Welcome to Bike & Saddle Eco-Active Trips and Holidays!
From our base in Cape Town, South Africa, we offer a range of active trips and holidays in the Western Cape region, and beyond.
Individual, family and bespoke experiences, crafted to appeal to your active lifestyle, fitness level and preferences. Most of all - we bring you to our home, here on the Southern tip of Africa! Expect only the best from Africa’s leading active travel company.
NAMIBIA DESERT EXPERIENCE
• Bikes and all equipment
• Hotel transfers, ground transportation and airport shuttles
• Accommodation include Boutique Lodges and Luxury Camping
• All meals and light refreshments, wine, beverages
• Personal service from the best guides in the industry
• 'Special and Expert' excursions en-route
• All admission fees to reserves, parks and attractions
This amazing trip starts in Windhoek from where we explore some of the best desert tracks through the ancient sands of the Namib. Via Gamsberg and Rooisand we descent to the Namib Naukluft at Solitaire. We head out pre-dawn to Dune 45 and Sossusvlei. We cycle via the geologically interesting Gaub and Kuiseb Pass and on to Swakopmund via the amazing moon landscape littered with 1500 year old Welwitschia Mirabilis, said to be the oldest living plant in the world. Finally we traverse the famous Granite Spitzkoppe that rises 1728m above the above the surrounding gravel plains before making a full return to Windhoek.
Fly into Windhoek or meet us at our boutique Windhoek Hotel. Today there is time to relax and get familiar with your bike, meet your trip leaders and explore town. Windhoek is a bustling, cosmopolitan city. Stately buildings range from the home of Namibia’s parliament, to the newly founded Hero’s Acre. Once settled in your hotel, join us for a cycle the local township of Katutura, and in the afternoon, we visit several museums in Windhoek, the National Library, National Archives, National Art Gallery and the National Botanical Gardens.
Our township cycle departs from Penduka Project at Goreangab Dam to the lively market of Single Quarters where we get a taste of the famous local kapana before we head off to the bustling Eveline Street – the street that never sleeps.
Passing Katutura’s shanty-towns we journey to the tranquillity of Penduka, where local women produce superb handicrafts, ranging from traditional wares to contemporary textiles. This is the ideal place to do your Namibian gift shopping.
Our accommodations for tonight is a stylish boutique hotel, in a leafy, upmarket neighbourhood of Windhoek. Dinner is served from the terraced restaurant, looking east towards green hills.
Located between magnificent hills, it is a retreat for body, mind and spirit. After a sundowner on your private porch, we gather for an exquisite dinner to round-off the day’s activities.
Leaving Windhoek at 1700m above sea level we undertake a short transfer from town towards the Khomas Hochland at the top of the Kupferberg pass.
From here we descend and enjoy our first open landscape scenery, 40-50km easy cycling. We ride onto beautiful curvy gravel roads, passing private farmland, and we're likely to encounter local wildlife and lots of birdlife. We transfer to the top of Gamsberg pass, rolling by the 3rd highest mountain in Namibia with views stretching for 100’s of km’s over the horizon, giving us a first glimpse of the desert scenery that will be our companion for the next 7days. We cycle down the pass through dry river beds and pass troops of baboons. Look out or the protected Hartman’s Mountain Zebra. We break camp at the oasis of Rooisand for our first night under the Namib stars. Enjoy a worthwhile swim in the pool at Rooisand while your trip leaders prepare a wonderful outdoors traditional BBQ feast for dinner.
MEALS INCL: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
CYCLING: 60km Gravel (Transfer 100km)
Solitaire is a small settlement in the Khomas Region of central Namibia near the Namib-Naukluft National Park. It currently features the only gasoline station, post office, bakery, and the only general dealer between the dunes at Sossusvlei and the coast at Walvis Bay, as well as to the capital Windhoek.
We start cycling early today during the cool morning hours, from Rooisand, along gravel roads and alongside low hills.
Close to the Guab pass, on curvy roads, we descend, passing colourful landscapes to Solitaire where a hearty lunch awaits - and with the best apple crumble in the southern hemisphere, the morning’s cycle would have been all worth it!
