2017 Poorts and Passes: George to Patensie Cycle Tour

2017 Poorts and Passes: George to Patensie Cycle Tour

Our friend Julia Colvin is organising a cycle tour. We are going to joing her. Why don’t you join us too?

12 day self-supported cycle tour through the magical Karoo and Baviaanskloof worldheritage site

Inclusive of meals, transfers, escort through the reserve, and comfortable accommodation

50-94km cycling per day on carefully selected routes through a unique and inaccessible region of South Africa

October 21st – November 1st

R9,300pp

Contact Julia Colvin on 0768190615 or email [email protected]

www.facebook.com/PoortsandPasses/

Tour at a glance

Trip Duration12 Day Cycle Tour; Saturday 21stNovember-Wednesday 1st November, 2017
Daily Distances582KM over 8 riding days. Average 73km per day. A Rest day in Prince Albert and Baviaanskloof
Physical FitnessGrade 3-4: This tour is best suited to riders with a moderate to good level of fitness. There are some big in-clines but we have the whole day to ride so take your time and enjoy the scenery.
​Technicality​Most roads are fairly well maintained gravel roads with light traffic or technical obstacles for the less techni-cally inclined. The road through the Baviaanskloof has deteriorated but completely do-able with a reasonable set of mountain bike tyres. Front suspension is convenient but not necessary. There are a few stretches of unavoid.
​Logistic Support​There is one back up vehicle which will deliver your baggage to the next days accommodation. The vehicle will not follow the bikers en route
​Accommodation​Comfortable accommodation ranges from Guesthouses, BnB, Boutique Backpackers and self-catering lodges. Rates are given per person sharing. Depending on accommodation availability, group size and composition,; double rooms, single and twin rooms are available. We will try our best to cater for everyone’s requests.
​Tour Highlights​Panoramic views from ” die Top” of Swartberg Mountain, Karoo sunsets and starry nights, winding through the spectacular Meringspoort Valley, organic breakfast stop at the charming permacultural farm in Numbi Valley.
​Other Activities​Wine Tasting at Bergplaas Winery, theatre at the word renowned Prince Albert Show Room Theatre, wining and dining at some of the Karoo’s top restaurants, hiking.
​Fauna & Flora​The landscape from the Klein Karoo to the Baviaanskloof is diverse and rich, each with their own unique beauty and natural abundance. The Baviaanskloof encompasses 7 of the 8 biomes in South Africa making an incredibly valuable environment. Many endemic plants and animals found no where else in the world. Wildlife include Ba-boons, reptiles, 300 bird species, Hartebeest, Caracal, Leopard and much much more!!
​Climate​In October/November- the end of Spring, beginning of Summer temperatures start warming and light rain in the afternoon might occur. Temperatures are between 11°C/51°F in the morning and 33°Cin the afternoon. Early departures ensure that we do not spend the whole day in the sun.
​Group Size​Minimum 6 people, Maximum 11 people
​Price​R9300/PP
​Price Includes-1 x Guide
-Accommodation for 12 nights
-Meals: 11x Breakfasts, 7 x Lunches, 9 x Dinners
-Vehicle Transfers—BaviaansKloof Reserve, Patensie-George
-Route Preparation & Access Fees
​Not Included-​Restaurant meals: 3x lunches, 2x Dinners ( Restaurants are at your own expense)
-Travel/Health Insurance
-Travel to and from the start and finish destination in George

Detailed Itinerary

Clouds End, our accommodation in George
Clouds End, our accommodation in George
Day 1 – Arrival in George Saturday – 21st October, 2017

Finally the day of the legendary “Poorts and Passes” cycle tour has arrived. That afternoon, we will meet up with each other at the Clouds End Boutique Guesthouse in George to prepare our bikes and ready ourselves for the next 10 days of riding. Transfers and pick up’s can be arranged closer to the time.

