cape town tour

The Thrill of Two Wheels: Gravel vs. Road Cycling in South Africa

South Africa, a land of breathtaking landscapes and diverse terrains, offers a unique playground for cyclists of all stripes. Whether you're a fan of the smooth, fast rides afforded by road cycling or the adventurous, off-the-beaten-path experience of gravel biking, the Rainbow Nation has something to entice every cyclist. In this blog, we delve into the exhilarating world of gravel and road cycling in South Africa, offering insights, popular destinations, and how you can embark on an ethical cycling adventure that respects the environment and supports local communities.  

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Gravel Cycling: The Road Less Travelled

Gravel cycling, a blend of road and mountain biking, is fast gaining traction among cycling enthusiasts for its versatility and the freedom it offers. It's about embracing the rugged, unsealed backroads that crisscross South Africa's vast landscapes. These routes take you through some of the most pristine natural environments, from the rolling hills of the Western Cape to the dramatic vistas of the Drakensberg Mountains.  

Why Choose Gravel?

  • Adventure and Accessibility: Gravel cycling opens up a new world of exploration. It's less about speed and more about enjoying the journey, making it accessible to riders of all skill levels.
  • Connection with Nature: Gravel routes often pass through less trafficked areas, offering a closer connection to the natural world and wildlife.
  • Versatility: Gravel bikes are designed to handle a variety of surfaces, from dirt roads to light trails, making them the perfect companion for the adventurous soul. 

Popular Gravel Cycling Destinations

Cederberg Wilderness Area: Known for its dramatic landscapes, the Cederberg offers gravel cyclists a challenging yet rewarding experience.

Karoo: The vast, open spaces of the Karoo with its gravel roads offer an unparalleled sense of freedom and solitude.

Garden Route: Not just a road cyclist's paradise, the Garden Route also boasts numerous gravel paths that explore the dense forests and coastal views. 

Road Cycling: The Classic Pursuit

Road cycling remains a beloved pastime in South Africa, celebrated for its speed, efficiency, and the camaraderie it fosters among riders. The country's well-maintained roads and scenic routes provide an exhilarating experience for both recreational and competitive cyclists.  

Benefits of Road Cycling

  • Speed and Efficiency: Road bikes are designed for speed, making them ideal for those who enjoy covering long distances and pushing their limits.
  • Social Aspect: Road cycling clubs are widespread, offering a sense of community and shared passion.
  • Scenic Routes: South Africa's road cycling routes are renowned for their beauty, offering panoramic views of the country's landscapes. 

Must-Visit Road Cycling Spots

Cape Peninsula: The iconic route from Cape Town to Cape Point is a must-ride, offering stunning ocean views and challenging climbs.

Chapman's Peak Drive: Possibly one of the most scenic road cycling routes in the world, it's a highlight for any cyclist.

Route 62: Stretching between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, this route takes you through some of the most picturesque wine regions and mountain vistas.

Choosing Your Adventure

Whether you're drawn to the rugged allure of gravel biking or the classic thrill of road cycling, South Africa offers a wealth of experiences for cyclists. Here are some tips to help you choose your next cycling adventure:

  • Consider Your Skill Level: Gravel cycling can be more technically demanding, while road cycling is often about endurance and speed.
  • Think About What You Want to See: Are you looking to explore remote natural landscapes or prefer the scenic routes that connect towns and attractions?

Ethical Cycling Adventures

As cycling grows in popularity, it's crucial to consider the impact of our adventures on the environment and local communities. At Where It All Began, we're committed to offering ethical cycling tours that prioritize sustainability and support local economies. Our "Ethical Western Cape Off-Road Cycling Adventure" is designed to offer an immersive experience that respects the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the region.  

Why Choose an Ethical Cycling Tour?

  • Support Local Communities: Our tours are designed to benefit local communities, ensuring that your travel has a positive impact.
  • Environmental Stewardship: We believe in leaving no trace and strive to minimize the environmental footprint of our tours.
  • Authentic Experiences: Ethical tours offer a more meaningful connection to the places you visit, allowing for genuine interactions and learning opportunities. 

Gravel or road, cycling in South Africa offers both personal fulfillment and a deeper connection with the country's natural and cultural treasures. By choosing ethical cycling adventures with us, you're not just exploring new terrains—you're supporting sustainable travel.

Whether you're seeking the thrill of the tarmac or the challenge of gravel under your tires, Where It All Began is ready to guide you on an unforgettable journey.

Interested in an ethical cycling adventure that combines excitement with sustainability? Contact Us at Where It All Began. Let's plan your memorable cycling holiday that's as impactful as it is scenic.

Main Image by Pixabay
Body Images by Markus Spiske
Footer Image by Daniel Frank

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Exceed House
Springfield Office Park
Belleville, Cape Town

Cell / WhatsApp +27 72 136 9096

WhatsApp +27 72 136 9096


Contact Us


We’re an ethical private travel planning company focused on Southern Africa.

We offer ready-made and also customised holidays and journeys across this unique region of the world.

When our clients travel with us, they are assured that their travel spend is directly supporting local African companies that offer sustainable products and services, both in terms of people and planet.


Our logo is an image of a skull found in the Rising Star Cave System in Gauteng, South Africa in 2013. It was named ‘homo naledi’, meaning ‘human of the stars’.

The cave system has so far given rise to the remains of over 15 individuals, making it the largest hominid fossil remains site ever discovered.

Travelling to Southern Africa is truly a return to the source of humankind, to Where It All Began.

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