on your own account.
Day 2: It’s Off to Soweto
Get ready to spend the day exploring all the magnificent sites of Soweto and immerse yourself in South African history and culture. Highlights of the day:
- Breakfast before starting your cycle tour through Soweto
- Visit the Mandela House, where Nelson Mandela once lived
- Stop at the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum
- Cycle down Vilakazi Street, the only street in the world to have housed two Nobel Prize winners
- See Freedom Square/Walter Sisulu Square, where the ANC’s Freedom Charter was proclaimed to thousands in 1956
- Visit the Regina Mundi Church, where the bullet-marked walls are witness to ex-security/police brutality
- See the famous Soweto Towers
- Explore the Apartheid museum for an in-depth glance at the emotional journey of South Africa
- Enjoy dinner at any of the restaurants at Montecasino (for your own account)
- Overnight at The SunSquare Hotel, Montecasino (Bed & breakfast) in double occupancy rooms
Day 3: Explore the Country Within a Country - Swaziland
After breakfast, depart for Swaziland. On arrival at Hawane Resort, you will have an opportunity to settle into the stunning location and get ready for an adventure-filled day. Look forward to:
- Tackling the Malolotja Canopy Tours; or alternatively, hike to the Iron Ore Mines of Ngwenya
- Staying at the luxurious Hawane Resort
- Enjoying an à la carte dinner at the Hawane Lodge
- Sleeping at Hawane Resort in double occupancy rooms (Bed & breakfast)
Day 4: A Beautiful Bushveld Adventure
Spend the day cycling and exploring the untouched surroundings as Mother Nature intended it. The day will hold:
- Cycling from Hawane Resort to Sibebe Rock and back
- Cycling and exploring the nature reserve and rivers. Negotiating rocky paths as you do a loop around the Mbuluzi River and through the Hhohho Region of Swaziland
- Exploring the world famous Sibebe rock. There will be an option to either climb some steep trails or follow more rural tracks and paths to the Mbuluzi river
- Heading back towards Mbabane for lunch and then cycling back to Hawane Resort
- Overnight at Hawane Resort in double occupancy rooms (Dinner, bed & breakfast)
Day 5: Cycle from Hawane to Foresters Arms
Get an early start with a light breakfast before departing on the busy day ahead. Look forward to:
- Heading off to Ngwenya Glass through Hawane Valley
- Stopping in Motshane Valley to cycle and explore the local homesteads, which will be along an unused railway line, as well as forest roads and cattle paths
- Cycle at a relaxed pace to enjoy the idyllic views of Montigny forest
- End at Foresters Arms
- Light lunch followed by a dip in the pool
- Have a lazy afternoon followed by sundowners
- Dinner will be à la carte at the Forester Arms Restaurant
Day 6: Cycle from Foresters Arm to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
A hearty breakfast will prepare you for the action-packed day that lies ahead. Day will hold:
- A cycle from Foresters Arms through the Village of Mhlabanyatsi before heading into the Malkerns Valley
- An exploration of the Usutu forests
- Entering the Mlilwane Game Reserve through the northern gate and joining the route of the annual Imvelo MTB Classic
- A cycle among a herd of zebra, wildebeest and blesbuck
- Lunch at The Hippo Haunt Restaurant overlooking the water hole
- Overnight at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary in traditional Swazi beehive huts – double occupancy rooms (Dinner, bed & breakfast)
Day 7: Get the Adrenaline Flowing with White-Water Rafting
This day will offer the perfect combination of cycling and white-water rafting on the great Usutu River. Get ready for a:
- Short bike tour to Swazi Trails
- Full day of white-water rafting on the Usutu River, which is Swaziland’s largest river
- Enjoy the scenic mountain and forested riverbanks that are interspersed occasionally by the rural Swazi homesteads
- Cycle back to overnight at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and experience authentic African living in traditional beehive huts – double occupancy rooms (Dinner, bed & breakfast)
Day 8: Cycle from Mlilwane to Nkonyeni Golf Estate
This part of the tour will include a variety of game paths, single tracks, district roads and railway lines as we head down into the Lowveld of Swaziland. The day will include a:
- Sunrise breakfast of yoghurt, cereals, toast and fruit.
