Hotel & Property Partners | Guest House & Trade Affiliations | Active Travel Partners | Specialist Trip Guides
Bike & Saddle Trip Leaders
Our guides are local, bicycle and wildlife aficionados, lovers of architecture, history nature and travel, who are committed to the African continent. Bicycling, for transportation and pleasure, is our lifestyle. We stay in the saddle whether we are commuting to work or riding for fun. We want to share that passion with you.
Bike & Saddle often brings in specialist trip guides, whether it be a mountaineer to take us bolder hopping or a nature lover to unlock the wonders of the African veld as we meander through some of its most spectacular corners. As we update these pages, don't be surprised to find some of the better known names right here.
Steve Bolnick is recognized as one of southern Africa’s outstanding guides. He grew-up with a deep love for the African bush and has spent the past 30 years living and guiding in southern Africa. He currently lives in Cape Town, from where he runs his walking company and launches his safaris. Cape Town is the perfect place for him to indulge his interests in walking, winemaking and fynbos.
Steve has trained aspiring guides in South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe and has led research safaris for the WWF and Washington University. Between guiding he has acquired three university degrees in related subjects. Steve is the only guide to be licensed to operate professionally in South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe. His passion is walking and he is certified as a specialist guide. He assisted the Malawi Department of Wildlife by training game scouts to work with translocated wild elephants.
Steve holds a national qualification in tourist guiding as a Nature Guide at the highest level. He is registered with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) as a tourist guide licensed to operate in seven on South Africa’s nine provinces.
Further, Steve developed the iconic Mountains in The Sea Trail which he continues to lead. He is also a qualified National Qualifications Assessor and involved in the training and assessment of aspirant guides toward the achievement of nature guiding qualifications.
Steve is committed to the conservation of wilderness and wildlife and believes that the future of Africa’s exceptional natural heritage depends upon the involvement of the people who live in close contact with it. He has worked with communities to try and ensure that they benefit from the sustainable management of their natural resources. He established the NGO Community Conservation Ecotourism and Development, and established the Chizarira Community Conservation Program and Chizarira Anti-Poaching Unit. His education combined with years of experience qualify Steve to design, arrange and lead tours & safaris for the most discerning guests.
Greg finished School 1991 at Woodridge College, Eastern Cape and went on to study ND, Nature Conservation and is currently a qualified Level 3 trails guide. He has worked in various parks including Timbavati, St Lucia and Kruger National Park as a Wilderness Trails Ranger. In 2003 he established Cycle Mashatu and he's been riding mountain bikes since. Greg finished the Cape Epic in 2005 (vowed never to do it again but currently having second thoughts) and in general loves traveling and exploring out of the way places by bike and foot.
Ivan Groenhof, along with colleague Galeo Saintz, is the co-creator of the Rim of Africa Mountain Passage, a mega distance walking experience stretching 650 km across the Cape's fold mountains from the Northern Cederberg to the Outeniqua mountain range. Ivan has had a long and passionate history with conservation related issues from envirommental activism in his "heady" student days to more recent proactive involvment in project management and conservation planning initiatives. Mountain conservation specifically has become his main focus after working closely with both urban and rural communities seeking opportunities in eco-tourism. Ivan seeks out the spark in individual’s eyes and gently blows that ember into life fire and is best described as a mentor.
He has nurtured his own spark into the roarly ambitous task of setting up the present day Rim of Africa Mountain Passage as an icon for personal and cultural transformation in mountain wilderness. To this extent the recent fruition of this walkable experience is the culmination of a life long dream to create a "Santiago de Compostela" or rite of passage type mountain walking opportunity in South Africa, and in so doing, greatly enhance the conservation value of the Cape's mountain chain and water catchments. As part of a suite of walking experiences Rim of Africa along with Bike & Saddle is now proud to bring you the Cederberg Odyssey, a unique 6 day biking and hiking adventure through the most precious parts of the Cederberg allowing for personal interactions with some of this landscape's great personalities.
