… it’s how good you look going slowly!” Say what?
Cycling Africa is not a new idea to the continent. Ever since a certain adventurer decided to circumnavigate Africa on his bicycle, the lure to be free on ones saddle while letting the African wilderness pass you by has always attracted cycling enthusiasts, those with their souls connected deep within Africa.
Not every pedlar can just pick up a bike and ride to Cairo, and not every place offers that deep, lost ‘African’ connection some cyclists lust for.
There is one place, however, that is tucked away quietly in the Northern Kruger National Park and ignites a spirit of remoteness and unrivaled natural beauty. A place explored for hundreds of years only by some quiet feet on the ground, but screams loudly with wildlife and adventure. A dream like place, with an ever changing landscape and abundant diversity of fauna and flora.
Pafuri, as it is affectionately known, is a contract park within the Kruger National Park owned by the Makuleke People. It is a primal piece of wilderness wedged between the confluence of the Luvuhvu and Limpopo Rivers, and is said to flourish with 75% of the entire parks biodiversity.
Scribed with wild and ancient stories, Pafuri is a remote wilderness unlike any other. It is home to olden baobab hills, decorated fever tree forests, and lala palm fringed vleis… all with a heap of other flora painted in between. The wildlife is ceremoniously noisy; a good nights sleep is one charaterised by hooting owls, howling hyenas and honking baboons.
A low density of camps and vehicles make it a perfect place to get lost, and enjoy one of the few truly hidden wildernesses in Africa. RETURNAfrica have the location epitome! With easy access to those ‘lost’ locations, and knowledge of the ‘hidden’ ones further away… which make it a mountain bike trail Shangri-la!
The ride itself is not a race, or a tour, nor a safari… but more a walking trail, on a mountain bike, in a big five area. So don’t expect to set any ‘King of the Mountain’ segments on Strava, the wilderness I just described above is too amazing and unique to have it whizz by you in a blur. In fact, I had to speed up certain clips in the video below so you all didn’t fall off your saddles.
So now that I have your attention, and laid down a reasonable enough canvas, let’s wander – and wonder – a moment what it would be like to ride your bike quietly around such a place…
… well, see for yourself! This is most definitely a bucket list tick!
Some images courtesy of Cameron Murray – Escape Cycle Tours