What do you get if you combine an adrenalin-fuelled sport with an awesome nature experience? Mountain biking certainly comes to mind. It suits the adrenalin junkie, as well as a rider who wants a scenic outing with friends or family, or someone who simply enjoys experiencing nature from a different perspective.
Mountain biking is especially fun if you live in an area with plenty of mountain bike trails. If you are in and around Cape Town, you’re particularly spoiled for choice.
Here are some of our favourite mountain bike trails from around the Cape.
Oak Valley Trail
Sometimes it’s difficult describing a beautiful nature scene in only words. You’re basically left describing everything as ‘picturesque’ and ‘breath-taking’.
Learn the meaning of these words anew at the Oak Valley trail, regarded as one of the most beautiful trails you’ll ever have the pleasure of experiencing.
Depending on the route you take, the ride can either be short and pleasant, or longer and tougher. While the tougher trail will test your stamina, it’s not that technically treacherous.
Oak Valley Trail is located on a wine estate outside Grabouw. The mountain bike community can be grateful to the owners, who have made an effort to maintain the trails.
Jonkershoek MTB Trail (near Stellenbosch)
The SA XC champs and downhill champs have been held at Jonkershoek, so you know it’s a good place to come and play. Despite the association with adrenalin-inducing antics, Jonkershoek Reserve actually offers very safe cycling, so bring the family.
There are two main trails, a shorter 15 km and a longer 30 km one, both starting at the entrance. An altitude of just over 550 meters leads to some spectacular views if you feel like doing some climbing.
What’s interesting about Jonkershoek is that it’s actually a commercial forest that gets harvested. Therefore, trails are always changing, disappearing, and transforming into different routes. Any trail you ride in Jonkershoek today might not be there in a year’s time.
To get to the reserve, simply take Merriman Street out of Stellenbosch, go past the Lanzerac Hotel and you’ll find the reserve at the end of the road.
Tokai Forest Cycle Trail
If you want gorgeous views of the countryside alongside a strong workout, then check out Tokai Forest.
The mountain has an altitude of over 900 metres, which makes for a fantastic vantage point for taking in the sea views. Tokai Forest Cycle Trail is a moderate to difficult route, but during the rainy season it leans more towards difficult. Exposed roots, hairpin bends and sharp drops are some of the challenges you’ll face, and they require some skill to safely navigate.
Table Mountain National Park
You can’t be a rider in Cape Town and never have explored Table Mountain Reserve’s cycling trails. The steep slopes of the reserve keep you on your toes, and the surreal scenery mixes gorgeous shots of mountain, ocean, and the iconic cityscapes of Cape Town.
While enjoying the pretty valleys and charming streams, just remember that the surrounding fynbos eco-system is very sensitive, so please stay on the demarcated biking trails.
The Wellington Mountain Bike Trail at Welvanpas is challenging, but rewarding. The route begins and ends at Welvanpas farm, which is cradled between the stunning Hawekwa and Groenberg mountain ranges. Thereafter it winds through vineyard, orchard, forest, waterfalls and unspoiled fynbos. You will also cross many small mountain streams, where you can take the opportunity to refill your water bottles with ice-cold refreshing water.
Consisting of mainly single track, there are three routes to choose from, each with differing technical levels.