Explore 200km of unspoilt nature on your bicycle – the Addo Cycle Charge in May 2019 is one ride you won’t want to miss! By Gaynor Siljeur
Picture cycling through the beautiful bush of the Eastern Cape, knowing that around the next bend you could see a herd of zebra or even a family of elephants. That is what awaits on the Addo Cycle Charge. This six-day ride through South Africa’s third largest national park, the Addo Elephant National Park, is an experience you’ll want to tick off the bucket list!
Taking place from 26 to 31 May 2019, the Addo Cycle Charge is hosted by the SANParks Honorary Rangers, a group of passionate volunteers that support conservation in our national parks. Funds raised by the Addo Cycle Charge are ploughed back into the national parks, so while you’re having the time of your life you can also contribute to protecting our wild places.
What to expect?
This tour is not for the faint-hearted and is not recommended for beginner cyclists as it takes place in open areas inhabited by dangerous game. For this reason riders are accompanied by an armed ranger and have to stick together as a pack. The focus is on enjoying the scenery, listening out for bird calls and keeping your eyes peeled for wildlife sightings. After all, it’s a ride, not a race.
You’ll stay in a pop-up cycling village, where you will enjoy meals, have access to charging stations and facilities to clean your kit. To help you wind down after the exciting day’s ride, there’s a line-up of expert speakers that will shed light on the park and its wild creatures. You’ll even see a tracking dog in action.
Day four of the Addo Cycle Charge will be the most challenging, both in terms of terrain and game. It is also the most spectacular, scenery-wise.- Clive Gibson, SANParks Honorary Ranger
The Addo Cycle Charge route
Arrive at Addo Elephant National Park where you will check in at the Addo Main Camp Lapa. When the check-in process is complete, everyone will be transferred to Darlington Dam in open game drive vehicles. You’ll have time to settle into camp before being briefed on the events of the ride ahead.
Explore the western side of Darlington Dam, moving along its shore in an anti-clockwise direction. The ride will be mostly flat with gentle rises, so you’ll be able to appreciate the scenery.
Expect a few more inclines as you explore the eastern side of the dam and the Middelplaas area. After a thrilling day of riding, you can enjoy an absorbing presentation by Tamara Jane Lancaster on the night sky.
Make the journey to the site of Prince Harry’s camp on the banks of the Modderfontein Dam in the valleys of the Zuurberg Mountains. This will be the shortest leg of the race to ensure there is enough time to transfer to the next location in the Nyathi section. After supper you will learn about the research taking place, and the challenges faced in Algoa Bay in a presentation by Prof. Pierre Pistorius.
Experience the unforgettable landscapes of Nyathi’s central section. This area is known for the abundance of big game and wonderful scenery. After an already action-packed day, Addo’s conservation manager John Adendorff will give a presentation about SANParks.
As the last day sadly arrives, you will ride through the southern section of Nyathi and make your way back to Addo Main Camp. Cyclists who are not staying for the extra night will end off with lunch before departure.
If you opt for the additional night, you will enjoy an exhilarating night drive through the main section of Addo Elephant National Park.
Have one last hearty breakfast before departure.
The camp set-up:
During the duration of the tour you will stay in comfortable tented camps with available ablution and toilet facilities.
If you decide to embark on this amazing ride, it is highly recommended that you fit your bicycle with tubeless tyres as the terrain includes varying degrees of sand, stone and fine gravel.
It will cost you R7,650 per person and R11,850 per couple. The includes:
- transfers to and from Darlington Dam
- tented accommodation
- all meals and refreshments
Choose to stay an additional night and you’ll be charged an extra R750 per person. (All prices exclude VAT.)
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