All roads in the Western Cape lead to somewhere beautiful. For tourists wanting a unique and unforgettable experience, nothing makes more sense than exploring the province by motorcycle. Losing the confines of a car or bus to hit the road by bike allows for real immersion in the scenery and environment.
According to Judy Lain, Wesgro’s Chief Marketing Officer for Tourism, motorbiking has proved to be popular with European visitors. “Exploring the ‘road less travelled’ into the region is also becoming popular – offering a stress-relieving experience, paired with adrenaline – depending on which routes are opted for. With so much to offer along the routes – quirky restaurants and scenic pit stops – the Western Cape is the ultimate self-drive or road trip destination.”
Tourism Update, provides a round-up of some routes to consider.
Chapman’s Peak Noordhoek to Hout Bay M6
This might only be a 15km stretch of road but there is nothing better than taking a slow drive around the Cape’s famous Chapman’s Peak, says Jörg Vogel of Cape Bike Travel. “It’s a short trip, but there are various stops along the way that allow you to stretch the 15-minute drive into an hour.”
Also, he says, it keeps the newbie-pillion entertained, but offers enough adventure for the more experienced rider.
According to Vogel, what adds to the route is that on either side of Noordhoek and Hout Bay there is room to travel further, be it further along the coast through Kommetjie to Misty Cliffs or Scarborough, or into Cape Town via Llandudno and Camps Bay.
Linking Noordhoek’s white sandy beaches with Hout Bay on the other side, it is undoubtedly one of the Cape’s most scenic routes. With some very tight and twisty corners, it is motorbike heaven, but more often than not the fantastic view grabs all the attention. There is a toll payable on Chapman’s Peak drive, so it is advisable to have a wallet handy. This route can also be included in the longer Atlantic seaboard route in its entirety.
Clarence Drive Gordons Bay to Rooi Els R44
Covering a distance of 25km, it is not hard to argue for this stretch of coastline as an out ride, says Andrew Vaughan of Ride Down South. “Like Chapman’s Peak, it is one of the most scenic in the world. With over 70 bends on a road that twists past the towering Kogelberg mountain range, climbing and descending toward the sea in False Bay it makes for a fantastic ride on a motorcycle.
This is another slow-paced route, ideal for a two-up ride,” says Vogel.
Starting in Gordon’s Bay, the route will take a short 30-minute ride one way. It has plenty of curves and new riders are advised to be cautious if they are still getting the hang of two wheels. Like Chapman’s Peak, the route is a popular tourist attraction, especially over weekends, meaning it can be busy with pedestrians and slow traffic.
Those opting for a longer ride could head around the point to Betty’s Bay – or carry on to Hermanus to spot a whale or two if it’s the season.
Du Toits Kloof and Bains Kloof Pass R101 and R301
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, says Vaughan.
Du Toits Kloof, between Paarl and Worcester, was the original road to Cape Town prior to the opening of the Huguenot Tunnel in 1988, and is one of the Cape’s great passes. It is considered a tight and tough ride with soaring cliffs that line the route.
Bains Kloof is on the regional road between Wellington and Ceres, reaching a height of 594 metres at its highest point. Possibly one of the most picturesque and magnificently constructed passes in southern Africa, it is also a national monument.
Covering a combined distance of around 100km, these two passes can be built into a longer regional trip or be done together in a day trip. Alternatively, one can also opt to only do one or the other, says Vaughan.
Cederberg backroads to Ceres through the Koue Bokkeveld
Mostly gravel roads with some corrugations or washboards, this 160km stretch of road is a firm favourite for motorcycle enthusiasts. According to Vaughan, the route starts at the Algeria Wilderness cottages in the Cederberg, going on to Ceres. “It is one of our favourite gravel road rides in the Western Cape,” he says. The route leads through the heart of the Cederberg wilderness area and the remote Koue Bokkeveld Mountains. According to Vaughan, it is a more challenging ride and does require one to be comfortable not just on a motorcycle but also on gravel roads.
Seweweekspoort Pass and Swartberg Pass into Die Hel (Gamkaskloof Valley)
Don’t be put off by the name, but a motorbike journey to Die Hel and back is an experience that you will never forget. “This ride will be a story you tell for a long time after,” says Vaughan.
Covering a distance of around 240km with at least 80% of the travel time on gravel, experts advise against trying to complete this as an out and back drive in a single day, despite it only taking between four and six hours to do this stretch. According to Vaughan it is mostly combined into a three-day tour. This particular route is also probably better suited to more experienced riders.