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South Africa: Bicycle Tour Travel Guide




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by David Mozer

[An introduction and overview to travel in Africa is available by clicking here.  If you are look for a bicycle tour to this country, this link might help you.]

The information below may have been extracted from a more comprehensive "Country Supplement" to the book "Bicycling In Africa".  For information on these publications click on the links.

Historically southern Africa was inhabited by a non-caucasiod, non-negroid people generally called the Khosian. About 400-500 years ago the other two groups lay claim to most of the land. The Khosian lost, and land and governance issues between the immigrants have been problematic ever since. Many of the governance issues between the blacks and whites were resolved with the universal suffrage elections of 1994, but there is a lot of politics to go.

As South Africa moves into a more equalitarian era, generally cycling opportunities are improving. The country has a web of paved roads so there are almost an infinite number of routes you could devise. Four notes of caution:

  1. there is heavy traffic in many of the urban areas,
  2. bicycles are not welcome on the highways and interstates (its illegal)
  3. there is some lingering ethnic tension so know where you are riding and the current situation in that area, and
  4. crime and violence are at higher levels than most other places on the continent.

There are many routes for cyclists. Travel on secondary roads is advised, as the National Routes are not designed to cater for cyclists. The shortest one possible is Cape Town through Beaufort West, the Karoo, Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, Pietersburg. The more interesting route, though, will be along the coast. Cape Town through the Garden Route, Knysna, Port Elizabeth, East London, through the Wild Coast (where you will have to be very careful - high crime rate, but spectacular scenery) up the subtropical Hibuscus coast of Southern Kwazulu/Natal, to Durban. Then inland through beautiful central Kwazulu/Natal to Johannesburg. The roads are very good, most people are very friendly, and it is relatively cheap. Distances between *major* towns average approximately 50km.

Links of Interest:


Regional Resources:




For current news on Africa and more web sites with country-by-country information go to the link section and click on "Africa: News, Background, Travel."

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