As a group of 6 dirt bike enthusiasts, we had an absolutely fantastic 6 day trip from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville. I cannot speak highly enough about the Ride Expeditions team. From the booking process with Anna, through to ride team, the whole process was… Read More
SOUTH AFRICA MOTORCYCLE TOURS
- CAPE CRUSADER -
Exploring South Africa's breathtaking coastline and mountainscapes on big adventure bikes.
As our first adventure in the African continent, we’re incredibly proud of our South African Motorcycle Tour. We’ve called it the ‘Cape Crusader’ as when you are riding the incredible roads and trails you will feel like a true biking super hero – forget bucket list – this is dream motorcycling for sure.
If you have never been to South Africa, you are in for a total treat from start to finish. The country may be still coming to terms with its multicultural and shared identity, but for a holiday destination it’s got all the boxes ticked. From the laid-back cool of the V & A dock development in Cape Town, the incredible Table Mountain reserve overlooking the entire region to the wide and beautiful beaches of the Southern Cape. And that’s before you even get on a bike.
This South Africa motorcycle tour will take you on incredible roads with perfect tarmac through achingly beautiful landscapes on the way to the remote and rugged Cederberg Wilderness. We’ll climb epic mountain passes, carve along astounding dirt roads and witness some of the most wonderful scenery you’ll ever encounter. We’ll visit nature reserves, safari parks and swim in the Indian Ocean. Did we mention the 50km long trail on the way to ’The Hell’ in the Swartberg mountain range? Yep – that one’s special.
But don’t think you’ll be roughing it on this trip – we’ll stay in plush western style hotels, wildlife lodges, remote farmhouses – a whole range of beautiful and interesting accommodation to really make your evenings as good as your days.
For the bikes, we’ll be using the BMW’s as the brand of choice, their incredible dealer network and metronomic efficiency making this an easy choice. All bikes will be the latest models and we’ve got options from the shorter & lighter 700GS, the ‘go everywhere’ 800GS and for the hard-core adventurers, the mighty 1200GS.
If you want an incredible holiday, the Cape Crusader is a tour that will deliver big time.
We’d love to have you join us!
Your motorcycle tour expert
Tour Key Points
Tour Dates & Prices
Tour Key Info
cape crusader MOTORCYCLE TOUR ITINERARY
The first day of the tour starts with your arrival at Cape Town International Airport. We’ll meet you from the plane and transfer you directly to your hotel in the heart of the city. Once you’ve checked in it’s a chance to relax after the long flight. In the afternoon we’ll get all the riders together to meet the team and give you a full briefing of the exciting adventure ahead.
We’ll then put on the smart shoes for the welcome dinner and a cultural dance performance from local dancers. Want to join in – of course you can!
Accommodation: 4* hotel with a pool.
So, you can’t be in Cape Town and not go up onto Table Mountain – it’s one of the most iconic sights in Africa and apparently older than the Himalayas, though there are no eye witnesses to confirm. So, after breakfast we’ll take you to the gently rotating cable car that climbs steeply to the top. It’s a massive and stunning area that you can explore, you might even get a photo with a Dassie and of course the obligatory selfie. Once descended from the mountain, you’ve got the rest of the day to explore Cape Town, from the shops and restaurants in the V & A Dock area, the historic Robben island where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for so many years, wine tasting at one of the many local vineyards, or maybe just chill on the beach at Camp’s Bay.
Accommodation: 4* hotel with a pool.
OK so today the proper adventure starts. While you slept, a fleet of shiny BMWs were being delivered to the hotel and they are lined up outside just waiting to be ridden. So, hop on and thumb the starter… We’ll start the adventure with a trip down the fantastic Cape peninsula and following stunning coastal roads down to the historic Cape of Good Hope, the point at which the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. After that we follow the coast east through picturesque coastal towns and villages all the way to Hermanus for our first stop.
Accommodation: Hotel with sea views.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Hermanus is on the Whale Coast route and is reputed to be the best place on earth for seeing whales while still on the land. Get your binoculars out and you could see a Humpback before breakfast – now that’s a pretty special way to start the day.
Once saddled up, we’ll leave the Whale coast to spend the day on joyful sweeping roads, heading north and passing through wine country on the way to Cederberg. It’s a lot of miles to travel today, but with scenery this good, you won’t mind a bit. Once we get into the wilderness that is Cederberg, there will be some pretty epic dirt roads to follow so get your drift on – What a day!
