The Cross Cape cycle route, which travels through some of the most scenic small towns across the Western Cape, is expected to deliver a significant economic impact to the province’s rural economy. The route is an initiative of the Western Cape Government, and supported by Wesgro, municipalities, tourism offices across the province, as well as the private sector.
The Cross Cape Cycle Route was launched by Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities in Stellenbosch on 11 May 2017, where he outlined the province’s cycling initiative ahead of the inaugural ride from Plettenberg Bay to Stellenbosch. He invited residents in each of the participating towns to join the group as they travelled through each leg. He said the 742km route would drive tourists to towns across the province, creating jobs and growth.
On 12 May Alan Winde and a group of riders started the inaugural ride in Plettenberg Bay. They travelled along mainly gravel roads and forest tracks through Knysna, Rheenendal and George. The route then crossed over the Montague Pass into the spectacular Klein Karoo, touching Herold, Oudsthoorn, Calitzdorp and Van Wyksdorp, before heading to Riversdale, Suurbraak, Swellendam and Riviersonderend. The last leg took riders from Greyton, over the Franschhoek Pass to end the ride in Stellenbosch after 8 days in the saddle.
At each departure point, Minister Winde highlighted the unique tourism trends and visitor attractions for that specific region. Town mayors attended the send-off in each town as well as residents, who wanted to ride with the group. Rural villages along the route now form part of the Cross Cape Route, a cycling attraction marketed to tourists across the world. During the last leg of the Cross Cape ride, Minister Winde rode in tandem with a visually impaired cyclist, Cindy Jacobsz, who works for the Western Cape Government.
“I chose to ride the route because I love cycling and to raise awareness on visually impaired cycling, to experience the beauty of the Western Cape. We can also enjoy the nature through other séances and with the assistance of my “pilot” (the person steering the tandem) see new places and have fun in a healthy way,” said Jacobsz.
The route is now open year round, to cyclists wishing to undertake the venture on their own programme. Riders are encouraged to take it at their own pace, stopping in at the wealth of accommodation options all along the route. There is no cost to ride the route, and it is open to all throughout the year.
“Cross Cape is an initiative under Project Khulisa, which has the target of adding up to 100 000 jobs to the tourism sector. With this route, we are seeking to increase tourist flow to towns off the beaten track. We are eager for residents in those towns to start packaging offerings around the route, including hospitality services.”
“We’ve seen that a route like this can unlock economic opportunities for residents who cater for riders as they move through. Riders might want to camp along the route, or need a service which ports their baggage from one town to the next. Local entrepreneurs in these towns now have access to an international market. Additionally, in the months to come, we’ll be facilitating a globally-recognised bike mechanic training programme. The Western Cape Government will support a select number of locals to take part in this training, as part of Project Khulisa,” says Minister Winde.
The Cross Cape Route is the first route from Cape Cycle Routes, a network of routes planned for the Western Cape, which will be launched over the next two years,” says Minister Winde.
For more information visit www.capecycleroutes.co.za