The Freedom Trail is a mountain bike route that traverses the country between Cape Town and Durban. It’s incredibly scenic, passing mountains, criss-crossing valleys and venturing into untouched wilderness areas. It includes dozens of historical and palaeontological sites, making for a fascinating way to see the country’s many highlights.

Did you know?

The Freedom Trail hosts the Freedom Challenge, an annual mountain bike ultra-marathon.

The Freedom Trail is a 2 350km mountain bike route between Durban on the East Coast and Cape Town on the Atlantic seaboard.

It's a highly celebrated South African mountain biking trail, as it includes some of the most awe-inspiring scenery, combined with the warm hospitality for which the country is renowned.

You'll see amazing geological and natural diversity along the route. Covering seven terrestrial biomes, six mountain ranges, two national parks, one transfrontier national park and several provincial nature reserves, it offers an ever-changing fascinating landscape.

The Freedom Trail is open all-year-round, allowing riders to tackle all, or only parts of it, at their leisure. You can ride alone or as part of a group, self-guided or supported with the assistance of accredited tour operators. Either way, you can tailor-make the route to include the areas you'd most like to visit.

There are a number of tour options to choose, all of which are based on daily riding times of between six to eight hours, allowing for adequate rests along the way and mid-afternoon finishes at designated rest stops.

These include the complete Freedom Trail (27 nights), Port Elizabeth to Cape Town (14 nights), Pietermaritzburg to Swartberg (five nights), Pietermaritzburg to Rhodes (nine nights) and Port Elizabeth to Prince Albert (seven nights).

Accommodation en route ranges from fully-serviced cottages in nature reserves, to B&Bs, country hotels and game lodges. There's even a refurbished cave and a Boer War blockhouse.

Hearty South African meals are provided at all accommodation stops, including dinner, breakfast and a packed lunch for the route that lies ahead and water is available every two to three hours on the trail.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

The Freedom Trail
Tel: +27 (0) 84 567 4152

How to get here

You can pick up the trail at any of the towns along the route, which can all be accessed by major highways. Travel to the start of the trail in Pietermaritzburg via the N3 from Johannesburg, the N3/N5 from Bloemfontein or the N2 from the Eastern Cape. Access the end of trail from Cape Town via the N1 from Johannesburg and the N2 from the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

Best time to visit

The Freedom Trail is open all year round. Autumn (March – May) and spring (September – early November) are the coolest months to ride, as summers (November – February) are very hot and winters (June – August) very cold with frequent snowfalls along the route.

Around the area

While in KwaZulu-Natal, tour the historic Battlefields, uKhahlamba-Drakensberg and the KwaZulu-Natal midlands on the Midlands Meander. In the Eastern Cape, visit the Addo Elephant National Park and Baviaanskloof, and in the Western Cape, make sure you tour the Winelands region, where the trail ends.

What to eat

You will be served traditional South African food at the various accommodation establishment along the way, including traditional African fare at the homestays in local communities. Popular dishes here would include potjiekos (stew made in a cast-iron pot) and bobotie (Cape Malay curry).

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