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Cycling the Drakensberg & Kruger

From the jagged peaks of the Drakensberg to the spectacular wildlife in
Kruger, explore eastern South Africa by bike.



At a glance

* 8 days cycling with full vehicle support
* Mostly tarmac with two short sections on hard pack dirt roads
* A few challenging climbs, most roads have little traffic
* Group normally 4 to 14 plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
* 9 nights lodges and chalets, 2 nights permanent tented camp

 

From the jagged peaks of the Drakensberg to the spectacular wildlife in
Kruger, explore eastern South Africa by bike.

This two wheeled adventure takes us through stunning mountain scenery and
past dramatic rock formations, through abandoned gold mines, baboon inhabited
forests and tranquil natural waterfalls. Part way through the trip we
dismount our bikes and spend two days on safari in Kruger National Park where
we have the chance to spot lions, rhinos, elephants, giraffes and various
other wild animals. From Kruger we continue our pedal powered journey along
the panorama route before ending at the mighty Blyde River Canyon. With
perfect road surfaces and idyllic sunshine, there is surely no better way to
experience eastern South Africa than by bike.

https://www.exodus.co.uk/sites/exod/files/node/itinerary/images/mzd.jpg?t=1DiYgR

Type: Land Only

Flight prices available from NeenanCycling. Contact us for details

What’s included

* All breakfasts, 8 lunches, 6 dinners
* All accommodation 
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout
* Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
* Local bike hire

Food:
11 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 6 dinners are included on this tour.

For breakfast you can expect a good selection of cereals, toast, jams, fruit
and yogurt as well as coffee and rusks. Occasionally we have a cooked
breakfast or buffet in some locations. Lunches which are included in the trip
are cooked and prepared by your guide and drivers. On two days you will have
a cooked lunch, but most days you will have a large selection of sandwich
ingredients including cold meats, bread, salad, cheese and crisps. Vegetarian
and other dietary requirements are well catered for but please inform our
team at least two weeks before you travel. The tour leaders do all the
shopping and meal planning for each group. Each tour has a cool box for cold
drinks and you will be made aware of nights when alcohol is not available so
you can purchase some before hand. We supply the following drinks on all
tours: fruit juice and squash served with breakfast & lunch, tea and coffee
served with breakfast and dinner. All other beverages will be at your own
expense.

Start destination:

End destination:

Cycling profile

Day 1

Upon arrival in Johannesburg we drive directly to the Golden Gate Highlands
National Park in the Maluti Mountains of the Northern Free State. This
transfer takes roughly 5 hours but will be broken up with stops along the
route to stretch the legs and go to the toilet. The Golden Gate national park
gets its name from the golden hue on the parks sandstone cliffs as the sun
hits them. With 11,600 hectares of highland habitat, the national park is
home to a number of animals including springbok, mountain zebra and
wildebeest as well as the rare bearded vulture and bald ibis. During the
afternoon we set up the bikes for each individual and have a chance to test
them out around the grounds of the accommodation.
*Standard Hotel*

Day 2

Getting up early, we cycle 25km on roads through the national park. We start
with a short climb up to a viewpoint where mountain zebra are often spotted
before descending a long winding mountain pass. Later in the ride there are a
few short steep up and down sections to get the heart pumping before it then
levels out again. All along this road there are great opportunities to see
wildlife from the saddle so make sure you have a camera to hand! At the park
exit we transfer towards the Northern Drakensberg (60km) stopping at the
‘Vulture restaurant’ for the views over the Sterkfontein Dam and an early
picnic lunch. We then get back on the bikes and cycle down the Oliviers Hoek
pass all the way to the Sungbala lodge, our overnight stay. Here we have the
whole night to take in the stunning view of the Drakensberg amphitheatre
whilst enjoying a meal cooked by the guides.

Day 3

In the morning we cycle towards the Drakensberg Mountains whilst following a
back road route into the Royal Natal National Park in the Northern Berg. This
ride is fairly undulating but the views of the Drakensberg amphitheatre at
the top of each rise are well worth the effort. After entering the park, we
continue on our bikes for approximately 2km to our picnic spot – before
lunch we can get changed in to swimming gear and walk the short distance to
the cascades waterfall for a well-deserved swim in the cool waters. After
lunch there will be time to explore the park and its hiking trails or simply
relax before transferring back to our accommodation.

