There are many good spots to start from but perhaps the most central is the little town of Stanford. Roughly two and a half hours drive from Cape Town, Stanford for me is the gateway to the best gravel in the Overberg area. For this short weekender bike packing trip we would ride from Stanford to Cape Agulhas and then back again the next day.
After the drive from Cape Town, we parked at the Ou Muel coffee shop (it’s also safe to leave your car here) and after a coffee and croissant, we were on our way. As I said earlier, Stanford is the gateway to the best gravel roads that the Overberg has to offer, so there are really a lot of different routes you can take to get to Agulhas. It all depends on how far you want to ride and where you want to stop for lunch etc.
From Stanford, it is a short tar section on the R326 to link up with the gravel road that takes you down to Elim, a tiny little town that was established in 1824 by German missionaries as a Moravian mission station. There isn’t much here by way of restaurants but there are some corner cafes with coke, steri-stumpie, and chips. Elim is just short of halfway but it has the majority of the climbing in the route. After Elim, there is one more long climb that maxes out at 9.2% but after you hit the 52km mark it is pretty much all flat as you make your way to Agulhas.
The 105km route might only have 1200m of climbing but you do the majority of it in the first 45km (or the last 45km on your way back the next day). What makes riding in this area tricky is also the wind, as you might know, it can get insanely windy here so depending on the wind direction, chances are pretty good you will have a strong headwind one day and a strong tailwind the next day. The area close to Agulhas is very flat and open so there isn’t much to shelter the road from the wind, which can absolutely hammer you as you fight your way towards the coast. The prevailing wind is a South Easter which should mean you will have a nice tailwind on the way home.
Agulhas is a great place to sleep over as there are a plethora of guesthouses and Airbnb’s that you can sleep at. There are also a lot of restaurants and coffee shops so you will have some nice options for lunch and supper. After our long ride in with only a short stop at Elim, the Fish and Chips at Agulhas Seafoods for lunch was probably the best slap tjips I have ever had, but that could have been because I was starving after a long day on the bike.
The next morning after a hearty breakfast at Suidpunt Potpourri we set off back to Stanford. Unfortunately, we had a monster North Westerly wind blowing which meant we were in for a long 110km of gale-force headwinds, what do they say though, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger? After a couple of beers the night before, though, I thought it was going to kill me.
There are some great gravel races starting up in the area, so if you prefer a race to explore the area the Dirty South Gravel Race and Around The Pot are two great options to explore this area in a race setting. Dirty South is the first three-day gravel race of its kind and Around the Pot is a one-day event that even features a 200 miler.
There are many routes you can take in the area so this route is just one option. If you prefer to take a different road back then have a look at route options that will take you through Napier and Bredasdorp. These towns also have great lunch options.
The GWM P Series Commercial Double Cab
The P Series Commercial Double Cab is the lower spec double cab bakkie in the P Series range but it is by no means lacking in features. We had the 4x4 version which activated the 4x4 via an electronic switch by the gear shift.
The list of features at this price point is, to put it bluntly, ridiculous. You get so many offerings in this package and non of them have a “cheap Chinese” feel to it. The interior is solid and built really well. The Commercial 4x4 double cab has a 2.0 Turbo diesel engine which produces a serious amount of torque low down in the rev range. I had to pull away from the robots in second gear to stop the wheels from spinning in first. The engine clearly has a serious amount of towing capacity. Out on the highway, it had absolutely no trouble getting up to cruising speed and holding it without having to gear down from 6th gear on the hills.
Daytime running lights, reverse camera with rear parking assist, Apple Carplay / Android Auto, cruise control, sunroof, keyless entry, and keyless stop-start are just some of my favourite features that came in the P Series Commercial Double Cab.
It’s called the Commercial Double Cab because it is geared to be more of a workhorse than the Passenger Double Cab, but if your budget is tight, there is nothing stopping this bakkie from being a comfortable everyday driver.