Question you may have sitting at home dreaming about cycling with Africa’s big 5….


How far in advance should I make my booking?

That depends on where you are currently located – if you are based within SA – then anything from 3-6 months will suffice, however, if you are situated a little further afield and planning an international travel trip, then 6 months to 1 years is advisable.   Obviously it will also depend on availability and what tour you are wanting to do and when the next availabile opening for that tour may be.


Is it really safe to be cycling with Big 5?

The truth is that it is no less safe than walking safari’s or even game drives.  You will be accompanies by Highly qualified guides who know how to read and anticipate an animals actions to the best of their ability, however, as wildlife is always unpredictable, there is always the potential that something could happen and thus we will take every precaution we can to counteract that and ensure you are as safe as can be within human ability.


I had always heard that elephants hate the sound that a bicycle makes and they will readily charge when they hear one?

In days gone by there has reportedly been this belief and possibly on bikes of old that may have squeaked and squeeled this may have been so, however, in all our experience and the many many hours and kilomters we have spent cycling in Big 5 areas and specifically the large number of elephants we have cycled, into or passed, they have never shown any propensity towards this.   They have reacted just the same as one would expect the to react if you were to walk into them or to drive into them on a game drive vehicle.


Wont lions or other predators chase us if we cycle passed them?

This is neither a yes nor no answer – obviously they have the ability to, but the inclination seems to be lacking.   Once again, it has been our extensive experience that lions tend to run off very quickly when approached by small group on a bicycle – including two large males that we disturbed on a freshly killed buffalo direclty next to the road.  The only time we have been shown any dominant or threatening gestures by a lion was from a female who was trying to ward us off while the other females and about 6 young cubs ran away from us.  This is entirely natural behaviour for a mother lion  and as we respected her position and actions and reacted accordingly she slowly moved off away from us following the rest of the pride.   As with every potential wild animal we may come across – from a Giraffe to a Leopard, the guides will know exactly how to handle the situation and will enable you to get the best experience possible while keeping both yourself and the animals wellbeing at the fore.


What training do I require and how fit should I be?

It would be a natural question to wonder how fit you need to be.   There is not a specific answer for this as each tour will be adapted to the group that is cycling.  Obviously for security basis it is important that the group cycles closely together so pace, speed and distance will largely depend on the “weakest” cyclist in the group.    Cycle outings can range from anything from 15km – 50km depending on the streangth and fitness of the group as well as what wonders we may encounter when you are out there.  It is important to note that the object is not to cycle as far and as fast as possible, but rather to enjoy the priviledge of learning about the environment you will be experiencing while enjoying the fused passion of cycling.   Generally we welcome all cyclists as long as you are reasonably fit and are in good health and most importantly as long as you can handle a bike – specifically in off road environments.


Will we be cycling with other people?

Generally no – tours are sold as a per tour basis so you book out the entire tour for anything from 2-8 cyclists.   If we do get a number of requests from individuals that would like us to put group tour together then we may look at doing so, but this will be the exception and not the rule.


Who will be in charge?

There will be a number of different chiefs looking after the various indians.    While out on the cycles the lead guide and back-up guides will be in charge and will make all the important decisions.  When you return to camp, the in-house guide will take over and will be in charge as regards camp safety and activities.    There will also be camp hosts to ensure your every need is seen to.


Will there be a backup vehicle?

Yes, there will always be a backup vehicle  that will travel behind the group on all cycles.  The vehicle will carry extra water, basic repair supplies to fix any minor bike maladies, and it will be used as a protective measure should we encounter any troublesome beasts while out there.


So that’s it – I’m in and wanting to cycle the best adventure ever, but I still have a few questions in mind ….


Once I have made my booking, what then?

Once you have decided which tour you would like to join and you have chatted to us to confirm availability, we will then require a 50% deposit in order to confirm those tour dates for you.  The final payment will be due 6 weeks prior to arrival.  


What if something unplanned happens and I sadly need to cancel my booking?

As with anything in the tourism industry, we will sadly have to work according to cancellation policy principles.    Each tour carries its own cancellation policy, as we in turn have to fall in line with the policy of each camp we are partnering with, however, in general, cancellation policies will be:

Cancellation 8 weeks or more before arrival – 25% Cancellation fee

Cancellation 6-8 weeks prior to arrival date – 50% Cancellation fee

Cancellation 6 weeks or less prior to arrival date – 100% Cancellation fee.


What additional information will you need from me?

We will need the following information from each cyclists:

Full name

Age

Male/ Female

General level of Health

Nationality

Place of residence

Purpose of group – ie general holiday/ corporate activity/ club team/ family group etc.

ID or Passport details of each person in the party

Dietary Requirements

Rooming Requirements and details.

Proof of medical aid detials or travel insurance details  of each person in the party

Who to contact in case of emergency for each person in the party

Method of arrival

Method of departure

Name and details of primary contact for the party

Preferred method of payment.


I perfer to ride with my own bike but don’t want to travel with it.  Can I ship it to you for the trip?

