Cycling Safari

Cycling Safari
June 21, 2018 Andre Hagan
In Bikes, Fauna and Flora

In 1991 a girlfriend and I cycled on mountain bikes from Johannesburg to Nairobi. We had originally set off from Cape Town in a Lada Niva 4×4, which made it as far as Bizanna in the Transkei. With a blown head gasket we started the long wait for spares to arrive from the USSR. After waiting for more than 3 months, camped out at the Massey Furgeson factory in Bizanna, we eventually decided to sell the broken Lada and buy bicycles instead. At least we would have a new view every day and what we believed would be a cycling safari.

The journey to Nairobi took 9 months. It was long and painful. The details of which are a whole other blog. To summarize, we often felt threated by humans as we were exceptionally vulnerable. We were unable to go into any of the National Parks as bicycles were not permitted. We struggled with large loads of around 80kg on each bicycle. We had up to 40 punctures a day. Food and clean water were always an issue.

27 years later, I find myself living my cycling safari dream. 16 years ago my partner Ashley and I bought Wolverfontein Farm. At the time we were surrounded by sheep farms and cycling was always a mission as there was a farm gate at least every kilometer. About 11 years ago a Private Game Reserve was founded on our doorstep. Game fences were built around almost 9 000 hectares of gorgeous karoo veld. The area was stocked with animals that had been absent for hundreds of years and all the sheep fencing and separating gates were removed.

I generally cycle at least 5 days a week. The weather in the mornings is usually pretty perfect. Crisp clean Karoo air with invigorating morning sunshine. Within 400m, after crossing a metal grate, you are in the reserve. It is very seldom that I encounter another human being, instead I greet my springbok, kudu, eland, oryx, ostrich and of course my beloved giraffes. Unless I’m planning on going for more than 20km, I only take a litre of water – otherwise a small sandwich too.

After exploring the various routes for the last 6 years, I have got a lot of information to share with other keen cyclists. I have designed 5 different routes, ranging from 8km (pretty much all downhill), to a gentle 14km, an exciting 20km (with a lot of single track), a 26km 4×4 route, a 35km 4×4 route and finally a 67km – round the Touwsberg route.

Wolverfontein is truly a cyclist’s paradise. Bring your own bikes if you want or otherwise we have 2 spare 29inch bikes available for use by guests.  I can guarantee it’ll be of the most stress free cycling you have ever experienced.

Comments (2)

  1. HILDE VAN DER MEER 5 years ago

    Dear Andre,

    What a great blog. I am going to stay with you on feb 18 and 19 and I would love to do the cycling trips. I am from Holland so wheels are like legs to me……
    I am already imagining what it is like to ride a bike in crisp morning air and encounter a giraffe………..I get so exited. Looking forward to see you soon. Hilde

    • Author
      Andre Hagan 5 years ago

      Hi Hilde
      Looking forward to your visit. We have 2 spare Mountain bikes, which you are welcome to borrow. I think you are going to love cycling in the peace and quiet of the Klein Karoo. I generally go at least 5 days a week.
      See you soon

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