Gariep trail (through three Provinces E/Cape, N/Cape & OFS), from Colesberg towards the Gariep Dam, through the Oviston and Gariep Reserves and then on to a choice of destinations, including the town of Bethulie (remember the late Patrick Mynhardt's impersonations of Oom Schalk?).
Day 1: travel to Colesberg and find your way to The Lighhouse Guest House (situated on the main drag through Colesberg at 40A Church St) to be welcomed by Brian and Bianca Kenmuir, themselves experienced and enthusiastic cyclists.
Day 2: guests cycle out of Colesberg on the R58 towards Norvalspont, turning right about 2km out of town onto the dirt road signposted to Steynsburg. After little more than 1km on this dirt road, take a left turn towards Gariep. After an hour or so's cycling, stop for a picnic breakfast in the veld. Continue your trail (about 55km in total) to Bultfontein farm and its well-known Karoo Nights guesthouse, hosted by Hentie & Helena - your overnight stop. In the afternoon you will have the opportunity to do a game drive on neighbouring Van Wyksfontein, viewing wild buffalo and many other species. That evening, enjoy a farm dinner before retiring for the second night of your trail.
Day 3: Cyclists will be directed on the farm road to neighbouring Gelykfontein Stud with its Morning Glory Cottages (35km cycle in total). Enjoy Marene van der Walt's lavish lunch and dinner, and let her enchant you with her incomparable cooking skills and demos.
Day 4: Cyclists will be directed to a point crossing the R58 tar road into the Oviston Nature Reserve, cycling some 50 km along the southern shoreline of the dam, encountering a variety of antelope en route to Gariep village. Around Gariep we use a number of venues (depending on availability) for the overnight stay. There are options to do a tour of the dam wall and take a sunset cruise, or book the Anglo-Boer War tour of Norvalspont and its concentration camp.
Day 5: Cyclists continue their journey on the northern shoreline of the dam on the road to Bethulie (this is the History Option*). They will be guided en route through the Gariep Nature Reserve by Anthony Hocking, renowned author of 14 books and owner of the famous "Book Hotel", officially the Royal Hotel in Bethulie. Arriving in time for a light lunch, guests then have the option to chill out in rooms before exploring Bethulie's places of interest with Anthony, including the Anglo-Boer War concentration camp, the old railway station and the longest bridge in SA. Before dinner at the Royal that evening, take a short walk to the voorkamer of well-known concert pianist, Benjamin Fourie, and be enchanted with his stirring recitals!
* the Gourmet Option is to divert from Gariep village on a dirt road to Bokpost in the Phillipolis district. This is a 5-night trail.
Day 6: Cyclists set off on the 42km Louw Wepener trail through various farms to the north of the town, again guided by Anthony in trailing vehicle. This will include visits to a number of interesting farms where one or two housewives will eagerly ply your lean, athletic frames with cheese scones and other delicacies!
Day 7: Following an early breakfast, guests are collected by Willie Els in his Quantum bus and returned to Colesberg (approx 1hr 15 min) to reconnect with parked vehicles ahead of their homeward journey. The alternative arrangement is that guests park their cars in Bethulie for the duration of the trail and Willie will ferry them (plus luggage and bikes) to the start point at the Lighthouse in Colesberg.