You will need a passport and appropriate travel insurance. Currently UK citizens (and those from most countries) will be granted a tourist visa upon arrival. It is, however, your responsibility to check that you can legally enter the country. Most ‘western’ driving licences are also valid, but please also check your status before travelling.
You should be able to get by on around £600 spending money if you don’t do a lot of shopping/drinking and depending on tour-length. Cash and travellers’ cheques can be changed at the airport and in the larger towns. Cash points are widespread and most vendors accept credit/debit cards. Cash is best for fuel stations as it speeds up what can otherwise be a lengthy process. Depending on the tour, what bike you choose and how you ride it, expect to part with £150-£200 for fuel.
South African currency called rand. Today for £1 you will get 24 rands.
At the time of year we will be visiting, South Africa should be nice and sunny, but not too hot, even at the coast. Obviously, though, we can’t guarantee this and you should be prepared for the possibility of a couple of wet days. If it does rain in the mountains it can be a bit chilly, but not really cold. The maximum temperature is likely to be around 30ºC on the coast; the minimum 8ºC (at night in the mountains, if it has been overcast during the day).
We advise riders to consider their kit in terms of layers, so you can adjust to be comfortable during the course of a varied day. Clothing as you would wear on a tour of Europe is perfectly suitable, whether leathers, or textiles. Some kind of waterproofing is a very good idea. Good gear can also prevent a minor spill causing a trip-ruining injury, so we require that you ride with no exposed skin (except your face).
While on some tours your main luggage will be carried in a support vehicle, you may wish to bring a small rucksack, or tail-pack (no tank bags) in which to carry articles you need on the road. Your main bag must be ‘soft’ and not a suitcase.
You need not be any more fit on this tour than if you were riding in Europe. However, if you have any existing medical condition that may affect you during the tour, please consult your doctor and Blazing Trails before booking.
While we insist those joining us have a full motorcycle licence, and recommend a minimum of a year’s riding experience, time in the saddle and miles ridden are of more relevance to an adventures like these. There are some fairly long days in the saddle, up to a maximum of around 450km (280 miles) in a day. We do, though, try to design the tours so you get an easier day, or down day, after a long ride.
Health & Hygiene
South Africa is a very clean and hygienic country (we’d say more so than the UK), with clean ablutions in abundance, and safe tap-water, so the chances of getting even a ‘holiday tummy’ are low. South Africa has an extremely low incidence of Malaria – unheard of on our routes (bar NSA), but we still recommend that you ask your physician for advice on inoculations. If you have any pre-existing medical condition, it is essential that you consult both Blazing Trails and your physician before booking.
Eating & Drinking
South African restaurant food will be familiar to those coming from the West. Food is of a high standard and is very good value (especially meat and seafood dishes), being around half the equivalent cost of the UK. One of the world’s great wine producers, South Africa is a great place to sample the grape, which is also great value for money. Decent beers (mainly lagers) are available everywhere.
On our tours breakfasts are always inclusive. The meals will only be inclusive where there is little or no choice, or where we have arranged something special (barbeques etc). For the number of meals included in the trip, see ‘What The Tour Price Includes’ in the tour overview. We have arranged our tours like this, so participants can choose the whats, wheres and explore for themselves. Not everybody wants to eat in a group every night, eat the same thing, or at the same time. We will, however, be happy to advise on eateries and participants can always eat with staff if they choose to do so…
As with eating, we do not want to prescribe what non-riding activities you choose to participate in. In many places there are several options, so we will be happy to advise, put you in touch with the right people and let you decide.
While South Africa has had some pretty bad press in recent years for violent crime, very little of this nature happens in the tourist areas through which we will be travelling. And, as ever, the media tends to sensationalize the bad and ignore the good. Being guided through the ‘right’ areas in a group greatly mitigates the chances of encountering unpleasantness. Petty crime – pick-pocketing and theft – happens, as it does in virtually all tourist destinations with a wide gulf between rich and poor. A few simple precautions, like keeping your wallet/docs in an inside pocket and leaving nothing unattended on the bike, should mean a trouble-free tour.
Unlike our Asian tours, we feel South Africa has developed enough emergency services and an efficient private health-care system (along with European standards of driving) to mean that we don’t need to travel with a fully-qualified medic. Travel insurance, including medical cover, is compulsory on this trip.