June 2015 – Tour de Wilderness, the organiser of the acclaimed annual Nedbank Tour de Tuli mountain bike event, has launched the route for 2015, which will see 350 riders cycle across almost 300km of challenging and remote terrain in Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa between 13 and 18 August.
The Nedbank Tour de Tuli attracts cyclists from across the globe and provides them with an unforgettable opportunity to follow wildlife trails in pristine, wilderness areas. Cyclists not only have the opportunity of encountering a variety of wildlife, but the route also includes magnificent scenery and cultural interactions with the local communities living on the boundaries of these protected areas.
“For the past six months, the Nedbank Tour de Tuli route planning teams have been hard at work venturing into pristine wilderness areas to map out the best possible route for this year’s event. The result is a perfect blend of new territory and old favourites, ensuring that both repeat and new participants will have an incredible experience”, says Tour Director, Nicola Harris.
Itinerary highlights over the four days of cycling include:
• Day 1: Limpopo Valley Airfield (Botswana) to Limpopo River Camp (Botswana) - 75km About 85% of Day 1’s route is completely new and will take riders into areas known for high concentrations of game, particularly elephant, as well as some spectacular countryside, including sandstone ridges that run alongside the Limpopo River, and an impressive leadwood forest. Cyclists should be prepared for a challenge, as the route includes a number of sandy sections and climbs, but also some excellent single track along ancient elephant trails.
• Day 2: Limpopo River Camp (Botswana) to Shashi Wilderness Camp (Zimbabwe) – 69km The route includes the first border crossing of the Tour, with participants crossing the Shashe River to enter Zimbabwe. Cyclists will head through riverine scrub, indigenous forest and open plains before reaching Shashe Village for a cold Coke or beer. Afterwards, they will stop at Jalukange School and then through community lands to the historic Shashi Wilderness Camp.
• Day 3: Shashi Wilderness Camp (Zimbabwe) to Fly Camp (Zimbabwe) – 67km Day 3’s relaxing sand-free route begins on stony single and donkey cart tracks through community villages before heading back into indigenous bush. Several dry riverbed crossings will take cyclists into elephant territory, before ending the day’s ride with a technical climb up to camp.
• Day 4: Fly Camp (Zimbabwe) to Mapungubwe Confluence Camp (South Africa) – 75km The final day of cycling includes a bit of everything: sand, scenery, as well as riverbed and border crossings. Highlights include a historic Bushman rock art site, and for the first time ever, a ride through the Knotts Orange Farm and packhouse. Back in South Africa and into the baobab-filled Mapungubwe National Park, cyclists will ride past the ancient ruins where the golden rhino was discovered, before heading over the finish line.
All funds raised by the Tour are channelled directly into Children in the Wilderness (CITW), a non-profit organisation that runs sustainable environmental education programmes to bridge the divide between communities and the adjoining wildlife areas they live next to. Through Eco-Clubs and fun, educational camp programmes, rural children are inspired to respect their environment and to appreciate the long-term value of conservation, becoming the future custodians of Africa’s pristine wilderness areas.
“Each year we are amazed at the generosity of the sponsors, cyclists and volunteers who make the Tour possible. With just two-and-half months to go, we are confident that we will deliver yet another spectacular event, and in doing so, raise even more awareness and funds for CITW and the important goals we set out to achieve”, says Dr. Sue Snyman, CITW Programme Director.
Click here to watch a short video showing the highlights of last year’s Nedbank Tour de Tuli.