Mountain Biking in Gauteng
Mountain Biking in South Africa
Mountain biking is an exceptionally popular sport in South Africa and each province has an exciting array of well-established trails. An increasing number are marked, but the profusion of rural gravel roads and footpaths traversing the country allows you to make up your own off-road journey.
A relatively new phenomenon is the development of mountain bike parks such as the MTN Toyota Cycle Park in Gauteng and Giba Gorge MTB Park in KwaZulu-Natal. These provide dedicated MTB trails that are safe and accessible.
Gauteng has a large number of single-track trails to cater to for its large mountain biking community. Although by no means the most scenic, these provide an escape for stressed urbanites. There are some superb trails a little further afield, particularly in the scenic Magaliesberg Mountains, less than an hour from Johannesburg and Pretoria.
The Free State has some outstanding trails, particularly in the golden sandstone mountains in the south-east of the province. The forests and river valleys of Mpumalanga, especially around Sabie, are heaven for dirt-hounds.
The rolling hills of KwaZulu-Natal make for exciting riding. There are numerous wilderness trails in the Drakensberg for adventurous riders. Areas like Karkloof in the Midlands and Clearwater Trails on the South Coast offer beautifully crafted single-track routes.
The beaches and maze of footpaths along the Wild Coast make this a very popular destination for mountain bikers wanting to enjoy sublime scenery and testing tracks. There are also plenty of challenges in the Baviaanskloof, the Tsitsikamma and elsewhere in the Eastern Cape.
Some of the best and most scenic riding is in the Western Cape, particularly in the Harkerville Forest near Knysna. Cape Town has some excellent single-track routes on Table Mountain and in Tokai Forest. There’s plenty more in the Jonkershoek Reserve in the Cape Winelands.
If you have a competitive nature you are spoilt for choice. Mountain bike racing has grown at a phenomenal rate and several of the multi-stage races - like the ABSA Cape Epic - attract large numbers of international riders. Some of these routes can be ridden year-round. If you prefer to make a holiday of it, there are numerous operators that will organise guided trips through spectacular or inaccessible regions. You can cycle through game reserves, on birding routes or on other special interest tours. Logistics are taken care of, including bike hire, allowing you to just enjoy the ride.
Articles & Blogs
Ride Here – Rosemary Hill9:55pm 12 Apr
Words and pics Andrew “Average Andy” Steer
Rosemary Hill is a bit of a trek from Johannesburg (a solid hour), for 'just' a 27km trail but, having decided it couldn't wait any longer, I took the plunge and am happy to report it was more than worth the drive. It was, after all, Big MTB Year’s trail winner for 2014. This slick, feature-filled offering ticks all the right boxes and, for your average mountain biker, it’s a perfect retreat for a mid-week de-stress, or a family weekend outing.
A nice, neat one-kilometre trail around...
Ride Here – Big Red Barn9:54pm 6 Mar
Words & pics Andrew “Average Andy” Steer
Big Red Barn is named after, well, a big (refurbished) red barn that is the base for all the activities at the 200ha Sunlawns Estate, just 15 minutes outside of Centurion in Gauteng.
Mountain-bike routes aside, the BRB (as it’s affectionately known) is a popular venue for the Jeep Warrior obstacle-racing series, hosts many local MTB races, and has a great restaurant. It is also home to Acrobranch tree adventures – an exciting additional feature that will likely appeal to the MTB fraternity. It may not be the biggest MTB park out...
Buffelsdrift Mountain Bike Park9:55pm 17 Sep
Words & pics Andrew Steer
Birds, beasts, berms and bushveld – it seems Buffelsdrift has it all. “Average” Andy Steer headed up to Buffelsdrift Mountain Bike Park to see if it was as good as the rumours suggest. We still can’t get the grin off his face.
Just 15 kilometres north of Pretoria lies Buffelsdrift Mountain Bike Park, hosted at Sefudi Lodge. Safely situated within the Buffelsdrift Nature Conservancy and just a stone’s throw away from Roodeplaat Dam and N1 highway, it also borders the popular Dinokeng Game Reserve, a free-roaming Big 5 park. It’s got...
Thaba Trails9:55pm 18 Jun
Words & pics Andrew Steer, Ride magazine
Thaba Trails in the south of Johannesburg was started in September 2011 when the passion of trail builder Wendell Bole outgrew the offerings for trail-building available at his first love child, the Rietvlei Cycle Park. Andrew “Average Andy” Steer didn’t need an excuse to revisit them in the new year…
Just around the corner in the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve, Wendell secured a 10-year lease to build his own trails on 450 hectares of pretty, pristine, privately-owned bushveld. Thaba Trails was born, and over the years – largely...
à bientôt, Avianto!6:48pm 14 May
Words & pics Andrew “Average Andy” Steer
Looking for the perfect marriage of mountain biking and hospitality? And convenience? And safety? Try the Tracker RideFree Avianto Bike Park in Muldersdrift. We did.
Avianto, in Muldersdrift in the Cradle of Humankind, is probably best known to the greater public as a world-class wedding and conference venue, but over the past few years it has rapidly risen to prominence as one of the best mountain-biking venues in Gauteng. The trails have been going for a couple of years now, but over the last year things have certainly kicked...
Ride Wolwespruit MTB in Erasmuskloof (Pretoria)6:34pm 12 Apr
Words and pics Andrew Steer
When it comes to trails in inner city spaces, Pretoria has always been a little ahead of the pack. We tested out the capital’s latest mountain-bike offering, Wolwespruit, in Erasmuskloof.
I headed to Wolwespruit on a pleasant Highveld Sunday afternoon to try out its heralded wares first hand. It was easy to find and access, even for a confused Joburger. I’d read a few positive reviews online, and its website is neatly done (www.wolwespruit.co.za), but you just never know what to expect until...
Capital Gains4:00am 24 Feb
Words Andrew Steer, pics Andrew Steer and Reino van Wyk
Groenkloof Nature Reserve is a cycling gem right in the heart of Pretoria, and although I had tasted snippets of the area’s riding in various races over the years, it was time to give the trails a full whirl.
Although there is generally one route of about 20km on the 600ha premises, it can easily be broken down into manageable bits to suit riders of most levels. There is...