That night, our warm and welcoming host, Braam will serve a delicious three course meal where we will have plenty of opportunity to meet, greet and make firm friendships for the road ahead. Comfortable, luxurious rooms will ensure that everyone has a good nights’ rest before the rides start tomorrow.

Riding Up Spectacular Montagu Pass
Riding Up Spectacular Montagu Pass
Day 2 – George to Oudemaragie – 91KM – Sunday, 22nd October,2017
Today we head inland from the leafy town of George to make our way up the scenic Montague pass. This pass transects the Outeniqua Mountains blanked in a profusion of Mountain Fynbos. Build from convict labour, this was the first pass in Southern Africa to be opened in 1840. On the way to the colonial village of Herold, you will see the old toll house (now a national historical monument). Early travellers used this road to deliver wool and other goods to Cradock in the interior of the country. Travellers, in ox drawn carts were expected to pay two pennies a wheel. Thankfully bicycles go for free.After a cream tea at Herold and a cuddle with their local patron, Schnoo, the Jack Russell /Australian Cattle dog, we push through to our first nights accommodation on a farm nestled in the foothills of the majestic Swartberg Mountain. On route, we visit the fabulous-ly opulent Feather Palace, a house built with fortunes made through ostrich feather exports in the early 20th century.

The Lond Ride Up Swartberg Pass
The Lond Ride Up Swartberg Pass
Day 3 – Oudemaraigie to Prince Albert – 73KM –  Monday, 23 October, 2017

After a hearty breakfast of rooster brood and moer coffee, we head out on the quiet Oudemuragie farm road to make our way up and over the infamous Swartberg Pass. The crisp clear mountain air and vast blue skies make an ideal photo opportunity or simply take time to enjoy the diversity of karoo flowers, Albucca’s, Erica’s and Renoster Velt that characterise the ever-changing scenery. After a pit stop to refuel you will crank your way up the Swartberg Pass 1575 meters, 23.8kilometer. From ” Die Top” of Swartberg Pass we enjoy an exhilarating roll down the pass winding our way past soaring cliffs of rock and onward to Prince Albert.

Kuierhuis Guesthouse, our accommodation in Prince Albert
Kuierhuis Guesthouse, our accommodation in Prince Albert
Day 4 – Rest day in Prince Albert – Tuesday, 24th October, 2017

Nothing like a lazy rest day in this magic place to cure the sting of big climbs of the previous day. Today is without schedule or an alarm clock, you are free to hang up your riding shoes and take a gentle meander around the town, stopping off at the many art cafes and museums or perhaps a tour of the many fine wine and olive farms that surround this pictureous village. If you have the energy, perhaps catch a play in the world renowned Show Room Theatre or simply enjoy sampling a selection of succulent Karoo cuisine at the one of the highly recommended restaurants.

Riding along Meiringspoort
Riding along Meiringspoort
 Day 5 – Prince Albert back to Middleplaas – 80km – Wednesday, 25th October, 2017

From Prince Albert we head to De Rust on another specular route, 25 km of tarred road winding endlessly through soaring cliffs of 250 million year old rock formations known as Meiringspoort. If we are feeling brave, we can always make an impromptu stop over at the Bergplaas Winery to sample some of the Prince of Monaco’s’ cultivars before tackling the Kneedouw pass. Further into Meirings Poort we stop to refresh ourselves at a plunging water fall and later take rest at Herri Stone, an national monument where author CJ Langenhoven carved the name of his factious elephant character, Herrie .For those with a special interest in the floral world, Meringspoort provides an incredibly special ecosystems to many Erica species found nowhere else in the world. Whilst stark, this place offers a unique beauty. That night we lodge at a tranquil, off the grid Eco Farm and enjoy an wholesome, organic pizza and an inspiring permacultural tour in Numbi Valley. Sustainability at its finest!!

