Apr 03 2020
Is Covid-19 affecting travel?
The answer is yes. Covid-19 is affecting just about everyone and everything in some way, shape, or form.
At this point, I’m sure you noticed this already. Up to date, (04/02/2020) there are a total of 1,014,673 cases world wide and counting. The good news though, about 4x the people recovered compared to the number who had unfortunately passed. Over 210,000 people recovered from the Covid-19 virus, and just under 53,000 people have passed away. Corona is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through objects that the infected person has touched.
If you’re like me and can’t sit still, especially inside, try to get back to the basics and go for a hike. (if you can) When I get stressed out from being cooped up I go for a hike or mountain bike ride with my dog “Adventure Buddy”. After our ride or hike, no matter how bad or good things really may be, it always seem to lean more towards the good side of things. Most of us have a mandated “stay at home” order, and others may be volunteering to stay at home. While a lot of businesses are forced to close their doors and tempirarily lay off employees, this makes for a good time to get back to your roots.
Spend time to build yourself and self reflect. What are you doing in your life that makes you happy? What are you doing that could use more practice? Are you eating well and exercising enough? Although this isn’t the best time for everyone, maybe it can be. With every negative comes a positive, and the positives can easily outweigh the negatives. It all depends on the view you choose to look at what is presented to you.
Have you had time to step back from work or life in general and audit yourself? Maybe you have been working too much and this virus is giving you the opportunity to spend more time getting closer to your loved ones or even yourself. Sometimes life gives you opportunities that at first glance look like a negative. You have to look closely and put the pieces of the puzzle together to understand the positives that life is presenting to you. This is simply the way of the universe.
- Obviously, washing your hands is always a good idea to prevent bad germs. During this time it’s an even better idea. If you can find hand sanitizer in a whole in the wall shop that hasn’t been scavenged, grab a bottle. Just please remember to be courteous and only take what you need. Don’t be that guy or gal to empty the shelf.
- Wipe down any surfaces that are being touched often in your workplace or home with disinfectant.
- Social distancing and self-isolation is important. This doesn’t mean lock yourself in a closet and hide, it just means to be mindful of keeping a safe distance. The new target is to stay at least 6′ away from another person to prevent the spread.
- Some people may consider this an extremem measure, but better safe than sorry. Wear a face mask and gloves. I’m sure you have seen this popping up more and more. It almost feels like we are in an apocalypse movie, but the more precautions
we take, the faster we can get back to living our normal lives.
- You should be doing this anyway, but cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Some germs can travel up to 10′ on a single cough or sneeze.
Will airlines refund tickets due to Corona-virus?
What many airlines are doing is allowing travelers to cancel their flights and basically set aside that money to be used on a flight at a later date—and thankfully, you don’t have to book that flight now (wh
ich is good because it’s hard to know exactly h
ow this pandemic is going to play out at this point). The main U.S. carriers (United, American, and Delta) are currently offering that flexibility for flights that were scheduled to depart through the end May.
When it comes to actual refunds, the policies vary by airline.
American Airlines: Flights booked on American prior to March 1, 2020, for travel through May 31, 2020, can be rebooked without change fees; flights booked during the month of March for travel through January 30, 2021, can also be canceled and changed without a change fee.
The airline is encouraging those who don’t plan to travel anytime soon to simply cancel their flight online, and then rebook at a later date as it is currently swamped with requests. When you’re ready to rebook, call the reservations department and be prepared to give them your 13-digit ticket number and 6-character confirmation number.
If a flight was canceled by American Airlines (either due to new travel restrictions or capacity reductions), American said it will send affected passengers an email and they can either rebook the trip or request a refund for the remaining ticket value and any optional fees.
United Airlines: If you booked a flight with United between March 3 and March 31, 2020, you can change it for free—one time—for travel that takes place within the next year. Any flights bo
oked prior to March 3 (regardless of whether they are domestic or international) with original travel dates through May 31, 2020, can be canceled and rebooked later with no change fees.
