Legendary road builder, engineer, artist and naturalist Thomas Bain changed the fate and fortunes of many communities in long-forgotten places, creating tracks, roads and iconic mountain passes into the hinterland of Southern Africa.
Steeped in pre-history and Bain’s latter-day legacy, the awe-inspiring mountains of the Klein and Great Karoo today provide tamer passage through chasms and passes cut by the great man.
Dryland Ride will guide you and your family on a never-to-be-forgotten mountain bike tour over these classic roads and the single track footpaths used to build them.
Dryland Ride is a joint venture offering uniquely blended adventures, featuring MTB stage racing and 4×4 touring. It teams the talents of Dryland Events, SA’s leading MTB and cross-country running stage race organiser, with those of Bhejane 4X4 Adventures, which guides families on unforgettable self-drive 4X4 experiences in the region.
Between them, they have over 30 years’ experience in logistical support and planning to give you and your families the ride of a lifetime.
The accommodation for this trip entails a combination of guest houses, lodges and luxury camping.
Day 1: We meet at the colonial Queens Hotel in Oudtshoorn, where an 18 year-old royal named Elizabeth once stayed. Those who are driving in for the Karoo ride will leave their vehicles there and be transferred to Chandelier Game and Ostrich Show farm, for a short ride to test the legs and gear. The fly-ins will be transferred from George Airport, an hour away. If we’re lucky, an encounter with some wildlife could be on the cards. Our accommodation for the night is back in Oudtshoorn where, before dinner, we’ll have a tour briefing.
Day 2: After the first big breakfast of your 4-day tour, we transfer you and your bikes on the R62 towards Calitzdorp, turning right into the Red Stone Hills at the base of the imposing Swartberg. We spend the morning riding very scenic single-track routes, exclusive to Dryland Ride. After a picnic lunch we transfer you halfway up the Swartberg Pass, at which point leg power will take you to the top and over. The magnificent descent makes it all worthwhile. This road is probably the best example of the engineering and road building prowess of Thomas Bain. Descending into the Great Karoo in the late afternoon is awe-inspiring. Our home for the night is again in hotel accommodation, in the historic town of Prince Albert.
Day 3: Today we ride the Great Karoo and end up doing an exclusive single-track route that takes us into another one of Bain’s marvels. The Meiringspoort road is not a mountain pass but traverses a narrow ravine, following the course of the river as it cuts through the valley. Crossing over the river some 20 times, this passage is extremely beautiful. We stop for lunch at the Meiringspoort Waterfall and then transfer you back into the Little Karoo. The afternoon cycle takes us to our exclusive campsite in the Kammanassie mountain range. The camping experience gives us the opportunity to relax and enjoy a campfire and dinner cooked by our specialist outdoor chefs.
Day 4: We do another vehicle transfer out of the Kammanassie area and cycle for the rest of the day in the Little Karoo on gravel roads and contour single-tracks against the northern slopes of the Outeniqua Mountains. Here we camp next to a dam in a serene little valley, where an invigorating swim in the fresh mountain water or a spot of bass fishing may sound equally attractive. Before dinner we toast the day’s end with a tasting of local wines.
Day 5: After breakfast we say our goodbyes and transfer you along with your unforgettable memories back to Oudtshoorn or George Airport.
When entering: All flights into Cape Town should be in the morning and all flights from Cape Town should be in the Afternoon. We only provide for one transfer time per day.