Riding on Dusty Roads in the Klein Karoo
Riding on Dusty Roads in the Klein Karoo
Day 6 – Middleplaas to Eagles Fall – 74 km – Thursday, 26th October, 2017

Today’s ride into the towards Baviaanskloof offers a refreshing alternative to the passes and poorts of the previous days. We head towards the Kammassie Valley on the Molen River. A great spot for bird watching and braai under the starry skies of the Karoo. This place is set to capture your soul and treat you to an unforgettably peaceful and tranquil stay. The clean air, rustling river, magnificent mountains and beautiful sunsets will play with your senses and leave nature’s footprints in your memory.

Happy Cyclists Entering Baviaanskloof
Happy Cyclists Entering Baviaanskloof
Day 7 – Eagles Fall to Baviaanskloof – 67km – Friday, 27th October, 2017

Today we cycle from the Karoo into the refuge of the Baviaanskloof , the ” Valley of Baboons” in Dutch. Prepare yourself to be amazed by the pristine wilderness of this remote area, as you travel further into the narrow gorges of the Groot River. A steady flow of streams nourish the valley with a flush of green, due to the unique variation of geology and rainfall, this unique place is able to supports seven out of the eight biomes found in South Africa.

Baviaanskloof Guest Cottages, our accommodation for tonight
Baviaanskloof Guest Cottages, our accommodation for tonight
 Day 8 – Baviaans Kloof riding – 62km – Saturday, 28th October, 2017Today we ride through the rugged mountain valley of the Baviaanskloof. With little traffic on this road, the serenity of this untouched landscape is simply magnificent. Baviaanskloof is a natural heritage site world renowned for its biodiversity and unspoilt wilderness. That afternoon, we arrive at Baviaans Cottages for a sumptuous lunch at Baviaans only restaurant. After a refreshing swim in and some well-deserved ‘down’ time, there will ample opportunity to explore your surrounds and take a short 1.5 hour hike to a nearby Water Fall.

Sewefontein Fig Tree Forest
Sewefontein Fig Tree Forest
 Day 9 – Rest Day in the Baviaanskloof – Sunday, 29th October, 2017Today is a well deserved rest day. Some of us may organise a hike in the nearby ancient Sewefontein Fig tree forest, others may choose to chill out with a good book.

Cycling out Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve
Cycling out Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve
 Day 10 – Baviaanskloof to Gamtoos Valley – 60 – Monday, 30th October, 2017As buffalo have been introduced into the Baviaankloof reserve, today’s ride means we have to be safely escorted for 60km through the reserve. Having a support vehicle means that we can tackle the gravel hills with a lighter load as we no longer ned to carry a pack lunch. After
an early departure, we stop of at Vera se Winkel for a cup of Jacob’s Kroning coffee in her delightful little garden, we stop off at the campsite, Rooihoek to enjoy a lekker lunch time braai to make the most of our last day in Baviaankloof.

The Citrus Valley of Gamtoos
The Citrus Valley of Gamtoos
 Day 11 – Gamtoos Valley to George via Patensie – 61km – Tuesday, 31st October, 2017After an leisurely start to the morning, we take an easy cycle through the gentle citrus valley of Gamtoos. The flat scenic riding through a patchwork of farm makes for a welcomed change from the relatively isolated Baviaans Kloof. We finish the mornings ride at the Padlangs Country Restaurant located 7km from Patensie. After refreshments, we are collected and transferred back to George to spend the remaining night at the Clouds End Boutique Guesthouse.

What a beautiful part of the world!
What a beautiful part of the world!
Day 12 – Departure – Wednesday, 1st November, 2017

Filled with memories of the many special moments and shared experiences from this unforgettable journey through the unspoilt natural beauty of this uniquely special part of the world, it is sadly time to pack up and part ways until the next adventure.

Carlos Gonzalez

Life has been good since his arrival in South Africa. It was September 2005 and he fell in love with the country straightaway. Places like the Drakensberg, Wild Coast and the Midlands provide all the inspiration he needs. After the taste of freedom, working in an office again was out of the question. He has since qualified as a nature and mountain guide, and as his friends joke, embarked on a serious love affair... with the Drakensberg, where he spends most weekends.

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