With regards to flight cancellations that have resulted from the numerous travel bans and restrictions that have been put in place due to Corona-virus, United said that any customers (including residents from other countries), whose international travel has been disrupted by more than six hours, or if the flight was canceled due to government restrictions, will get a travel credit equal to the value of their ticket that is good for up to 12 months from the time of purchase (not from the time the flight was canceled). If the customer chooses not to use the credit, they will receive a cash refund at the end of that 12-month period.
Delta Air Lines: Any De
lta ticket for domestic or international travel in March,
April or May can be canceled and rebooked without a fee for travel that takes place up until December 31, 2020. For flights canceled by Delta, the airline has said it will contact passengers with additional information. We haven’t been able to find out much beyond that.
JetBlue: Customers who were due to travel with JetBlue through April 30, 2020, can cancel and bank the funds for a future flight up to one year from the date the future flight credit was issued.
Southwest Airlines: Southwest hasn’t changed its policy and that’s because its policy was already pretty lenient. The carrier has tier fares that include refunds (Business Select and Anytime) and a tier fare (Wanna Get Away) that doesn’t include refunds. Those remain the same. But regardless of the type of ticket purchased, it can be canceled sans fee for a future travel credit for up to a year from the original date of purchase.
Alaska Airlines: Similar to other U.S. carriers, Alaska flights purchased on or before February 26, 2020, for travel that was originally scheduled to take place through the end of May can be canceled, the money set aside in an Alaska account and the flight rescheduled for anytime until February 28, 2021. Any tickets purchased between February 27 and March 30, 2020, for travel anytime through February 28, 2020, can also be changed with no fee.
British Airways: The U.K. carrier is allowing customers who have booked or who book new flights between March 3 and May 31, 2020, to change those flights for free—and any existing bookings for departures through May 31, 2020, can be changed without a fee as well.
Air France: The French airline is offering a travel voucher for flights that were scheduled to depart through May 31, 2020, which will be valid for one year on any Air France, KLM, Delta Air Lines, and Vir
gin Atlantic flights.
How are Inclusive Excursions, Expedia, Priceline, and other online agencies handling Corona-virus refunds?
Online travel agencies such as Inclusive Excursions, Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, and Priceline serve as “middlemen” between travelers and travel suppliers. They have different working relationships with all the suppliers on their sites, which can complicate things a bit.
For instance, Inclusive Excursions, Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity can help change or cancel reservations for some of the air carriers they sell tickets for, but not all of them. For the ones with which they lack that ability, customers will have to work directly with the airline. But the bottom line is: The airline’s policy will be the policy that customers of Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity will have to work with.
Priceline advises its customers that “if your airline does not allow you to cancel or change your flight, we are not able to help you at this time.” The travel booking site offers a very comprehensive contact list, including websites and phone numbers, for all its partner airlines.
On the hotels front, Expedia, Travelocity, and Orbitz have stated that for hotels booked in the following destinations by people who are not a resident of these countries, they are eligible for a full refund: China, Hong Kong, Macau; South Korea; Israel; Marshall Islands; El Salvador; Denmark and Slovakia; Czech Republic, Oman and India; Poland; Cyprus; Ukraine; and Italy. They advise customers to “check back often as destinations are continually [being] added based on changing restrictions.”
Corona-virus refunds for hotels and vacation rentals
Hotels have always been pretty flexible when it comes to cha
nging and canceling reservations, but in the wake of the Corona-virus pandemic, they are being even more so.
Marriott International: Marriott is allowing all guests at all of its more than 7,300 properties around the world with existing reservations, for any upcoming stay regardless of the date and regardless of whether the original rate had some restrictions, to change or cancel without a charge up to 24 hours prior to arrival—here’s the important thing to note—as long as the change or cancellation is made by April 30, 2020. For those who make new reservations now through April 30, 2020, they will be allowed to change or cancel at no charge up to 24 hours before arrival, regardless of the date of stay.
Hilton: For guests who have booked stays that were scheduled to begin prior to April 30 at any of Hilton’s more than 6,100 global properties, the change fee is being waived and the company is offering full refunds for all existin
g reservations (including those described as “non-cancellable”) for stays scheduled to begin prior to April 30, 2020, up to 24 hours before arrival. New reservations booked between now and April 30, 2020 for any future arrival date, can be changed or canceled at no charge up to 24 hours before arrival.
