When you live in Hout Bay, there is a scene that you see every morning (at least in summer). A stream of tourist buses, minivans and rental cars who make their way down to the little town of Hout Bay from Cape Town, rushing off to see the oldest working harbor before travelling along the beautiful coastal route of the Africa, Chapmans’ Peak. End destination, Cape of Good Hope National Park, the place where the Atlantic and Indian Ocean come together. All these places are visited in one day, seen from a closed bus window, which is air conditioned and free from all the (sea) smells, noises and tastes of the Cape Peninsula. When the bus stops, the tourists run out (sometimes literally) for that one snap shot of the blue sea, the blossoming proteas or the numbers of baboons one can spot on the way before rushing back into the vehicle – because no one wants to be left behind. Can these tourists say that they have experienced the Cape Peninsula? They will say yes, I will say no! Or, I would say yes, 6 months ago, when I didn’t cycle yet and had no clue how much more you experience on a bicycle. Last month, I finally had the privilege to join a very fit and sporty German couple on the Cape Peninsula Pedal, a new tour from Bikes ‘n Wines that offers a route from Cape Town to the Cape of Good Hope National Park and back via Noordhoek and Hout Bay. A big part of this route is ridden by thousands of cyclists each year during the famous Cape Argus CYCLE Tour, which means that the roads are perfectly suitable for road biking.
The first stop during the tour is Muizenberg, where we met up with one of the shark spotters who have their post on Old Boyes Drive. Looking out over the beach, they try and distinguish the surfers from the sharks with special goggles and send a signal when they see one of these deadly beauties cruising the backline. Secondly, we visit another animal which is famous on the Cape Peninsula Tour, the penguins in Simon’s Town. They are one of the only penguin colonies in the whole of Africa and you can swim or sunbath with them on Boulder’s Beach. Whilst we take a peek at these lovely creatures, the guide sets up the bikes and we are ready to get peddling. Next stop; Cape of Good Hope National Park. On the map, it seems a small distance, but there lies a small obstacle before us – namely Smitswinkel. This hill is feared by many cyclists, as the gradient can be challenging, especially when the wind is blowing. Whilst we are making our way to the top, we gaze over the blue ocean on our left hand side which is contrasted by the green mountains on our right. Slowly but surely, we come closer to the main gate of the National Park – where we are welcomed by ostriches, baboons and amazing waves rolling over the rocks with a deafening sound! The best reward after all the exertion of this morning – a picnic lunch full of South African treats such as biltong, some nice cheeses, crackers, snoek pate and lovely juice to quench our thirsty throats. Sitting on a blanket and looking at the blue water below us is the best feeling after a few hours of cycling.
After lunch, there is more to discover and we make our way towards Noordhoek via the lovely towns of Scarborough, Misty Cliffs and Kommietje. If you want, you can cycle this part, but we opt for the comfort of the van and enjoy more breathtaking views of the Cape Peninsula. Of course, the wine will not be forgotten on a Bikes ‘n Wines tour and the guides takes us to one of the most beautiful wine farms in this area – Cape Point Vineyards – where we taste amazing wines that differ from other wine regions in the country, due to the influence of the sea and the height of the Vineyards. Before we end this fantastic day full of sun, cycling, food and great wines, we have one more stop to go to – Chapman’s Peak. This mountain pass is voted one of the most beautiful roads in the world and the views of Hout Bay, the Sentinel and the Atlantic Ocean are absolutely stunning. A great way to finish the day before we head back to Cape Town – The Cape Peninsula Tour is an amazing opportunity for active people to explore this famous route in a new way. I can recommend it to anyone, get out of the bus and onto the bike!