Ian first came to South Africa in 1963 via an overland hitch hiking adventure that took him through Egypt, down the Nile into Equatorial Sudan, into Uganda, Kenya, and all parts south to Johannesburg. Ian recounts, "I was in a “no star” hotel in Kampala when JF Kennedy was shot.
Subsequently I did two further overland trips across Africa and three via Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan to India. In South Africa I picked up my early career in the travel business and went on to spend the next 30 years in the industry. I spent several years as a tour operator specializing in sporting group tours and corporate sales incentive group tours. Whilst in my role as CEO of Associated Air Travel (where I spent seventeen years) we were appointed as the South African official agents for three Soccer world cups (Germany, Spain and Argentina) and three Olympic Games.
In 1988 I was recruited by an international travel organisation based in Switzerland. I transferred to UK an took up an appointment as Marketing Director for Kuoni, Britain’s leading long haul tour operator. Later I was contracted as marketing director of Jetsave a USA air charter and package holiday specialist. I returned to South Africa in 1995. I ended my career after spending three years as CEO of a group of companies with interests in tourism, hotels and game reserves."
Ian now lives in Newlands in Cape Town in the shadow of Fernwood Peak. He's married to Franki with whom he has travelled extensively – a year in Australia and NZ in a camper van, eight months in India and Nepal and several long trips to SE Asia. All in all, Ian's visited 102 countries. Ian has run nine Comrades marathons and completed several Dusi canoe marathons. In 2007 he wrote a book “Leading from the front” for John Barry Chairman of Adcorp. His current interests are cycling and sea kayaking. And whenever the wind is favorable, Ian rides as “tail end Charlie” at the back of any Bike & Saddle cycling group and he's very happy to help out as a shepherd!
Richard traveled extensively in Europe before settling in Durban, where he founded Street Scene Tours as an alternative tour company, focusing on South Africa's most culturally diverse destination & 3rd largest metropolitan.This fascinating way of exploring a city, through the local's eyes, gives the customer a glimpse into the real inner workings of South African culture without the stereotypicale. If you're in the mood for adventure, for a walk through Durban's bustling markets or travelling native style to the real home & heart of Africa's people, then Street Scene Tours is the place! Durban beats. Suburban treats. Hip & happening scenes on the street!And now Rich is Bike & Saddle's partner and manager in Durban, bringing the same dedication and focus to our Durban Cycle Tours.
Pietman, born and bred in South Africa's wine country the Boland, is a renowned wine expert, accomplished storyteller and recently retired Managing Director of the South African Brandy Foundation. He educated in Wellington and at the University of Stellenbosch. From 1971 Pietman was employed by the Distillers Corporation in Stellenbosch in various capacities culminating as director and head of public relations. As Client Services Director, Pietman led 12 overseas tours to various parts of the world, representing all facets and cultures of South Africa as part of the promotion of the country’s ‘Wine Revolution’. He was responsible for the opening of the Wine Museum, Brandy Museum and the Van Ryn Brandy Cellar in the early 80s and assisted with the inauguration of the South African Brandy Foundation in 1984 and from 1994 was Director, engaged in TV, radio, seminars and lectures countrywide promoting the image of brandy. Since retirement at the beginning of 2006 he has been communication and cultural consultant to the wine and tourism industries.
From 1989/90 Pietman was the General Manager of the SA Rugby Board. Pietman is Founder and Life Member of the Stellenbosch Tourism & Information, member of the Western Cape Tourism Board and Cape Town Routes Unlimited and chairman of the Wine Tourism Steering Committee.
An intrepid adventurer, Ben has meandered his way through a number of the world’s most interesting and dangerous countries. Completing an overland trip from Cape Town to Cairo, armed only with his pen and relying on different, but equally bad, forms of public transport, he is passionate about Africa and all this continent has to offer. He has also travelled 3000km across the Amazon, cycled the world's most dangerous road in Bolivia and hiked to the sacred Inca city of Machu Picchu in the Peruvian Andes.