Accor: The 5,000-hotel Accor hasn’t offered too much detail on its Corona-virus-related change and cancellation policies other than to say that it has advised all of its hotels to adopt flexible change and cancellation conditions for travelers with new or existing bookings through April 30, 2020.
Intercontinental Hotel Group: IHG has waived cancellation fees for existing and new bookings at all of its hotels the world over for stays between March 9 and April 30, 2020. It is handling groups and meeting bookings on a case-by-case basis. For stays beyond April 30, the company reminds customers that there is flexibility already built into some of its rates—in other words, if ever there was a time to book the slightly higher rate with more options, now would be the time to do so.
Airbnb: Vacation rental powerhouse Airbnb recently issued an upda
ted global change and cancellation policy. Reservations for stays and experiences made on or before March 14, 2020, with a check-in date between March 14, 2020 and April 14, 2020, can be canceled for a full refund by guests, and hosts can cancel without a charge or impact to their Superhost status (and Airbnb will refund all service fees). Reservations made on or before March 14 with a check-in date after April 14 as well as any reservations made after March 14, 2020, will not be covered unless the guest or host has contracted COVID-19. Otherwise, the host’s standard cancellation policy will apply.
Similar to the airlines, hotels are being gracious about bookings through the end of April. Beyond that it’s not clear how generous they will be.
What are tour operators’ policies for Corona-virus changes and refunds?
Given the global health crisis that the Corona-virus pandemic presents, most reputable tour operators have gone ahead and proactively canceled a good portion of their upcoming itineraries (similar to w
hat the cruise lines did—see below). Here are some examples.
Tauck: Long-time tour provider Tauck has canceled its scheduled tours and cruises from March 17, 2020, through April 14, 2020—and for those tours it will refund the affected guests. For tours that were scheduled to take place between April 14, 2020 and June 30, 2020, guests can cancel and received a future travel credit for any tour in 2020 or 2021 (but airline change fees will not be covered).
Abercrombie & Kent: Luxury tour operator Abercrombie & Kent has temporarily suspended ground operations globally from March 17 to April 30, 2020 (with the exception of May trips to China, which remain canceled). A&K is offering guests on those journeys a future tour credit (that will include a 10 percent discount) for any trip to be used within 12 months of the original departure date.
Intrepid Travel: Global tour company Intrepid Tr
avel has also suspended its tours from March 16 to April 30, 2020. For those tours, travelers will receive a 110 percent future tour credit that they can put towards any itinerary up until April 30, 2022. For tours departing May 1, 2020, and beyond, Intrepid said they are continuing as planned at this point, but that if customers choose to cancel they can do so and receive a credit for whatever they had paid to be used by April 30, 2022.
What about cruises?
On March 14, the majority of the world’s cruise lines agreed to suspend cruise ship operations from U.S. ports for 30 days in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Affected customers are being offered anywhere between a 100 percent and 200 percent future cruise credit.
How travel advisors can help
During a complicated and overwhelming global crisis such as the Corona-virus pandemic, a travel advisor can serve as a great ally. While travel advisors can’t force travel suppliers to refund their clients, they typically have stronger relationships with suppliers and thus more sway. They will be better able to help you navigate through the options for changing your trip plans. And as a travel professional (who likely has dealt with numerous crises in the past), they can offer their advice and the insights from their myriad of contacts in the industry and from their own personal experience.
Can travel insurance help you get a refund?
With regards to the current Corona-virus crisis, travel insurance providers consider it to be a known event as of January 21, 2020 (or thereabouts, the date can change slightly depending on the provider, but usually falls sometime between January 21 and January 27, 2020). Travel insurance purchased before that date will cover disruptions resulting from the outbreak, but any travel insurance purchased after that date will not.
An exception to that is Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) cove
rage, an optional upgrade to a travel insurance policy that covers cancellations for reasons not otherwise covered by a standard travel insurance “such as fear of traveling due to Corona-virus or simply not wanting to travel to a country that may be affected,” said Megan Moncrief, chief marketing officer for travel insurance search and review site Squaremouth.
