Imagine getting away for a weekend exploring winding historical mountain passes, crystal clear rivers, rock art and unique nature reserves – without getting into your car or walking too far. A whole new world has opened up – especially in the Western Cape – with the electric bicycle.

Whether on a normal bike or an ebike – an electric bike, which makes hills a whole lot easier – you can do it on your own, or, even better, with an organised group.

ebikes biking south africa western cape craig edwards
Ebikes being lined up at the beginning of a day trip. Photos by Craig Edwards of Cape Cycle Tours.

The longer itineraries range from the Cedarberg Circuit and the Overberg Meander to the 742-km Cape Cross, which lasts about 10 days and goes all the way from Plettenberg Bay to Franschhoek. There is plenty of accommodation along the way.

But there are also more popular, shorter day-rides, according to the company Cape Cycle Tours, which can also be done on normal bikes or ebikes. At least 10 day-rides include ones that are as short as 45 kilometres, between places like Bonnievale and Swellendam or George and Knysna.

cape cycle tours biking south africa
Some of the scenery awaiting you as you huff and puff up those hills.

biking south africa western cape craig edwards

The Cape Cycle Routes initiative was launched by the Western Cape government in 2016 but Craig Edwards of Cape Cycle Tours – which offers numerous itineraries – said they have recently seen a rise in users and more inquiries from abroad. He said the routes marked on the Cape Cycle Routes website – which includes detailed maps you can download as well as suggestions for accommodation along the way – are more a guideline, depending on whether we’re doing a bike-packing trip, an ebike trip, or a fully supported trip with organised accommodation along the way.

biking south africa western cape craig edwards

“We’ve found that a couple of the days are too long for the average cyclist and have adapted the daily start and end points to better suit our needs,” he said.

cape cycle tours biking south africa

Edwards said that riders should at least have a certain amount of fitness, and they rank potential riders as fun riders (who train or ride at least once a week and can ride for three hours), sport riders (who ride 2 to 3 times a week and can ride 100km continuously) and elite riders (who have done races and can do more than 100km continuously).

The video below gives an idea of what is in store for you:

cape cycle tours biking south africa

The most popular route options are: Franschhoek to Greyton – 75km (1100m elevation gain); Greyton to Bonnievale – 73km (700m elevation gain); Bonnievale to Swellendam – 45km (500m elevation gain); Swellendam to Riversdale – 97km (1100m elevation gain); Riversdale to Rooiberg – 77km (1100m elevation gain); Rooiberg to Calitzdorp – 42km (1000m elevation gain); Calitzdorp to Oudtshoorn – 100km (1400m elevation gain); Oudtshoorn to George – 70km (1000m elevation gain); George to Knysna – 82km (1400m elevation gain); Knysna to Plettenberg Bay – 80km (1500m elevation gain).

Contact Cape Cycle Tours for more information.