South Africa cycling vacation, Western Cape

“Two week round-trip from Cape Town via SA's newest national park, Cape Agulhas; cycling an average of 50kms per day as part of a small group. ”

Highlights

Cape Town | Bloubergstrand | Franschhoek Pass | Breede River Valley | Little Karoo | Tradouws Plateau | Langeberge Mountains | Bontebok National Park | Cape Agulhas | Bredarsdorp to Arniston | Akkedisberg Pass | Bredarsdorp to Napier | Hermanus to Gordon's Bay | Cape Point Nature Reserve | Cape of Good Hope | Cape Argus route | Camp's Bay | 12 Apostles | Optional trip to Robben Island |

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21 Dec 2019
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Responsible tourism

South Africa cycling vacation, Western Cape

Carbon reduction

Your vacation will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this vacation and how to reduce them.

Environment

Activity:
Few vacations have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a cycling trip. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem in certain places and therefore our trip leaders encourage clients to stick to advised routes in order to minimise this. We do believe in leaving no more than footprints (or tyre tracks!) although this tour actively encourages guests to talk to local people, visit local cafes and restaurants and use markets to purchase traditional handicrafts. By visiting Bontebok National Park and Cape Agulhas National Park, we are supporting conservation acitivites funded with contributions from our entrance fees.

Water:
Water is a really important issue with cycling trips and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. Lack of recycling is already a massive problem in Africa so we suggest that instead of repeatedly buying bottled water, guests should re-fill a singular bottle. We carry a very large container of treated water in our support vehicle to facilitate this.

UK Office:
It all starts at home where we work towards reducing our carbon footprint in our offices through energy conservation measures, recycling policies and the promotion of cycling and walking as a means for our staff to commute. Our head office has become a plastic-free zone with the use of plastic bottles being banned in our head office and we distributed reusable water bottles and tote bags to every staff member. We also support a large number of community and environmental projects in different parts of the world and try to give something back to the places we visit.

Community

Accommodation & Meals:
We will spend 7 nights in guesthouses and 4 in lodges. We predominantly use small businesses for accommodation in order to keep investment local and benefit the communities we visit directly. All the privately owned guesthouses and entrance fees paid on the trip also have a levy attached for contribution to local community and environmental initiatives. Almost all meals are provided and your local tour leader will endeavour to source fresh produce wherever possible. Meals might include fresh fruit, cold meats and regional cheese, potjies (stew) or braais (barbecue) etc. We also stop at a number of small cafe's en-route for locally produced food and drinks, outside Montague, Barrydale, Hermanus and Betty's Bay.

Local Crafts and Culture:
We stop at a number of markets along the route of this trip, where clients have a chance to buy locally made products directly from the vendors. These are found on the Cape Peninsular. Guides will be able to advise which products to avoid and which to purchase e.g. large items made from local hard wood encourage deforestation, so we discourage this. We also stop at Stellenbosch, to see the local vineyards and sample the locally produced wine which makes this area so well known. Time allowing we will visit a local co-op wine cellar in Barrydale and have an opportunity to taste their produce, including the local Chardonnay which is well respected for its unique taste. This is a good chance to support communities in this area by buying souvenirs and regional produce.

A Fair Deal:
We work closely with our local operator and ensure that all of our guides are local and that in exchange for their expertise on the wildlife, environment and culture that they are paid and treated fairly. The leaders will give a briefing on Responsible Tourism issues to help you understand how you can help reduce your impact and maximise the benefits to the local community from your visit. By supporting and employing these people we are helping to ensure that their wildlife areas, scenic beauty and historical significance generate value for the community and are therefore appreciated and protected from development and exploitation. Particularly with wildlife tours, proper employment conditionals are a great way to motivate locals to be part of sustainable, ethical activity rather than illegal alternatives, like poaching.

Charity:
Our local suppliers support the Save Our Sausage Trees initiative in Botswana, which aims to address the issue of depleting forests in the area. The Mokoro is a boat used by the people of the Okavango Delta and it is crafted traditionally out of a single mature Kigelia Africana tree (or sausage tree). Although increased tourism has had some obvious benefits to the area, this has also brought a higher demand for Mokoro boats and therefore more trees are being cut down. As a wooden Mokoro only lasts about 5 years, there are hundreds of these trees being felled per year and not enough to sustain this. We have consulted with the Okovango community, and we have agreed to pay half the price of a fibreglass Mokoro if a poler wants to purchase the other half, in order to save the trees.

Group Size:
This is a small group tour, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

1 Reviews of South Africa cycling vacation, Western Cape

4 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 06 Jan 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Cycling through the Otjiwa Game Reserve alongside Rhino, Giraffes, Wildebeest and numerous other animals with no fences between you and the wildlife. Hearing the lions roaring while camping at Etosha National Park and watching Elephants, Rhino and Giraffe drinking at the waterhole. Enjoying the vast open plains, red sand dunes and watching the seals lazing on the beach and flamingos flying over the lagoon along the Skeleton Coast on an (optional) scenic flight. Drinking sundowners while watching the sunset over the red rocks at Spitzkoppe Camp, the unspoiled bushland of Solitaire Cheetah Conservancy and the hills of the Valley of One Thousand Hills. And climbing the Dune 40 to see the sunrise. Finally, the magic of sleeping under a blanket of stars!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


The cycling is largely off road and the roads are generally very corrugated and frequently sandy. Some experience cycling off road is helpful. But there are
very few hills! Early morning starts are a must as day time temperatures (in summer) tend to be too hot for cycling. There are some long transfers given the
distances between camps. Cycling is a key part but not the main feature of the trip so the trip suits active travelers not necessarily interested in long cycling
days. The campsite are supported with washing and toilet facilities (and sometimes patrolled by Hyena and Jackal)!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The trip appears to be environmentally responsible and generally used camping rather than hotel facilities. The trip leader and guides were all local. However, this did not appear to be a feature of the trip.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Wow!! A lot of magical elements combined into one trip!

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