There are some limitations, however. The CFAR upgrade has to be purchased within 14 to 21 days of making the initial trip deposit and it will reimburse travelers for up to 75 percent of their trip cost—for a price. Cancel For Any Reason coverage typically costs between 5 and 10 percent of the total trip cost.
What are the latest Cornoa-virus numbers?
04/02/2020 Location Confirmed Recovered DeathsWorldwide1,076,017225,33558,004United States265,00111,9836,766Italy119,82719,75814,681Spain117,71030,51311,009Germany89,12613,5971,198China81,62076,5713,322France58,41710,9355,377Iran53,18317,9353,294United Kingdom38,1681913,605Turkey20,921484425Switzerland19,7025,657604Belgium16,7702,8721,143Netherlands15,723–1,487Canada12,3602,177178Austria11,4642,022168South Korea10,0626,021174Portugal9,88668246Brazil8,066127327Israel7,42840339Sweden6,122106351Australia5,35863628Norway5,296–54Ireland4,27310120Russia4,14928134Czechia4,0917253Denmark3,7571,093139Chile3,73742722Ecuador3,36865145Malaysia3,33382753Poland3,2665665Romania3,183283133Philippines3,01852136Japan2,61747263Luxembourg2,6128031India2,54716362Pakistan2,45812635Saudi Arabia2,03935125Indonesia1,986134181Thailand1,97858119Greece1,6135359Finland1,608–19Mexico1,51063450South Africa1,505319Dominican Republic1,4881668Panama1,4751037Peru1,41453755Iceland1,3643364Argentina1,26524836Algeria1,17162105Serbia1,1715431Colombia1,1615519Singapore1,1142825Croatia1,079928Qatar1,075933United Arab Emirates1,024968Egypt98621666Estonia9614812Ukraine9421923Slovenia9341020Hong Kong8461724Iraq82022654New Zealand7721031Morocco7615647Armenia736437Lithuania69679Bahrain6723824Hungary6234326Moldova591268Bosnia and Herzegovina5752717Lebanon5085017Tunisia495518Latvia49311Bulgaria4853014Kazakhstan464293Slovakia45071Azerbaijan443325Andorra4391616North Macedonia4302012Kuwait417820Costa Rica39662Cyprus3911810Uruguay369684Belarus351464Taiwan348505Réunion321400Jordan310585Cameroon306108Albania3048916Burkina Faso3025016Afghanistan273106Cuba267136Oman252571San Marino2512632Vietnam237850Honduras222315Uzbekistan221252Senegal207661Ghana205315Malta20220Côte d’Ivoire19491Palestine193211Nigeria190202Mauritius18607Faroe Islands179910Montenegro16002Sri Lanka159244Georgia155270Venezuela146435Martinique138273Brunei134651Democratic Republic of the Congo134313Bolivia13219Guadeloupe130297Kyrgyzstan13051Mayotte128102Kosovo125101Kenya12244Jersey118–2Cambodia114350Guernsey114132Isle of Man114–1Trinidad and Tobago9616Paraguay9243Rwanda8900Gibraltar88460Northern Cyprus77292Niger7405Guinea7300Liechtenstein7200Madagascar7000Bangladesh61266Aruba6010Monaco5521French Guiana5100Jamaica4723Barbados4600Guatemala46121Uganda4500Macao42100El Salvador4102Djibouti4000Togo40173Mali3903Zambia3911French Polynesia3710Bermuda35110Ethiopia3530Cayman Islands28–1The Bahamas2401Sint Maarten2332Eritrea2200Republic of the Congo2202Saint Martin2222Myanmar (Burma)2001Tanzania2021Guyana1904Maldives19130Gabon1801New Caledonia1810Benin1620Equatorial Guinea1610Syria1602Haiti1500Mongolia1420Namibia1420Saint Lucia1300Dominica1200Curaçao1121Greenland1030Grenada1000Laos1000Libya1010Mozambique1000Seychelles1000Sudan1022Suriname1000Antigua and Barbuda900Eswatini900Guinea-Bissau900Zimbabwe901Angola812Central African Republic800Saint Kitts and Nevis800Åland Islands800Chad700Fiji700Liberia700Somalia710Vatican City7–0Cape Verde601Mauritania621Nepal610Saint Barthélemy610Bhutan500Montserrat500Turks and Caicos Islands500Botswana401Nicaragua401The Gambia401Anguilla300Belize300British Virgin Islands300Burundi300Malawi300Sierra Leone200Papua New Guinea100Timor-Leste110
Mar 05 2020
Slovenia is a land full of adventure. “Green is more than a colour in Slovenia. It is ‘Slovene green‘ that expresses the balance between calmness of nature and diligence of the Slovene people. It stands for intact nature and our focus to keep it that way, for lifestyle equilibrium and an orientation towards nature.” – National Branding. Slovenia has more forest than you will know what to do with. Offering diverse terrain suitable for expert riders, Slovenia offers less technical terrain for beginners as well. If you know how to ride though, this is a place to check out.
