Venture north to the Namaqua Coastal Route and into a stretch of wild country, where arid plains unfurl towards the icy Atlantic – and discover the true expanse of the wilderness across the handle bars of your bike

Nowhere else in South Africa beats the Namaqua region, as far as wide-sky headspace goes. Situated where scrubland plains and a tempestuous ocean collide, it is an area of breathtaking divergence and jaw-dropping contrasts, creating a minimalist landscape that is rugged beyond belief.

A vigorous climate and the enduring onslaught of extreme elements have shaped an ecosystem bristling with a profusion of bulbs and succulents, iconic quiver trees dominate gargantuan granite outcrops spiking high against the sky and, come spring time, Namaqualand transforms into a floral wonderland with its wildflower blooms. 

It remains largely undiscovered as a tourism region, giving truth to its reference as ‘Eenkantland’ by locals. Exploring the ‘Land Left Out’ on your mountain bike is therefore one of the best ways to experience its myriad life forms and endless natural wonders. The Bikamino concept is based on the idea of international ‘Camino’ walking routes, where a hike transforms into a spiritual journey instead of just another activity. Bikamino enables you to embark on this type of pilgrimage while pedalling through the landscape of an untouched area of the Northern Cape. All you need to do is saddle up and crank on to the Bikamino. bikamino.com, ecobound.co.za


Riders salute the dawn as they crank from Kookfontein, a hideaway campsite within the expansive Namaqua National Park. Photo: © Jacques Marais
Riders salute the dawn as they crank from Kookfontein, a hideaway campsite within the expansive Namaqua National Park. Photo: © Jacques Marais
Meandering back roads along the Renosterveld hills of Naries Namakwa Retreat allow for late evening and night riding, where the dark side of Namaqualand can be experienced. Photo: © Jacques Marais
Meandering back roads along the Renosterveld hills of Naries Namakwa Retreat allow for late evening and night riding, where the dark side of Namaqualand can be experienced. Photo: © Jacques Marais
The Namaqua sunsets are unmatched, and quiet back roads and trails meander in lost landscapes that surround tiny villages such as Okiep, Komaggas and Gamoep. Photo: © Jacques Marais
The Namaqua sunsets are unmatched, and quiet back roads and trails meander in lost landscapes that surround tiny villages such as Okiep, Komaggas and Gamoep. Photo: © Jacques Marais
Ruins of old homesteads line the route, each one with a dozen stories to tell. Photo: © Jacques Marais
Ruins of old homesteads line the route, each one with a dozen stories to tell. Photo: © Jacques Marais
With dramatic landscapes, superb macro imagery and unpolluted night skies, the Namaqua Coastal ROute is a photographer's dream. The solemn windmill sentinels make for great subjects along the route. Photo: © Jacques Marais
With dramatic landscapes, superb macro imagery and unpolluted night skies, the Namaqua Coastal ROute is a photographer’s dream. The solemn windmill sentinels make for great subjects along the route. Photo: © Jacques Marais

A version of this article originally appeared in Edition 2-2018 of Intrepid Explorer.