Mountain Biking Africa - Steady Eddies Mountain Madness
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Steady Eddies Mountain Madness - 9 Days / 8 Nights

Day One

Day one begins with a leisurely 2 hour drive from Knysna to the beautiful Swartberg Manor - a 4 star supreme guest house nestled in the foothills of the Swartberg Mountains. This is where our tour officially begins. A little pampering before we head off on our epic adventure!! You're going to need it ... enjoy!!

Day Two

Day 2 begins with a lovely 20km climb straight up to the top of the Swartberg Mountains. Linking the Little Karoo and the Great Karoo this awesome pass climbs a spectacular 1 585m during it's northward ascent. The rewards at the top are handsome indeed.

The mountains yield up their wonders in large measures with huge buttresses of buckled, orange-red rock and some of the rarest flowers in southern Africa. This pass was opened in 1888 after 4 years of toil in baking heat, freezing snow in winter and driving rain!! A few kilometres past the summit of the pass, a four-wheel-drive track leads left for 57km to a lonely settlement known as Die Hell, following the backbone of the Swartberg mountains before falling between the narrow walls of the Gamkaskloof. It is inadvisable to do this in a normal car!!!.

We spend the night in a cottage down in the valley. All the cottages are maintained by Cape Nature Conservation and the whole kloof is a heritage sight. We dine at a gorgeous rustic restaurant about 5 minutes walk from our chalet.

± 70kms of high exertion and 1700m of climbing.

Day Three

Day 3 begins with another wicked climb out of Die Hell. (it's not called hell for nothing).

We then climb up and down all morning to get back to the top of the Swartberg Pass. The scenery on these two days is simply breathtaking. Mountains, rivers, bushbuck, baboons, Klipspringers, mountain zebra, and beautiful flowers. Once at the top we bolt down the other side with a seemingly endless succession of hairpin bends for a good few kms.

The descent to the little town of Prince Albert will be a memorable one!! We overnight in a beautiful B&B called Dennehof. The food here is unreal.

Don't be fooled by the mere 75km day ... it's a great ride but a tough one! ± 75kms of high exertion with tons of climbing!! 1750m altitude gain.

Day Four

Back up the southern side of the Swartberg Pass ( you came down yesterday). This is actually a beautiful climb, and should be enjoyed. It's a long climb but spectacular.

You will by now know every inch of this famous pass. It's simply one of the most spectacularly pretty places in our country. A rare privelage to be able to ride here. Today we climb up the one side and go back down the other side of the mountain. We then turn off past the Rust and Vrede resort where we ride alongside to the mountain range and stop over at a beautiful B&B called Oudemuragie. The food is excellent, the beers are ice-cold and the pool is ever so inviting. A great place.

± 74kms - also a long day with 1400m of climbing.

Day Five

Today we ride in the Kammanassie Mountain Reserve. Undulating rolling hills in the little karoo. A million Ostriches and very few trees for company. You're a real man if you get through today without winging!!

It will be very hot. It's a good day, no real big climbs but lots of rolling hills. Very similar to the longer stages in the Cape Epic. We cycle right through the Kamanasse Mountain Reserve all the way to Uniondale, up an old wagon trail, and then blast 19km downhill on the Prince Alfred Pass to the Outeniqua Trout Farm in the De Vlugt Valley.

Accommodation is in lovely log cabins in the valley. The Trout farm is an awesome place to relax after a good ride. We spend two nights here with the optional rest day. We usually clean bikes and relax in the morning and go for a short ride in the afternoon up the pass followed by a refreshing swim in the pool. You will now be in a select group of vey few riders to have ridden from the Swartberg Mountains ll the way through to the Baviaas Kloof!!

134kms and 1910m of climbing

Day Six

Optional rest day and stay at the Trout Farm. We usually go for a ride in the afternoon to keep the legs turning. Dinner is superb ... freshly smoked trout!!! Awesome.

Day Seven

Today we leave the Karoo and head off to the Eastern Cape - the kloof of the baboons " Baviaans Kloof". " Fill your tank with petrol, and make sure there's an experienced driver at the wheel. You're about to discover one of the most spectacular ravines in South Africa- but not for novices". An excerpt from a Secret Southern Africa book.

Today involves a bit a tar riding to link the two ranges. The first 25km is on dirt from the lodge as we climb to the top of the Prince Alfred Pass. There is a tar section from Uniondale to the to the turn off taking us to the Baviaans Kloof. ( About 35kms) We will ride through farm lands on undulating roads to the top of the Nuwekloof Pass. From here we descend through some rugged rocky outcrops to the base of the pass and onto our next nights accommodation. Something completely different!!

We spend the night in the wilderness in a fully equipped cave. Yes ... a cave. Makkedaat Cave has very comfortable beds, with all linen supplied, a dining room, stove, fridge etc. There is an outdoor shower and loo, each in it's own separate little cave. Spectacular setting!! There is even hot water!! We dine on the owners famous Kudu and spinach pie with freshly baked breads and salads. Aunty Henriette's food is too-die-for. Total distance for today is 120kms with 1915m of climbing.

Day Eight

Today is like a dream you wished you never woke up from ... A brilliant ride through the Baviaans Kloof. A rare treat of totally unspoilt wilderness. Lots of river crossings, a small mountain pass, and one MAC (Oother of All Climbs) to deal with. The last climb we do goes straight up for 960m and straight down for 1010m to our final stop over.

We stand an excellent chance of seeing some game today, Kudu, Bushbuck, Buzzards, Red Hartebeest�.all of which live undisturbed in this wilderness. The last night is spent at Die Skoolhuis B&B. It's a lovely little B&B with great food and all the creature comforts you need to relax after your "epic" journey.

± 115kms today with 1260m of climbing. A fairly tough day but very enjoyable.

Day Nine

After a hearty breakfast Mountain Biking Africa transfers you back to Knysna for a well deserved rest. Well done�you've just ridden an awesome ride and achieved something to be proud of!!!

Having completed this trip you will be in fine form for the Cape Epic. Strong like a lion!!!

The cost includes all meals, all accommodation, all transfers, snacks, soft drinks, full back-up service vehicle, and two very experienced guides to look after you on your tour. A sleeping bag is needed for one night. The tour price does not include alcoholic beverages. The first few days are not as long as the epic days but involve a lot of climbing. They are plenty tough enough and make for perfect training rides. The big hills are the killers in the Epic and so I've designed a tour to make sure you are well trained in hill climbing. The climbs are all in magnificent surroundings. Don't forget your camera!!

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