After lunch we transfer towards Sesriem and you have the option to cycle 20km to camp at Sesriem, our entry into Namib Naukluft Park. Camping under the stars is a magical experience and our conversation late into the night is bound to recapture the day’s unique experiences.
CAMPING: Sesriem Campsite
MEALS INCL: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
CYCLING: 60km Gravel (Transfer 130km)
Today’s cycle will start pre dawn with a short shuttle from camp to the entrance gates at Sossusvlei. Our cycling commences on a smooth flat sealed road for 20-30km as the first light hits the desert sand - the perfect introduction to the Namib Naukluft Park and the red dunes of Dune 45.
Climb up Dune 45 for a superb view of the Tsaucab River Canyon while we set up breakfast and prepare coffee at the bottom of the dune. After breakfast we undertake a short 2 hour walk at Hiddenvlei and Deadvlei. We stop for lunch at Sesriem camp, before exploring Sesriem Canyon by foot. A short 20km cycle will bring us home to Solitaire and our guest farm where the luxury of the swimming pool and or a hot shower awaits. Don't miss the cheetah interaction before dinner - one of Africa’s most splendid animals.
In 1948 Willem Christoffel van Coller bought 33,000 hectares of land from the South West Administration (the government of Namibia at the time) for the purpose of farming Karakul sheep. The land was previously an undeveloped area called Areb situated between the Ababis region to the South and the Koireb region to the North.
The area was named Solitaire by Elsie Sophia van Coller (wife of Willem Christoffel van Coller). The name was chosen because of two meanings. Solitaire can mean a single set diamond and Solitaire can also mean solitude or loneliness. Combined these two meanings create the definition of being unique or one-of-a-kind and a precious but solitary place.
The first man-made structure on the Solitaire farm was a 2 room cottage constructed by Mr. Van Coller who also later constructed the main farm house, a stone kraal adjacent to the farmhouse and a dam wall across the river bed. Later he was also responsible for constructing the current shop and installing the first petrol pump. The shop also acted as the regional post office where weekly postbags were delivered. Eventually a small chapel was built as well. In 1968 the farm ‘Solitaire’ was sold to Mr. Maritz.
CAMPING: Solitaire Guest Farm
MEALS INCL: Breakfast. Lunch & Dinner
CYCLING: 40-50km Sealed and 20km Gravel (Transfer 120km)
After a restful night at Solitaire and the prerequisite Solitaire breakfast, we head for the remote Gaub and Kuiseb Pass, home to Ostrich, Springbok and Gemsbok. Today’s cycle via the Ganab Plains and Bloedkoppe takes us into the wilds of the Namib Naukluft Park and tonight’s camping in the Namib Park ends a truly spectacular day in one of nature’s oldest desert areas.
The Namib-Naukluft National Park is a national park of Namibia encompassing part of the Namib Desert (considered the world’s oldest desert) and the Naukluft mountain range. With an overall area of 49,768 km2 (19,216 sq mi), the Namib-Naukluft is the largest game park in Africa and the fourth largest in the world.
‘Namib’ means open space and the Namib Desert gave its name to form Namibia – “land of open spaces”.
A surprising collection of creatures survives in the hyper-arid region, including snakes, geckos, unusual insects, hyenas, gemsboks and jackals. More moisture comes in as a fog off the Atlantic Ocean than falls as rain, with the average 106 millimeters of rainfall per year concentrated in the months of February and April.
CAMPING: Wild Camping in designated park site
MEALS INCL: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
CYCLING: 50-60km Gravel (Transfer 120km)
After a truly spectacular breakfast we mount our trusty steeds for what will be our last morning in the Naukluft Park. We are heading for the West Coast town of Swakopmund, but not before passing through the famous Goanikontes (Valley of the Moon) and a close encounter with the largest and oldest plant, Welwitschia Mirabilis, practically a living fossil at 1500 years old and certainly the oldest living plant in the world.
Lunch awaits in Swakopmund, a beach resort and an example of German colonial architecture. It was founded in 1892 as the main harbour for German South-West Africa, and a sizable part of its population is still German-speaking today.