Accommodation: 4* rural lodge
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
There’s some fantastic riding today from epic and sweeping blacktop to wonderfully flowing and joyful dirt roads. We start the day by climbing the impressive Katbakkies pass, followed by a life affirming descent through the Skittery Pass. Then drop down from the high plains and on to one of the straightest and longest dirt roads we have ever ridden.
Once the dirt is behind us, it’s a fantastic, fast and furious ride on the tarmac on the run down to Montagu. Don’t forget to stop at the top of the valley – that view is a keeper.
Accommodation: Rural cottages.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Leaving the lush valleys of Montagu behind, we will head into the famous Karoo desert today. A massive ribbon of smooth tarmac takes us on the famous Route 62 – only four down from Route 66 so it must be good. For the best Milkshakes in the world we’ll stop off at Diesel and Creme. And a few more miles on it’s selfie time at Ronnies Sex Shop – it has to be done.
But if it’s one road that will define your tour it’s the next one. The roads on the way up the Swartberg range are stunning, clinging to the side of the rocks through endless hairpins to reach the start of the road to ‘The Hell’. It’s a 48 km trail that traces an achingly beautiful valley over all surfaces from hardpack dirt to rocks, sand and water. When we get to our overnight accommodation you’ll have earned a drink as we spend the night around a roaring fire miles from anywhere. It doesn’t get much better than this.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.
So, if you enjoyed the trail the day before, it’s good news as we have to retrace our steps back up the 48 km before hanging a left and over the top of the Swartberg Pass. The view at the top is stunning, so don’t forget to send a selfie to your mates.
The road down is pretty epic too, with more of those hairpins dropping down into a deep valley.
From here we’ll ride further into the Karoo and straight into Ostrich country. We’ll sweep through the Groot Swartberg Nature Reserve and passing over the enormous mountain range twice and come full circle to Oudtshoorn.
We’ll stay in a beautiful lodge where giraffe and ostrich roam free. This is Africa!
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.
Today we’ll see the caves at Cango and as Oudtshoorn is the Ostrich capital of the world, we can maybe try an Ostrich burger, although when they are looking at you it feels a bit wrong!
We’ll then head through the sweeping and picturesque Outeniqua Mountain Pass. Originally built by Italian prisoners of war, this pass connects the Karoo to the famous South African Garden Route and it is a joy to ride! We’ll pass through the town of George and head East, winding our way through scenic beach towns on our way to Knysna. So many beautiful views to enjoy!
Accommodation: Hotel with sea views and a pool.
Meals: Breakfast & lunch.
This little place is so pretty it seemed like a good time to stop, catch our breath and take in the scenery around this stunning coastal lagoon. There’s plenty to do if you fancy it, from horse riding in the Pledge Nature reserve or maybe a bit of big game fishing in the Indian Ocean. This resort is on the iconic Garden Route and it’s a popular to stop over and chill. There’s even a bike exhibition on the close-by Thesen Island – what more do you need?
Oh, and if you’re completely nuts, you can jump off a bridge with a big elastic band tied to your feet – the highest ‘bungee from a bridge’ in the world!
Accommodation: Hotel with sea views and a pool.
Leaving Knysna and the Indian Ocean behind we head back towards the country’s interior. Climbing through the lush mountain passes in the exquisite Diepwalle Forest we head up to Uniondale.
On this road you’ll have to be careful not to pick up the famous ghost of the Uniondale hitchhiker who apparently climbs aboard passing motorcycles before jumping off at the next T-junction. As long as she can do the corners correctly- it shouldn’t be a problem!
Then we’ll power on through twisty, dirt tracks and finish our day in Baviaanskloof, which is Dutch for Baboons Ravine. If you’ve not seen a baboon up close, this may be your chance, but away from the town they are quite nervous of people so don’t worry – they are not going to run off with your Alpinestars!
