This October will see the Rhino Run in South Africa and Namibia. Some of the world’s best endurance riders will descend on Plettenberg Bay. Alongside the event we will be offering a guided bikepacking expedition.

The entree section of the Rhino Run course provides the perfect route for this 10-day guided bikepacking expedition. It is a truly incredible cycling adventure through South Africa's Western Cape and the world renowned Garden Route national park. Riders will spend their nights in traditional farm stays, game parks, and wineries while exploring the gravel mountain passes, lush forests and stunning ocean scenery by day. See the full route map below renders by our friends at Paper Trails. Also, click HERE to see the map in all its detail

This expedition is designed as a bucket list adventure. Built for those adventurous cyclists who wish to not just witness but ride through some of the most scenic landscapes in the world. This expedition will challenge riders with tough but realistic distances each day, accommodation will be a combination of hotels, game parks and traditional farm stays located in the stunning valleys. You can expect to see wild Springbok drinking at the watering hole from your room, eat traditional bush dinners under the stars and see the rugged Western Cape from your bike.

In a unique experience, the final days of the expedition will see the leading riders of the Rhino Run passing our group out on the road. For fans of ultra endurance cycling this is a rare opportunity to see some of the world’s best in their element.

BOOK HERE

Expedition Itinerary

Please note: Spots are strictly limited to 12 guests with a 50% deposit required.

The trip features 7 days of challenging riding over mixed terrain, gravel and sealed roads. Please see the route breakdown below:

Pre-Expedition

Riders will fly into Cape Town International airport, self transfer to Stellenbosch.

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Day 1 (Saturday 15th Oct): Arrive in Stellenbosch by 2.00pm. This is when the tour starts. You will meet at our Stellenbosch Hotel base and meet the team, before assembling bikes and having a shakedown ride to ensure your bikes are good to go. 

Meals: Welcome dinner and drinks with briefing in Stellenbosch. 

Accommodation: Hotel

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Day 2: Bus transfer from Stellenbosch to Plettenberg Bay.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel

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Day 3: Plettenberg Bay to Karatara

109 km / 1948 m

The entrance onto the Garden Route greets you with the stunning gravel road of Prince Alfred Pass.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Log Cabin in the Tree Tops

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Day 4: Karatara to Oudtshoorn

112 km / 1531 m

Today we will drop back down to incredible coastline views before climbing back up through the stunning forests of the Montagu Pass.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Game Lodge with Braai style dinner under the stars

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Day 5: Oudtshoorn to Van Wyksdorp

119km / 1843m

A day crossing through game parks and more barren country side before you climb over the breathtaking Rooiberg Pass. 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Bush Lodge with a view over the local animal watering hole

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Day 6: Van Wyksdorp to Suurbraak

130km / 1761m

Crossing back over the mountain range onto the farming plains below. You’ll be staying at a historic farm guesthouse nestled in the Heidelberg district.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: 18th Century historic South African farm stay

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Day 7: Suurbraak to Greyton

145km / 1074m 

Today's ride is a long one, but your touring legs will have kicked into action and there is les elevation gain than other days which will help with progress. The route passes through local farms in the foothills of the Riviersonderend Mountain area.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel

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Day 8: Greyton to Franschhoek

79km / 1253m

The Rusty Gate Pass road takes you to the highest elevation of the expedition. The descent leads you to the stunning Theewaterskloof dam before finishing into the Franschhoek winery region.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Stunning vineyard villa accommodation with acclaimed restaurant

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Day 9: Franschhoek to Stellenbosch

40km / 400m

After enjoying the comforts of the local vineyards of Franschhoek today's shorter ride is mostly downhill, save for the Helshoogte Pass. This is the last climb before descending down into historic Stellenbosch, the final destination of our expedition. We’ll be taking it steady as the leading riders of the Rhino Run will be passing us throughout the day. In a unique opportunity we will be watching some of the world’s toughest ultra cyclists ride past our group.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel

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Day 10 (Monday 24th Oct): Our tour ends with a farewell breakfast

Meals: Breakfast

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Further Information

Required Equipment

You will need a high volume gravel endurance bike for this expedition. Tubeless tyre setups are highly recommended with a volume of at least 700 x 44c/650b x 2” to smooth out your ride over the gravel roads of the Western Cape.

