Bicycling (South Africa)



The digital age has simplified creating your dream tour route – although it’s still the absolute best to pore over printed maps, and pencil in where you’ll be going. The first website to head to is ridewithgp­

There’s plenty of functional­ity in the free version to create your routes, with details on elevation gain and distance, for the minimum hassle of creating an account; but if you want turn-by-turn directions, you’ll have to pay for them. Not completely necessary, but for some that might be a thing. You can download .gpx files for free, which will be enough for most gizmos to keep you on track.

In separate tabs, have Google maps and an accommodat­ion website open (I used, which seems to have suitably budget offerings and a user-friendly map system).

In the former: once you’ve zoomed in on the area you want to end a particular stage, type ‘accommodat­ion’ in the search bar, and places and prices should pop up on the map. You will need to click through to potential solutions to check availabili­ty and pricing – the ‘R300’ quoted first is occasional­ly for a square metre in the cow shed, with the human accommodat­ion triple that.

Build your daily stages to be between 60 and 80km, depending on the elevation gain – more mountainou­s routes should be shorter. That doesn’t sound that far; but remember, you’ll have an extra 10-15kg of luggage, and you’ll want to stop and swim/smell the roses/meet the locals. The whole idea is not to race but to immerse.

Once you have the stages sorted, print out each one so you have a hard copy to travel with, and save .gpx versions to your phone and gizmo (making sure you know how to access them before you leave – the learning curve is steep when you’re in the bundu, with fading light and worrying animal noises).

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