A socially and environmentally responsible way to explore South Africa

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Enjoying the sights and sounds of Cape Town from a tandem bicycle

Recent trends in tourist activity demonstrate a change in the way people travel. Tourists and travel operators alike are recognizing the significance of responsible travel, or as CREST defines it, “travel that minimizes negative impacts, brings economic benefits to host communities, and preserves the cultural and natural resources of the destinations.” A treasure trove of exhilarating routes, a cycling holiday is an environmentally friendly and authentic way to soak up the wonders and culture of South Africa.

To some, cycling seems to defeat the purpose of a relaxing vacation, however statistics reveal that travelers have shown a greater interest in cycling tours of late.

Perhaps the appeal of cycling as a holiday activity originated from European cities accommodating the growth of the cycling commuting. One city that has seen major growth is London, where the number of commuters riding to work has nearly doubled in the last 10 years. With the boom in popularity, major airports like Gatwick Airport have had to adapt to cyclers commuting from the National Cycle Route 21, the national cycle path that runs through the airport. Now numerous countries, such as South Africa, have their own national cycle networks and routes, allowing cyclists to experience the marvels of this African nation firsthand.

The open roads and beautiful scenery offer an exhilarating experience for cyclists

The open roads and beautiful scenery offer an exhilarating experience for cyclists

Of course, there’s more to these kinds of trips than just being a fun recreational activity while on vacation. The positive environmental impact goes beyond the bicycle being a pollutant free way of traveling. In order to reduce erosion, the leaders of South African cycling tours ensure that cyclers only travel on developed trails. Most trips journey through remote locations that tourists rarely venture to, thus cyclers can contribute to and develop these traditional communities by providing their support.

Also, tour operators tend to keep their groups small so that they don’t disrupt or displace the local people. According to one to the operators running a cycling holiday through Drakensberg and Kruger, small group tours allow participants to stay in locally run accommodations that are unique and full of character, something that bigger groups could not benefit from.

If you’re looking for a new way to be a responsible traveller, SouthAfrica.info has a comprehensive list of cycling tour operators that accommodate every type of cyclist.

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