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CROSS CAPE
|7 DAYS | ⇔ 750 km|
|+ 10000m||≡ Tar/ Gravel|

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By now it is likely that you have come across or heard of the Cross Cape route. It is a cycle route put together by Wesgro and Western Cape Tourism to promote cycle tourism in South Africa. Spoiler alert: its a gem!

As with any kind of long-distance tour route, there are many ways to approach it. The beauty of a route like this is that you can design your ride based on what you feel comfortable with or how you want to challenge yourself. A fit rider could enjoy this route for 7 days or a more relaxed approach of 10 days would give you the best chance of taking in all that there is to experience on the route. The 7-day option still gives you a nice time to relax in the afternoon, but also challenges you in a special way. It also means that you are not away from work/home for too long. Below is a detailed plan to tackle the route in 7 days.

Day 1

Day 1&2

We start the trip with a cup of coffee at Schiphol. KLM takes us to Cape Town in about eleven hours, where we arrive around midnight. Once we have picked our bikes from the baggage carousel, we take a short transfer to Franschhoek. We spend the night in the idyllic Valley La Cotte after a long day of travel.

 

When you wake up (no time difference, nice!) you can clearly see how beautifully situated our cottage is; hidden between vineyards and mountain peaks. After a delicious breakfast with granola and yogurt, it is time to assemble the bikes. Then the road trip to Plettenberg Bay begins, the starting point of our gravel adventure. Halfway through we have lunch at a traditional pad stable along the road. The freshly roasted coffee and rooster koek with cheese, bacon and jam taste excellent.

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Day 3

After a hearty breakfast we get on our gravel bikes for the first stage. A spicy calf bite gives us a beautiful view of the Bay of Plettenberg. Soon asphalt makes way for gravel. It is immediately enjoyable. A large part of the route takes us through the Diepwalle Forest. A mystical primeval forest with lush vegetation. Immense trees covered with lianas, waterfalls and ferns. We eat lunch in the middle of nature and it is freshly prepared from our support vehicle. We are watched from a distance by curious monkeys. We continue climbing on beautiful red gravel. The views are phenomenal. The first day in the saddle always takes some getting used to. Fortunately, our final destination in Knysna is an oasis of peace.

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Day 4

Today the queen stage of the trip is on the program. A beautiful route takes us along the famous Seven Passes Road. Seven mountain passes, most of which are unpaved.  Fascinating to see how the views seem to change after every turn. Sometimes beautiful views over valleys and mountain ranges, other times lush greenery with splashing waterfalls. We have saved the literal and figurative highlight for last: the Montagu Pass. The road winds up in hairpins through a rugged landscape. After the top there is a wonderful descent over strips as smooth as in the cycling classic Strade Bianche. Our guesthouse - located in an old post office - is a pleasant place to be.

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Day 5

Rested after a night in the healthy mountain air, the third day of cycling is on the program today. The first 'centenarian', although most kilometers go slightly downhill. So enjoy cycling. We have a nice chat along the way. You get to know each other quickly when you spend so many miles and hours side by side. We cross a special landscape, with ostrich farms on either side. The ostriches, as they are called in South Africa, sometimes run along with us in dozens at a time. The last kilometers we paddle through a beautiful valley on the way to Calitzdorp. We can spontaneously arrange a wine tasting at a local farmer.   

Day 5

As you leave Rooiberg Lodge, the road is gently sloping, giving you some time to warm up. About 7 km further you will drive through Van Wyksdorp,  The section from Van wyksdorp to the R323 is quite remote, there aren't many other than a few farms and game reserves. Once you reach the tarmac road (R323) you immediately start climbing Garcias Pass which is not very steep from the Ladysmith side. Climbing the other side is a completely different story. This makes for an incredible descent into Riversdale, the views are amazing from the pass. There are times that it may feel like you are in Scotland rather than the Western Cape.

 

With 2300m of climbing, Day 5 is definitely the toughest day. The climbs from Riversdale are very steep and rocky, although thankfully they are not too long, they will test you. 

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Day 6

We leave early for another long day in the saddle. Today the vastness of the landscape is striking. It goes up and down constantly. We are treated to beautiful views. A real postcard landscape. Endlessly winding gravel roads, sleepy villages and mountain peaks shrouded in clouds. The last part of the ride takes you on the famous Route 62. A bit of asphalt for a change. We zoom into the cute village of Barrydale and make a pit stop at a special diner: a kind of old gas station. We sip 'the best milkshake in town' between rusted old-timers and vintage gas boys.  That is special; barely a week on the road, but it feels like we've known each other for years. Everyone is so relaxed. The rhythm of eating, sleeping, cycling makes you forget the worries, structure and routine of home. With a trip like this you will make memories and friendships for life!

Day 7

As you leave Rooiberg Lodge, the road is gently sloping, giving you some time to warm up. About 7 km further you will drive through Van Wyksdorp,  The section from Van wyksdorp to the R323 is quite remote, there aren't many other than a few farms and game reserves. Once you reach the tarmac road (R323) you immediately start climbing Garcias Pass which is not very steep from the Ladysmith side. Climbing the other side is a completely different story. This makes for an incredible descent into Riversdale, the views are amazing from the pass. There are times that it may feel like you are in Scotland rather than the Western Cape.

 

With 2300m of climbing, Day 5 is definitely the toughest day. The climbs from Riversdale are very steep and rocky, although thankfully they are not too long, they will test you. 

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Day 8

As you leave Rooiberg Lodge, the road is gently sloping, giving you some time to warm up. About 7 km further you will drive through Van Wyksdorp,  The section from Van wyksdorp to the R323 is quite remote, there aren't many other than a few farms and game reserves. Once you reach the tarmac road (R323) you immediately start climbing Garcias Pass which is not very steep from the Ladysmith side. Climbing the other side is a completely different story. This makes for an incredible descent into Riversdale, the views are amazing from the pass. There are times that it may feel like you are in Scotland rather than the Western Cape.

 

With 2300m of climbing, Day 5 is definitely the toughest day. The climbs from Riversdale are very steep and rocky, although thankfully they are not too long, they will test you. 

Day 9

As you leave Rooiberg Lodge, the road is gently sloping, giving you some time to warm up. About 7 km further you will drive through Van Wyksdorp,  The section from Van wyksdorp to the R323 is quite remote, there aren't many other than a few farms and game reserves. Once you reach the tarmac road (R323) you immediately start climbing Garcias Pass which is not very steep from the Ladysmith side. Climbing the other side is a completely different story. This makes for an incredible descent into Riversdale, the views are amazing from the pass. There are times that it may feel like you are in Scotland rather than the Western Cape.

 

With 2300m of climbing, Day 5 is definitely the toughest day. The climbs from Riversdale are very steep and rocky, although thankfully they are not too long, they will test you. 

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Day 10

As you leave Rooiberg Lodge, the road is gently sloping, giving you some time to warm up. About 7 km further you will drive through Van Wyksdorp,  The section from Van wyksdorp to the R323 is quite remote, there aren't many other than a few farms and game reserves. Once you reach the tarmac road (R323) you immediately start climbing Garcias Pass which is not very steep from the Ladysmith side. Climbing the other side is a completely different story. This makes for an incredible descent into Riversdale, the views are amazing from the pass. There are times that it may feel like you are in Scotland rather than the Western Cape.

 

With 2300m of climbing, Day 5 is definitely the toughest day. The climbs from Riversdale are very steep and rocky, although thankfully they are not too long, they will test you. 

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