The Slovenian Coast offers some of the most beautiful trails in the world. Each region offerse diverse terrain from rolling hills to cloud poking mountains, appreciate spectacular views from just about anywhere. For the enthusiasts seeking a more advanced challenge, check out the northwest region of Slovenia. Here, you can pedal through the Alpine Valleys with views breathtaking views of the Julian Alps.
Here are the top 5 biking tours in Slovenia…
1. Vremščica With A View Of The Ocean
Cycle to the top of Vremščica. This trail starts near the world-famous Skocjan Caves and rides along the karstic Reka River. On this trail you will experience views of the largest underground canyon. The views open to the hamlets – (a group of houses or small village) located above the cliffs, and this is where you can first see the start of the trail to the top of Vremščica.
These trails lead across meadows and hiking paths to the summit of Vremščica. The last ascent is the steepest to get to the top. At the summit, you will have a chance to embrace the views of the Slovenian coast with the Adriatic Sea.
This tour is not as physically demanding as others, so it is also suitable for beginners. The descent is a bit more technical below the railway at Famlje village. If you are more experienced, you can also ride down to the lower part of the canyon at this point of the trail.
2. Zasavska Sveta Gora Crossing The Sava River
Zasavska Sveta gora, also known as Zasavje Holy mountain, is one of the more popular viewing points in central Slovenia. It is located up on a ridge that slopes down to the Sava River valley as well as the narrow Kandršica valley. Because of the diverse terrain and sights of cultural heritage, this is one of our favorite mountain bike trails in Slovenia.
These MTB routes lead you on the macadam, asphalt and forest tracks. This bikingtour lasts about 1.5 hours and cover roughly 17 kilometers, or 10.5 miles. This trail is recommended for more experienced cyclists with lots of steep ascents. Your journey will start in the town of Litija and continue across the Sava River to the Panovič Castle. From here, you will cycle across the valley of the brook Vidrnica, where the trail starts to ascend to the Castle Ljubek. At Vače, turn for Klenik onto a cart track that slopes to the top of Zasavska Gora.
3. Mt. Matajur And The Soča River Valley
Zasavska Sveta gora or the Zasavje Holy mountain is one of the most popular locations in central Slovenia. It is located on up on the ridge and slopes down to The Sava River valley into the narrow Kandršica valley. Because of the diverse terrain and lots of cultural heritage, this is one of our favorite mountain bike trails in Slovenia.
These MTB routes ride through macadam to asphalt and wooded trails. This biking tour lasts about 1.5 hours and is roughly 17 kilometers, or 10.5 miles. This route is better suited for more experienced riders with more endurance for steeper climbs. Your journey starts in the town of Litija and continues across the Sava River to the Panovič Castle. From here you will cycle across the valley of the brook Vidrnica. This is where the trail starts to ascend towards the Castle Ljubek. At Vače, turn for Klenik onto a cart track that slopes to the top of Zasavska Gora.
4. From Lake Bled to Kranjska Gora
This trail runs from Lake Bled to Kranjska Goraand amazing Lake Jasna where you cycle through the alpine countryside. Experience theUpper Radovna River Valley with views of the highest peaks of the Julian Alpsthat take you through the valley in the south side. This trail offerseasyascents and descentsthat alternate throughout the trip.
