Jul 18 2019
South Africa is one of the most unique places to visit. With so much ground to cover, it is a good idea to plan for a longer stay than normal… or pack a bike to help you cover it. Home to Greg Minnaarmultiple, multiple world time mountain bike champion, and Pietermaritzburg’s finest. South Africa clearly offers some gnarly trails that are a must visit.
Given South Africa’s bountiful and diverse outdoor environments, as well as the excellent weather, it is probably not surprising that MTB has exploded in the country! While for young and old, singles and families, it may just be a great healthy past time, but MTB has also developed as a significant sport, and South Africa has become a serious destination for enthusiasts. South Africa’s most challenging mountain bike race, the Cape Epic, is internationally unrivaled as a pinnacle mountain bike event.
Today, the South African MTB calendar is packed with diverse events across a wide range of locations that draw elite professional riders from around the world, as well as many amateur enthusiasts. With more than 400 mountain biking trails, some of which are hailed as amongst the best in the world, it’s no wonder that South Africa has become a sought-after mountain bike destination. In 2018, Stellenbosch again hosted The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup for another great year.
Sabie is arguably the best mountain biking destination in South Africa – is the ideal springboard for both novice and accomplished mountain bikers to practice this sport in a secure environment amidst breathtaking scenery. Sabie offers both the competitive and the casual mountain biker a wide range of well-marked, self-guided mountain bike trails.
With purpose-built MTB trails from a decade of cross-country racing in one of South Africa’s most beautiful settings, what you experience here will motivate many happy returns. You can literally do a different ride every day of the week. The many trails are in existence thanks to the efforts of a small but dedicated group of locals, namely the Sabie Chain-Gang Club and the Mpumalanga MTB Association (MAMBA). Working closely with major forestry corporations like SAPPI, MONDI, SAFCOL, and Global Forestry Products, as well as stakeholders in the local tourism industry, they have gained and maintained land access for off-road cycling on private forestry property surrounding Sabie. Consequently, this has become a prime recreational and racing mecca for mountain-biking enthusiasts all over the country.
Sabie is the perfect hub for an off-road cycling vacation, from competitive riders consolidating their training to families with little fledgling cyclists. Road cyclists too will revel in mile upon mile of challenging mountain rides along quiet, wide tarred roads. Mountain bike trails through the bushveld near Olifants Rest Camp in Kruger National Park are one of a kind! You’ll have to be a confident shredder for these trails though.
The tours are something like a cross between a game drive and a game walk. You’ll have a game drive to begin with to get to the starting location. Once you hop on your bikes, you’ll cover more distance and have tons more fun than on a game walk, but just like a game walk, you’ll be powered by your own legs!
Mountain biking in Kruger National Park is a unique experience. The only rest camp offering it is Olifants, which is about halfway up the park on the eastern side.
There are two trails on offer:
- The Hardekool Draai Trail, which follows the Letaba River, goes for 21.4km (13.3 miles). The ride lasts about 4 hours.
- The Olifants/Letaba River Confluence Trailgoes for 12.2km (7.6 miles). The ride goes for 3 hours, andyou need to be an expert mountain biker to do it. It’s a tough one!
If you ask any off-road cyclist in the Western Cape where the best mountain biking routes are, Tokai Forestis sure to be included in their answer. The steep slopes that characterize the Constantiabergand the Silvermine Nature Reservemake it ideal for mountain biking. With accumulated ascent for the day of 1,200 meters, there will be plenty of hard work to do.
There are some excellent vantage points along the route, with terrific views of the Constantia Vineyards, Hout Bay, Noordhoek Valley, and Table Mountain. Bring your camera along as you may see some baboons!
While Table Mountain basks in the warm light of dawn with the amber glow of the early morning sun slanting through tall trees and bushes, we are fortunate to be riding in the midst of such beauty.
For those who want to see “the best of the Cape”in one day, this carefully planned mountain bike ride through the Table Mountain National Parkand the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, made up of fast flowing gravel jeep trails, lung-busting climbs, and single tracks, will plant a huge smile on your face!
Apart from the beautiful mountain towering over this historic and unique little town, the variety of activities and natural treasures located within 30-60 minutes’ drive from Swellendam is this destination’s biggest draw-card. In 2007, when the Absa Cape Epic still traveled from Knysna to Stellenbosch (with Swellendam as one of the stopovers), people used to say that it was one of the only races where you could experience anything from single track to rolling hills, epic climbs to fast flats, forest to Klein Karoo – because it traveled such a long distance. The effort of setting up a race village in a new town each day and the cost involved was one of the reasons that the Absa Cape Epic stopped traveling in a straight line from Knysna and opted for the Clover-system. The Clover-system is where you start and finish at least two days of racing from the same venue. When staying in Swellendam you will have the comfort of choosing between single track, rolling hills, forests, Klein Karoo, through a pass, to the ocean, over a ferry – while enjoying the comfort of staying in one place!
In Knysna, you will cycle through mystical indigenous forests and, just 15km out of Knysna, you will find the Homtini Mountain Bike Trailin the Farleigh State Forest. The entire town surrounds a large saltwater estuary called the Knysna Lagoon. Therefore, besides the nitty-gritty of South African mountain biking fun, you can also enjoy numerous recreational activities, such as boating, fishing, swimming and lots of adventuring.
The Hakerville Cycle Routesare situated in the Hakerville Forest between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. There are four routes catering for the beginner to the more advanced mountain biker.
The routes are color-coded and are as follows:
- Yellow Route: This route is 13km in length and follow gravel forest service roads and will be the only route open when the others are closed due to wet ground conditions.
- Blue Route: Covering a distance of 11km, this route follows gravel service roads and also along the Beukespad, a forest slip-path, through moist high forest. On returning you pass by some huge Coastal Redwoods planted in 1927.
