Our Top Ten Motorcycle Rides in the Western and Northern Cape

We feel incredibly lucky to have one of the most scenic and varied backyards to explore on motorcycles. Here are 10 of our favourite stretches of road (in no particular order).

1. Atlantic Seaboard

 

Distance: 85km
Road surface: Good tar
Time required: 2-3 hours
Ride this stretch on one of our 1-day tours, 3-day tours or build your own trip

It’s hard to beat the shear beauty of this stretch of coastline looking out over the Atlantic Ocean. Winding roads, steep cliff faces, spectacular beaches and some good restaurants along the way make this a must-ride stretch.

Highlights: Camps Bay – Twelve Apostles – Hout Bay – Chapman’s Peak Drive – Misty Cliffs and Scarborough – Red Hill Road – Simonstown – Kalk Bay Harbour – Boyes Drive to Muizenberg 

 

2. Clarence Drive from Gordons Bay to Rooi Els

Distance: 25 km
Road surface: Good tar
Time required: 0.5 – 1 hour
Ride this stretch on one of our 1-day tours, 3-day tours or build your own trip

 

It’s not hard to argue for this stretch of coastline as the one of the most scenic in the world. Over 70 bends on a road that twists past the towering Kogelberg mountain range, climbing and descending towards the sea in False Bay make it a fantastic ride on a motorcycle.

 

3. Kleinmond to Franschhoek via Grabouw

Distance: 92 km
Road surface: Mostly good tar with a 15 km gravel pass
Time required: 1.5 – 3 hours
Ride this stretch on one of our 1-day tours, 3-day tours or build your own trip

 

There’s a hidden gravel road that connects the tar road from Kleinmond to the N2 at Grabouw. It’s wonderfully remote and provides spectacular views of the Elgin valley. From Grabouw the good tar road winds through orchards and mountain passes, crossing over Theewaterskloof dam – one of the main water storage dams for Cape Town. The last stretch explores the magnificent Franschhoek pass into the town of Franschhoek.

4. Du Toits Kloof and Bains Kloof Pass

Distance: 100km
Road surface: Good tar
Time required: 1.5 – 3 hours
Ride this stretch on one of our 1-day tours, 3-day tours or build your own trip

These two spectacular passes cut through the Cape Fold Mountains and offer breathtaking views, sweeping bends and many opportunities to stop and admire both the ingenuity of the pass-builders and the majestic landscapes.

 

5. Cederberg backroads to Ceres through the Koue Bokkeveld

 

Distance: 160 km
Road surface: Gravel with some corrugations / washboard and loose gravel
Time required: 3-4 hours
Ride this stretch on one of our 3-day tours or build your own trip

 

This route from Algeria Wilderness cottages in the Cederberg to Ceres is one our favourite gravel road rides in the Western Cape. The route leads through the heart of the Cederberg wilderness area and the remote Koue Bokkeveld mountains. A more challenging ride for those comfortable on gravel roads.

6. Tankwa Karoo and Sutherland

Distance: 130 km
Road surface: All gravel, tight turns on Ouberg pass
Time required: 3-4 hours
Ride this stretch on one of our 3-day tours or build your own trip

This remote, arid region has a unique beauty of its own. Starting at Tankwa Karoo Tented Camp – home of South Africa’s version of the Burning Man festival, this route crosses the expanse of the Karoo before climbing up and over Ouberg Pass towards Sutherland. If you are here on a dark night there is unrivalled star-gazing on offer – on your own and at the Sutherland observatory.

7. Seweweekspoort Pass and Swartberg Pass into Die Hel (Gamkaskloof Valley)

Distance:  240 km
Road surface: 80% gravel, 20% tar
Time required: 4-6 hours
Ride this stretch on one of our 3-day tours or build your own trip

There are few places in South Africa where the enormous tectonic forces that produced the Cape Fold Mountains are as visible as they are in the Seweweekspoort Pass. This ride will be a story you tell for a long time after … Soon after leaving Seweweekspoort we encounter the famous Swartberg Pass. For those wanting some extra adventure, and who are confident on tricky gravel roads, an overnight stop in Die Hel – Gamkaskloof valley will be an experience you’ll never forget.

8. Van Rhynsdorp to Papkuilsfontein

Distance: 145 km
Road surface: 80% good tar, 20% gravel
Time required: 2-3 hours
Ride this stretch on one of our 3-day tours or build your own trip

This relatively short and easy ride takes you up the escarpment via the spectacular Van Rhyns Pass and into the town of Nieuwoudtville – one of the best places in the world to see bulbs in season. About 20km of good gravel leads to the farm Papkuilsfontein which has excellent accommodation in the form of various stone cottages. A must-do detour or day trip takes you to see an incredible collection of motorcycles at Protea Motors, a waterfall in the Oorlogskloof valley and a massive Quiver Tree forest.

9. Papkuilsfontein to Clanwilliam via Botterkloof and Pakhuis Passes

Distance: 120 km
Road surface: 80% gravel, 20% tar
Time required: 2-3 hours
Ride this stretch on one of our 3-day tours or build your own trip

This beautiful alternative to the more sedate N7 tar road takes you along a network of gravel roads through the Karoo and into the Northern Cederberg. A highlight is the short but steep Botterkloof pass and the sweeping Pakhuis Pass which passes through some spectacular rock formations.

10. Swellendam to Montagu via Tradouw Pass and Barrydale

Distance:  110 km
Road surface: 100% good tar
Time required: 1.5-3 hours
Ride this stretch on one of our 3-day tours or build your own trip

This stretch follows the Langeberg mountain range from Swellendam to Montagu, switching from the south to the north sides through the 16 kilometer long Tradouw Pass. Joining the famous Route 62 at Barrydale the route continues on to Montagu – famous for its hot springs and orchards. Look out for gliders running the south ridge from Worcester on windy days. 

 

Explore all our routes with this interactive map

 

 

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Need more info?

Need more information, or just want to get in touch? We’d love to hear from you.

Andrew is the owner and lead guide for Ride Down South. You can reach him here:

Cell: +27 79 6977110

Email: andrew@ridedownsouth.com

 

Skype:

 

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