Day 4

After breakfast we leave the Drakensberg with a 210km (approx. 3 hour)
transfer by road to Dundee. Here there will be time for a little shopping and
resupply before continuing onto Rorke’s Drift. At Rorke’s Drift we have a
guided tour around the area where 150 British and Colonial troops defended a
small garrison against nearly 5000 Zulu warriors. After a hearty lunch and a
change into cycling kit it’s back onto our bikes for a 45km ride from
Rorke’s Drift to our overnight accommodation. This is a great ride through
the scenic cattle country; the first 17km is on a good quality compact dirt
road where we often spot many types of vulture and eagle flying overhead,
once back on the tarmac road we have a flat ride to our accommodation where
we can relax in the pool.

Day 5

We have an early morning transfer (300km about 4 hours) towards the hot
springs town of Badplaas in the Mpumalanga province. After lunch we get on
the bikes and start our ride with a fantastic 17km descent before an
undulating ride all the way to our accommodation located just outside of the
town with stunning panoramic views of the Hlumu mountain range. Tonight’s
accommodation has a small volunteer run monkey sanctuary on site where
injured and baby monkeys are brought back to full strength before being
released back into the wild. A tour of the sanctuary can be arraigned by the
guide on request.

Day 6

Today we start with a short transfer to Maanhaar, close to the border with
Swaziland. From here we climb on the bikes and ride along a stunning gravel
road which winds its way between the Songimvelo Game Reserve and the base of
the Hlumu Mountains. We pass an abandoned mine which has now become home to
Vervet monkeys so make sure you have your camera at the ready. As the road
starts to climb we hop in the bus and transfer to the top of a mountain range
overlooking the Songimvelo Game Reserve, we stop on this road for a quick
photo stop at a breathtaking viewpoint that overlooks the valley below before
getting back on the bikes to cycle into Barberton town and onto our
accommodation.

Day 7

After breakfast we get on the bikes and start our ride through the Kaap River
Valley as it winds its way towards Kaapmuiden. After about 50km we reach our
stopping point and get in the van for a short transfer to a shopping centre
where we can change out of cycling kit and stock up on cold drinks and snacks
for Kruger. From here we have a very short transfer to get to the Malelane
Gate where we enter the Kruger National Park and start our safari. We have a
two hour game drive through the southern tip of Kruger to get to Skukuza
Camp, keep your eyes peeled and cameras ready as the southern part of Kruger
is known for its abundance of big cats.

Day 8

This morning we have an early start to beat the heat of the day and maximise
our chances of seeing a predator. Because of the early start we will only
have a small breakfast at the camp which will consist of a South African
‘rusk’ and a coffee. After several hours of looking for animals we stop in
one of the designated lunch spots where our guides cook up a delicious
brunch. From here we continue our game drive back to camp and have the rest
of the day to relax in the pool or at the bar which overlooks the Sabi River.
Tonight there is the opportunity to go on a night safari drive through the
park in one of the official safari vehicles (this is an optional extra and
should be paid for locally. Please see the optional activities section in the
trip notes for prices and further information).
*Comfortable Camping*

Day 9

Today we aim to spend most of the day in the national park searching for
animals, and once again start off with a morning game drive, but in the
opposite direction to yesterday. We return to camp for some brunch and to
collect our bags before heading out on our final game drive in Kruger as we
make our way out of the park via the Numbi gate. From here we have a short
transfer to our overnight accommodation in Hazyview where we can take a
stroll down to the Hippo River or just relax by the pool.
*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 10

After a few days of well-earned rest, today we get back on the bikes for the
most challenging ride of the trip. After a hearty breakfast in Hazzyview we
cycle from our lodge up the escarpment and towards Sabie. This first part of
the ride is stunning and very different from what we have seen earlier in the
tour as our route takes us through Avocado plantations and dense forests
before arriving in Sabie where we can stop at a café for a muffin and coffee
milkshake. From Sabie we continue to climb until we arrive at Mac Mac Pools,
here we stop for a swim in the natural pools whilst our guides make lunch.
After lunch our ride heads downhill for a visit to Mac Mac Falls and
continues all the way to Graskop and our accommodation which overlooks the
escarpment.

Day 11

Our final day of cycling will take us through yet more beautiful scenery as
we cycle along the Panorama Route. In the morning we visit God’s Window to
take in the breathtaking landscape view before cycling past ‘Wonder view’
and on to Bourke’s Luck Potholes. Here we stop for lunch and go for a walk
around the curious rock formations before getting back on the bikes for the
last time and cycling to the spectacular viewpoint over the Blyde River
Canyon and on to our accommodation. For our last night in South Africa we
will have a big group meal in the hotel restaurant which has an amazing view
of the three Rondavels and the canyon.

