What make Tuli unique?

The Nedbank Tour de Tuli is one of South Africa’s finest mountain biking extravaganzas which takes place in Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa. This event happens over 5 days. It’s an extensive fundraiser since 2005 for Children in the Wilderness. Cyclists seize the opportunity of cycling in fascinating remote areas which are not normally usable to the accustomed public. Children in the Wilderness is a life skills and environmental leadership programme aimed at rural children living alongside wilderness areas. This is a tour allowing cyclists to enjoy every moment of Africa’s charisma and cannot be described as a race.

The cycling and overall experience for all involved is unbelievable. The event offers game viewing opportunities, cultural interaction, supporting local communities, Mapungubwe National Park, the enchantment of informal border crossings, the sandstone ridges, the baobabs, crossing the Limpopo River and the framework overlooking the assemblage at the end of the event, EXTRAORDINARY.

Tuli Tour
Tuli Tour
Tuli Tour
Tuli Tour

Awareness established by the comprehensive media broadcasting caused by this cycle tour. Funds raised through this tour helps with the durability of the Children in the Wilderness programme. Hosting more Eco-Clubs, children’s camps and quality staff training is the aim of the game.

This event is not only to raises funds for a commendable and critical cause, but to change every cyclist’s life. Join Tour de Tuli for a once in a lifetime experience!

As the sun rises over the horizon we'll head out of camp into a minefield of devil's thorn. After the substantial rainy season, this ground cover has gone "bos"! You'd best arrive tubeless or the 'staff drops' (a tour tradition) will be flowing big time at the end of the day.

We head for Nel's Vlei, a birder's paradise, where you'll still be able to spot some of the debris left by the 2013 Limpopo floods. From There we enter croton forest, renowned for its roaming ellies, so keep your eyes peeled. We then ride north along undulating single track through thickets of mopane trees, before swinging west to Moddergat - another area that attracts elephants in abundance. You'll find the first Tea Shop at this waterhole - and newbies will soon discover why this tour is renowned for its ability to pack on the kilograms.

After tea we find ourselves on single track heaven as we weave along game trails and negotiate some rather thick mopane on the way to a dam fed by a solar-powered pump. Again, we'll need to be on the alert for potential head-on clash with elephants - the scout team encountered a number of herds on their rides.

From the dam onwards, the route is completely new - and we'll be in for some technical, white knuckle riding along the ancient trails elephant have cut into the sandstone hills. There are lots of sneaky drop-offs and potholes to navigate, as well as some sandy patches. The reward for successfully managing this section is the Brunch Stop on the banks of the Limpopo, where you can soak up the views while you rehydrate and enjoy the culinary temptations. After brunch we head west along the Limpopo, climbing up and over some interesting ridges. About 95% is rideable but there is a compulsory portage into the valley below. River levels permitting and in the absence of crocodiles, we'll pass below Lentswe Le Moriti or 'shadow rock', where the sun is obscured by the surrounding hills. Locals believe this spot has a special energy, so lie back and absorb it for a moment or two. If the river proves impassable, we'll take the back-up sandy route to Lentswe Le Moriti village.

Once through the village, there's more technical riding (plus portage or two) through a sandstone area that's steeped in history. We'll pass the historical Mamagwa Ruins and Rhodes Baobab en route to the geographical marvel of Solomon's Wall, a basalt ridge divided by the Motloutse River.

Continuing west along the river, we'll cross over a small ridge into croton forest - where there's bound to be an abundance of game - and then head north through thickets of sage. Finally, a short but tough, sandy climb brings us to a natural rock amphitheatre and an exhilarating descent into the overnight camp.

We know how easy it is, but don't fall into the trap of partying too hard at the Amphitheatre. We'll be riding cut at sunrise along single track through plenty of mopane scrub, and you'll need to be fully awake as elephant have been plentiful in the dry river bed on all recce rides in the area.

This year, the Nedbank Tour de Tuli has avoided all roads and found single track alternatives. So instead of heading east towards the veterinary fence on a dirt road as in the past tours, we'll be following a section of fantastic flowing single track that will really help to get those legs warmed up. Once we've hit the vet fence, we'll move in a north-easterly direction towards the same solar powered dam we passed on day 1

The next feature to watch out for is the Fountain, another watering hole where elephants are plentiful. The terrain also becomes a tad gnarly here and the descent to the Tea Stop is tricky. There's no shame in walking - we certainly don't want broken bones out in the middle of the bush. Tea is on the summit of Beacon Hill, so it's 'foot-ups' as you put your hill-climbing skills to the test. You'll get your reward at the feast that awaits at the top.

 

From Beacon Hill we head northeast towards Zeederburg Camp along some wonderful single track. There are quite a few sandy river crossings that should lift those heart rates. If you do hit the sand, remember to sit back and spin it out.

From Zeederburg, we ride east towards Pitsani Camp and the Botswana/Zimbabwe border. We'll stop for brunch and some important rehydration before heading north into the Tuli Circle, Zimbabwe. Be warned: the Circle gets very hot and has some challenging, undulating terrain that will suck every last drop out of you - especially if your night at the Amphitheatre was a big one. Those into their history will be interested to learn that this border post was once a stop for Zeederburg coach, which carried mail and passengers from Pretoria through to what was then Salisbury (now Harare).

We'll be riding in the tracks of those hardened early pioneers as we make for the overnight camp at Fort Tuli on the eastern bank of the Shashe River. A tributary of the Limpopo, it's dry for most of the year - so it's quite hard to believe that when the scout team first headed to Fort Tuli in November last year, it was a flooding, swollen mass of water over two meters deep. You'll be able to find out more about the area and its fascinating history from the acclaimed storyteller Rob Caskie, who'll be keeping us entertained with his dramatic tales as we relax around the fire every evening.

At first light we'll roll out of our sleeping bags straight onto a trail that takes in the splendour of riverine bush and all the joys of single track. It won't be long before we have to duck and dive, and do a fair amount of hard swerving, to avoid the stinging backlash of mopane sjamboks.

This first section of single track will get our hearts racing early as we take on our first steep climb of the day, and then a descent down a loose stone trail into a community area within the park. We'll ride fast along jeep tracks before turning onto a bushy single track that leads to the Tonga Store, where you can chat to the locals over a bottle or two of Zim coke. From there we'll follow donkey cart tracks through dusty and bushy communal lands. The going is quick and there is the chance to continue being sociable as we pass through immaculate homesteads on our way to the dam on the Pazhi River, another tributary of the Limpopo that flows south to join it on its journey to the Indian Ocean.

There's a chance to relax and have some fun as we cross the river on the dam wall and rejoin the donkey tracks to ride past the local school. Here there's another chance to down an ice-cold coke at the local equivalent of a shopping mall.

Around the 33km mark, we'll be leaving the community area for a virgin bush rush of note. The tracks disappear, there are no more roads, and it's just you and the bike, lots of bush and a few riverbed sandpits to bring out the child in you. Just beware: as we move into the bush again, wildlife starts to re-introduce itself back into your adventure, and the chances of elephant encounters do start to materialise again.

Finally, a marked sandy and stony climb heralds our imminent arrival at the Fly Camp, our day 3 overnight stop. Here an exquisite rock enclosed ring plays host to feeding herds of eland and elephant, as well as a peanut gallery of baboons that act as sentries to this magnificent place. The owners of Nottingham Estate place large amounts of citrus pulp and waste in the Fly Camp 'Gladiator Ring' every evening so that these animals can get their citrus fix without wreaking havoc in the orchards. Our evening meal overlooking theirs is sure to rank among your most memorable wildlife experiences.