Have you ever slept in a cave? …
Accommodation: Amazing cave lodges.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
This morning we continue our journey through Bavianskloof and head east towards the Addo Elephant National Park. We’ll follow the path of the the Gamtoosrivier for mile after mile before tracing the borders of a host of nature reserves to end the day at the appropriately named Addo Elephant Park. Wonder what we’ll see here …
Accommodation: Beautiful game lodge
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Today is all about the animals rather than the bikes and watching herds of majestic elephants lingering by the waterholes should be a good way to start the day. If we are lucky we will see the odd lion, rhino, cape buffalo and leopard, so make sure to bring your Box Brownie and binoculars for this one. This is Africa in the raw and it makes a fantastic end to a fantastic adventure.
We’ll finish the tour with cold beers and cocktails followed by a farewell dinner and maybe even a few awards for the most memorable contributions. Who’s going to win the golden tutu?
Accommodation: Game Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
So with the riding done, today you’ve got a number of options. If you are going on to more sightseeing in South Africa, then we’ll make sure you get on your way safely. For those returning to Cape Town we’ll get in a shuttle for a transfer to Port Elizabeth and the short flight back. But why end the fun here – maybe you could try cage diving with Great White Sharks!
What an adventure – what a holiday!
Accommodation: Not included.
Why book with Ride Expeditions
Ride Expeditions is a British owned company that has always operated with the standard of ‘combining expert local knowledge with high western standards‘. It is this winning combination that has resulted in our success of running the ultimate motorcycle adventure tours.
As a UK Ltd company we have been able to affiliate ourselves with the PTS (Protected Trust Services), giving you the consumer 100% financial security when booking a tour through Ride Expeditions Ltd UK.
cape crusader Motorcycle Tour Bikes
Rider testimonials below are general and some not specifically about this tour – although they are of our similar tours in the same areas.
Andrew C reviewed:
Tim B reviewed:
Our groups aim was to experience the people and culture of Cambodia whilst touring the country on dirt bikes. The Ride Expeditions Team gave us an experience we will never forget. Our Lead rider VUT knew Cambodia like the back of his hand and we were fortunate to have him lead us on the adventure of a lifetime. The support team worked flawlessly to deal with any issues and create a seamless experience for our group. Our group consisted of riders of all levels from beginners to advanced and the Ride Expeditions Team catered for all riders. A once in a lifetime experience and Highly Recommended.
“As a seasoned Aussie motorcycle tourer, this was my first overseas motorcycle tour that really opened my eyes to wonder of seeing other countries through the helmet visor. Toby, Anu and their staff on the tour have really set a high standard for my next…” READ MORE
Brian M reviewed:
“We LOVED the time spent with these guys. My wife and I did the 2 week Laos to Vietnam ride and everything about it was spectacular. If you love riding and traveling this is for you. Also, their local associates in both countries were top notch. I could write for hours about our experience but there no need to spoil surprises when should go check it out yourself.
Thanks Toby! You rock and we had such a great time.”
South africa Motorcycle Tour gallery
cape crusader Motorcycle Tour FAQ
OK so hopefully you’ve got most of the information you need from the tour itinerary, although inevitably there will be some additional questions. But don’t worry, we’ve been asked most of them before, so have a read through the list below because your answer is probably there.
If not, you can drop an email to email@example.com and we’ll answer your query ASAP.
Q: Do I need a valid motorcycle license?
A: Bizarrely, this is a surprisingly regular question.
The answer is a simple YES – we require all riders have a valid license that would entitle them to ride the capacity of bike selected in their home country. If you can’t ride an 800cc bike legally at home, we can’t let you ride one on our tours. We therefore require a license for insurance purposes.
It’s a good idea to also have an International Driver’s Permit which is a few bucks from your local Post Office, although this is not required for some nationalities (fellow Brit? You’re all good!).
Q: What about Travel Insurance?
A: As with any foreign travel, proper insurance from a reputable company is a good move. Ride Expeditions insist that all riders have appropriate insurance in place. The policy you chose needs to cover you for riding motorcycles and importantly – for riding the capacity of bike that you will be riding with us. Mainstream companies may not offer such cover, so we’re happy to provide recommendations for specialist providers.
Your insurance should have provision for medical evacuation and repatriation back home.
Q: What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?
A: If we settle on an intermediate Strouhal value of 0.3: We can estimate the airspeed of the European Swallow to be roughly 11 meters per second (15 beats per second * 0.73 meters per beat).
Q: What will happen if I damage the motorcycle?
