South Africa is a traveler's dream. For bikers, this is twice as true, perfect conditions for motorcycle touring in a setting that is second to none.
10 Gruende fuer eine Motorradtour durch Suedafrika - deutsch (pdf)
#1 Incredible Scenery
Stunning beaches, impressive deserts, majestic mountains, shady forests, lush fields, sunny valleys, captivating rivers… South Africa has it all. And of some, it even has got the very best.
From the urban shores of Cape Town to the coastline of the Indian Ocean with its warm waters and tropical coral reefs: There is no end to the variety of golden sands, rock formations, dune shapes and white-crested waves that make the South African beaches so distinct and enjoyable.
Along the coast, the Knysna Forest with its illustrious mix of indigenous trees (ironwood, stinkwood, yellowwood, milkwood… to name only a few) offers you a unique glimpse of the ancient African mountain forest that long ago covered large portions of the entire continent.
Further inland, the green vineyards and orchards of the Eastern Cape await you. The vast emptiness of the Karoo, with its big skies and long-stretched plains never fails to impress.
The mountain kingdoms of Swaziland and Lesotho – both countries in their own rights, but closely linked to South Africa – offer breath-taking views over tree covered mountain ridges and into rocky valleys, that will for sure leave an imprint on your eyes and in your memory.
The savanna-like bushveld in the north of the country with its shrub-tress and tough grass still has an unmistaken air of “safari” around them. Perfect for shooting – though naturally, you will only do so with your camera.
#2 Fascinating Wildlife
The Big Five? Tick.
Sharks and whales? Tick.
A supreme array of bird life? Tick.
Monkeys, penguins, giraffes, zebras? Tick, tick, tick and… tick.
South Africa is renowned for its exceptional wildlife. Many species are rare and endangered, and great efforts are being made to preserve and protect both flora and fauna. The National Parks as well as private game parks and reserves all over the country are great places to get close to the animals – and to learn from the knowledgeable rangers and guides about their habitats and behaviour.
But you do not always have to visit a game park to find yourself in close proximity to the wild. Zebras can be spotted on the flanks of Table Mountain. Penguin colonies are easily accessibly both in Cape Town and other places along the coast. Ostrich are a common sight in the Karoo. Baboons and other monkeys love to hang out by the side of the road and anywhere else, where there is a chance they might scrounge food off a passing traveller. But no matter how cute or hungry they might look: Please do not feed the monkeys!
#3 Friendly People
South Africans are a friendly bunch of people. Wherever you go, you will be heartily welcomed. English is widely spoken, and it will not take long until you find yourself drawn into a conversation. The friendliness and the bright and open smiles you see on people’s faces wherever you go are one of the points travellers frequently comment on. Usually, these comments are accompanied by questions about safety…
To give you the answer: Yes, South Africa is safe to visit. Tourists are very unlikely to ever find themselves in high-crime areas. The risks for travellers in South Africa are pretty much the same as in any other country, and they mostly relate to petty crime, theft and tourist scams (pick-pocketing, ATM scams). But like anywhere else in the world, you can avoid unpleasant or dangerous situation by applying some common sense (i.e., do not walk down dark back alleys at night), by following the basic travelling safety rules (such as not flashing expensive jewellery or big bundles of money around) and by listening to the advice of your overnight host or tour guide.
Due to its history as well as recent developments, the South Africa population is one of the most diverse of all countries worldwide. As a result, South African culture is mixed, colourful and vibrant – sporting an stunning diversity of arts, crafts, fashion, and of course: culinary delights.
#4 Food and Drink
Biltong, Braai, Babootie and Koek Sisters are only some of the amazing dishes of South Africa we have previously explored in our blog. But the list does not end there. Pap, a porridge-type dish, made from softly grounded maize, is a staple of the South African diet. It goes very well with meats, curries and vegetables. It also often accompanied by Chakalaka, a relish made from onions, tomatoes and beans, which provides a spicy treat for the taste buds.
Wash it down with one of the local beers (we like Black Label and Namibia’s Windhoek), and the many excellent craft beers that you find in pubs all over the country) or one of South Africa’s award-winning wines – heaven, simply heaven.
Seafood, steaks, burgers and roasts are also common in South Africa. While in the country, you might want to exchange the common pork or beef for some of the local alternatives. Kudu and springbok for example: their meat is tender and soft, with a venison-like taste. The red meat of the ostrich is highly recommended: it is lean, it is healthy and it is very tasty – more veal than poultry – and best enjoyed medium rare.
And another great thing about the food: Prices in bars and restaurants are reasonable all over South Africa. So you can sample and taste without stretching your budget.
#5 Value for Money
The exchange rate of the South African Rand (ZAR) is quite favourable for most travellers. In addition, the cost of living and the prices for virtually all commodities are a lot lower than in most visitor’s home countries. Or as one of our surprised clients put it: “Once I got the flight and tour booked, I can actually save money by spending a long vacation in South Africa as opposed to the costs of living back at home.” Well, you said it…
Once your Due South Motorcycle Tour has started, there is only very little need for additional spending. The bike, the fuel, road tolls and entrance fees, accommodation, breakfast and dinner are all included in the price. So your own wallet only needs to come out at lunchtime and for your evening drinks. And of course if you want to purchase some souvenirs or gifts for your loved ones back at home. Again, no matter what your budget is, you will be spoilt for choice: Carvings, paintings, pottery, bead art, fashion items and jewellery come in all sizes and styles. As do the more up market items like rugs and paintings… have we mentioned South African diamonds yet?
