Sally de Jager founder and director of AWOL Tours is living her dream of sharing her travel adventures with international guests to South Africa.
She is an intrepid and experienced adventurer herself, having spent many years travelling and working in Europe, Asia and Africa. She was a finalist in Out There magazine’s ‘Adventurer of the year’ competition after completing an epic cycling journey from London to Cape Town. (Raising funds for Survival International) This inspired her to found AWOL Tours in 2002, not only to share her experiences, but to give back to the community too.
With 20 years under her guidance, AWOL Tours has consistently exceeded customer expectations on AWOL’s wide variety of scheduled and private tours. We are proud to still be holding the number one spot as Cape Town’s leading hiking and cycling tour operator on TripAdvisor.
Sally likes to go AWOL herself when she can, and has built up an amazing team of professional guides who all share the AWOL vision, integrity and ethos. When not out on her mountain bike, she can be found using her vast local knowledge perfecting unique and authentic travel packages for guests to South Africa.
If you are an active person who seeks a personalized, quality experience, a greater understanding of our natural environment and genuine interactions with local people then AWOL Tours is designed for you! Travelling with AWOL will broaden your horizons, encourage greater cultural sensitivity, and physically challenge you no matter what level of fitness you are.
Winelands Cycling Tour in Stellenbosch or Franschhoek
Tour Operator AWOL Tours
Experience the historic Cape wine route with a personalised guide who will take you on a Winelands meander.
Stellenbosch is home to the oldest wine route in the Cape. We start cycling from the historic Lanzerac wine estate, which is one of the oldest first farmed in 1695. We continue up the Jonkershoek valley which is framed by a towering wall of rock, punctuated by the Jonkershoek Twins. The valley is a setting of fynbos, fern-lined kloofs and spectacular waterfalls. The plantation offers a 10km ride for beginners and more demanding rides of up to 40km for the experienced mountain bikers.
Franschhoek is named after the French Huguenots who settled here in the 17th century and utilised their expertise to transform this landscape into a prime wine producing area. We start cycling approximately 20 to 40 km on secondary roads and cycle paths, cycling past many beautiful wine estates with the Groot Drakenstein Mountains as a backdrop. We cycle through the historical town of Franschoek to the Huguenot Monument. You might be tempted to pop into the many boutique shops and art galleries. For lunch we cycle back to one of the many wine estates in the region for a gourmet picnic lunch. After lunch, we can either continue wine tasting, participate in a cellar tour or visit other attractions in the area, before returning to Cape Town.
Tour Operator AWOL Tours
The only way to really experience this incredible city.
Our city cycle tours, led by our experienced local guides, make cycling the only way to really experience this incredible city.
Learn about Cape Town’s rich heritage while riding from the vibrant Waterfront to the bustling inner city, getting up close and personal with the city and its inhabitants. From the historic city centre, we cycle into the colourful Bo-Kaap to and the only way to truly experience this area is to taste Cape Malay cuisine. Then we make our way towards Green Point before heading back to the Waterfront along the Atlantic Seaboard.
Historic and modern landmarks of our tour include:
- Adderley Street
- The Bo-Kaap
- The Company Gardens
- St. George’s Mall
- Green Point Stadium and Eco-Park
- The Castle of Good Hope * (On request)
Led by experienced guides, our bicycle tours are relaxed, interactive and offer you an authentic approach to Cape Town’s cultural legacy and modern day life.
South Africa Bicycle Township Tour
Tour Operator AWOL Tours
Experience the lifestyle of the majority of South Africans on our interactive cultural Township Tour
Learn about the political past of Apartheid, how to click like a Xhosa and join the Sangoma for a traditional ceremony all whilst cycling through the community on a bicycle.
“AWOL’s Community-based Bicycle Tours in Cape Town are a responsible take on township tours, providing tourists with many more opportunities to interact with the community than they would have from an air-conditioned bus.”
AWOL started operating Bicycle Township Tours in Masiphumelele in 2002 in conjunction with BEN a non-profit organisation that imports second hand bikes, trains bike mechanics and assists entrepreneurs to operate bicycle shops in communities. We also sponsor shared premises with Songezo cycling academy where tour guests, on occasion, get to meet and engage with these young athletes. Guests have the option to sponsor a younger rider or bring nutritious high energy non perishable food items to assist with cycle tour training.
In 2006 at the World Travel Centre in London this bicycle township tour was the winner of the First Choice Responsible Tourism Award for the category “Best for Innovation and Technology”.
A local guide will take us round the township visiting interesting places and explaining some local Xhosa customs. During school time, we visit a local crèche where the teachers work under very difficult circumstances. Part of the tour proceeds go towards the betterment of their facilities. A highlight of the tour is to visit a Sangoma (traditional healer) who performs interactive dancing and drumming. For lunch we visit a local African restaurant or a local entrepreneur who hosts the tourist groups in her home and prepares authentic African tea or lunch. 10% of all tour proceeds go directly to Masicorp a non profit organisation.
Guests might have reservations about visiting an informal settlement and feel awkward at viewing people’s obvious poverty. The local residents in townships welcome you and encourage tours to take place in their communities, as it is one way in which they have an opportunity to get involved in the tourism sector. The tours are operated on a non profit basis and a fee goes directly to the people we visit who make this tour possible.
The AWOL tourism project in Masiphumelele has generated significant, sustainable benefits and has proven to provide real, lasting benefits for the local people.
Mountain Biking the Cape Winelands
Tour Operator AWOL Tours
Discover the beautiful Cape Winelands off the beaten track
Discover the beautiful Cape Winelands with many incredible off the beaten track with your personalised guide. You can choose between a leisurely bike ride or a moderate to difficult mountain bike ride, the Winelands has something to offer for every fitness level.
Early morning before the heat of the day, our experienced mountain biking guides will meet guests at their accommodation in Cape Town and depart to the Winelands, with a choice of many beautiful hidden valleys situated halfway between Cape Town and the Klein Drakenstein and Wemmershoek mountains to the north, and the Groot Drakenstein and Franschhoek mountains to the south mountains of the Western Cape.
Routes to choose from:
- Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve & Rhebokskloof single track trials.
- Stellenbosch Jonkershoek
- Bottelary Hills
- Elgin Valley
- Grabouw A-2-Z Trails
- Welvanpas Bains MTB Trails Wellington