Tag: Cycle Tours

Day 4: The descent to Chamba

The next morning, we headed down a seemingly never-ending 113km to the more tropical climes of Chamba. Despite a rainy start we enjoyed having gravity on our side and whizzed through at least 5 vegetation zones: high altitude, flower meadows, alpine, deciduous forest and sub-tropical. Although downhill (mostly) it took a good 7hrs30 of surprisingly hard work. I have always found cycling at lower altitudes much tougher as  besides the…

Day 2 – to the Sach Pass (Udaipur to Kilar)

For sure this must be one of the most beautiful routes that I have ever cycled.  It took us almost 8hrs to ride the 80km to Kilar for a number of reasons: really tough terrain of unmetaled, stony roads and scenery that we simply had to stop for, every couple of kilometres. The road slithered and climbed along the ever narrowing and harrowing Chandrabhagga river valley. [caption id="attachment_1965" align="aligncenter" width="448"]…

On the way to the Sach (Saach) Pass

The Sach (Saach) pass, one of the lesser known passes in Himachal Pradesh has always had a certain allure since friends Cass and Cara had cycled it 6 years before. They had rated it as the most beautiful and challenging they had ever cycled (and they really know the Himalayas). With a bit of back tracking from Leh, we set-off from Keylong and followed the confluence of the Chandra (moon) and…

Meeting old and new friends on the Manali Leh Highway

There is always something to look forward to when returning. It may be small changes, like roadside flowers that you had never noticed before. There is also something comforting  in that nothing has changed either, in this case, no mountains have been moved! Then there is the anticipation of meeting old friends again and meeting new ones too. Last year we visited the remote village of Chumikgiarsa at 4000m,  https://www.spanafrican-adventures.co.za/himalayan-villages-chumikgiarsa-at-4000m/ this…

Roaming Rumi: A Himalayan Dogumentary

'Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond' ~ Rumi [caption id="attachment_1813" align="alignleft" width="370"] Rumi our special boy[/caption] This is our 4th year of running bike tours in the Indian Himalayas and I have to say that my enthusiasm and passion for this region has not waned, if anything I love it more every time. We are always so fortunate to have fantastic…

Some reasons why I like the Himalayas

Its back to Ladakh and these are some of my reasons... [caption id="attachment_1774" align="aligncenter" width="438"] the landscapes[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1756" align="aligncenter" width="438"] the prayer flags[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1758" align="aligncenter" width="438"] the people: Ladakhis, Lahualis, Spitians, Tibetans[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1757" align="aligncenter" width="400"] the sublime cycling opportunities[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1765" align="aligncenter" width="438"] the sustainable livelihood practices[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1766" align="aligncenter" width="438"] the dogs[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1773" align="aligncenter" width="438"] the villages[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1767" align="aligncenter" width="438"] the high altitude flowers[/caption]…

The Baltistan village of Turtuk, Ladakh

Turtuk is about as close as you can get to Pakistan in India, physically and literally. This delightful village is crunched into the narrowing Shyok River valley in the furthest corner of India, right at the tippy-top of the map. Only when the Indo-Pakistan war ended in 1971, Turtuk (together with 5 other Balti villages) was then included within the Indian line of border control. It remained off limits until…

Those curious camels

While down in the Nubra valley, we spied a herd of those curious bactrian (double humped camels) munching on seabuckthorn berries close to another curiosity, a sea of sand dunes. Typically these camels are native to the central steppes of Asia, mainly Mongolia and Kazakstan. Apparently the Nubra valley formed part of the old trade routes between China and India, when this route collapsed, herds of the camels were left…

The Nubra valley

The large, desert valley of Nubra is formed by the meeting of the Shyok and Siachen rivers. This wide, high altitude valley separates the Ladakh and the Karakorum ranges and is accessed by the 5600m Khardung-la pass. Having cycled up the Khardung pass three times over the past years I have never managed to descend the pass into Nubra. This time however, I could finally continue down the 'other side'…