A: Unlike lightweight dirt bikes, adventure bikes are heavy and if dropped, damage can be considerable and parts expensive. While minor damage like the odd scratch is fine, anything beyond this that will need replacement or repair will be chargeable.
If the unfortunate does happen, we’re not looking to be punitive of make a profit though. We’ll be fair and look for the best and most economical way to repair the bike.
Fully comprehensive insurance is included on all motorcycles as standard, with an excess of approximately £1,400. Now If this makes you nervous, we can direct you to a ‘damage waiver protection’ policy. This is an additional insurance which effectively covers you for the costs of repairs for a fixed daily cost – it’s common in car hire rental and to our mind, makes a lot of sense for adventure bike hire. Please note that this is an external policy – you will still be liable for covering the costs of repairs and you then claim back these costs through the insurance policy.
Q: Do I need a visa for South Africa?
A: This depends where you are from originally, but visitors from the UK, USA and Australia can enter the country for up to 90 days without any visa or additional costs (please double check this before travelling just in case they’ve recently changed their minds!). Check for your own country on the South African government websites or your own country’s foreign office.
Visa costs, if applicable, are not included in the tour price.
Q: Do I need to carry my own luggage?
A: No, you don’t. Although the BMW has a great carrying capacity, all you need to travel with is a small backpack with maybe your camera and any travelling essentials. Ideally, we’d suggest a drinks reservoir / Camelback as this means you are more likely to stay hydrated as you ride, rather than just waiting to drink when we stop.
The rest of your luggage goes in the support truck which will follow the tour and go to all the overnight stops. The truck also has spare seats so in case of injury, illness or even ‘over-indulgence’ you can travel in the passenger seats for a while to recover.
Q: What’s the weather gonna be like?
A: Hopefully hot and sunny for the whole tour, so be sure to pack the sunscreen and Ray Bans.
Q: Where do I need to fly into & out of?
A: The tour starts in Cape Town – it has an international airport. The tour finishes in Port Elizabeth which also has an international airport, although it may work out cheaper to fly back to Cape Town and out from there.
Q: What do I wear?
A: OK so as this is an adventure bike tour, then the best gear to use will be, you guessed it, adventure gear. Now we’re not suggesting you go out and purchase the whole Klim catalogue – although if you can afford it it is the best out there – but generally adventure style gear is going to be the most suitable. We’re schedulling these South Africa motorcycle tours for Spring or early Autumn – it will be rather warm, but can also get a little chilly in places.
Just to be clear, we recommend:
Helmet – Off-road or adventure type are probably better than road versions which can be a bit hot and restrictive.
Goggles – can often be better than visors for maintaining air flow and keeping out dust. Safely glasses are OK too. Most Adventure helmets can be worn with goggles. Helmets with integral sun visors are good too as it’s pretty sunny over in SA.
Trousers – enduro or adventure trousers are by far the most suited to the riding and bikes, and we’d especially recommend those with CE approved knee and hip pads. Kevlar Jeans with the same padding are OK too, although usually a bit tight and hot.
Boots – as with the helmets and clothing, strong off-road boots that offer proper support and protection are essential – there’s a lot of rocky terrain on this tour and good boots will make things easier and safe for your little piggies. Ankle high road boots are not recommended.
Body Armour – If your jacket has shoulder, elbow and back padding, then additional body armour won’t be needed, but if not, then you might want to consider investing in something like a padded shirt from companies like Know or Forcefield. If you do have an unexpected off, you’ll be glad you did!
Gloves – Adventure or summer weight road gloves are probably best as they will be light enough for the off-road sections, but still offer adequate protection on the tarmac.
Stick on comedy ears / mohawk / horns – highly recommended.
Pink Teddy Bear – so, the teddy bear is awarded for worst rider each day. This will be awarded on a day-by-day basis and must be displayed on the back of the motorcycle.
Q: What is GEOS Search and Rescue?
A: GEOS Search and Rescue is the leading global provider of safety and response solutions. If you’re riding with us, you’re covered under our business membership. In the event of an emergency, our medic / office will liaise with GEOS, ensuring that the best help is on it’s way to you as fast as possible. Every tour is accompanied by a GPS device that has an SOS button that links directly to GEOS.
Q: What happens if I get injured on a ride?