#6 Easy To Get Here, Easy to Get around…
There is an abundance of flights from destinations all over the world to South Africa’s international airports in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. And while strictly speaking South Africa is not really around the corner, it is probably not as far away as you think.
Europe for example is really only one night away, though admittedly it might be a long night. From the US and parts of Latin America, only one day of travel will take you to the fairest Cape. It all depends of course on where you board the plane and if and how many stop-overs you make on your journey. In any case, once you are on the plane, you can enjoy the inflight entertainment, let your thoughts wander, get some shut-eye or simply look forward to the holiday ahead.
South Africa has Visa Waiver agreements in place with many countries. If you are a citizen of one of those countries, you will not need to apply for a visa before coming to ZA. Simply hand over your (valid) passport at the airport to receive a tourist visa that will allow you to stay in our beautiful country for up to 90 days. But please, before boarding your plan, make sure you check with your national authorities or the South African embassy in your home country regarding possible visa requirements.
#7 Perfect Roads and Delightful Dirt Tracks
South Africa’s infrastructure is highly developed. Most roads are in very good condition and regularly maintained. You will enjoy the smooth tarmac, but just for fun, we occasionally like to throw in some minor roads that are both, less travelled and less serviced. But a bit of crumbly asphalt and the occasional pothole usually take you into the heart of the country and bring you closer to the people and their actual way of life.
Likewise, we heartily enjoy a bit of off-road riding, and we like to share the experience with you. Therefore, all of our tours have some unpaved sections included in the package. Usually, these are gravel roads that are fairly easy to handle even for less experienced riders. However, if you feel like you would rather stay on the asphalt, no problem: there is always a well surfaced alternative that will take you around the gravel track.
#8 Amazing Activities
Obviously, there is no better activity than riding a motorbike. However, once you get off the bike, there are plenty of other things to see and do that will add to the experience of your holiday of a lifetime. For most visitors, a game drive is a must-do while in ZA. All of our tours include at least one or two game drives that will give you ample opportunities to experience awe-inspiring encounters with the wildlife. Depending on the tour, there is a range of activities for you to undertake: Cage diving with sharks, visiting a penguin colony, a trip up Table Mountain, a day exploring the beautiful, vibrant city of Cape Town, a visit to The Cape of Good Hope and Cape Agulhas (the southernmost tip of Africa, where the Indian and Atlantic Ocean meet), hiking in Tsitsikamma Forest and crossing the suspension bridges of Storms River Mouth are just some of them.
But there is a lot more to do. Museums and galleries as well as historic sites like the Cradle of Humankind, the Castle of Good Hope or Robben Island are great places to visit. Adrenalin junkies can get their kicks on the world’s fastest Zip-Line, take kite-surfing lessons or treat themselves to the world’s highest bungee-jump. If you want to stay a bit longer after your bike tour, why not catch the luxurious Blue Train from Cape Town to Pretoria? There really is no limit to the things you can do while visiting ZA.
#9 Perfect Weather All Year Around
South Africa is blessed with more than 300 days of sun every year. The climate is generally warm and pleasant. Naturally, given the size of the country, there are some variations. The Karoo as well as the area around Kruger National Park and the Indian coastline in Kwa Zulu-Natal can get quite hot in summer, with temperatures reaching up to 35c (Celsius) and higher. At night, it usually cools down just enough so you can enjoy a lovely dinner outside and undisturbed sleep during the night. At the Atlantic Coast around Cape Town, a cooling sea breeze keeps the heat bearable even in the peak of summer.
The winter in South Africa is quite moderate. Again, depending on where you are, you may experience warm, sunny days with a bit of a chill at night (northern and inland parts), or a more Mediterranean climate with milder temperatures but some winter rain (Western Cape including Cape Town).
To sum things up: No matter what time of the year, the climate is always welcoming, and the weather pretty good. This is good news especially for bikers, as down here, the riding is superb all year around.
#10 A Dedicated Motorbike Tour Operator
There are many ways to explore this beautiful country, but naturally, the best way to do it is on a motorbike. And to make sure that you will be able to experience the best our country has to offer; Due South has made it its mission to assist bikers in creating memories that will last a lifetime. As a small company running individual tours as well as guided tours for small groups, we are flexible and able to respond to our client’s wishes regarding dates, tour lengths or additional activities.
All our tours are run by the owner, who - with over 12 years of experience and a never diminishing zest for motorcycling - knows how to make sure that clients get to experience the real South Africa while avoiding common tourist traps. The roads we travel are chosen equally for the quality, comfort and safety of riding as well as for great views. We use small, family owned guesthouses and lodges, where the hosts welcome you as a friend, not a booking number. Lunch stops and dinner restaurants are carefully chosen – not for prestige, but for flavour, taste and friendliness. And last but not least: We love to travel ourselves, and motorcycle touring is not just our profession, but it is our passion – a passion, we love to share with our guests.
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