After a lifetime love affair with motorbikes (I started at 12) and the current owner of both a Harley Davidson Night Train and a BMW R1150 GS Adventure, the best way by far to experience South Africa in an unforgettable way is on a motorbike and I generally try and get a weekend (or longer) ride in every six weeks.
The country has all the necessary ingredients: Beautiful Scenery, Great Weather, Excellent Cuisine, Majestic Wildlife, Cultural Diversity and most of all… a Fantastic Riding Experience on some of the planets best uncluttered roads stretching far and wide across the country
Furthermore, once you get off the highway routes and experience the quaint little downs each with their own rich history(as true bikers will surely want to do), the roads are quieter and often the only other people sharing the road with you are your fellow travelers.
South Africa has some of the most incredible motorcycle riding available on the planet today. Motorbike enthusiasts with or without pillions (passengers) wanting to experience the thrill of riding with new or old friends on the open road will find that there are many operators offering different tours all over South Africa, from day rides and weekends away to seven day or even three weeks long trips.
There is something for motorbikes of every taste and type. Many tours combine off-road adventures and interesting on-road rides to create exceptional experiences, with perhaps a touch of luxury here and there. You can even try a Harley Davidson Chauffeur experience to deliver you in style and make an entrance you will never forget.
Here is an example of several notable tours and if you either start from Johannesburg or end in Johannesburg and if you are in need of affordable, comfortable and private self catering accomodation then contact Moonflower Cottages: I will be happy to welcome you to my Harley bar to wash the travel dust down. Lock up garage will be made available.
LOWVELD LEGEND TOUR (7 days / 8 nights)
JHB – Northern Drakensburg – Lowveld – Kruger Park – JHB
Lowveld Legend, departing and returning to Johannesburg; rides out via the highveld (highlands) plains before plunging down the mighty Northern Drakensburg Range and into the warm lowveld (lowlands). The week is spent exploring this land of myth and legend where transport riders hunted wild game on their trek while bringing in mining supplies to the scattered gold diggings which attracted thousands of starry eyed fortune seekers. The tour boasts the highest concentration of Spectacular Mountain passes on the planet today. A rest day is spent ‘Big 5’ Game viewing from the seat of an open safari vehicle as the area is famous for high concentrations of African Wildlife in their natural habitat.
SOUTHERN SPEAR TOUR (8 days / 9 nights)
JHB – Northern Drakensburg – Lowveld – Kruger Park – Swaziland – Kwazulu Natal – Golden Gate/Lesotho – JHB
Southern Spear is a raggedy loop starting and finishing in Johannesburg; an extension to the ‘Lowveld Legend’ via Swaziland where fantastic ‘twisties’ can be found and enjoyed and into Northern Kwazulu Natal before meeting the subtropical east coast and the St Lucia Estuary. Continuing through Zululand and the spectacular Oribi Gorge before heading back up to Johannesburg via the beautiful Golden Gate National Park and skirting the Lesotho Maluti Mountains.
CONQUEST OF PARADISE TOUR (12 days / 13 nights)
JHB – Northern Drakensburg – Lowveld – Kruger Park – Swaziland – Kwazulu Natal – Wild Coast – Garden Route – Route 62 – Cape Town
This is the “Big One”; enjoy the magnificence of the absolute best of South Africa. Starting in Johannesburg, the tour begins with a bang as the ride heads east meandering down into Mpumalanga and the lush Lowveld bushveld with a myriad of excellent mountain passes via much of the Lowveld Legend route. Then it’s into Swaziland, often dubbed ‘Switzerland in Africa’ before heading back into South Africa and down through Zululand (Kwazulu Natal).
After touching on the laid back lifestyle of Durban, the lush untamed ‘Wild Coast’ will be traversed. Just as you regain your breath the world famous Garden Route looms in your visor. Often referred to as the world in one country, you would be forgiven to think that you’ve seen it all… until the mountainous and unforgettable Route 62 meanders before you.
Finally Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula will be your Oyster as you ride in via possibly the world’s most spectacular coastal route (R44 to Gordon’s bay via Betty’s Bay – see ‘Long Way Down’ final episode). The fairest Cape has been reached and you have Conquered Paradise.
Almost all tour operators rent motorbikes, although some allow you to bring your own machine and will adjust the price of the package accordingly. Typically, packages include accommodation and either one or two main meals a day. All fuel, all road toll-fees and entrances to game parks and other places of interest may also be included. Some operators offer recorded DVD and custom photos with every tour.
Items you will need for your motorcycle tour:
A valid motorcycle driver’s licence. If you want to rent a bike, bear in mind that some operators set the minimum age limit at 21, 24 or even 28 years. International travellers need to bring an international licence. For tours encompassing neighbouring countries, you will need a valid passport with corresponding visas.
• Bring along personal accident and medical insurance documents.
• A good Helmet, gloves, jacket and other protective travel gear
• A good pair of sunglasses.
• Helmets are mandatory in South Africa and tinted visors are legal and can be worn.
• Motorcycle tours are usually undertaken in dry season, but bring along a rain suit, just in case.
• Also pack some casual clothing for the evenings
• A good sun-block and an insect repellent
• Swim suits, sandals and shorts are a good idea as it can get very hot
Live to Ride and Ride to live