A distance away from the villages of Spodnje, Zgornje Gorje, and Krnica hamlet, you will follow theriverbed of Radovna River. Once you get close to the end of the valley, it leads you to the Krnica Valley with smaller Lake Jasna. Here you can cool off and go for a swim in the warmer seasons. In the winter though, Kranjska Gora ski resort is only 2 kilometers away from the lake.
5. Triglav National Park with Radovna Valley
This trip through Triglav National Park the heart of the Triglav National Park.
This tour tour takes about 2 to 3 hours and totals roughly 16 to 18 kilometers, or 10-12 miles. The start of this trail is more enduring than the rest climbing to Krnica hamlet. Once you reach the summit and take in the views, it’s time for the descent. Ride the downhill to the alpine valley, followed by easy ascents and descents on the forest and gravel paths.
AOn your ride there, you will appreciate the views of the tallest peaks of the Julian Alps. Triglav National Park mountain bike trail includes great sights such as Napoleon Stone, Pocar homestead and the old Psnak sawmill. A guided biking trip will lead you to Lake Kreda where you can cool off or kick back while taking in the memorizing colors of Lake Kreda.
Jul 18 2019
South Africa is one of the most unique places to visit. With so much ground to cover, it is a good idea to plan for a longer stay than normal… or pack a bike to help you cover it. Home to Greg Minnaarmultiple, multiple world time mountain bike champion, and Pietermaritzburg’s finest. South Africa clearly offers some gnarly trails that are a must visit.
Given South Africa’s bountiful and diverse outdoor environments, as well as the excellent weather, it is probably not surprising that MTB has exploded in the country! While for young and old, singles and families, it may just be a great healthy past time, but MTB has also developed as a significant sport, and South Africa has become a serious destination for enthusiasts. South Africa’s most challenging mountain bike race, the Cape Epic, is internationally unrivaled as a pinnacle mountain bike event.
Today, the South African MTB calendar is packed with diverse events across a wide range of locations that draw elite professional riders from around the world, as well as many amateur enthusiasts. With more than 400 mountain biking trails, some of which are hailed as amongst the best in the world, it’s no wonder that South Africa has become a sought-after mountain bike destination. In 2018, Stellenbosch again hosted The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup for another great year.
Sabie is arguably the best mountain biking destination in South Africa – is the ideal springboard for both novice and accomplished mountain bikers to practice this sport in a secure environment amidst breathtaking scenery. Sabie offers both the competitive and the casual mountain biker a wide range of well-marked, self-guided mountain bike trails.
With purpose-built MTB trails from a decade of cross-country racing in one of South Africa’s most beautiful settings, what you experience here will motivate many happy returns. You can literally do a different ride every day of the week. The many trails are in existence thanks to the efforts of a small but dedicated group of locals, namely the Sabie Chain-Gang Club and the Mpumalanga MTB Association (MAMBA). Working closely with major forestry corporations like SAPPI, MONDI, SAFCOL, and Global Forestry Products, as well as stakeholders in the local tourism industry, they have gained and maintained land access for off-road cycling on private forestry property surrounding Sabie. Consequently, this has become a prime recreational and racing mecca for mountain-biking enthusiasts all over the country.
Sabie is the perfect hub for an off-road cycling vacation, from competitive riders consolidating their training to families with little fledgling cyclists. Road cyclists too will revel in mile upon mile of challenging mountain rides along quiet, wide tarred roads. Mountain bike trails through the bushveld near Olifants Rest Camp in Kruger National Park are one of a kind! You’ll have to be a confident shredder for these trails though.
The tours are something like a cross between a game drive and a game walk. You’ll have a game drive to begin with to get to the starting location. Once you hop on your bikes, you’ll cover more distance and have tons more fun than on a game walk, but just like a game walk, you’ll be powered by your own legs!
Mountain biking in Kruger National Park is a unique experience. The only rest camp offering it is Olifants, which is about halfway up the park on the eastern side.
There are two trails on offer:
- The Hardekool Draai Trail, which follows the Letaba River, goes for 21.4km (13.3 miles). The ride lasts about 4 hours.
- The Olifants/Letaba River Confluence Trailgoes for 12.2km (7.6 miles). The ride goes for 3 hours, andyou need to be an expert mountain biker to do it. It’s a tough one!