A travel writer by profession, and a traveller by heart, Ben has worked and written for a number of major websites, including Rhino Africa Safaris, one of the continent's leading tour operators. He currently manages the Bike & Saddle network and is involved in much of the PR and proposal writing for the company. He has been published in a number of newspapers and magazines, and subscribes to the old adage that the pen is mightier than the sword.
A keen cyclist with a number of madcap journeys in the saddle, Ben has biked 350km across the Damaraland Desert in northern Namibia as part of a fundraising effort to save the endangered, desert rhino. He guides the Cape Town Evening and Full Day Peninsula bike rides, doing his utmost to show guests the best of the Mother City. He has helped to scout a unique cycle route in Victoria Falls as well as signature Eco-Active trails in a number of Big Five game reserves in South Africa, offering guests the opportunity to spot wildlife and experience the African bushveld, from the back of a bike!
A Masters Student in Development Studies, Ben is currently conducting research into the way in which sport and exercise can promote the development of marginalised communities. As such he is the right man to help Bike & Saddle with their social responsibility initiative, ‘Books on Bikes’. This campaign collects books from the public, through bicycle stores, and distributes these books to community libraries across South Africa. It endeavours to promote cycling as a means of eco-friendly, efficient and effective transport in rural and peri-urban communities and assists with improving the literacy rate across South Africa.
Victor has been in the sales and marketing field since he graduated from Magwegwe High School in1998, Bulawayo. An out going peoples person who has worked in the hospitality business as a waiter, travel consultant, hot air balloon pilot, he is today a successful entrepreneur and owner of Veneto Adventures, a Bike & Saddle Affiliate Partner. Based in Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, he has personally interacted and hosted over 3000 tours since Veneto got underway in early 2002. Vicotor is passionate about sales & marketing and innovation and loves to share his considerable knowledge with his guests. A trip with Victor is an experience you will remember for his attention to detail, his love for nature and his knowledge of the area.
Ross is a professional mountain climber - one of South Africa’s most experienced and talented mountain instructors and guides. He was born and is still based in Cape Town where he lives with his family and runs his mountain guiding, training and assessment business. He is the owner and sole member of the company High Adventure, which he established in 1996.
Ross has more than 30 years of mountaineering and rock climbing experience gained in southern Africa, in Europe, and in the South American Andes. He has pioneered over a hundred new rock scrambling and climbing routes in southern Africa, in the process contributing significantly to putting four new rock climbing areas ‘on the map’ in the Western Cape Province.
Ross has been instructing and guiding in the mountains since 1992. He has been and still is directly involved in setting up and implementing the national Mountain Leader Training Scheme in South Africa. He is an accredited service provider within the training scheme, holds Rock Climbing Instructor and Mountain Walking Instructor certificates, and is accredited as an assessor for both these disciplines.
Further, Ross is one of the pioneer professional mountain guides in this country, and a founder member and past-chairman of the South African Mountain Guides Association (SAMGA). He has been involved with the setting of standards, based on international precedent, for the various levels of mountain guides in South Africa. He holds a national qualification in tourist guiding as an Adventure Site Guide, with rock climbing and mountain walking being his specialities. He is registered with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) as a tourist guide.
He is also a qualified National Qualifications Assessor and involved in assessments toward the achievement of mountain guiding qualifications.
Ross is passionate about the great outdoors and mountains in particular. Among his interests are the fauna and flora, plant conservation, geology, sustainable and low-impact utilisation of the natural environment, mountaineering history in South Africa, cultural history of the Cape region. With these interests he is able to interpret the environment and make each mountain walk and climb and interesting and educational experience, thereby adding real value.
He knows the local mountains like the back of his hand, so you can rest assured that you will be safe and well entertained while in his care. Expand your experience of visiting the Cape by making a plan to hire his expert guiding services … you’ll be glad you did!