- Cycle route will take us through pineapple farms, sugarcane fields and across the Great Usutu River
- A route that runs along rough animal paths towards to the Nkonyeni Golf and Game Estate
- Lunch at the Nkonyeni Club House
- Optional extra for those who need pampering: The Beauty@Nkonyeni Spa offers massages and a range of beauty treatments for tired muscles
- Overnight in luxury at the 7 river-front chalets that are nestled in the bush near the clubhouse overlooking the river
- The Nkonyeni Clubhouse’s à la carte dinner
Day 9: Bike from Nkonyeni to Mkhaya Game Reserve
Get an early start to the day to ensure you can leisurely enjoy the scenic savannah landscape. Highlights of the day:
- Cycling past beautiful rocky outcrops that protrude from the savannah
- Riding along gravel roads and across the Usutu River towards Siphofaneni
- Cycling through communal lands to the gate of Mkhaya Game Reserve
- Stacking the bikes and driving to our overnight accommodation for a much-needed rest of our muscles
- Sleeping over at Mkhaya Game Reserve in double occupancy rooms (Dinner, bed & breakfast)
Day 10: Bike from Mkhaya Game Reserve through Hlane National Park
Depart from the game reserve and start cycling shortly after the exit of Mkhaya Game Reserve. Look forward to:
- Cycling via the Big Bend Village uphill towards the Lembombo Mountain Range.
- Breathtaking views of the southern part of Swaziland and Mozambique
- A challenging yet satisfying cycle through the Hlane National Park
- The possibility of spotting elephant, rhino, lion and various antelope species
- After racking the bikes we depart Swaziland and head North through Managa Boarder Post to KwaMadwala (private lodge)
- A night at KwaMadwala Private Game Reserve in double occupancy rooms (Dinner, bed and breakfast)
Day 11: Return to the Wild
After the adventure-filled few days, some rest and relaxation is in order. The day of de-stressing will include:
- Scrumptious breakfast before departure
- Entering the Kruger National Park at Malelane Gate and searching for the Big 5
- Lunch at the Skukuza Restcamp before departing The Kruger National Park for Umkumbe Safari Lodge in The Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve
- A private safari game drive in the evening
- Potentially seeing some of South Africa’s nocturnal animal leopard, African Civet, Bushbabies and more during the night-drive
- Dinner at camp served under the African night sky
- Overnight at Umkumbe Safari Lodge in double occupancy rooms (Full board)
Day 12: A Safari at Sunrise
Start the day with a morning safari and return for a delicious breakfast, after which the day really begins. The day’s itinerary:
- Early start with coffee and rusks
- Safari adventure
- Breakfast upon return from the safari
- Optional: Short bushwalk to go sight-see some of the fauna and flora
- Lunch followed by sunset safari
- Dinner at Umkumbe Safari Lodge, as well as a night’s stay in double occupancy rooms (Full board)
Day 13: The Picturesque Panorama Route
This day will be filled with nature’s wonders and memorable views. The highlights of the day:
- Early morning start with coffee and rusks before departing on a morning safari
- A delicious breakfast spread will be waiting for you after the safari
- Depart to Graskop, Mpumalanga
- Drive to Bourke’s Luck Potholes where you will get to view this unique phenomenon
- Unrack bikes and cycle along a tar road with the beautiful backdrop of The Panorama Route in full view
- See the Blyde River Canyon and The Three Rondavels
- From The Three Rondavels, rack the bikes and travel to Iketla Lodge
- Overnight at Iketla Lodge (Dinner, bed & breakfast)
Day 14: Back to the City
After breakfast, prepare to depart back to the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg. Once there, enjoy dinner at one of the many prestigious restaurants that Montecasino has to offer (for your own account). Overnight in luxury at The SunSquare Hotel, Montecasino in double occupancy rooms (Bed & breakfast).
