5 days (Bike: 4 days)
100 km (~25km per day)
Whale Coast Cycling offers you a relaxing 5 day, self-guided cycling holiday with an abundance of activities, mostly in a protected environment. It is an outdoor experience with river, sea, sand dunes, the vlei, a floral sensation of rare fynbos plants, diverse antelope and whale watching. Eco boat trip, interpretive marine walk and nature drive included
Your tour starts in Malgas - an off the beaten track destination for those who enjoy something different. It is a small settlement on the western bank of the Breede River in the Overberg region of the Western Cape. Enjoy the peaceful tranquility of the Breede River. The historic ferry (or pont) across the Breede river at Malgas has been in operation for more than 100 years. It is probably the oldest, and only, manually operated cross-river ferry in all of South Africa. Visit Sijnn Wines, a beautiful pioneering wine estate in the middle of nowhere at the end of a long, dusty, bumpy road at the Southern tip of Africa. The word “sijnn” is derived from the Khoisan word meaning riverbank. Today Sijnn Wines has become well known for their interesting and bold choices of cultivars and award-winning blends. They believe in natural farming and natural winemaking, and focus their skills on blending Mediterranean-style varieties that are best suited to the low rainfall climate and poor soil quality.
De Hoop Nature Reserve
Positioned on the Western Cape’s coastline and extending 340 square kilometres, De Hoop is one of the largest areas managed by Cape Nature, and one of few parks to boast such a large diversity in marine and land animals, birdlife and vegetation! De Hoop coast is a marine reserve which extends 3 kilometres out to sea
Few other reserves offer as complete an outdoor experience as De Hoop – sea, sand dunes, the vlei, a floral sensation of rare fynbos plants, diverse antelope and the Potberg Mountains. Birders observe wading birds on the shores of the vlei while the Potberg Mountains are home to a colony of endangered Cape vultures. Hikers and cyclists have close-up encounters with bontebok, Cape mountain zebra, eland, baboons and ostrich.
The De Hoop Marine Reserve is one of the world’s most important calving grounds for the southern right whale and an important nursery area for depleted angling fish species.
Every year, some 40% of the world’s southern right whales come to these shores to breed. Females and their calves swim in the clear waters, while males put on spectacular displays. These endangered mammals ensure that the De Hoop Reserve in South Africa, is one of the world’s best land based whale watching areas. As a marine reserve and World Heritage Site, De Hoop guarantees a safe nursery for these pods of visiting cetaceans. They come so close to the shore that visitors can relax on the unspoilt sand dunes, watching in awe as these beautiful creatures calve, blow, breach and belly-flop. The whale season is from June to December
“Fynbos” plants and wildlife
The diversity of 1 500 plant species is amongst the highest in the Cape Floristic Region, with a large percentage of rare, threatened and endemic species. Fynbos is the dominant vegetation group and is largely confined to nutrient-poor soils in the winter rainfall areas of the Western Cape. It is adapted to fire and drought and is defined by four growth forms:
proteas – tall shrubs with large leaves
ericas – heath-like shrubs
restios – wiry, reed-like plants which are always present in fynbos
geophytes – bulbs that store moisture in fleshy underground organs.
The discerning visitor is privileged to walk or ride amongst pristine fynbos vegetation and view the flowering plants at close quarters. The invertebrate animal wealth is equally diverse. The reserve has 86 mammals species. A safe refuge is provided for rare mammals such as the Bontebok and Cape Mountain Zebra, smaller predators and various bat species. Approximately 260 bird species have been recorded including the rare Damara and Caspian terns, the vulnerable Cape vulture and Stanley’s bustard.
De Hoop vlei
The De Hoop Vlei is 17 km long and a highly productive ecosystem; a Ramsar site of international ecological importance where aquatic birds and other organisms breed and feed undisturbed. Many of the 260 bird species which occur at De Hoop can be seen here. The vlei boasts several pairs of African fish eagles. Their high-pitched call, the voice of Africa, contributes to the wild charm of the area. The area is a safe shelter for twelve waterfowl species during the dry summer months. As many as 13 species of migrant waders including curlew sandpipers, ruffs, little stints, whiskered and white winged terns visit the vlei in summer, when the water level drops and the mud flats are exposed
Activities in De Hoop Reserve are diverse. In addition to mountain biking along selected gravel roads and trails your program includes a scenic nature drive, an eco boat tour and interpretative marine walk. Other options are a vulture experience and a guided bird walk. Relaxing on the beach and snorkeling in the many turquoise rock pools is simply another way to pass a rewarding day.
4 nights accommodation in selected lodges/cottages/suites.
Dinner and breakfast. (For some accommodation options it will be breakfast only)
Eco boat trip
Interpretive guided marine walk
Detailed Route directions.
Information about the area
Items not listed above, eg
Transport to Malgas and from De Hoop Nature Reserve
Other lunches, snacks, drinks with meals (restaurant at De Hoop)
Choice of Standard or Superior accommodation.
There are various routes and you can choose sections which are more challenging if you feel you need an extra challenge.
You can book a guided vulture experience.
Oct to April is High season. Whale watching June to Nov.