Van Der Stel Pass Bike Trip – 2 Day tar and gravel road trip (can be done in 1 day).
The Van Der Stel Pass bike route is a route we completed in two days but this trip can be completed as a one day motorcycle trip. The trip starts from Durbanville, through Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Bot River, Kleinmond, Betty’s Bay, Rooi-Els, Kogel Bay, and Gordon’s Bay.
Day 1 Route:
* Areas marked in red are gravel roads.Get it on Google Maps
Day 2 Route:Get it on Google Maps
Van Der Stel Pass Bike Trip Highlights:
- Helshoogte Pass (Stellenbosch)
- Robertsvlei Rd (Gravel) (Franschhoek)
- Franschhoek Pass
- Theewaterskloof Dam
- Theewaterskloof Dam scenic routes (Gravel)
- Van Der Stel Pass (Gravel)
- Kleinmond Harbour
- Stony Point (Betty’s Bay)
- Lighthouse (Pringle Bay)
- R44 Scenic coastal route through Rooi-Els to Gordon’s Bay
- Steenbras Dam Lookout Point
Van Der Stel Pass Bike Trip Report:
I planned this trip around a invitation I received from an old friend to camp near Koggel Bay. This camping expedition gave me the excuse to ride a couple of passes I haven’t ridden in a while so I gladly accepted.
My trip started early morning from Welgemoed Forum Engen, where I fueled the bike, checked the tyre pressures, made sure a wheel won’t come off during my travels, and all the nitty gritty trip checks.
Fully satisfied that everything was as it should be, I set off on the N1 and took the R300 exit in the direction of Kuils River.
Shortly thereafter, I got off the R300 onto Bottelary Rd that heads to Stellenbosch.
The aim was to ride through Hellshoogte Pass not only because it is a great pass but also because I used to stay in a house on the pass and was interested to see what it looked like now.
After treating the nostalgic moment, I continued onward from Helshoogte Pass, through Pniel, and ultimately reached the outskirts of Franschhoek.
I have noticed a dirt track one day on my GPS, while visiting a client in Franschhoek, and promised myself when in the area again riding to check it out. Today then was this day.
Just after Leopard’s Leap before entering Francshhoek I took a right onto Roberstvlei Rd. This road is not necessarily anything to write home about, but it is a well kept gravel road and you skip all the main road Franschhoek traffic by taking this road. All of this while you get to enjoy the mountain views in doing so.
After the short gravel enjoyment, I got back onto tar near the Huguenot Memorial Museum and rode onward to Franschhoek Pass.
At the top of Franschhoek Pass I stopped for the compulsory photo, enjoyed a quick coffee, and then took on the rest of this great pass in the direction of Theewaterskloof Dam.
I had another quick stop next to Theewaterskloof Dam to view the horrific state of the dam level and then crossed the bridge in the direction of Grabouw on the R321.
Just after the bridge crossing, on the R321, I took a right turn into Graymead Rd that leads to another bridge crossing over Theewaterskloof Dam. This crossing made the dam look a bit more promising in terms of its level.
From here it was time for another great gravel pass and I got back onto the R321, in the direction of Grabouw, for a short while before reaching the turn-off on the left for Van der Stel Pass.
You will find me regularly stating this whenever I talk about this gravel pass, but I simply love this road, the condition of the road, and all the views while riding this road. It is one of my favorites and I always find a way to end up riding this pass when going through this area.
It is a nice long gravel pass that offers; low water bridge crossings, steep inclines, downhills, and lovely curves. You experience valley views, lookouts over hills, and riding through tree-lines on either side. In essence you get to experience a variety of scenery on this road to Bot River.
I took a quick break at the midway point on the pass to enjoy a coffee and pre-packed lunch before continuing onward to Bot River.
Further on in Van der Stel Pass, I reached another bridge crossing and came across some livestock next to the river.
After a quick scenic drive through the town of Bot River I got onto the R43 that heads to Kleinmond.
My next stop was Kleinmond to stock up on the essentials for the night of camping and thereafter visit the harbour.
However, by the time I finally exited the shops at Kleinmond, I realized that time was not in my favour and had to rush through the next few scenic way-points.
These way-points included; a quick visit to Kleinmond harbour, a drive-by view of Stoneypoint Nature Reserve, as well as a drive-by view of Cape Hangklip Lighthouse. So, sorry I did not have time to take photos. I was in a hurry to get camping!
I rushed onward through Pringle Bay, then Rooi-Els, and onto Clarence Drive (R44), and reached the turn-off for Koggel Bay Resort.
This was my view on arrival at the camp site:
Even though it is a municipal campsite, and I had my reservations about this place before hand, it turned out to be not so bad. As they say – expect the worst, and you won’t be disappointed.
The next morning I woke up to the relaxing sound of waves breaking on the beach, the smell of fresh ocean air, as well as the sounds of seagulls. When I finally decided to get up I opened my tent to this view:
What a fantastic start to the morning!
I headed to the showers expecting the worst, but hoping for the best. I was indeed pleasantly surprised to find some hot water, though it took a bit of tinkering with the final bit of gas left.
After repacking the bike and saying goodbye to everyone, I mounted my steed and headed out onto Clarence Drive in the direction of Gordon’s Bay.
Clarence Drive, also known as the R44 scenic road, was once again in its full splendor. The road had been resurfaced recently and made for some great fun through the tight corners.
I made a quick pit stop at Steenbras Dam lookout point that overlooks the entire Helderberg area.
With my soul filled for the week ahead, I continued on the final part of my journey home.
Van Der Stel Pass Bike Trip Videos:
Van Der Stel Pass: (From Villiersdorp Side)
Van Der Stel Pass: (From Bot River Side)
Van Der Stel Pass Bike Trip Gallery:
Kogel Bay Resort
Website Link: N/A
Affordable right on the seafront accommodation. Please note there is no electricity and minimal hot water. The views however are breathtaking!