The Tour de Tuli Is a Mountain Bike Adventure Across Southern Africa
Best of all? It’s for a good cause.
For 12 years in a row, cyclers have embarked on a wild mountain bike tour of Africa. The annual event, known as the Tour de Tuli, is a five-day, nearly 300-mile-long ride through the remote wilderness of Botswana, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.
Created by the Johannesburg-based adventure travel outfitter Wilderness Safaris, the route changes every year, but promises to let cyclists ride along ancient elephant tracks, through baobab forests, and across seemingly endless stretches of sand dunes. Riders are likely to pass herds of zebras, giraffes, wildebeests, and antelopes. Elephants are also plentiful in this part of Africa, and can be often be spotted eating leftover oranges at a farm midway through the journey.
In 2017, the 13th annual Tour de Tuli will run from July 27 until August 1, beginning in Botswana and ending at Mapungubwe National Park in South Africa. Participants are expected to have at least moderate technical skills, as the multi-stage course is challenging—and very, very hot. A few liters of water and a valid passport are required to enter, as is a minimum donation of R24 900—about $1,600.
That’s because Tour de Tuli is not only an adventure trip, it's also the main fundraising initiative for Children in the Wilderness and the Wilderness Wildlife Trust, nonprofits that support development of environmental and life skills for rural African youth as well as a variety of conservation projects.
Organizing this tour is no small feat. Some 350 cyclists participate, assisted by 150 staff members. Collectively, they drink nearly 8,000 beers and 6,000 cups of coffee. Over the past 12 years, the Tour de Tuli has raised more than $1.3 million for Children in the Wilderness. Tickets for the 2017 event are on sale through April, or as supplies last.