Trappist Ways Cycle Tours
- 5pm Arrive at Himeville country lodge where you’ll enjoy a communal dinner and pre-ride briefing.
We then make our way using quiet country roads to our first mission station at Reichenau. Reichenau is the oldest of all the Mariannhill missions, founded in 1886 after a request from a Zulu chief for a place where his people could learn to read. It soon became a flourishing farm complete with water-driven mill.After tea, a local guide will give us a tour of Reichenau Mission, farm and mill. We will then make our way downhill through the steep and dramatic Mzimkhulu valley to the beautiful Centocow, built in 1888 and one of the grandest of the Trappist stations in Natal, for our overnight mission stop.
Start the day with a hearty breakfast and introductory talk by a local historian and tour guide on the fascinating background history of the Trappist monks and the mission stations in the area that we will be visiting.
- A relaxed morning is spent touring the spectacular mission churches and historical museum at Centow. In addition to the museum, Centocow houses a newly-revamped art gallery displaying the work of the great South African artist, Gerard Bhengu. Father Paul will give a tour of the church, including the history of the replica of the famous Polish icon of the Black Madonna, and the beautiful stained-glass window depicting the story of Francis Pfanner’s achievements. That afternoon we set off through private farmland and the indigenous mist-belt Hlabeni forest to our next overnight destination at a local farmhouse situated between Creighton and Donnybrook. That evening the group will enjoy a screening of the locally produced documentary “The Trappist Trail”.
- St Isodors . An early departure ensures a scenic 50km cycle through stunning countryside. En route we stop off to admire the beautiful stained glass windows of Mariathal Mission, before winding our way through forest trails to Kings Grant Country Retreat. This establishment was built by the Trappist Monks in 1891 and was run for over a century by the resident Mariannhill Monks as the St Isidor Mission, farm, mill and brickfields. The old redbrick living quarters of the monks and nuns have been lovingly restored into an enchanting country guesthouse. The a la carte restaurant features many delicious cuisine options, and adjoins a Tuscan-styled garden courtyard.
Depending on time restrictions and the groups energy and interest levels there is an optional driven tour to the remote Emaus Mission, where Abbot Francis Pfanner spent the last 17 years of his life. Tour the church and museum, experiencing Pfanner’s hauntingly personal Stations of the Cross, Hill of Calvary and Crucified Christ.
Please note that the tour itinerary is not fixed and can be subject to change depending on availability of accommodation, local guides and the group’s fitness level.
Departure: After a relaxed breakfast, we will be given a tour of the farm including the 19th century chapel, mill museum, and workshop with functioning British and German machinery. Guest will be transferred back to Himeville to collect their cars in time for a lunchtime departure.
A 4 night 4 day cycle tour through Alan Paton countryside of Ixopo, Creighton and Underberg visiting Trappist Mission stations. Guesthouse accommodation, Mission stay, all meals, fully guided with history tours, luggage transfers and backup support.
Join us on an extraordinary journey following in the footsteps of the legendary Abbot Francis Pfanner, a charismatic and eccentric religious leader who was instrumental in promoting the Trappist Mission way of Catholicism in South Africa in the late 19th century. Cycling through the gorgeous countryside in which Alan Paton described in Cry the Beloved Country as “the fairest valley in Africa”, we visit four magnificent mission stations in 5 days, each one an architectural masterpiece.
Through the interpretation of local tour guides and resident priests and monks you will learn about the history of the Trappists and their Missions; fascinating folk-lore and legends, the landscape, and the fauna and flora of this wonderful pilgrimage. With back-up support, luggage transfer and very manageable, relatively flat daily distances, this is a fully-guided trip designed for the average cycle tourist who is interested in countryside, architecture, fine food, local history and culture.