The Lions Karoo to Coast will be a Cycling South Africa sanctioned event for the first time in nearly a decade when it takes place on Sunday, 22 September 2024. This will allow riders with racing licences to take part again and ensures that the local development riders are able to compete, on home turf, against the best cyclists in the country. The affiliation with the sport’s South African governing body will allow the continued participation of E-MTB, mountain bike, and gravel bike riders as well as facilitating the racing categories for mountain- and gravel-bikes.

“The reasons we withdrew from Cycling South Africa originally were well documented at the time, but one of our primary concerns was for the development of young mountain bikers in the Southern Cape Region,” Lions Karoo to Coast Race Director Zandile Meneses noted. “Under the guidance of Marike Vreken, the district’s young riders are receiving exceptional support and it has been wonderful to see so many of them blossom both as athletes and young adults. The move to sanction the Lions Karoo to Coast will allow those young riders to take part in an iconic local event, test their mettle against the best mountain and gravel racers in the country, and continue their sporting development.”

Kom se Pad

The mountain bikers, will once again be joined by gravel, E-Gravel and E-MTB riders in the 2024 edition. Photo by

“We look forward to welcoming the country’s most competitive off-road racers back to the Lions Karoo to Coast later this year,” Meneses added. “Charles Keey’s course record – of 3 hours, 3 minutes and 13 seconds – still stands from 2012 and it would be great to see that broken this year. With the Ou Wapad ascent being smoother now than it was back then and the introduction of gravel bikes I believe a new record is very possible.”

“In 2015, Knysna local, Matt Beers announced his arrival on the South African mountain bike scene with a victory in the Lions Karoo to Coast. It would be amazing if a talented young rider steps up in 2024 and follows in Matt’s footsteps,” Meneses concluded.

Karoo to Coast

Improvements to the surface of the Ou Wapad, out of Uniondale, and the presence of elite racers in the field, should allow the class of 2024 to challenge Charles Keey’s 12-year-old course record. Photo by

The iconic Lions Karoo to Coast route needs little introduction for the thousands of mountain bikers who have participated in the race before, but newcomers are in for a treat come the 22nd of September. Starting in Uniondale, the race crosses the Outeniqua Mountains following an old wagon route to Avontuur, in the Langkloof, where it joins the Prince Alfred Pass to Knysna. At 68.5 kilometres long it is the longest publicly accessible mountain pass in South Africa and is regarded as the famous road engineer, Thomas Bain’s greatest work.

After taking in the most spectacular sections of the Prince Alfred Pass the Lions Karoo to Coast route turns west off the main artery through the mountains and snakes along Kom se Pad for the final 25 kilometres of the 96 kilometre course. The deep indigenous forests offer respite from the heat of the day for the less competitive riders; but the road does also bring the last significant challenge of the course, the climb from the Gouna River crossing to Simola heights. From there its asphalt or concrete, on the lagoon-side bike path, all the way to the finish at the Knysna Sports Fields.

Squirt Cycling Products

Squirt Cycling Products will once again offer a complementary E-Bike battery chance service, which allows riders to send a spare E-Bike battery to the Buffelsnek aid station, 59km into the 96km long route. Photo by

In accordance with Cycling South Africa regulations gravel, E-Gravel and E-MTB bikes will be allowed in the 2024 Lions Karoo to Coast. E-Bike riders will be able to make use of the event’s complimentary battery transport service, which will take riders’ spare batteries to the Squirt Cycling Products aid station, at Buffelsnek, 59 kilometres into the course. Gravel bike riders will, like the tandem racers, enjoy their own start group and will also be rewarded with their own podium celebrations and prize money. Though the battle will still be, unofficially at least, to see if gravel bikes are faster than mountain bikes across the course. The event is also an official seeding event for the 2025 Cape Town Cycle Tour.

For more information on the Lions Karoo to Coast visit or enter online here. In the build-up to the 2024 race Stuart Lightly – an 18-time finisher including seven on a rigid singlespeed – will be sharing his route insights. Lightly participated in the first route recce, in 1998, and has organised annual pre-rides every year since on behalf of the race organisers, the Lions Clubs of Knysna and Uniondale. To read those in-depth route descriptions visit

Prince Alfreds Pass

Prince Alfreds Pass is the heart of the Lions Karoo to Coast course, but new comers can learn more about the route generally by reading Stuart Lightly’s blog posts on the race website. Photo by

2024 Lions Karoo to Coast

Race Date: 22 September 2024
Entries Close: 1st September 2024
Entry Fee: R780 per person (Including dinner in Uniondale)
Registration & Start: Uniondale Show Grounds
Finish: Knysna High School Sports Fields
Facebook: Karoo to Coast
Instagram: @karoo2coast
Twitter: @karootocoast