Day 12

After a leisurely breakfast and a short walk to the private viewpoint within
the grounds of our accommodation we get in the bus and transfer through the
small towns of Ohrigstad, Lyndenburg and Dullstroom as we make our way back
to Johannesburg Airport. This transfer is roughly 420km but we break it up
with plenty of short stops and a longer lunch break. Please note that due to
the often high levels of traffic surrounding Johannesburg we leave our
accommodation with plenty of time to complete this transfer. This does mean
that on some occasions when the roads are traffic free we might arrive at the
airport early and have a longer wait before the return flight departs.
**

Prices & Dates

Date: 2018-02-042018-02-15

Trip code: MZD180204

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €2285

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Date: 2018-02-182018-03-01

Trip code: MZD180218

Availability: Available

Price: €2285

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Date: 2018-03-042018-03-15

Trip code: MZD180304

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €2285

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Date: 2018-03-182018-03-29

Trip code: MZD180318

Availability: Available

Price: €2285

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Date: 2018-08-122018-08-23

Trip code: MZD180812

Availability: Available

Price: €2225

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Date: 2018-09-092018-09-20

Trip code: MZD180909

Availability: Available

Price: €2325

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Date: 2018-10-072018-10-18

Trip code: MZD181007

Availability: Available

Price: €2325

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Date: 2018-10-282018-11-08

Trip code: MZD181028

Availability: Available

Price: €2325

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Date: 2018-11-112018-11-22

Trip code: MZD181111

Availability: Available

Price: €2325

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Date: 2019-02-032019-02-14

Trip code: MZD190203

Availability: Available

Price: €2415

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Date: 2019-02-172019-02-28

Trip code: MZD190217

Availability: Available

Price: €2415

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Date: 2019-03-032019-03-14

Trip code: MZD190303

Availability: Available

Price: €2415

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Date: 2019-03-172019-03-28

Trip code: MZD190317

Availability: Available

Price: €2415

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Date: 2019-07-282019-08-08

Trip code: MZD190728

Availability: Available

Price: €2385

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Date: 2019-09-082019-09-19

Trip code: MZD190908

Availability: Available

Price: €2445

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Date: 2019-10-062019-10-17

Trip code: MZD191006

Availability: Available

Price: €2445

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Date: 2019-10-202019-10-31

Trip code: MZD191020

Availability: Available

Price: €2445

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Date: 2019-11-032019-11-14

Trip code: MZD191103

Availability: Available

Price: €2445

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Date: 2019-11-172019-11-28

Trip code: MZD191117

Availability: Available

Price: €2445

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Customer Feedback

Cycling Drakensberg and Kruger

Summary:
This is the trip for you if you’re looking for challenging cycling through
soaring mountain scenery combined with wildlife spotting in the Kruger
National Park. There’s also time for relaxing away from a city environment in
comfortable accommodation in beautiful natural surroundings. The trip is a
good mix of active cycling days on a variety of routes (mostly low traffic)
but with hills! The game drives in Kruger give a good break before two quite
challenging cycling days toward the end of the tour. All round a great trip
for people who enjoy active outdoor holidays.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Completing the challenging rides through the majestic scenery of the
Drakensberg Range and, particularly, the ride along the spectacular Blyde
Canyon. Spotting wildlife in the Kruger National Park and observing a rare
African Wild Dog face off hyenas on a morning game drive was inspirational!

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
The group leader worked hard to ensure the group was looked after well. He
has a good knowledge of local history and was sociable with the group. All
the team of guides worked hard, were good-humoured and took care to ensure
everyone had a good time, plenty to eat and drink and enjoyed the cycling and
other activities.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
There is plenty of uphill on many of the routes so a bit of cycle training is
advised. However all the routes are do-able and there is a support vehicle
following the group at all time. Great for travellers who want social media
downtime as WiFi is limited in many places.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
There are some relatively long travel days but the drives are scenic with
plenty of stops along the way.

Read full review

Ian Cooper. Cycling the Drakensburg Ranges

Summary:
Very well run trip with Jean-Paul Gardelli looking after us, Ende
driving,fixing bikes and game spotting and Skhumbuzo ably assisting and
telling stories. The guys turned out excellent meals every day on the road
and kept a steady supply of liquorice allsorts to get us up the hills!

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Ende our driver spotting a leopard on a branch driving out of Kruger was
brilliant. The scenery is truely spectacular ( just like the ads!)