If you ask any off-road cyclist in the Western Cape where the best mountain biking routes are, Tokai Forestis sure to be included in their answer. The steep slopes that characterize the Constantiabergand the Silvermine Nature Reservemake it ideal for mountain biking. With accumulated ascent for the day of 1,200 meters, there will be plenty of hard work to do.
There are some excellent vantage points along the route, with terrific views of the Constantia Vineyards, Hout Bay, Noordhoek Valley, and Table Mountain. Bring your camera along as you may see some baboons!
While Table Mountain basks in the warm light of dawn with the amber glow of the early morning sun slanting through tall trees and bushes, we are fortunate to be riding in the midst of such beauty.
For those who want to see “the best of the Cape”in one day, this carefully planned mountain bike ride through the Table Mountain National Parkand the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, made up of fast flowing gravel jeep trails, lung-busting climbs, and single tracks, will plant a huge smile on your face!
Apart from the beautiful mountain towering over this historic and unique little town, the variety of activities and natural treasures located within 30-60 minutes’ drive from Swellendam is this destination’s biggest draw-card. In 2007, when the Absa Cape Epic still traveled from Knysna to Stellenbosch (with Swellendam as one of the stopovers), people used to say that it was one of the only races where you could experience anything from single track to rolling hills, epic climbs to fast flats, forest to Klein Karoo – because it traveled such a long distance. The effort of setting up a race village in a new town each day and the cost involved was one of the reasons that the Absa Cape Epic stopped traveling in a straight line from Knysna and opted for the Clover-system. The Clover-system is where you start and finish at least two days of racing from the same venue. When staying in Swellendam you will have the comfort of choosing between single track, rolling hills, forests, Klein Karoo, through a pass, to the ocean, over a ferry – while enjoying the comfort of staying in one place!
In Knysna, you will cycle through mystical indigenous forests and, just 15km out of Knysna, you will find the Homtini Mountain Bike Trailin the Farleigh State Forest. The entire town surrounds a large saltwater estuary called the Knysna Lagoon. Therefore, besides the nitty-gritty of South African mountain biking fun, you can also enjoy numerous recreational activities, such as boating, fishing, swimming and lots of adventuring.
The Hakerville Cycle Routesare situated in the Hakerville Forest between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. There are four routes catering for the beginner to the more advanced mountain biker.
The routes are color-coded and are as follows:
- Yellow Route: This route is 13km in length and follow gravel forest service roads and will be the only route open when the others are closed due to wet ground conditions.
- Blue Route: Covering a distance of 11km, this route follows gravel service roads and also along the Beukespad, a forest slip-path, through moist high forest. On returning you pass by some huge Coastal Redwoods planted in 1927.
- Green Route: This 14km route takes the rider along the Grooteilandpad and onto the Waterpad where there is a refreshing swimming hole, great for taking a break. There is an optional loop that will along which you will have breathtaking views of the Hakkerville coastline. on the return, the route follows the Kleineilandpad and then onto the Perdekoppad where you can enjoy an exciting section of single-track.
- Red Route: This is the longest and hardest of the routes and is said to be one of the most scenic routes in the country. This route takes you through deep indigenous forest, fynbos, and incredible coastal views along the way. 22km in length and more than 10km of single track, this route is definitely the most exhilarating.
May 31 2019
Everyone needs to work and do their part to afford a life, but it is important to have a work/life balance. They say if you live to 75, and work an average work week of 8 hour days, that you spend 1/3 of your life working. Another 1/3 gets devoted to sleep. That’s a lot of time!
This being said, make sure whatever you do that it is something you enjoy, and even more important, make sure to take time for yourself. Ever hear the saying, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy?” This goes for everyone, not just Jack.
In recent studies, it’s been proven that traveling decreases stress and can actually boost your health! Lots of people travel to gain new experiences, which is great! Sometimes though, travel is the perfect remedy for past experiences that may be holding you back. If you travel somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, it is easier to forget about the bad experiences that might be hard to get past along the way. If you remove yourself from the environment that is causing you stress, and send off on an adventure, nine times out of ten, the stress will not follow!
