Stage 1 – (Prologue)
Enjoy the sunset prologue through the Cobra Trail in the beautiful Bontebok Park with its unique Cape Floral species and protected Renosterveld. You will ride among some of the 200 Bonteboks who call this reserve their home. Many bird species can be spotted alongside the Breede River with a variety of antelope species and even Cape Mountain Zebra.
Stage 2 – Swellendam – Swellendam
On this stage you will have to conquer the tough Overberg rolling hills. From the start to finish there will only be one flat section and it’s approximately 100 metres long! In this section you will enter a neutral zone, eat as much as you can, get on the Malgas ferry and cross the majestic Breede river on the only man-pulled pontoon left in South Africa. This 95km with 1400m of ascent will get you warmed up for the rest of the Rainmaker Rollercoaster 2019!
Stage 3 – Swellendam – Riversdale
This will not be the longest stage of the tour however don’t underestimate as it is possibly the hardest of them all. The first 15km through farmlands will only be the start of some tough gravel riding up ahead. You will have to climb up the gravel version of Alp du Huez with about 400m of altitude gain of steep gravel terrain. After you have reached the top you will descend into the Duiwenhoks river valley with a few serious rolling hills before reaching Riversdale for a welcome rest.
Stage 4 – Riversdale – Calitzdorp
From the lush green garden route to the semi dessert of the little Karoo. First you will need to conquer Garcia pass to reach this beautiful arid region. Then you will the reach Rooiberg pass with the views of the little Karoo opening up as you crest the pass. With a total of 69 bends in the 14km, corners and curves aplenty make sure you keep something in the legs for this majestic section.
Stage 5 – Calitzdorp – Oudtshoorn
The shortest and easiest of all the stages, you will have earned this mid ride recovery day! Take the opportunity to spin out the legs and recover for what lies ahead on stage 6. Flat and fast whilst riding into the ostrich capital of the world. Keep your eyes up and your head out of the sand !
Stage 6 – Oudtshoorn – Uniondale
This is a beautiful stage through the Kamanassie region with stunning mountains as a backdrop throughout the whole stretch from Oudthoorn up to Uniondale. With 1800m of ascent this is tough stage after yesterday’s easy day out. This is Karoo in its true unbelievable beauty. However there are some battles you will need to conquer in this vast semi dessert. After the drag up to Uniondale for 95km, the Karoo Lady aka the Ghost of Uniondale will be waiting for you!
Stage 7 – Uniondale – Plettenberg Bay
This will be a stunning day out through the the enclosed Knysna forest sections. The forest is home to some of South Africa’s oldest indigenous trees and include Ironwood (Olea capensis), Stinkwood (Ocotea bullata), Outeniqua Yellowwood. The forest is also home to the African elephant and they are seen on rare occasions. This day and tour will be rounded off by visiting the Kwano Cycling Academy before finishing in Plettenberg Bay.
After passing through the beautiful Uniondale poort on a 10km tar section you will cross the Langkloof and enter the Prince Alfred pass. This is the last section of the Old Ox Wagon route that started at Malgas right at the ferry we crossed in Stage 1. Thomas Bain built this pass in 1860’s with a thrilling 11km descent right down to the Keurboomsriver. The same river that forms the river lagoon at the finish line 60km later. Be aware with a total of 89km and 1900m of climbing on this last stage will mean you still need to cross a mountain or two or three before reaching the blue sea of Plettenberg Bay at the Kwano Cycling Academy