- Green Route: This 14km route takes the rider along the Grooteilandpad and onto the Waterpad where there is a refreshing swimming hole, great for taking a break. There is an optional loop that will along which you will have breathtaking views of the Hakkerville coastline. on the return, the route follows the Kleineilandpad and then onto the Perdekoppad where you can enjoy an exciting section of single-track.
- Red Route: This is the longest and hardest of the routes and is said to be one of the most scenic routes in the country. This route takes you through deep indigenous forest, fynbos, and incredible coastal views along the way. 22km in length and more than 10km of single track, this route is definitely the most exhilarating.
May 31 2019
Everyone needs to work and do their part to afford a life, but it is important to have a work/life balance. They say if you live to 75, and work an average work week of 8 hour days, that you spend 1/3 of your life working. Another 1/3 gets devoted to sleep. That’s a lot of time!
This being said, make sure whatever you do that it is something you enjoy, and even more important, make sure to take time for yourself. Ever hear the saying, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy?” This goes for everyone, not just Jack.
In recent studies, it’s been proven that traveling decreases stress and can actually boost your health! Lots of people travel to gain new experiences, which is great! Sometimes though, travel is the perfect remedy for past experiences that may be holding you back. If you travel somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, it is easier to forget about the bad experiences that might be hard to get past along the way. If you remove yourself from the environment that is causing you stress, and send off on an adventure, nine times out of ten, the stress will not follow!
Take that ski trip with your buddies from back in the day, go on that one month backpacking trip in the Andes, or take off work and drive wherever the roads take you. This is your life! Don’t let anyone else think they own you or your decisions. It doesn’t matter if it’s your wife, husband, boss, friends, or kids. If they don’t want to join you and instead hold you back, see ya!
It’s a good idea not to burn your bridges with anyone, but if they are holding you back in your own life, you may want to rethink who you are spending your time with. You become who you hang around. If you spend time with someone who is super fun and adventurous, you will be the same way! If you hang around someone who is always negative, puts people down, and is never up for your adventures, you will eventually, and unfortunately, become like that too.
Which path sounds better? How will you choose to live your life? We all know that life sometimes gets in the way, but beyond that make time for your dreams. Travel.
May 10 2019
We want to ride, but it’s going to rain all weekend!
Pisgah National forest doesn’t care if its rainy, sunny, or snowy. We’re still gonna send it, and you should too! Mountain biking is a fun sport that should be enjoyed in all types of weather.
Remember as a kid, playing in the mud? Well, now you can do it on a bike! Slipping and sliding through the chunk, splashing through the puddles just barely hangin’ on having a blast. What’s better than that? A sunny day? Nahh… its all on how you look at it. If you look at a rainy day thinking that you can’t ride or do anything outdoors, that’s exactly what the day will give you. If you look at it with a positive outlook though, can make it a day filled with fun and excitement!
To me, a rainy day is just as good if not better than a sunny day. Something about splashing through puddles, sliding through the mud, and getting filthy produces nothing but smiles and pure joy. When the adventure crew is out playing in the rain and mud, you can find us on our bikes in Pisgah giggling and smiling until our cheek muscles hurt.
Pisgah is located in the mountains of Western North Carolina and offers some of the gnarliest riding on the East Coast. Most of Pisgah is not a place for beginners but is a nice thrill if you know what you’re doing. With elevations over six thousand feet, you could say there is some elevation change. I will say if you like to shred a good downhill, this is the place. These runs seem to be never ending with nothing but smiles the whole way down.
It is becoming more and more of a struggle to find places to ride in the rain or even after it rains. Lots of open trails today seem to be so well manicured that they don’t allow you to ride them during or after the rain. This is great, but it is always a blast to ride some raw chunk, washouts, and natural terrain. Pisgah provides this for us and that is why it’s one of our favorites to ride. Our favorite thing actually is to ride all day, and then backpack the falls.
Every day has the potential to be a great day. It all depends on what you make of it! – Say Adventurous.
Aug 22 2018
Mountain Biking in South Africa:
Are you looking for a new thrilling destination to shred some mountain bike trails? Well, it must be your lucky day! This article explains why South Africa is becoming one of the most sought after MTB destinations in the world. If you think about it, South Africa offers almost every kind of terrain. From massive mountain ranges, grasslands and meadows, to the undeveloped oceanside with beautiful rock ledges, you can see why South Africa is such a growing trend for mountain bikers today. Picture that image in your head for a brief second… now picture yourself riding these trails with this scenery… pretty awesome right?
South Africa has quite the diversity when it comes to outdoor activities. With near perfect environments and excellent weather, mountain biking in South Africa has exploded and become a top destination for enthusiasts around the globe. With carefully planned trails built by mountain bikers for mountain bikers, South Africa has become a prime recreational and racing mecca.
Beautiful mountains tower over historic towns, with single track to rolling hills to epic climbs to fast flats and of course with world renowned game viewing, there’s too much to include in one article. For those yearning for the ultimate mountain biking challenge, the South African experience will take your search above and beyond your expectation.
Ride through Sabie to Misty Mountain to Kruger National Park, Silvermine Nature Reserve, the Cape of Good Hope, Table Mountain National Park and on to Tokai Forest. Tokai has a bit of everything. Featured in Red Bull’s “Keeping it Pinned with Olli” on Red Bull TV, it talks about Tokai’s iconic downhill trails. Tokai offers flow, while still having the technical rock gardens, and even a jump line for some added fun.
Here you will experience South Africa first hand. Some of these trails are said to be among the best in the world. It has also been said that the best way to see the world is on a bicycle. We can’t think of a better way to experience South Africa than on a mountain bike. What are you waiting for?