On 23 September 2020 Premier Alan Winde and Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, launched the Karoo Crossing Route in the Cape Karoo gem of Prince Albert. The Karoo Crossing is the fifth route in the Cape Cycle Routes network, which is a Western Cape Government initiative, marketed by Wesgro, the Tourism, Trade and Investment Agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape.
The Karoo Crossing stretches from Knysna to Calitzdorp or vice versa and takes cyclists on a 358km journey as they start – or end – their ride at a location in Knysna on the edge of a vast estuary which flows into the Indian Ocean through two giant sandstone heads.
This route has unique charm and every road sign leading to a town by gravel or tarred road will give cyclists the opportunity to journey through the Central and Klein Karoo passing through historic towns boasting beautiful Victorian, Cape Dutch and Georgian architecture and along winding mountain passes boasting fascinating legends. They will also have the opportunity to appreciate the heritage of the Karoo told through rock art paintings and engravings dating back thousands of years. And as the sun sets over the open Karoo landscape, cyclists can make their way under the starry night sky, discovering that the Karoo is equally as beautiful at night as during the day.
With today’s launch, the Cape Cycle Route network now consists of five cycling routes that have been carefully developed and spread throughout the province to attract visitors to explore some of the smaller towns and lesser-known attractions that the Western Cape have to offer.
During the event, Premier Winde and Minister Maynier also handed out ten bicycles to the Prince Albert Community Trust as part of the Provincial Sustainable Transport Programme, run by the Department of Transport and Public Works and which aims to provide access to bicycles to improve access and mobility of users. This project is implemented through a consortium of partners which include Qhubeka Charity, the Pedal Power Association and the Bicycling Empowerment Network.
The Prince Albert Community Trust is a developmental agency that focuses on children and youth to empower them to create a new life trajectory.
Minister Maynier said: “It is wonderful to be here today at the opening of the Karoo Crossing which is the fifth leg of the Cape Cycle Routes tour in the Western Cape. And our aim here is not only to attract more adventure tourists, but also to showcase the great attractions and experiences in small towns and rural communities across the Western Cape.”
Premier Winde said: “The route we launched in the Karoo today is the fifth in a series of cycle routes across the province which allow for commuters and tourists to enjoy the wide-open spaces of the Western Cape. With the summer season approaching, we encourage people to get out and explore the province by venturing off the beaten track and to stop along the way and enjoy some of the best of small town hospitality. This will help support the tourism and hospitality sector which is a significant job creator, especially in our non-rural areas, and help us to save jobs in the province.”
Executive Mayor of Prince Albert, Goliath Lottering, said: “The initiative is a great one, after the devastating effects of the lockdown since March 2020. It is definitely a very positive thing for the community when we do cycling in this area as we will definitely attract a lot of tourists. Today is already a boost for us, having so many people in town, who have slept over and spent some money at the local restaurants. For the Prince Albert community and for the municipality this is really a great initiative and going forward we want to build around it because our economic drivers in this area are tourism and agriculture.”
For more information about the Cape Cycle Routes and the five routes that have been developed please visit www.capecycleroutes.co.za