Crossing the length of the Western Cape – from Plettenberg Bay to Stellenbosch – the newly-launched Cross Cape Cycle Route offers a truly unique way to experience the province. From majestic vistas and rugged mountain passes to coastal towns and rustic inland villages, the Cross Cape is a bucket-list experience for cyclists and non-cyclists alike.
Open 24/7, 365 days of the year, the route is completely free of charge, all you need is a bike and a plan of action. You can choose where to start, where to stop, and how much of the route to ride. Book accommodation along the route, sample the local cuisine, and explore the surrounding towns and villages, because this isn’t a race, it’s an adventure.
It’s the perfect, seven-day, action-packed itinerary for those looking to discover the Western Cape and all it has to offer in a unique, exciting way. This seven day itinerary allows you to navigate the province while in the saddle, sampling some of the best in restaurants and accommodation along the way.
Plettenberg Bay to Knysna: 80km
Begin your trip in the coastal town of Plettenberg Bay and enjoy dinner at Enrico’s Italian restaurant, to get in some much-needed carbs the night before. You will need them!
Your first day of riding will be a good sign of what to expect for the duration of your stay. Steep climbs – a mix of tar and dirt – to start you off, before your legs are given a rest on some fast downhill sections. Keep an eye out for the notoriously shy elephants that roam the indigenous forest, before taking on one last big climb and then an epic downhill stretch into Knysna.
Once in Knysna, make sure you put your feet up for a bit before heading out to dinner at the Cruise Café located at the Knysna Waterfront.
Knysna to George: 80km
Start your ride with Knsyna Lagoon at your shoulder, before turning off onto some gentle jeep track ahead of some seriously big climbs. This section of the route offers a great mix of indigenous forest, dairy farms, and country roads, before finishing up in the town of George.
Make sure you book a room at Fancourt Golf Estate. Book some time in the spa, enjoy some drinks at the Club House, before finally heading down to La Cantina for dinner and an early night. Fuel up in the morning with a fabulous buffet breakfast at La Cantina before heading back to your bike and the trails!
George to Oudtshoorn: 80km
You are about to leave the lush, green forests behind you as you enter the drier, but no-less beautiful Klein Karoo. Steel yourself for the climb up the majestic Montagu Pass, which will certainly drain the legs, but also reward you with magnificent views and lush ferny vegetation. Of course, what comes up, must come down, and the second half of this section is far more forgiving than the first.
Once in Oudstshoorn book yourself in at the Buffelsdrift Game Lodge, and if you’re there in the summer, make sure you try out the luxury tented accommodation, which is perfect for a rugged traveller like yourself. And if you’re up for it – we know you will be – enjoy an evening game drive, where you are guaranteed to see some of the fabled Big Five animals.
Finally, enjoy a sumptuous meal at the Bello Cibo restaurant before retiring for the night.
Oudtshoorn to Rooiberg: 127km
The vegetation spreads out on this section of the route and best you be prepared for a long day in the saddle. The Rooiberg Pass will be your big challenge for the day – if you choose to take it on – an 11km climb on loose, rough terrain. If it rains, it could be an even longer day than you prepared for, but never fear, there is a magic lodge nestled in the mountain – perfect for you to put your feet up after a tough day of riding.
Accommodation for the night is at the fantastic Ra Molopo Lodge where you can enjoy fine dining on lavish buffets or a la Carte in the restaurant for breakfast, lunch or dinner. In summer, have your dinner on the deck, before reliving the day’s riding around a moonlit campfire.
Rooiberg to Swellendam: 169km
Have a hearty breakfast before leaving Rooiberg, because this is the longest section of the route and we would recommend you consider hopping on and off here – it’s a tough ride with some long stretches of road. But it’s not without its rewards, including the fantastic section through the Duiwenhoks Valley and a ride-by of the oldest farmhouses in the district. The tar road from Surrbraak to Swellendam offers a welcome respite at the end of the day.
After a long day in the saddle, you will want some real downtime and A Log Home in Swellendam will give you just that. Off the grid, this self-catering log home is the perfect stopover, with a small pool to soak your weary feet, a comfortable sitting area and a lovely outside area, complete with a big fire pit for cooking. Here you can truly put your feet up with nobody to bother you as you unwind after your big ride.
Swellendam to Greyton: 106km
Follow the Breede River, across rolling terrain, through grain fields, before turning off to follow the Riviersonderend River towards Greyton. Swellendam is famed for its natural beauty and eateries along the main road and we would advise taking your time to soak it all in. Be sure to make a pit stop at Die Ou Meul pie shop for a vital refuel before flying into the finish line.
Greyton is a lovely little town, with wonderful warmth of character and welcoming hosts. Your accommodation for the night – the Post House – has a great bar on site where you can enjoy a couple of drinks before heading down to Searle’s Trading Post for dinner. The restaurant is about 100 metres down the stretch, so even your tired legs will make it with time to spare.
Greyton to Stellenbosch: 107km
If you’ve made it this far without hopping off, congratulations, you’re a biking machine and clearly up for the challenge. This section of the route has a fair bit of tar and two iconic passes for you to get over – the Franschhoek Pass and Hellshoogte (aptly named we assure you). Make sure you sample some coffee and cuisine in the town of Franschhoek, before summiting and free-wheeling down into Stellenbosch for a well-earned rest.
For more information on the Cross Cape Cycle Route: https://www.capecycleroutes.co.za