Poorts & Passes

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While not an Active Escapes tour, every now and then a gem of an opportunity crosses our desks. The Poorts and Passes Tour is a unique trip at a price that wouldn't normally be found on a guided, fully catered tour. This being a 'first time round' tour, the guides have priced it basically at cost! Brilliant opportunity to get away from it all...into the beautiful Karoo. Poorts & Passes: George to Patensie Cycle Tour 2016 26 Nov - 6 Dec Have you ever fancied spending real quality time in South Africa's beautiful Karoo? Better yet, from the seat of your trusty bike? Well, the Poorts & Passes Cycle Tour may be exactly the opportunity you've been waiting for. Starting from George, our group will head off on 9 days of incredible riding through unmatched scenery. This is tour riding at it's best, panniers packed with the essentials and top notch meals and comfortable beds at the end of each day. On Day 1, the group meets in George to overnight ahead of the great trek. Final bike preparations and last minute packing, before a hearty meal and a good sleep. Day 2 takes riders through from George to De Rust, a 72km ride up the Montague Pass (opened in 1840, built with convict labour) that transects the Outeniqua Mountains. On Day 3, leaving De Rust we ride 88km to Prince Albert. At the end of the day, we would have crested and descended the mighty Swartberg Pass, something to be inordinately proud of. Waking up on Day 4, breathe a sigh of sleepy relief and remember it's a rest day, well spent wondering the streets of the arty little town, known for delicious food, olives and craft shops. Well rested, on Day 5 we return to De Rust via a completely different and equally spectacular 80km route through the Meiringspoort. It's a day for marvelling at the ancient nature of the Karoo, with the Meiringspoort formations being 250 million years old. There may even be a dip in a secret and beautiful waterfall en route, if we're in need of a cool down. On Day 6, it's flatter riding into the Karoo from De Rust to Toorwater over 83km. 12km in to the ride we will stop for breakfast at Numbi Valley, and experience an organic permaculture garden project. Leaving Toorwater on Day 7, we ride 67km to the Baviaanskloof, via the narrow gorges of the Groot Rivier. An incredible landscape, sometimes making one wonder what planet one has landed on, this area os able to support seven out of the eight biomes found in South Africa. Day 8 see's some rugged riding through the Baviaanskloof valley, levaning Makkedaat Caves to head to Zandevlakte. Farmer Piet will take us in the afternoon on a bakkie tour to see the spekboom and river catchment rehabilitation projects on Zandevlakte farm. Day 9 adds a zing of excitement, as we'll be riding through buffalo territory from Zandvlakte to Glencoe over 72km. Buffalo being potentially dangerous, mean that we will have a bakkie escort, who will also take our bags for the day - and haul the supplies for a lunchtime braai at Rooihoek campsite. From there we ride out to end the day in Glencoe. Day 10 see's the shortest distance, as we depart Glencoe and ride through to Patensie over 32km of patchwork farmland in the Gamtoos valley. After a coffee and a bight to eat, we are transferred back to George to spend one last night in George, before departing the following morning on Day 11.

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Trail Daze Series

Our friend Ewald Sadie is a very talented photographer from Cape Town, and he has been shooting a series called Trail Daze over the last year or so with some beautiful images. We've decided to reshare his published posts here, incase you're in the vicinity of some of these incredible trails and mountains. This weeks post is about Van Gaalen's Cheese Farm, and the lesser known Pofadder Trail...
The lads chasing rainbows to pots of single track gold
The lads chasing rainbows to pots of single track gold

Karkloof Delights

One of our favourite trails in the Karkloof has been out of bounds for some time due to harvesting activity. We found this video by Chris Pearton from a year or so ago...so we thought we'd relive the wonder of Bat Outta Hell 🙂 Can't wait for that to be open again! On another note, we ride this trail when doing our supported transfer tours on our Mt. Gilboa day...mmm...worth considering.