Buildings in the city include the Altes Gefängnis prison, designed by Heinrich Bause in 1909. The Woermannhaus, built in 1906 with a prominent tower, is now a public library. Attractions in Swakopmund include a Swakopmund Museum, the National Marine Aquarium, a crystal gallery and spectacular sand dunes near Langstrand south of the Swakop River. Outside of the city, the Rossmund Desert Golf Course is one of only five all-grass desert golf courses in the world. Nearby lies a camel farm and the Martin Luther steam locomotive, dating from 1896 and abandoned in the desert.
ROOMS: Swakopmund Hotel or Similar
MEALS INCL: Breakfast
CYCLING: 50km Gravel
Today we offer a number of optional activities. If you feel like Quad Biking or Sand Boarding or Sky Diving or signing up for the Dolphin Cruise - then just fill out the booking form with your Bike & Saddle Trip Leader. If you do not feel adventurous you can do shopping or visit the Crystal Gallery, Museums or the Aquarium by foot. Or join us for a bit more cycling along the salt roads.
Swakopmund was the starting point of the first state railway line in German South West Africa. The railway station was built in 1901, as a terminal on the Imperial Germany’s colonial Kaiserliche Eisenbahn line connecting Swakopmund with Windhoek.
The Swakopmund Hotel serves as our accommodation for the two nights in Swakopmund. The originally building was designed by Willi Sander, who also later designed Swakopmund Lighthouse.
The station building, declared a national monument in 1972, today serves as a hotel.
ROOMS: SH – Swakopmund Hotel or Similar
MEALS INCL: Breakfast
CYCLING: Unlimited Salt/Rest Day
Our tour is nearing its end, not a very nice prospect, but we've left some of the best for last! The Spitzkoppe (from German for “pointed dome”; also referred to as Spitzkop, Groot Spitzkop, or the “Matterhorn of Namibia”), is a group of bald granite peaks or bornhardts located between Usakos and Swakopmund. The granite is more than 700 million years old and the highest outcrop rises about 1,784 metres (5,853 ft) above sea level.
After breakfast we leave Swakopmund behind, and cycle along the coast line on smooth salt roads before turning inland for what will be our final stop before returning to Windhoek.
Our last evening is appropriately spent camping next to the massive Granite boulders of Spitzkoppe.
Your Trip Leaders will have the opportunity to prepare one last special BBQ dinner for you under the stars - and as you close your eyes on this magical day, the memories will accompany your dreams for a long time to come!
CAMPING: Spitzkoppe Camping
MEALS INCL: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
CYCLING: 60km Gravel
As always, the tour does have to end! After breakfast we offer and optional cycling in the around the Spitzkoppe. At 10am we transfer back to Windhoek, where our amazing cycling trip end and we have to say goodbye
MEALS INCL: Breakfast, Lunch
CYCLING: Morning ride around Spitzkoppe
WHAT’S INCLUDED: All safaris are sold as fully inclusive packages and include the following: All transport accommodation and National Park entrance fees. Three meals a day unless otherwise stated, and the services of a trained safari guide. Meals can be either in Lodge restaurants or Guides makes meals on the fire. Coffee, Tea and Cordials. Bicycles and all equipment.
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED: Flights, Visas and Insurance, Tips, Gratuities, Spending money and all other items of a personal nature. Anything else that is not stated as included.
ACCOMMODATION: Camping is luxury, all include; Hotels and Lodges as described. Subject to availability outside of scheduled tour dates.
Bike & Saddle trips are all inclusive, carefully researched and custom-designed to ensure a perfect balance of adventure and luxury - with zero hassle for our guests. Including, but not limited to
- Quality bicycles and all equipment (suitable for the terrain) customised for our guests (women’s saddles, custom pedals, handlebar bags, etc.)
- Quiet backroads and private estates - guests can decide to cycle longer or shorter distances as they wish
- Restaurants, wineries, and our signature picnics are chosen to be the culinary highlights on each day
- Specialist guides with 100s of hours of training and experience - and your choice of language guide
- Hotel and airport transfers, back-up vehicle on each trip
- Inclusive of fees for parks, museums cellar tours, tastings and meals
- 5-star hospitality and carefully chosen hotels in the perfect setting along the route
- We adapt our tours to ensure that families will have a wonderful experience and we can offer children friendly options.