From cruising along the stunning coastline of Lambert’s Bay, and riding between the majestic mountain ranges of Franschhoek Pass, to gliding through the awe-inspiring Valley of a Thousand Hills in KwaZulu-Natal, here are the top four routes in South Africa for motorcycle adventurers.
Lambert’s Bay is a quaint coastal town in the Western Cape of South Africa which offers stunning white sand beaches, thriving wildlife and sea-life, and most importantly, long winding roads perfect for cruising along.
For any bird-enthusiast bikers out there, be sure to visit the nearby Bird Island Reserve before setting off on your journey. This reserve lies approximately 100m from the shore of the Bay and is interestingly, one of six places in the world where blue-eyed Cape Gannetts breed. It is also the only breeding site easily accessible to the public, so you can view these blue-eyed beauties up close. Other birds you may discover here are the African penguin, the Cape cormorant and the kelp gull.
After taking in some of the spectacular sites and experiences Lambert’s Bay has to offer, begin your journey by gliding along the stunning coastline and head in-land along the R364, only to join onto the N7. If you’re travelling during the spring flower season which begins around August and leads into October, you’ll experience luscious stretches of wild field flowers along this route.
South Africa’s wild flowers are a popular spectacle, especially among the Northern Cape and Western Cape. You’ll also descend gentle slopes which stretch through low valleys revealing glistening rivers and fertile farmland.
Carry on along the N7 until you reach Cape Town where you’ll be confronted by the majestic mountain range of the Table Mountain national park. This route should take you approximately three hours, depending on traffic, but if you wish to take a slightly longer journey, you could always take the R27 which offers calming coastal views.
Also known as Lambrechts Road, the Franschhoek Pass offers breathtakingly beautiful views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, rivers, and gorges. To explore the Pass, begin your journey in South Africa’s oldest settlement, the town of Franschoek. But before heading off, why not spend some time and see what this historic little town has to offer?
Known as the French corner of the Cape, this gastronomic capital is home to eight of the top 100 restaurants in the country. It’s also the centre of South Africa’s wine production with authentic French wine farms and more than 30 wine cellars.
From Franschoek town, head north on the R45 and continue until you join the R101 which passes through the stunning Haweqwa Nature Reserve. Here, you’ll find native wildlife including klipspringers which are a small breed of antelope, baboons, caracals which are a type of wild cat, as well as a diverse selection of birds. These include endemic species like the Protea Canary, the Cape Rockjumper, and the Cape Sugarbird. Magnificent birds of prey are also found here, including the Black Eagle.
From long stretches of clear roads, to beautiful bends, experience diverse roads as you loop around the reserve. In light of this, you might want to use a bike that is equipped to handle a journey of this nature. If you own multiple bikes which are appropriately insured, be sure to choose a bike which can easily handle those hairpin curves and long-stretches of road.
The Valley of a Thousand Hills
Known as being the gateway to the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands – the Kingdom of the Zulu – the Valley of a Thousand Hills is one of the most cultural, historic and popular places in South Africa. Here you’ll find untouched nature, thriving wildlife, and awe-inspiring landscapes. Known for its enriching cultural background, the valley has been home to the Zulu for centuries. There are approximately three Zulu villages based in and around the valley where visitors can experience the culture and traditions of the Zulu people.
To get here, begin your journey from the city of Durban which lies on the east coast of South Africa, head west along the N3 then take the MR385 to join the D1004 until you reach the Valley of a Thousand Hills. From this location, there are several rural roads to explore which offer even more stunning scenery. Take note though, you may encounter pot holes and speed bumps, especially when weaving through the small villages so make sure you’re riding a motorcycle that can handle the rough terrain.
Only a short ride away from Cape Town, lies Gordon’s Bay, a small coastal town with two busy harbours. This gorgeous location offers luxuriant white sand beaches, with one of their beaches awarded Blue Flag status, an international quality rating indicating the location’s high environmental standard.
A great route to take to get to Gordon’s Bay is by starting your journey at Pringle Bay, which is perfect for riders looking for a short-distance coastal cruise. Pringle Bay lies at the foot of the Hangklip Mountain at the far edge of False Bay. This secluded sanctuary cut off from the hustle and bustle of busy city life appears untouched as it sits far from the R44 main road.
From Pringle Bay, take the R44 and follow this road all the way until you reach Gordon’s Bay. This route should only take about 30 minutes depending on traffic but the stunning oceanic views you’ll find will make every second worth it.
From cruising along the coast of Lambert’s Bay, and weaving through the rural roads of the Valley of a Thousand Hills, to gliding along the smooth winding roads which neighbour the majestic mountain ranges, South Africa offers plenty of wonderfully diverse routes for all.