AWOL Tours is offering a limited space on a unique opportunity to explore South African Wild Coast with our experienced mountain biking guides. If you yearning to get away from the crowds and explore off the beaten tracks, then the perfect mountain biking playground to get away from it all is calling.
For a remote location, the Wild Coast is a pristine coastline that is easily accessible and only a 1.5 hour drive from the East London Airport (all major SA airlines fly into ELS). As you drive from the city, the landscape of the Eastern Cape is one to be cherished. Rolling hills scattered by rondavels (distinct African houses built in a round shape with a reed roof). The vegetation on the trip is unique as you cross through 3 different biomes (natural areas), the Albany Thicket, Indian Ocean Coastal Belt and also Savanna. This is an area of South Africa where the warm and hospitable culture of the Xhosa people remains strong and proud – you will be welcomed by the most beautiful smiles and warmth in the spirit of Ubuntu (compassion and humanity).
The riding is one of the most comprehensive feelings one can imagine. The background tune of the full 4 days is one of our great elemental sounds: the outer ocean on a beach. Waves rolling in on a beach is arguably the most relaxing sound on earth. The purity of the salt scented wind is something to behold as the riding is far from an easy stroll on the beach. Most of the riding is on the beach, and if the timing is right it is relatively easy to ride on the hard sand. This ride, however, should be considered moderate-to-hard as there are lots of rocky sections (most of it is ride-able, others will have to be done carrying the bike). The elements will play a big role too as the African sun can be unforgiving, yet small milkwood forest can provide shade during a rest stop. Some of the riding goes further inland which is on either jeep tracks or cattle tracks (which are an easy version of single track). The contrast between the beauty and mystery of the ocean and the rural African landscape is something only to be explained by the privileged ones that have been there, as there is nothing to compare with.
All the accommodation is very well positioned, deliciously catered with the catch of the day being served, and with good facilities to clean a bike. My favourite moment on one of the days upon arrival was an ice cold beer served with a platter of freshly harvested wild oysters. Expect relatively basic accommodation with clean facilities and outstanding sustainably caught seafood and other delicious South African produce at meal times.
Not the most technical of rides, it definitely is one of the memorable moments one will have on a mountain bike. The setting is just so perfect. All your senses will be in touch with our beautiful planet. Everyday there will be an adventure on its own including river crossings – some more daunting then others -tough soft sand sections and rocky outcrops. All in all this only ads up to one of the most satisfying feelings, as there is always a small challenge away.
Perhaps the funniest thing on the ride is the cattle on the beach. While the beaches one rides on are some of the quietest and soulful places to be, you will find hundreds of heads of cattle that belong to the local communities. There will be hours of riding where you will count more cows than people! But the most unique thing of this experience is that the beaches have been left pristine and feel timeless. I have seen many places on the planet including Bali and California’s Route 1, but I can guarantee his is one of the subtlest regions that hasn’t been ‘over touristed’ as development hasn’t changed the landscape. By far one of the most authentic rides and true African experience.
AWOL Tour guides recently completed a recce ride on this very special – yet often overlooked – area of South Africa. Departing on the 4th May 2020 , we have limited space available for only 10 experienced mountain biking guests to join us. For such a remote destination, this pristine coastline is easily accessible and only a 1.5 hour drive from the East London Airport (all major SA airlines fly into ELS). Email info@awoltours now to get more details and allow us to organise you a #holidayofalifetime
Written by Jeremy Schreiner