Day 15: Home is Where the Heart is
Your Escape Cycle Tours guide will transfer you back to OR Tambo International Airport for your flight back home, where you will have many memories and adventure-filled stories to share with your loved ones.
|Cycling shoes, cross trainers (own cleats – all bikes have standard flat pedals)|
|Cycling Shorts / Casual Shorts|
|Cycle Shirts / Casual shirts|
|Cycling Jacket + Warm Jacket|
|Helmet (also available for hire)|
|Small daypack (for in the bus)|
|Casual shoes / sandals|
|Jeans / Casual Long Pants|
|Torch and batteries (not necessary)|
|Toiletries, including lip balm & personal medication|
|Energy bars – if you feel it is necessary|
|First Aid kit – Disprin, plasters, Imodium etc.|
ESCAPE CYCLE TOURS LIMITED BOOKING CONDITIONS
Please read the below terms and conditions carefully. These conditions, along with any other information given to you at the time of booking, set out the terms and conditions of the contract between you and Escape Cycle Tours.
All bookings made with Escape Cycle Tours are made subject to these Booking Conditions. When you pay your deposit you are making an offer to purchase our services or holidays, which, if accepted by us, will result in a binding contract. Payment of your deposit does not constitute our acceptance of your offer and your deposit will be refunded in full if your offer is refused.
BOOKING, DEPOSIT & RESERVATION – A non-refundable deposit of 25% (‘the Deposit’) of the total tour price (‘the Tour Price’) as specified in the Reservation Form (‘the Reservation Form’) is required in order to secure the reservation, subject to payment of the balance of the Tour Price must be paid 6 weeks prior to your departure date. The Operator reserves the right to cancel any reservation if the deposit is not received. Upon receipt of The Reservation Form duly completed and signed and accompanied by the Deposit, you will be deemed to have confirmed all the information pertaining to your Itinerary (‘The Itinerary’) as correct and the Operator will, subject to availability, make the reservations necessary to secure the Itinerary.
YOUR FINANCIAL PROTECTION: Book with Confidence. We are a member of SATSA which means you have the benefit of SATSA’s assistance and Code of Conduct. We provide full financial protection for your money.
IF YOU CHANGE YOUR BOOKING: If, after our confirmation invoice has been issued, you wish to change your travel arrangements in any way, for example your chosen departure date or accommodation, we will do our utmost to make these changes but it may not always be possible. Any request for changes to be made must be in writing from the person who made the booking or your travel agent. You will be asked to pay an administration charge of R200 per person per element, and any further cost we incur in making this alteration. You should be aware that these costs could increase the closer to the departure date that changes are made and you should contact us as soon as possible. A change of holiday dates will normally be treated as a cancellation of the original booking. We are not able to hold deposits and carry them on to a booking for the next year. Should a member of your party be prevented from travelling you may transfer the booking to another person(s), provided it is not less than14 days prior to departure and you pay an amendment fee of R200, as well as any additional costs we may incur. Note: Certain travel arrangements (e.g. Hotel or Transportation Bookings) may not be changeable after a reservation has been made and any alteration request could incur a cancellation charge of up to 100% of that part of the arrangements.
INSURANCE: It is a condition of your contract with us that you must take out adequate travel insurance suitable before you travel to cover yourself for cancellation, curtailment, injury or illness during your holiday with Macs Adventure. We do not check insurance policies for suitability, but reserve the right to request a copy. You are responsible for indemnifying us in full in the event that we incur any losses or expenses arising out of your failure to take out adequate insurance cover.