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Jean-Paul Gardelli was great. Very informative on many subjects thrown at
him. Obviously loves his country and got on really well with
everyone..Nothing was too much trouble for him.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
This is a great trip for the moderately fit. Lots of variety in the scenery
and the driving sections are not too long.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
Lots to see in South Africa so try and incorporate another tour

Read full review

MZD Cycling the Drakensberg

Summary:
This was a first rate trip that made me very positive about South Africa. The
whole experience was excellent with first class leadership of the guides that
made its two weeks to remember for years to come.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Just viewing the changes in scenery as we cycled and drove along.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Jean-Paul was an inspirational leader who clearly loved his country and was
able to effectively impart that enthusiasm.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Come prepared to absorb everything the country and people have to offer.

Read full review

cycling drakensberg and kruger

Summary:
fabulous trip. Guides Tellis, Bevan and Tish were outstanding. Great
selection of accomodations. all very unique

Rating: 4

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
krueger park and seeing the big 5

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
outstanding………Tellis, Bevan & Tish

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
really be ready for the HILLS………this trip needs to be rated higher than
a 4

Read full review

Drakensberg and Kruger cycling

Summary:
Great cycling holiday. Combination of seeing nature, rock formations, animals
and birds, with cycling was great.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Cycling along a quiet lane in the hills, with zebra galloping in the fields
and crossing the road in front of us.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
The group leader was very helpful with cycling and knowledgeable with respect
to the animals and birds.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Because of rather extreme temperatures due to the altitude (2000 m) take
clothes suitable for cold as well as hot conditions. For cycling in the sun
and heat, it is helpful to take white, or at least light coloured, cycling
clothing rather than the often black gear used. it will reflect the heat and
is better than using sunscreen.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
I used my own pedals (clip-ons) for better pedalling.

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Stunning cycle of the Drakensberg and Kruger

Summary:
A fantastic way to see Eastern South Africa. Plenty of steady climbs to test
the legs (would recommend spin classes beforehand to strengthen those
muscles!) rewarded with some stunning downhill rides (even though downhills
make me nervous). Cycling on good roads with some traffic. Amazing
opportunities to spot wildlife too! Top trip.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Spending time watching a small group of hyenas (mothers and young ones) on
our early morning game drive in Kruger and seeing two elephants probing for
water from a dry riverbed with their trunks. Amazing views over Blyde River
Canyon as our trip came to an end.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Wynand is 100% energy; fun, efficient and a very decent cook. A very
knowledgeable guide with a passion for his country and its history and indeed
a cycling nut! His knowledge of wildlife is also second to none!

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Definitely pack light fleece-lined layers and comfy gear. Light hat, gloves
and socks and a couple of neck scarves, although temperatures in August
varied and you get hot pedalling uphill! Take a good camera and binoculars
for wildlife spotting.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
This trip is a challenge but you’re rewarded with some amazing scenery, blue
blue skies and some decent grub! Do it!

Read full review

A fantastic trip

Summary:
Superb, challenging cycling; outstanding scenery; amazing wildlife in a
fantastic country.

Rating: 4

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
The best moment has to be when we saw the leopard in Kruger NP – a truly
amazing creature – we had a fantastic view of him – I won’t forget it.
Cycling-wise there were lots of brilliant rides with just amazing scenery to
inspire and keep you going up those hills. The best day for me was the one
billed as the “toughest” day which was indeed challenging but included some
real treats en-route – the best of which is swimming in the Mac Mac pools –
cooling you down for the final climb!

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Wynand’s knowledge of all things South African was extensive – be it the
flora and fauna, the countryside, the history, the people. He was always
happy to share his knowledge and answer all our questions. He knew all about
the cycling routes, the bikes and I felt he gauged just right how far to push
us with the correct balance of encouragement and support. He dealt with bike
issues quickly and efficiently. Wynand and the team also catered for the
group most breakfasts and lunches as well as several evening meals – they did
an amazing job of producing delicious, hearty, fresh meals again and again –
including local foods and even a BBQ lunch on one cycle ride! He did a great
job of bonding the group together and making us feel like a team.
Throughout the trip I felt relaxed and confident that we were in safe hands.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Don’t be fooled by what appear to be quite short distances – most days
involve quite a lot of climbing, which when you factor in the heat can be
quite tough. It’s all do-able but do some training before you go to make it
more enjoyable.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
This is a brilliant trip!

Read full review

Drakensberg and Kruger

Summary:
Good cycling excellent company, superb,knowledgeable and friendly guides

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Cycling

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Very good. Knowledgeable and very hard working. Also a good cook

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
Very happy with the trip but I do think that you should include more meals in
the price. There were a few occasions where there was only one place to eat,
we all had to eat together , and yet the meal was not included in the price.
One has to ask why? It seems slightly underhand ie suggesting the trip is
cheaper than it is.

