Exploring the amazing scenic beauty and spotting its wonderful wildlife takes on new meaning when you’re on a bicycle! Which is why Abelana Game Reserve is proud to announce Abelana Cycle Tours – a fresh way to experience this beautiful Big Five wilderness…
Working in conjunction with Escape Cycle Tours, Cameron Murray and our very own Head Guide John Fouche – himself a keen cyclist – we’ve now hosted two big cycling groups with spectacular success, with the cyclists thoroughly enjoying themselves.
John helped to head up the tours and was assisted by technology thanks to an eBike that Cameron presented him with to use for the duration of the tours. “I must say I enjoyed the help up some of the steeper hills,” chuckles John, adding that routes were carefully planned to include areas of the reserve that offered challenging cycling terrain as well as breathtaking landscapes.
The groups kicked off on their respective first days with an 8km “acclimatisation” ride, becoming familiar with their bikes and John’s guiding signals which are vital for safety when cycling in a Big Five area. Back up and lead vehicles accompanied the group, keeping their distance and warning of big game encounters.
Some of the highlights of the tours included a wonderful male lion encounter with the first group of cyclists seeing him just 80m from the main group. There were also elephants close to the lead vehicle which the group heard trumpeting and finally saw on their return to Abelana River Lodge..
One of the longest rides was a spectacular 40km route that lasted eight hours with a picnic stop at Lone Tree Dam where lunch was set up, including informal mattress “loungers” with plump cushions for a well-earned siesta in the shade. A visit to our 1700 year-old baobab tree was also included, as well as the “saddle challenge” – a hill climb which bested all but three cyclists who managed to make the summit without falling!
Abelana Game Reserve CEO Ian Beauchamp was in the lead vehicle on one morning and had an amazing game drive thanks to the cyclists “herding” the game towards the vehicle. “I saw lion very relaxed and called everyone in,” says Ian. “And when the group stopped to fix a puncture, I saw a big male leopard hunting a bushbuck, but sadly he disappeared quickly when he heard the group cycling in!”
The cyclists topped off each day enjoying the wonderful, trademark hospitality at Abelana River Lodge with plenty of cold beverages and cooling off in the beautiful rim-flow pool overlooking the Selati River.