A bit weary of doing the same stage races year in and year out? Or just keen to experience something fresh with your mountain biking tribe? Well, look no further than booking a Wilderness Trail experience with Cycle Mashatu.
We (Joanne and Sean Badenhorst) first experienced Cycle Mashatu in 2009. A decade later we returned. There have been some changes under the new ownership (for the better), but mostly, nothing has changed – and that is what makes this experience so enriching.
We were fortunate to be part of an photoshoot group for Cycle Mashatu (along with father and son Bez and Pieter Bezuidenhout). Our photographer, Trevor Kleyn, is also an experienced game guide, which means we have some amazing images to go with this article, along with some of our own…
But here are the 10 reasons you should consider adding a Cycle Mashatu Wildnerness Trail Safari to your bucket list…
- It’s a multi-day event but not a race. It’s a real getaway, but without the pressure that comes with a stage race. Okay there’s a bit of pressure from time to time to be quiet and prepare to ride in the opposite direction to an edgy elephant, but it’s only temporary. And rather exhilarating!
- It’s in another country, but not that far to go. If you live in Gauteng, it’s a 5-hour 30-minute drive to the border where you start and finish your MTB Safari with Cycle Mashatu. If you live elsewhere, fly to Johannesburg and then drive. It’s worth it. Ask anyone from Cape Town or Durban or PE that’s done it…
- It’s reasonably priced. The Wilderness Trail tour, which we did, is R7650 per person for the four-day, three-night tour – fully catered (note: this price is for SADC residents and correct at 1 June 2019). A luxury/corporate package option can be customised too.
- It’s rustic, but not basic. You sleep in a tent for the first two nights and then under a massive Mashatu tree in a boma on the final night. There are hot showers and toilets – perhaps different to what you’re accustomed to – but they’re clean and functional. You get to enjoy the wild without too much sacrifice. Who needs a mirror anyway?
- The food is superb! You get three meals a day and they’re all delicious. Prepared by professional catering staff, you can expect a tasty variety of food in generous helpings.
- The drinks are well-priced. Not included in your fee is drinks, but they’re reasonably priced so you can enjoy sundowners from noon – like we did – if you’re so inclined.
- You get to ride and relax in equal measure. Yes, the riding safari is the big attraction, but you only ride until lunch time. After lunch you get time to relax, or sleep, or both. It’s highly therapeutic and a great way to destress.
- All your senses are stimulated. Rolling along on a bicycle allows you to see, hear, touch, taste and smell the African bush. And you get to exercise in the process. It’s not hard riding, but it’s 3-5 hours of sensual overload. It’s truly one of the best experiences you can have.
- There’s risk. There are no rhino (poached to depletion) and no buffalo (killed by foot-and-mouth disease in the 1980s), but there’s pretty much every other wild African animal, including elephant (loads!), lion, leopard, cheetah, hippo, crocodile, wild dog, hyena, giraffe, zebra, snakes, birds of prey and a myriad of antelope, including eland and kudu.
- It’s unique. As far as we (and Google) are aware, there are no other cycling safaris like Cycle Mashatu. Riding with knowledgeable, experienced game rangers (one always carrying a rifle) and experiencing wild animals up close in their natural environment is, an experience that you will never forget.
For more information or to book, visit www.mtbsafaris.comor check out Cycle Mashatu on Facebook and Instagram. Need even more info? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.