Riders will be able to vehicle transport a small bag of personal items between accommodation each day. Riders will be expected to be self supported during each day of riding, carrying everything they will need during the day. This includes ride snacks, water and riding clothes for all conditions. Standard bike packing equipment will be most suitable for transporting this gear.

Expedition guides are experienced cyclists and mechanics and will be able to help with any mechanical problems that may arise however you should be completely self-sufficient with spare tubes, puncture repair systems, tools etc to keep yourself rolling. Once on the expedition there are limited bike shops on route.

You will need to bring your own bike to ride on this expedition. You must start this expedition with your bike in good working order, with new or near new tyres and drivetrain in good working order. We recommend a thorough service by a professional mechanic before you arrive in Stellenbosch.

A more extensive list of requirements will be provided to participants.

Fitness & Preparation

We want to make sure this expedition is for you. The riding is challenging with a mix of surfaces from rocky tracks to fast sealed roads. You must be in excellent physical shape, capable of cycling 100km with 2,000m of climbing in a single day on gravel roads.

You must be prepared to do this day after day for seven days. If this sounds exciting to you and you have proven that you are up for the challenge then we can't wait to ride with you.

South Africa Information

Passport

Your passport must be valid for 6 months from your arrival date. It should also have at least two blank pages when you arrive in South Africa.

Visa requirements

For a large number of countries, their citizens can enter South Africa visa-free for limited periods. Please check your individual visa requirements prior to departure.

Vaccinations

A number of vaccinations may be recommended depending on your origin. Please ensure you check these recommendations prior to departure. COVID–19 entry requirements are not currently in place to enter South Africa.

Weather

In October the weather is expected to be dry with mild temperatures. Overnight the temperature may drop into the low teens so pack appropriate clothing.

Currency

South African Rand. We advise you to carry some cash rather than relying on the use of credit card facilities.

Insurance

For those travelling internationally, travel insurance is compulsory. As a minimum, we require that you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country, before joining the expedition, we need you to confirm that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur and you need medical treatment.

Safety

There are no major safety concerns along the route. Extreme care has been taken in planning the expedition with extensive reconnaissance and local information sources.

Expedition Inclusions & Exclusions

Inclusions:

• Cyclist-friendly, comfortable and at times truly unique South African accommodation

• 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 9 dinners

• Welcome dinner and drinks events

• Farewell breakfast

• Bus transfer on from Stellenbosch to Plettenberg Bay

• Experienced guide, with global cycle touring and bikepacking experience, and first aid training will cycle with the group every day.

• Pro mechanical support to resolve issues on the trail and provide minor tune ups along the way

• Transport vehicle to move a small bag of personal belongings for each rider from accommodation locations each day (riders will carry all gear, snacks, water, and clothing they will need each day on their own bikes)

• Itinerary, including GPS files for each day of riding

• Daily rider briefings

• One laundry service during the expedition

• Contingency arrangements for dangerous weather, road closures, injury or sickness

• Expedition GPS tracking

Exclusions:

• Flights

• Travel and medical insurance

• Visa costs

• Transfers to between airports and Stellenbosch

• Meals and drinks not specified in itinerary

• Bike hire

• Bikepacking bags

• Bicycle parts and accessories costs and workshop fees for additional bike repair

• There is no support vehicle. Riders will ride as an unsupported group under the leadership of the expedition leader

FAQs

Do I need to take out travel insurance?

Yes. Travel insurance is a compulsory item to attend the expedition. Proof of insurance will need to be shown in order to secure your booking.

What bags should I use to carry my gear?

We recommend a handlebar roll or saddle bag to carry spare clothing during the day. A top tube or handlebar mounted feedbag is a good idea for carrying snacks and sunscreen. We can work with you on setting up your bike for the expedition.

Do I need to be a strong cyclist to ride this expedition?

You don’t need to be the strongest cyclist in the world to ride this expedition. However, you do need to have a solid level of fitness and some experience riding long distances, particularly over gravel roads. It is advisable to have bikepacked previously. The daily distances should not be a new circumstance to you.

How do I get to Stellenbosch?

Most major airlines offer flights to Cape Town International, only a 30 minute taxi ride from Stellenbosch. We recommend arriving well ahead of the Saturday morning starting time to give yourself plenty of time to acclimatize and allow for any travel associated delays.

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