SUITABILITY & BEHAVIOUR: All our holidays, tours and courses are graded and it is your responsibility to ensure that you are physically fit, adequately experienced and suitably equipped to compete the holiday. If you have and medical conditions, allergies or special dietary requirements you must inform us and your leader (where appropriate). We will endeavour to pass on any dietary or special requests to our suppliers but cannot guarantee that they will be able to meet your request. Your booking is accepted on the basis that you understand and accept the inherent risks involved in adventure or activity travel and that you undertake the treks, tours and activities of your own free will. If you decide that you are unable to continue the holiday you will be responsible for making your own alternative arrangements at your own expense. If in our reasonable opinion your behaviour is likely to cause injury, upset or distress to third party or damage to property we are entitled to terminate the holiday of the person(s) concerned, without prior notice and they will be responsible for making alternative arrangements and no refunds will be given.
OUR COMMITMENT TO PRIVACY
- No helmet no ride
- Support vehicle always available for the fatigued
- Ride snacks, i.e. energy drinks and energy bars must be for your own account
- Cyclist must adhere to guides instructions at all times
- You need to be 16 years or older to cycle in Big Game areas
- If using your own bike, it must be covered by personal insurance
- No children under the age of 12 years old are permitted on the bush braai or night drive
The rental includes:
- Quality and well maintained mountain bikes of different sizes. Hard Tail bikes will be provided as standard. Soft tails can be arranged on request. Bike technicians will be on tour with spares and will repair any punctures and damages within reason.
- The equipment remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, hire out or part possession with the equipment.
- You must not misuse the equipment and must return it in the same condition as when received (ordinary wear and tear excepted). The supplier is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the equipment during the period of hire. The renter agrees with his/her signature to stand surety for any loss/damage occurred.
- You must ensure that the equipment is adequately secured when not in use. In the event of the equipment being lost or stolen, you may be liable for the replacement value of the equipment.
- Delivery and collection:
Bikes will be supplied on arrival. The cost of bike hire is R350 per day.
- Payment can be done in cash or via credit card (MasterCard).
Passports and Visas
All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information offered below is to help you with that process. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.
British passport holders and most European and Commonwealth Passport holders do not require a visa to travel to South Africa. Please note that all travellers to South Africa who do require a visa are required to have a minimum of 2 blank consecutive pages in their passport i.e. a left hand page and a right hand page to enable an entry visa to be issued. Please note that new regulations from the 1 June 2015 mean that any child under 18 travelling to South Africa needs to be in possession of an unabridged birth certificate with the names of both parents. If a child under 18 is only travelling with a single parent, they will also have to have an affidavit, no less than 3 months old, from the absent parent confirming the child can travel with the other parent; a court order granting full legal guardianship of the child; or a death certificate of the deceased parent. Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.
Vaccinations and Travel Health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad. There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid and Hepatitis A. Malaria prophylaxis is essential if travelling in the greater Kruger area, and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take. The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up‐to‐ date information.
Helmets must be worn by all cyclists in South Africa.
The national currency of South Africa is the South African Rand (ZAR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 18 to the UK£ and 14 to the US$.
Credit Cards can be used in major shops and restaurants but will not be accepted at curio stalls and some smaller shops.
Travellers Cheques can be cashed at banks in major towns, but access can be limited on some trips. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further info. We suggest that you bring cash. Please bear in mind, however, that due to the nature of the tour, it would be better to bring sufficient funds with you for the duration of the trip.
ATM availability/Credit Card Acceptance/Travellers cheques
ATMs are available at Johannesburg airport. There may also be some ATMs en route ‐ please check with your guide at the start of your trip.
Insurance ‐ are you adequately covered?
You must have adequate travel insurance, and if you are joining a trip which goes to high altitude, you must check that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.
In South Africa the standard voltage is 230 V. The standard frequency is 50 Hz. The power sockets that are used are of type C / D / M / N.
Group, Staff and Support
The group will generally be between 4 and 12 people. The trip is led by an experienced and knowledgeable cycling guide/mechanic and a driver, both also have incredible knowledge of the wildlife and plant life and are on hand to answer any questions you might have. All our guides are Theta Certified. Please note that anyone aged under 18 must be accompanied by (and share accommodation with) a parent or legal guardian.
- Bike Hire: R350 per day