We all know that a bike is like a girlfriend and is not easily substituted. If you would like to ship your bike out to us, so that it is all ready and waiting for your arrival this can easily be done and we will happily collect it for you and have it at the camp, ready and waiting for your arrival.  For both local shipping and international shipping, please send to PostNet in Hoedspruit where we will collect it and transport it to the camp.  (see HERE for more details).   


I am flying to (or within) South Africa, can my bike fly with me?

Generally, the answer is yes, however, we do recommend that you contact your selected airline to confirm any specific details with them.   Most airlines however,  are quite used to people travelling with bikes, and if a bike is properly boxed and within the luggage allowance, it is a relatively hassle-free experience.



Do I need insurance for my bike?

Yes, yes yes and yes.   If you are bringing your own bike, please ensure that you have suitable coverage on all your own equipment.  We cannot be held responsible or liable for any damage that may occur accidently.  



Can I hire equipment from Ride Wild?

If you would prefer not to travel with your own bicycle we do offer the option of bicycle hire.   We have two levels available.  For those that are not too fussed and would just like to hire a decent bike that will get them into the bush for a life –changing experirence, we have a few very decent and well maintained but entry-level bikes for hire.  If however, you always choose to ride the best, then we have a few options available in this regard on offer as well.  Either way, your guides will be able to help fit you to the bikes the night before and ensure that you are as comfortable as possible on your hired bikes while on safari.  

In addition to bikes, we also offer the option of helmet hire as we know that packing of helmets can be bulky and problematic so for those who would prefer to not travel with their helmets, we will also be able to assist you herewith (please note that the wearing of helmets is compulsory on all rides).


I am so excited, I have now planned and booked my Ride Wild experience, but I just have a few other questions about travelling in South Africa….?


When I arrive at the airport in Johannesburg, is it safe?

Johannesburg airport is as safe as any other international airport around the world, however, we would like to recommend that you do not let anyone assist you with your luggage on your arrival just as a precautionary measure.  There will be a number of people that will approach you and will be rather insistent at offering their help.   If you really need some assistance, then only accept offer from those wearing the official ACSA (Airport Company of South Africa), hi-viz jackets that clearly state Porter on them.  Please note that they do expect a tip for their services.


Is it generally safe to travel in SA ?

Crime can occur anywhere in the world, however it is recommended that you follow a few basic precautions when travelling to any international location.   The following is a list of international precautions that apply for travel inwhere in the world and should safely be used in SA as well:

Luggage - Put on lock on your luggage that goes in the cargo hold, and always have a tag with your details on it in case the luggage gets lost

Keep your valuables in your hand luggage

Always pack a change of clothes and toiletries in your hand luggage in the event that your luggage gets lost

Keep money, passport and travel documents in a safety pouch on you

Keep copies of your passport and travel documents in your luggage

Vehicles - Always keep doors locked when driving.  Please check and make sure your doors are locked if using remote locks as lock jammers are prevalent in many areas.

When stopped at traffic lights, be aware of people around you and keep valuables such as hand bags out of sight

When parked, keep all valuables out of sight

Bicycles – if you are driving up with your bikes on a bike rack at the back of your car, please make sure they are locked onto the bike rack and safely secure specifically when you may stop en-route.   



What are the visa requirements for travel to SA?

We request that you please consult with your local/ relevant consulate as regards visa details for South Africa as they vary from country to country and even from time to time.  (South Africa is going through a number of changes as regard visa requirements).   Please note that a single parent travelling to South Africa with a minor will need a letter of consent from the absentee parent authorising consent for the child to travel with that parent.   The letter of consent will need to be certified by your local police.  According to the recent regulartions initiated, parents must also provide an unabridges birth certificate for all travelling children under the age of 18, this must include details of both parents, even if both parents are travelling with the child.   This applies to South Africans as well as foreign visitors to the country.   When children are travelling with guardians, these adults are required to produce affidavits from parents proving permission for the children to travel.    Please just take note that if you do not have an unabridged birth certificate, depending on how efficent your local ofices are, it may however, take as long as 6-8 weeks to obtain and you need to build this into your planning for any travel to South Africa.

What about Travel Insurance?

It is an essential requirement that we recommend you take out travel insurance.  Not only will this cover you for any emergency medical treatment while out here but if you take it out at the time of making your booking, it will also protect you and your holiday payments in the event of cancellations made.


They call it “Sunny South Africa” – is this always true?

We would love to tell you YES – however, as with anywhere in the world (and for like to continue its existence) we do have those grey rainy days as well – although they definitely the exception and not the rule.     The majority of the Rie Wild Tours occur in areas with summer rainfall so please bring suitalbe rainy weather equipmenet with while you are here.


The climate in South Africa generally ranges from Mediterranean in the southwestern corner of the country to temperate in the interior plateux, and subtropical in the northeast. Most of the country has warm sunny days and, and cool nights. Rainfall generally occurs during summer (November through March), although in the southwest around Cape Town, rainfall occurs in winter (from June through August


Do I need to worry about Malaria and taking prophylaxis?

Once again, we recommend you visit your local health practitioner in this regard, however, we highly recommend that all visitors take malarial precautions and regular prophylaxis during their trip out here.   For more information on this as well as on other vaccination requirements, please follow the link below: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/south-africa

For those cyclists looking at our Botswana tours, please follow the link below:  http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/botswana