A: All our rides are accompanied by a qualified Western medic who will be able to administer medical aid almost immediately. If it’s minor, you can travel in the truck for a bit to recover. In the case of anything serious, we’ll get you the appropriate medical assistance ASAP and liaise with your travel insurance company to ensure you get home comfortably.
Q: Will I have to have lots of immunisations and jabs? I hate needles.
A: We’re not keen on needles either, but in terms of jabs it depends what you’ve already had and when the boosters are needed. Certainly, there are recommended immunisations for travelling in South Africa, so consult your doctor or look online for your country’s Health Department recommendations.
Q: What about riding experience?
A: Ideally, we want confident and experienced riders on our tours, so for this reason we want you to have at least two years active riding experience. And by this we mean that you have regularly ridden during that period, rather than just passing a test on the test centre’s bikes and not ridden a mile since.
We send a pre-booking form to gauge the level of your riding experience.
Following on from this, as this tour is both on and off-road on adventure bikes, it is more than preferable if you have had a good amount of adventure riding experience before booking up. Should you have any doubts, give out tour leaders a call or email and we can talk through any queries you may have.
I used to ride a Honda MT5 farm bike back in the 80’s – does this count?
As the BMW weighs about the same as four MT5s and costs considerably more, then sadly not. We admire your old school credentials though and if you’d said DT50 we might have considered you…
Q: Can my family see where I am?
A: Only if you want them too 😉 We always travel with a GPS tracker that tracks our location throughout the trip. The staff in the office will send you a link to the online map and you can share this with your family so that they know exactly where you are.
You can also send it to your mates to make them insanely jealous that you are in South Africa having the holiday of a lifetime while they are slaving away at work. Surely the main reason you booked this ride?
Q: You have an app???
A: Hell yea we do! Our brand new travel app (available on Android and IOS) will house all your booking details. It will help you get ready for your trip, notify you of any changes we’re making, have a breakdown of the itinerary, show you the local weather and you’re even able to keep a personal journal within the app! It’s very very useful and is proving a big hit with our riders.
Q: Can you cater for vegetarians, vegans or those with food allergies?
A: South Africa is more developed than most first time visitors will anticipate, so the idea of vegetarian menus is not new. Most of the places we stay at will cater for a meat-free meal, but vegan and other allergy / gluten intolerant options may not be available.
We’ll do our best to work around any specific requirements, but if you are going to go into anaphylactic shock if a peanut looks at you, please let us know and have a fully loaded epi-pen somewhere readily accessible …
Drop us an email and we can discuss any concerns you may have.
Q:I love KFC – will there be an option for lunch with the Colonel in the Cederberg?
A: Yes – Clan William has an excellent KFC and we can thoroughly recommend the Zinger Tower. Will we be taking you there? No.
Q: OK I’m sold how do I book?
A: So, to make this simple and user-friendly we’ve cut it down to three simple steps:
1. First off, we require a £500 deposit to secure your place on the tour.
2. Two months before the start of the tour we’ll send an invoice for the remaining balance – you need to pay this within 30 days.
3. £1400 will be ‘held’ on your card in case of bike damage. Assuming there is no chargeable damage, nothing will be deducted.
Q: How do I pay and is it safe?
A: When we send you the invoice, there will be bank details for Protected Trust Services or ‘PTS’. Your money is held within an independent trust account until the end of your tour, keeping it safe and secure. If you’ve ever used an Escrow account when buying a house, the principle is much the same.
The PTS system offers protection and financial security in the unlikely event that either ourselves or our suppliers become insolvent. As a reputable tour company, we want you to be entirely confident in paying money to Ride Expeditions and the protection offered by PTS is unparalleled with local tour operators. We like it and so will you.
Q: Is this deposit refundable?
A: In a word – No. The booking deposit is non-refundable as from the moment we receive this we start to book services, hotels and the like. If for any reason you cannot progress with the booking, then the deposit monies paid are not refundable, but we may be able to offset them against a replacement tour. Let us know if there is a problem and we’ll do the best we can to suggest a way forward that works for both of us.
Q: Can I pay with fairy dust?
A: Working on the basis that you are probably not a six-year old, then sadly we cannot accept Fairy Dust as legal tender, unless you deliver it to the office in person on a unicorn, accompanied by the Fairy Queen herself. In this instance, Anna will be so excited that she will probably push you off the unicorn and disappear into the sunset …