Take that ski trip with your buddies from back in the day, go on that one month backpacking trip in the Andes, or take off work and drive wherever the roads take you. This is your life! Don’t let anyone else think they own you or your decisions. It doesn’t matter if it’s your wife, husband, boss, friends, or kids. If they don’t want to join you and instead hold you back, see ya!
It’s a good idea not to burn your bridges with anyone, but if they are holding you back in your own life, you may want to rethink who you are spending your time with. You become who you hang around. If you spend time with someone who is super fun and adventurous, you will be the same way! If you hang around someone who is always negative, puts people down, and is never up for your adventures, you will eventually, and unfortunately, become like that too.
Which path sounds better? How will you choose to live your life? We all know that life sometimes gets in the way, but beyond that make time for your dreams. Travel.
May 10 2019
We want to ride, but it’s going to rain all weekend!
Pisgah National forest doesn’t care if its rainy, sunny, or snowy. We’re still gonna send it, and you should too! Mountain biking is a fun sport that should be enjoyed in all types of weather.
Remember as a kid, playing in the mud? Well, now you can do it on a bike! Slipping and sliding through the chunk, splashing through the puddles just barely hangin’ on having a blast. What’s better than that? A sunny day? Nahh… its all on how you look at it. If you look at a rainy day thinking that you can’t ride or do anything outdoors, that’s exactly what the day will give you. If you look at it with a positive outlook though, can make it a day filled with fun and excitement!
To me, a rainy day is just as good if not better than a sunny day. Something about splashing through puddles, sliding through the mud, and getting filthy produces nothing but smiles and pure joy. When the adventure crew is out playing in the rain and mud, you can find us on our bikes in Pisgah giggling and smiling until our cheek muscles hurt.
Pisgah is located in the mountains of Western North Carolina and offers some of the gnarliest riding on the East Coast. Most of Pisgah is not a place for beginners but is a nice thrill if you know what you’re doing. With elevations over six thousand feet, you could say there is some elevation change. I will say if you like to shred a good downhill, this is the place. These runs seem to be never ending with nothing but smiles the whole way down.
It is becoming more and more of a struggle to find places to ride in the rain or even after it rains. Lots of open trails today seem to be so well manicured that they don’t allow you to ride them during or after the rain. This is great, but it is always a blast to ride some raw chunk, washouts, and natural terrain. Pisgah provides this for us and that is why it’s one of our favorites to ride. Our favorite thing actually is to ride all day, and then backpack the falls.
Every day has the potential to be a great day. It all depends on what you make of it! – Say Adventurous.
Aug 22 2018
Mountain Biking in South Africa:
Are you looking for a new thrilling destination to shred some mountain bike trails? Well, it must be your lucky day! This article explains why South Africa is becoming one of the most sought after MTB destinations in the world. If you think about it, South Africa offers almost every kind of terrain. From massive mountain ranges, grasslands and meadows, to the undeveloped oceanside with beautiful rock ledges, you can see why South Africa is such a growing trend for mountain bikers today. Picture that image in your head for a brief second… now picture yourself riding these trails with this scenery… pretty awesome right?
South Africa has quite the diversity when it comes to outdoor activities. With near perfect environments and excellent weather, mountain biking in South Africa has exploded and become a top destination for enthusiasts around the globe. With carefully planned trails built by mountain bikers for mountain bikers, South Africa has become a prime recreational and racing mecca.
Beautiful mountains tower over historic towns, with single track to rolling hills to epic climbs to fast flats and of course with world renowned game viewing, there’s too much to include in one article. For those yearning for the ultimate mountain biking challenge, the South African experience will take your search above and beyond your expectation.
Ride through Sabie to Misty Mountain to Kruger National Park, Silvermine Nature Reserve, the Cape of Good Hope, Table Mountain National Park and on to Tokai Forest. Tokai has a bit of everything. Featured in Red Bull’s “Keeping it Pinned with Olli” on Red Bull TV, it talks about Tokai’s iconic downhill trails. Tokai offers flow, while still having the technical rock gardens, and even a jump line for some added fun.
Here you will experience South Africa first hand. Some of these trails are said to be among the best in the world. It has also been said that the best way to see the world is on a bicycle. We can’t think of a better way to experience South Africa than on a mountain bike. What are you waiting for?