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Riding high in the Eastern Cape Highlands

Discover the Rhodes less travelled, on a fully supported 4 day cycle tour in the Eastern Cape highlands. Riding from Rhodes to Wartrail via Tiffindell, and New England to Franshoek via Barkly East, you'll cycle some of the highest roads in South Africa - altitude riding amidst spectacular surrounds. Expect breathtaking passes, scenic farm roads and thrilling descents with sandstone batholiths and rugged mountain peaks as the backdrop.

General Trail Description

This is as close as one gets to 'Drakensberg Cycling', with the luxury of daily vehicle support, comfy lodgings and sumptuous meals to look forward to at the end of each day. Ride distances range from 40 51km/day with close on 1000m ascent on climbing days. This tour is aimed at dirt-roadies with a moderate good level of cycling fitness, looking for a social ride or training along quiet country roads with scenic terrain.

We aim to have you out the saddle by mid-afternoon, offering ample opportunity for relaxation, swimming in a mountain stream, or casting a line. An optional day can be added to the itinerary for those who fancy a change of activity; choose from hiking, horse riding, river rafting (in summer season), visit to a rock art site, or an extra day's riding for the dedicated MTB enthusiast. Non-riders are welcome to join the group, space permitting, and we can arrange for daily activities to keep them entertained.


Trip Duration Standard Cycle Tour: 4 Ride Days / 5 Nights
Daily Distances Distances can be adjusted from 20-80km per day according to the needs of the group, but Standard Tour:

Day 1: 45km    Day 2: 40km    Day 3: 51km    Day 4: 50 km
Trail Grading  
Physical Fitness Grade 3: riding at altitude with some climbs means a moderate - good level of fitness is recommended. However the pace is leisurely and a back-up vehicle accompanies the riders for those needing to take a break.
Technicality Grade 1-2: riding is predominantly on district and farm roads, generally in good condition, though there are some rougher sections. Some of the ascents and descents are steep, however a daily back-up vehicle is in support for those that need it.
Trail Terrain Mountainous terrain at altitude ranging from 1,700m-2,750m above sea level.
Accommodation Comfortable guest farm accommodation & Lodges. * Extra nights can be spent at any of the overnight lodges.
Logistic Support This is a self-guided tour but with full vehicle back-up support, daily luggage transfers and full catering provided.
Tour Highlights Spectacular mountain views, riding some of the highest roads/passes in South Africa, virtually NO traffic, alpine flowers and over 230 species of birds. Long descents and back-up vehicle for the steeper climbs if required. Charming guest farm accommodation, Rhodes village.
Other Activities Hiking, River Rafting (summer months), Horse Riding, Fly-fishing for wild trout & yellowfish, Birding (over 230 species in region). Visits to rock art paintings, farm activities, 4x4 trails and scenic drives of the region's, mountain passes.
Fauna & Flora The trail traverses a range of habitats from high alpine plateaus, highveld grasslands, sandstone cliffs and well-managed farmlands. Smaller wildlife can be spotted e.g. Mountain Reedbuck, Grysbok, black-backed jackal, baboons, caracal, dassies, porcupines as well as over 230 species of bird including black eagle, cape vulture, crested crane and Lammergeier.
Climate The Eastern Cape Drakensberg has 4 well-defined seasons: moderate summers and cold winters. The region has summer rainfall with afternoon thunderstorms, so we aim to finish the day’s riding by mid-afternoon. All that said, the only thing that is truly predictable about mountain weather..... is that it's totally unpredictable! Come prepared for all four seasons in one day. Layers are your best bet and good sun protection is essential. ‘High altitude=high UV' and you can get sun burnt any time of year
Seasonality & Best Time Year In summer, the days are typically hot and sunny, with regular late afternoon thunderstorms. This is the time of year to come if you want to take an optional river rafting trip. Autumn is a time to enjoy magnificent colours, with the grasses and trees decorated in splendid shades of golds and reds. The days are pleasantly warm and sunny - ideal for mountain biking. Winter brings regular snowfalls and sub-zero temperatures overnight, although days can be quite pleasant. The Tiffindell section of the route may be snow-bound at this time of year, though alternative routes are available. In spring the landscape blooms with fresh green grass and wild flowers. Birding in the Eastern Cape Drakensberg at this time of year is exceptional and the farmlands are bursting with new life in the form of lambs and calves. March/April and October-December are the generally the best months all things considered.

Availability: Is generally not a problem OUTSIDE of popular public holiday periods.
Group Size Minimum 4 persons & maximum 12 persons. If you are a larger group please still enquire. We will have to make some modifications on the Standard Trail, but will be able to provide a customised alternative.
Price / PP All trails are subject to a minimum of 4 people.

Per Person Price/ per day:   R1,500 - R1800/ per person/per day
Price Includes
  • Guest Farm Accommodation for all nights including arrival night.
  • Breakfast, packed lunch and hearty dinners from arrival night to breakfast on departure day
  • Luggage transfer between guest farms on all riding days
  • Back up vehicle with support guide

  • Price Excludes:
  • Own transport to/from starting point of the tour
  • Bikes, repair kits or safety equipment
  • Insurance for medical emergencies - it is strongly recommended that you are on a hospital plan
  • Alcoholic/cool drinks and snacks. You are welcome to bring your own and we will happily transport 'the bar' and nibbles.