Every 2 months or so my friends and I go on an overnight ride. We carry our own gear and book accommodation for a night. Credit card touring, as it is affectionately called, is a great way to get into adventure cycling. You don’t need fancy frames bags or camping gear and a small backpack will do to carry your gear (especially in summer when you don’t need much kit).
With limited time we usually drive out of the city and into the countryside, where gravel roads abound. From there we take a circular route – so not as to ride the same route there and back – throwing in a lunch stop along the way. For our third adventure we set our sights on Cape Agulhas and the Southern-most tip of the African continent where two great oceans – the Indian and Atlantic – meet.
DAY 1: BOSCHRIVIER WINES – AGULHAS – STRUISBAAI
The day’s riding was 104km with under 1000m of ascent. The terrain was varied & ideal for a gravel bike.
We started the ride at Boschrivier Wines where we left our vehicles. The first section of the route follows a very narrow tar road which carries high speed traffic. If you want to skip this section, rather start your ride at Stanford Valley Guest Farm. From Boschriver, we cycled about 55km, past Elim to the Black Oystercatcher Wines where we stopped for a burger and Fraser’s Folly beer. Passing Raka Wines at approx. 3km (a bit too early for a dop!)
The terrain flattened as we got closer to the coast and reached the southern most tip of Africa later in the afternoon. Then 13km flat out and back to Southernmost tip of Africa (just past Agulhas lighthouse) for an important social media #bucketlist photo moment. If you have some time it is well worth exploring the iconic, historic red and white Cape Agulhas Lighthouse or exploring shipwrecks along the rocky coastline or hiking through fynbos of the Agulhas National Park.
Just past Cape Agulhas we reached the seaside village of Struisbaai where we would be staying for the night. There are plenty of accommodation options here as little seaside cottages on beautiful sandy beaches and swimming. After hake, calamari & chips at the Sea Shack, located right on the beach at Struisbaai, we headed to Seagulls Nest self-catering apartments for a good night’s rest.
DAY 2: STRUISBAAI – NAPIER – BOSCHRIVIER WINES
Day 2 started at 7am and we were going to be climbing over 1400m in 107km, a tougher day lay ahead. After 42km of flat district road, we headed into the mountains along a narrow dual track and topped out not far from a radio mast overlooking Napier. We stopped for breakfast and prepared ourselves for more climbing in the heat.
With some help from a local trail builder & event organizer, we were able to access some private land and hug the side of the mountains. It really was nice to ride off the beaten track.
Two owners of the private land sections must be contacted for traversing permission. Rogue riding these sections will ruin it for everyone. See notes below for more info.
We stopped for fill our bottles at Stanford Hills Estate and had 7km left to cover, back to the cars and daily life.
Give it a try. Get some friends together, pack a toothbrush, credit card and go on an overnight adventure.
MUST KNOW & TRAIL NOTES.
- Access. Permission must be obtained to traverse private roads over mountain into Napier. Section 1 is on semi private road with a couple of gates, owner is Pieter du Toit (082 896-9482). Section 2 belongs to Leon Schreiber (073 220-3843). Information supplied by the late Naas Vermaak.
- Skill level. Riding on a mix of tarred and gravel roads. There are some challenging gravel climbs and descents.
- Lodging & Camping: There are a range of accommodation options in the region. See the map for suggestions.
- Water & Food. Take lots of water, especially when cycling through the more remote sections of the route. Food and supplies can be found at various shops and restaurants along the route, but stock up for the longer sections.
- Gear. Take warm clothes for the evenings and sun protection for the day. A loose long sleeve cotton top is a good way to keep the sun off in summer.
- Navigation. Take a good printed map showing the area in detail. There may not always mobile reception so you can’t rely on GPS navigation.
- Road Conditions. You will be riding sometimes on roads with no bike lanes and car and truck traffic. You should be comfortable riding in some amount of traffic. Please ride responsibly and stay alert. Most of the route is gravel or unpaved, road conditions can vary throughout the year.
Graham Roghoff and friends head off on an overnight adventure to the beautiful Cape Agulhas in search of gravel roads seldom ridden and golden brews.
2-3 Days | ⇔ 212 km (loop) | + 2079m | ≡ Tar / Gravel