Outeniqua Adventure Tours - News 2009:
Another year has passed, yet again, all too quickly. In spite of the predictions of doom and gloom around the economy, all of our tours planned for this year materialised. Fortunately for us, these holidays seemed to take priority.
George and the Garden Route are currently experiencing the worst drought in 130 years, which is probably about the time records started being kept. The area always looks green, but we have all had to really become innovative in ways and means to preserve water. We are hopeful that we get some significant rain very soon. It would be a wonderful Christmas gift for the region, particularly the farming community.
The majority of our work this year involved cycle tours, interspersed with some day trips and shorter tours, all of which kept us nicely busy.
In April we hosted the second group from the BAC to visit South Africa. The route we followed was the same as the one we took with the 2007 group .i.e. from Cape Town to Jeffrey’s Bay, (some 950kms of cycling ) finishing the tour with two delightful days at the Lalibela Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape. Having taken this energetic and interested group of Americans on a tour that encompassed a huge variety of terrein, geography,and vegetation, they went back to the U.S. having learnt a whole lot more about SA and our people.They were also very excited to have been here at the time of our General Election. Much fun was had, prowling around the polling stations,asking questions of any and everybody.
August saw the purchase of a new vehicle which had its inaugural trip, taking a group of ‘senior adventurers’ to Mpumalanga. We had a lovely week in the Kruger National Park and had some wonderful animal and bird sightings. (no luck with leopard!) After KNP we did the scenic tour around the Blyde River Canyon to Pilgrim’s Rest. What we thought would be a quiet two days in this peaceful village turned out to be MUCH more interesting! We landed up in the middle of a motorbike rally which was anything but quiet and very entertaining. Every time one of our more elderly ladies tried to walk anywhere, a leather-clad man would appear, to assist, with both grace and charm!
Our Spring season of cycle tours was very hectic this year, as, no sooner had we returned from KNP than we embarked on a Little Karoo tour with some of our regular cycle tourists (plus a few!) A quick breather to greet the dogs and then we set off again to Cape Town to meet our next group of Americans from the BAC. As this was a different season, we had altered the itinerary slightly to include Hermanus, Struisbaai and L’Agulhas (the foot of Africa) This was a popular choice as the whales at Hermanus were spectacular and the rolling wheatfields of the Overberg were beautiful. Once we reached Swellendam the route followed that of the April group, along the R62 in the Little Karoo, back over the Outeniqua Mountains to the Garden Route and then following the coastal route to J Bay .We had some very strong winds at times, not always fun on a bike, but we adapted and finished the cycling holiday with some great weather and friendly tailwinds!
We are extremely privileged to have hosted these tours and been able to show off our fabulous countryside in this rather special way. (from the seat of a bicycle!) We have made some wonderful friends from the U.S.A. and hope to be seeing some of them back in SA, looking to enjoy more than the sample we were able to show!
One more short, rather special trip into the Little Karoo with a small group of cyclists from KZN and our cycle season came to an end!
We are now in the process of planning for 2010. Much excitement has been generated by plans for the World Cup, so we shall be interested to see how this huge event impacts on the Garden Route.
We shall be planning another tour to the West coast for the spring flowers, plus we are keen to do some slightly shorter tours exploring the Great Karoo around Graaff Reinet, Nieuw Bethesda, Mountain Zebra Park etc. Winter tours to Sutherland are also always rather special!
Not to be left out, we shall again have our regular program of cycle tours in Autumn and Spring)
Now to get ready for the influx of summer visitors and to enjoy the wonderful weather we are experiencing at the moment.
Thank you to all of the special people who have contributed to making this another special year for us.
Wishing you all our best wishes for safe and happy holidays and a wonderful 2010
Cheryl and Dave.