Cycling the Garden Route South Africa: Best Places to Stop and Stay

Cycling the Garden Route is perhaps one of the best road cycling tours that South Africa has to offer. Stretching some 750km from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town, it is the perfect winter training tour for those who reside in the northern hemisphere, and there is perhaps no better way to get in peak condition for the iconic Cape Town Cycle Tour than cycling along this incredibly scenic route.

Garden Route Cycle Tours

Due to the logistics involved, most international cyclists prefer to book a fully organised small group Garden Route Cycling Tour that includes everything from accommodations and luggage transport, to professional cycling guides, most meals, and a well-planned itinerary. Monthly departures are generally available from November to April each year when temperatures are nice and toasty below the equator, and your trip will usually last around 7 or 8 days.

There are endless accommodation options available along the Garden Route ranging from economical backpackers and B&B’s to luxurious guesthouses and boutique hotels, so there really is something to suit every budget. But, after a long day in the saddle, a little comfort goes a long way, and so here’s some of the best places to stop and stay during your Garden Route Road Biking adventure:

Port Elizabeth: The Boardwalk Hotel

Centrally located in a ‘safe’ part of town, The Boardwalk Hotel in Summerstrand provides the perfect starting point for your trip. With large rooms, friendly staff, and numerous different dining options within walking distance, it is ideal for those who want to relax after their long flight and prepare for the days ahead.

Jeffrey’s Bay: On the Beach Guesthouse

Jeffery’s Bay is South Africa’s surfer’s paradise, and so it makes perfect sense to stay close to the beach while you are here. On the Beach Guesthouse is exactly that – and this lovely boutique property is cyclist-friendly too!

Tsitsikamma / Storms River: At the Woods Guesthouse

There are some great accommodation choices in and around Tsitsikamma National Park, but if you are travelling as part of a group and you need plenty of space to store your bikes and park your support vehicle, At the Woods Guesthouse is a good choice. There’s a great restaurant on site, but if you want to head out for a walk, Storms River Village is just a short stroll away.

Plettenberg Bay: Lairds Lodge Country Estate

By the time you arrive in Plettenberg Bay, you will begin to realise just how popular the Garden Route is! There is a huge choice here when it comes to accommodations, but Lairds Lodge Country Estate stands out head and shoulders above the rest! Just outside of town in Hawkerville, it is a luxury retreat with beautiful rooms, lovely relaxation areas, and a fine dining restaurant. It may sound a little ‘posh’ for cyclists, but after a few days in the saddle, you’ll appreciate the comfort!

Oudtshoorn: Hlangana Lodge or De Zeekoe Guest Farm

We had to list 2 options here as they are both equally as good! Oudtshoorn is South Africa’s Ostrich Capital, and so if you want to try Ostrich meat (a delicious lean protein – perfect for cyclists!) this is the place to do it.  Hlangana Lodge offers great accommodations that are walking distance from town. Their champagne breakfast is one of the best you’ll eat on the Garden Route, although you might want to skip the bubbly if you are to cycle 100km in 40-degree heat! De Zeekoe is situated 7km outside of town in the Garden Route’s Klein Karoo. A fabulous retreat where you can relax, enjoy your surroundings, and take a ‘walk on the wild side’ on one of their fabulous Meerkat Adventure Tours.

Swellendam: Gaikou Lodge

Situated on the Cape Trade Route, Swellendam is recorded as South Africa’s 8th Oldest Town, and you’ll get to cycle through it on your Garden Route Cycling Tour! There’s only one place to stay in Swellendam, and that is Gaikou Lodge. Situated on the outskirts of town at the foot of the Langeberg Mountain, it offers huge rooms (perfect for storing you bike), beautiful scenery, and a fabulous breakfast each morning.

Hermanus: The Harbour House Hotel

No visit to South Africa’s Whale Coast would be complete without at stay at the Harbour House Hotel. It’s right on the seafront, and just moments from shops, supermarkets, and the best restaurants in Hermanus.

Cape Town: The Winchester Mansions, The Hyde Hotel, or The New Kings Hotel

As you would imagine, Cape Town is bursting with hotels and so the options are endless here, but if you are looking for a good quality, cyclist friendly hotel on the Atlantic Seaboard (best place in Cape Town for cyclists), the Winchester Mansions, the Hyde Hotel, and the New Kings Hotel are your best options.

 

 

 

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Cycling South Africa’s Garden Route: A Typical Day on the Road

If you are thinking about cycling South Africa’s Garden Route, either on a winter sun holiday, or in the run up to the iconic Cape Town Cycle Tour 2018, you’ve probably got a great deal of questions about the route, the itinerary, and the average number of kilometres you are expected to cycle each day.

Pre Argus Training Camp

A demanding road cycling tour that should only be tackled by experienced cyclists, the Garden Route covers some 750km from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town, and you’ll be covering that in just 7-days, so you are looking at cycling around 100km every day.

