Cycle Village and Programme


Ilala Lodge and Shearwater Village 

This year the Zambezi Cycle Challenge will be hosted at Ilala Lodge and the Shearwater Village offering a luxury and budget options to our riders. Both lodges are a five minute walk from the Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and are located with easy access to all the historical sites, restaurants and activities available in Victoria Falls.


Neutral Zone, Technical Back up

There will only be a limited mechanical back up team for this event.  They will be situated at the Cycle Village and will be there to assist with any mechanical hiccups the riders may experience. They will be charging for their labor, parts and consumables used. Please note that this team will not be offering bike washing as part of their service nor will they be doing routine servicing of bikes – they will be there to assist with serious mechanical faults only. Please bear in mind that there will be a limited stock of spares and the team will do the best they can with what is available.

The Programme Summarised

7th July –The registration desk will be open at The Cycle Village from 12.00hrs to 17.00hrs The welcome, safety and race briefing will be done at the cycle village at 18.00hrs. It is compulsory for all participants to attend this briefing.  Please have your bikes on site to be loaded for the start the following day by 16.00 if you want your bike transported to the start.

A three course dinner will be provided at the cycle village after the briefing and drinks will be available at your own expense.


8th July Day 1 Distance approximately 65KMS – Elephant Pools

Bikes will be loaded the night before and entrants will depart from Ilala Lodge at 6 am. The road transfer will take approximately 25 minutes along the Bulawayo Road and start just behind the Airport. We aim to start the Days ride at 7.15am. The 65 km route starts on a gravel road and after 5 kms will enter a double track for approximately 10 kms. Thereafter you will enjoy elephant trails that will take you to Elephant Pools and then onto a combination of single and double track home. Most of this day you will be riding through big game areas some community areas. You will eventually come through the Wild Horizons Wildlife Sanctuary, past Vic Falls Hotel and end at Ilala Lodge. Enjoy the natural surroundings and keep a respectable distance should you came across any wildlife. We will deploy safety marshals through the areas where you are most likely to encounter wildlife, but you need to be vigilant throughout this days ride.

Lunch is available at your own cost at the Cycle Village

Free afternoon at Leisure.

For the Cycle Village residents at Ilala, dinner is included and non-residents welcome at own expense ($20). Make sure your bikes are delivered to the Cycle Village by 16.00hrs for loading if you do not have your own transport to get to the starting point for Day 2.


9th July Day 2 Distance 60kms – Village Ramble

Bikes will be loaded the night before and entrants will depart from Ilala Lodge at 6.00 am. The transfer to the starting point which will be about 15kms out on the Airport road.

This day will start on the tar to separate the riders a bit and then wind its way through a scenic valley and take you through many authentic village scenes. Some technical riding but generally short hills and sharp descents. Some wonderful fast and winding sections on cattle paths through some woodland will eventually take you back through a new section through the Wild Horizons Sanctuary and back to the finish Ilala.

Lunch will be available at the Cycle Village at your own cost

Free afternoon at your own leisure.

Make sure your bikes are delivered to the Cycle Village by 16.00hrs for loading if you do not have your own transport to get to the starting point for Day 3. For residents staying at the Cycle Village, dinner is included for Ilala residents and available to non-residents at your own expense ($20).


10th July Day 3 Distance 55km –Riding on the edge

The buses will leave the Cycle Village at 6 am and transfer you to today’s start, approximately 30kms downstream from the Victoria Falls themselves. It’s just about all single track and the most technically challenging day of the event. The start has a 3 km stretch on gravel before entering a gentle single track through the rural villages.

You will then enter the Wild Horizons Wildlife Sanctuary and enjoy a long single track that has been referred to as a mountain bikers dream! Fast, technical and exciting through wildlife areas interspersed regularly with breath taking views of the Zambezi river way below. Please stop and enjoy the view, there will be a section that is a compulsory walk for safety purposes.  As you approach the end of the ride, you will be greeted by the thunder and spray of the Victoria Falls before the final stretch to the finish at Ilala.

This afternoon is spent relaxing and soothing tired muscles before meeting at 3.30pm for transportation to the sundowner cruise. The cruise takes place on the river above the falls
and lasts until just after sunset. The cruise drops us off at the gala dinner venue on the banks of the Zambezi where we will enjoy prize giving, dinner and drinks.

*** Please note that we will have waterpoints with water and basic food supplies, please bring any specific nutritional support with you