Read full review

drakensberg and kruger

Summary:
fantastic experience. The cycling is wonderful. long uphills which require
your full attention as well as glorious downhills..A much better than average
degree of fitness will go a long way to making this cycle fun. Great open
spaces with wildlife freely roaming for you viewing pleasure. This trip will
meet and likely exceed your expectations..The food is wonderfully prepared by
your guides. Be prepared to have the time of your lives.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
The bike ride through the Golden Gate Park was breathtaking.Even without the
wildlife all around the bike ride in itself was wonderful,filled with vistas
and undulating ups and downs,but when you add the
zebras,baboons,monkeys,antelopes,water buffalo it was inspirational

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
The leaders,Beven and J.P were outstanding!! Cannot really elaborate..One
could not do any better

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Train hard and it will make your ride more enjoyable.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
Be prepared to have the best meals one could have on such a trip. The scenery
and cycling were unparalleled.We had great guides.More I can’t add

Read full review

Inspiring and challenging adventure

Summary:
This was a spectacular trip. Absolutely packed full of wonderful experiences
and adventure. The balance of challenging cycling, stunning scenery and
wildlife was perfect. The scenery changed with every day of the trip and the
cycling was equally varied. Every beautiful view felt a well deserved reward
for a challenging climb. There were several opportunities to swim both in
National Parks and at the lodges – heaven after a hot day on our bikes. The
minibus transfers passed quickly with well timed stops, so many interesting
towns and landscapes and excellent company. Kruger, like every aspect of this
trip, was so much more vibrant than I had imagined.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
– Completing the Sabie to Gaskop cycle – the heat and ascent made this feel
quite an achievement
– Watching the sun set over the Northern Drakensberg at Sungubala eco camp
(such a beautiful, peaceful place)
– Seeing wild dog in Kruger

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Both Bevan and JP were wonderful guides. They did everything to ensure that
every guest was considered and that we all had the best possible adventure.
Their knowledge of the political, social and natural history of South Africa
added so much to this trip for me. They ensured that we were extremely well
fed (both fantastic cooks) and managed to make even parts of the trip that
might have been a bit uncomfortable, thoroughly enjoyable.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
I would thoroughly recommend this trip to those who really love cycling,
scenery, wildlife and adventure. I was very glad to have worked on my fitness
and done many long bike rides in the summer running up to this trip. There is
lots of climbing and it is probably slightly underplayed in the trip notes.

It was very hot in November. Pack (and consume) plenty of electrolytes and
rehydration sachets. Factor 50 sunscreen is also a must.
A travel towel for swimming proved extremely useful.

Pack light and ideally bring a soft bag rather than a hard case – there is
limited luggage room in the minibus. Clothes dry quickly overnight.

There was rarely wifi at lodges and no electric sockets for 2 nights at the
eco camp – look forward to a refreshing break from the internet and
technology.

Read full review


Activity Levels


Activity Levels range from Leisurely to Tough, the grading takes into account the daily cycling distances and terrain, as well as any technical riding skill required. We also consider the number of cycling days as there can be a cumulative affect from tiredness on a longer trip and the type of accommodation used, as this can also influence your day to day recovery.

If you are in any doubt, please give us a call on +353-1-607 9900 or email us.


Activity level 1 - Leisurely Activity level 1: Leisurely

If you can ride a bike and enjoy gentle exercise, these are an ideal introduction to a cycling holiday. No routes are entirely flat, so expect some short climbs and descents. Maximum daily height gain is approximately 250 metres and daily distances rarely exceed 50kms (32 miles), any longer days are often optional.


Activity level 3 - Moderate Activity level 3: Moderate

Most people who enjoy a weekend riding at home will enjoy a Moderate trip. You need to be in good health and reasonably fit. Ideal for occasional cyclists, or as a more relaxed trip for fitter riders. Moderate off-road trips require no previous experience. Distances rarely exceed 70kms (43 miles) per day.


Activity level 5 - Challenging Activity level 5: Challenging

For any ride at this level, fitness is important. Challenging trips require confidence in your ability and physical condition. They are equivalent to an extended period of cycling at home. Previous mountain biking experience is essential for Challenging off road trips as they will involve some technical riding.


Activity level 7 - Tough Activity level 7: Tough

Previous experience of the cycling style or surface is a must as these routes have long cycling days and tougher terrain on both road and off road trips. You need complete confidence in your fitness and technical ability to cope with difficult or steep terrain, rough surfaces and longer distances. Ideal for those seeking a challenge!


Split grades

In order to provide more accuracy, where a trip falls between two grades we use an intermediate or ‘split’ grade, for example 2: Leisurely/Moderate.


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