Unless you book a private tour, you will be cycling the Garden Route with a mixed group, and while the guides do everything they can to balance the group, it is inevitable that some cyclists will be stronger than others, and there is every likelihood that your group will split into two.  Anyone attempting this South African cycle tour should be able to maintain an average speed of 25km per hour across undulating terrain, and be prepared for temperatures up to 40°C, especially during pre-Argus week!

Here’s what a typical day looks like cycling the Garden Route from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town:

06:00am Wake-up call / shower / dress / pack as much as possible in your bag

07:00am Breakfast

07:45am Brush teeth / pack toiletries in your bag / load luggage onto the trailer

08:00am Start cycling / or if transferring by bus to the starting point / depart hotel

10:00am Snack break / refill water bottles

12:30pm Picnic Lunch Break / refill water bottles

1:00pm   Resume cycling

2:30pm   Snack break / refill water bottles

4:00pm   Arrive at hotel

7:00pm   Group Dinner

We’ve allowed a generous timetable, depending on the terrain and temperatures, you may skip the afternoon snack break and head straight to the hotel, arriving any time after 2pm.

Cycling the Garden Route is a once in a lifetime experience, but don’t be surprised if you want to do it again and again!

 

 

 

 

Road Cycling South Africa’s Garden Route: Monthly Departures November to May

There are many places in the world where one can enjoy a cycling holiday, but if you are looking for truly challenging road biking tour along one of the most spectacular coastlines in the world, South Africa’s Garden Route could be the perfect trip for you.

Road Bike tours Garden Route

A stunning 755km stretch from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town, the Garden Route features on most South African travel itineraries, but if you want to see more than just the most popular attractions, such as Tsitsikamma National Park, Plettenberg Bay, the Knysna Heads, and Oudtshoorn, one of the best ways to do so is on your bike.

cycle port elizabeth to cape town

While there are many different variations that one can take, you really should attempt to cycle as much as the route as possible if you want to say that you have cycled the ‘real’ Garden Route, but that means many hours in the saddle, and so this trip is only suitable for experienced cyclists who know what they are letting themselves in for!

Many people choose to cycle the garden route in the week before the iconic Cape Town Cycle Tour to get them in peak condition for race day, but with guaranteed monthly departures available from November to May, you can cycle this incredible route throughout the warmer summer months below the equator.

cape town cycle tour

So, want to know what to expect on your 8-day Garden Route Cycling Tour? Here’s an idea of what your daily itinerary will look like…

Day 1: Arrive Port Elizabeth

After building your bike and shopping for any last-minute energy bars and repair kits, join your fellow riders for a welcome dinner at the Boardwalk entertainment hub.

Day 2: Cycle from Port Elizabeth to Jeffrey’s Bay (Approx. 115km)

Your road cycling adventure along the Garden Route will start today with a 115km ride along the coast from Port Elizabeth to Surfers Paradise – Jeffrey’s Bay, where you will dinner and overnight.

Day 3: Cycle from Jeffrey’s Bay to Storms River (Approx. 110km)

After an early breakfast, your second day of cycling will take you to Storms River and the Tsitsikamma National Park, where you can walk along the suspension bridges and enjoy sundowners overlooking the ocean.

Day 4: Cycle from Storms River to Plettenberg Bay (Approx. 85km)

A slightly shorter ride today, you cycle from Storms River to Plettenberg Bay, one of the most beautiful parts of the Garden Route.  After checking in to your hotel, you can head down to the beach for an hour or two before returning for a delicious 4-course dinner and overnight.

Day 5: Transfer to Wilderness – Cycle to Oudtshoorn (Approx. 75km)

After breakfast today, your journey will start with a 1 hour transfer from Plettenberg Bay to Wilderness, where you will begin one of the most challenging days of your Garden Route adventure.  The route may only be 75km long, but there are some testing climbs along the way, and during peak summer months (January to March) you could be subjected to temperatures exceeding 40°C.

Day 6: Cycle from Oudtshoorn to Ladismith – Transfer to Swellendam (Approx. 100km)

Another challenging day, but perhaps not as tough as yesterday, you will cycle approximately 100km from the Ostrich Capital of Oudtshoorn to Ladismith, where you will hop on the bus and transfer to Swellendam for dinner and overnight.

Day 7: Cycle from Swellendam to Stanford – Transfer to Hermanus (Approx. 120km)

Another long day, but one that you will most definitely enjoy, you will cycle approximately 120km from Swellendam towards the coast and the small riverside village of Stanford. To avoid competing with traffic on the extremely narrow roads here, you will hop on the bus and transfer the short 20-minute ride to Hermanus, the Whale Capital of the world, where you will dinner and overnight.

Day 8: Cycle from Hermanus to Gordons Bay – Transfer to Cape Town (Approx. 85km)

After 7 long days in the saddle, your last day will take you along the magnificent coastline from Hermanus to Gordons Bay, in what will ultimately be one of your best rides – ever! You will then transfer approximately 2 hours to Cape Town, where you can celebrate your achievement in South Africa’s Mother City.

Interested in a Road Cycling Tour along the Garden Route? Find out more!