Last Saturday we packed our picnic bags and headed south to explore The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve by bike. I had been there many times before in a car and was itching to break free from the bubble, slow things down and immerse myself in the sounds, smells and sights of this rich landscape.
The great thing about cycling in Cape of Good Hope is that you can make your ride as long or as short as you want to. A map is available at the entrance and you can plan your route using it. We chose an easy 40km round trip that started at the reserve’s entrance gate, after a gradual climb for the first few hundred metres the road dips down to meander along the fynbos plains and then climbs up to the lighthouse at Cape Point. Along the way there are plenty of places to pull over enjoy the spectacular views and meet the local wildlife!
In fact the reserve is best experienced by bike – there is no better way to uncover its hidden treasures like the 1 100 species of indigenous plants, various small reptiles, mammals, antelope and zebras that call the park home. Be sure to visit the Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre that showcases all the plants and animals to look out for in a particular season and is full of informative signage.
On the way back we took a few side trips to explore historic sights like Da Gama Cross and the beach and rock pools at Buffels Bay. The coastline here is just fascinating – you could spend an entire day just exploring its hidden coves and beaches. Spring is my favourite time of year to visit Cape of Good Hope, when a carpet of colorful daisies and indigenous flowers covers the park right up to the sea edge.
The picnic site at Buffels Bay makes a perfect mid ride snack spot. When picnicking always be on the look out baboons (who are very cheeky and not shy to steal food straight out of your pannier bags!). It is best to stay in the designated picnic areas. For those who wish to grab a bite to eat or do some souvenir shopping, Cape Point Partnership runs the stunning Two Oceans Restaurant and the Tigers Eye Curio Shop located right near the point.
THE LOW DOWN
LOCATION > +-58km from CDB, 15 km from Simon’s Town
RIDE DISTANCE > Anything up to 45km
GRADING > EASY
MAP > Maps available at the gate to the reserve.
ENTRY FEE > Free with a Wild Card level 3 activity permit otherwise R105/person for a day cycling pass.
FACILITIES > Ablutions, restaurant, intermittent cell phone reception
RIDING CONDITIONS> Tarmac, tourist buses, strong winds in the summer months.
MORE INFO > SANParks Website
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OVERNIGHT | ⇔ 35 km (oneway) | + 600m | ≡ Tar