Corinne Butler says……..
“As a regular participant in the ZCC over the years, I have made many new friends, memories and continue to really enjoy the adventure that is the Zambezi Cycle Challenge. The route has changed and evolved with much improved trails and we are privileged to ride in areas that are not normally open to the public, thanks to Wild Horizons. The riding is quite technical and you have to concentrate, but you must take some time out to appreciate the incredible views of the might Zambezi River and Gorge and savour riding through pristine wildlife areas, always with one eye out for the Elephants and Buffalo etc! Knowledge and experience of following trails on GPS is recommended and the 3 days culminates in a wonderful Sunset Cruise on the Zambezi River, followed by a spectacular dinner and prize giving on the Zambezi River. Participants make their own choice of accommodation in Victoria Falls, but for me it will always be at the lovely Palm Hospitality properties, Ilala Lodge and Palm River Hotel. I am looking forward to my next visit to Victoria Falls in July, to enjoy the next Zambezi Cycle Challenge.”
Alan Soule says……
“Regarding the ZCC ride. I have done this ride many times, it’s good value for money, great fun, good company, excellent routes hence great riding and most of all well organised. This ride is a must do.”
Warwick Broad says…..
“Having cycled in a few road and off road cycling events, it was now time, at the tender age of 51, to take on the much revered Zambezi Cycle Challenge, and so I did…
I have competed in a number of Air Rallies which ultimately end at Vic Falls, and the final half hour of the route takes you over and around the terrain in the proximity of the mighty world heritage waterfall. Flying over this terrain you would be wise to think that the terrain below is flat. After three days of cycling this event, I soon discovered to the contrary. This ancient landscape surrounding this historic waterfall is in fact full of gullies, riverine tributaries and river systems, natural caked potholes created by elephants and what the locals call, “Baby Heads” which are perfectly rounded rocks that are really quite tough to ride over, and awfully effective at creating full stop landings.
The event itself is brilliantly organised by the wonderful and always hospitable Victoria Falls community. As we all know from organising events like Huntin Shootin Fishin, it takes a dedicated committee to coordinate a large event like this, and the ZCC was truly world class, as the visiting South African competitors attested to. Whilst Matopos is perhaps more scenic and more of a challenge in terms of dwalas and numerous climbs, the ZCC has its own challenges and its own rugged charm, and, it has an abundance of wild animals, so they have to place armed scouts to protect 120 cyclists from being squished by buffalo and elephant or eaten by lions… this was in the first night brief, reminiscent of the first night of Matopos when they warn you that you will be riding through the biggest concentration of black mamba in the world, oh and there’s no cell phone signal, so if you get bitten, die quietly. One of the big advantages of the ZCC is that you get a nice comfortable room to come back to, warm shower and clean bed, as opposed to camping in the Matopos.
Day one, and you rise at 04:45, fill your belly with oat porridge, full breakfast and the nerves begin. A truck is organised with all the bikes strapped on, and a warm bus arrives at Illala Lodge to take you to the start point. The day one start was just past the airport. The route took you out further into the rural areas and did a big loop and slowly meandered back towards the Falls, around the gorge and past Vic Falls Hotel ending at the Shearwater Village. I really enjoyed day one and found it to be easier than I had anticipated, despite a lot of sand, plenty of gullies and a 65km track through some pretty hectic bush. Upon arrival at Shearwater you were met with a wonderful surrounding, viby atmosphere and a luncheon on with bitterly cold beers.
Day two, and you rise at 04:45, fill your belly with oat porridge, full breakfast and perhaps another strong tea because head is a little fuzzy. Once again, fancy bus there to take us to new drop off point. The finish was awesome, arriving into the Lookout Café, with a band playing, a luncheon on, and cold beer, this time I opted for a cold coke, back to the hotel for a shower and a long sleep and more water and juice. I later heard that day from Lee John, whom is one of Zimbabwe’s top mountain bike cyclists, and who was winning the event in his age group, and furthermore is one of the members of our elite Saturday cycling club, he told me, that Day two of this years ZCC was one of the most technical rides in the Country.
Day three, and you rise at 04:45, fill your belly with oat porridge and full breakfast, no need for extra tea that day, because only two beers the previous day and a good long sleep. Show me the challenge. You must experience the last day of ZCC to fully appreciate the sheer magnitude of the scenery. The bus this time takes you deep not the rural area and you start on the edge of the gorge, way down from the Falls. The route then swings in and out of this diverse amazing bushveld and always back to the most stunning views of the gorge, and one section you actually cycle along the knife edge of the mighty gorge hearing the roar of the Zambezi 300 feet below. The water points were awesome, game sightings were amazing, cycling next to wild elephants. Day three was definitely the best, ending at Illala Lodge, crossing the line, three-day event complete and all safe, cold beers most welcome. A quick shower and on to a wonderful afternoon booze cruise aboard the triple decker Zambezi Explorer, and a fun prize giving dinner on the edge of the River.
ZCC is one of the best Mountain Bike Cycling events in Zimbabwe, an awesome all-round adventure which runs like clockwork, excellent organisation, truly world class attracting competitors not only from the region but also Internationals. If you like cycling in the bush, put it at the top of your bucket list.”
Rusty Hatton says……
“I have partaken in and watched the development of, the ZAMBEZI CYCLE CHALLENGE since the event took on a new look in 2015. My admiration has always been for the ethos of the event’s organizers which has been in the spirit of Community Development and Wild Life Conservation.
Every year this three-day cycle course has had to change due to the increased concentration of wildlife in areas where previously, the wildlife was very scarce. The 2023 ZCC was restricted to the Communal Lands adjacent to the beautiful Batoka Gorge area, where the local dwellers are always accepting and happy to greet cyclists.
This simply gives comfort to the regular ZCC participants, that their contribution over the years, spread amongst various organizations, has been put to good use.
Besides that, it is a great and well-organized event, held in one of the most beautiful parts of the world. It is an event for every Mountain Bikers hit list, be they competitive or not.
If I were asked to nominate a motto for the ZCC, it would simply be:- “ON TIME EVERY TIME.”