JACQUES MARAIS

TOP MTB TRAILS

100

TRAILSEastern and Northern Cape in detail in the Western,
+ 79 other trails listed in the rest of South Africa
W I T H D ETA I L E D M A P S A N D G P S P O I N TS

CONTENTS
Introduction Getting Started Key to Maps and IMBA Chart Stuff You Love Ama Rider Dirt Menu THE TRAILS Western Cape Top Trails Western Cape Other Trails Eastern Cape Top Trails Eastern Cape Other Trails Northern Cape Top Trails Northern Cape Other Trails DIRT PAGES - OTHER LISTED TRAILS Free State Gauteng KwaZulu-Natal Limpopo Mpumalanga North West Province DIRECTORY Gear and Packing Lists Bike Shops ATLAS 4 6 7 8 10 12 16 62 114 136 148 160 170 174 178 182 184 186 190 193 198

Other Routes

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Major airport Airfield Ferry / pontoon Lighthouse Major spot height Mountain pass Border control Information Toll route Toll plaza Petrol station Accommodation

Capital or city Major town Secondary town Satellite town Other town Settlement Station

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Top Routes
MAJOR & MAIN ROADS OTHER ROADS OTHER JEEP TRACKS & WALKING TRAILS MTB TRAILS MTB TRAIL DIRECTION ROUTE NOTES/INFO GATES, PARKING & FACILITIES PLACE OF INTEREST, CAMP SITE & CARAVAN PARK
Paulsberg 366m Park / Plantation Marsh / Swamp Onshore Built up area

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IMBA Trail Difficulty Rating System Easiest IMBA SYMBOL TRAIL WIDTH SURFACE WHITE CIRCLE Easy GREEN CIRCLE 36” / 91cm Firm and stable 5% or less Max 15% Unavoidable obstacles 2” tall or less Avoidable obstacles may be present Unavoidable bridges 36” or wider More difficult BLUE SQUARE 24” / 61cm Mostly stable with some variability 10% or less Max 15% or greater Unavoidable obstacles 8” tall or less Avoidable obstacles may be present Unavoidable bridges 24” or wider TTF’s 2” high or less, width of deck is greater than 1/2 the height Very difficult BLACK DIAMOND 12” / 30cm Widely variable 15% or less Max 15% or greater Unavoidable obstacles 15” tall or less Avoidable obstacles may be present May include loose rocks Unavoidable bridges 24” or wider TTF’s 4” high or less, width of deck is less than 1/2 the height Short sections may exceed criteria Extremely difficult DOUBLE BLACK DIAMOND 6” / 15cm Widely variable and unpredictable 20% or more Max 15% or greater Unavoidable obstacles 15” tall or greater Avoidable obstacles may be present May include loose rocks Unavoidable bridges 24” or narrower TTF’s 4” high or greater, width of deck is unpredictable Short sections may exceed criteria

72” / 183cm Hardened or surfaced AVERAGE TRAIL GRADE Less than 5% MAXIMUM TRAIL GRADE Max 10%   NATURAL OBSTACLES None & TECHNICAL TRAIL FEATURES (TTF)

*Source IMBA Website A CONCISE VERSION OF THIS CHART APPEARS ON MOST OF THE MAPS IN THIS BOOK

7

WESTERN CAPE t o p t rai ls
List of trails:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22
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18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60

48

SEE P62 FOR LIST OF OTHER TRAILS IN THE WESTERN CAPE 7

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Cape Point MTB Route Contermanskloof Farm, Blue Route MTB Trail Deer Park, Table Mountain MTB Route Delvera (Dirtopia Trail Centre) MTB Trail Dwarsrivier Conservancy MTB Trail Eselfontein MTB Trail Grootvadersbosch MTB Route Harkerville MTB Trail Hemel en Aarde MTB Trails Hillcrest Farm MTB Trail Homtini MTB Trail Jonkershoek MTB Trail Lebanon Forest MTB Trail Majik Forest MTB Trail Meerendal Wine Farm MTB Trails Oak Valley MTB Trail Schapenberg MTB Trail Seweweekspoort MTB Route Silvermine MTB Route Swartberg Pass MTB Route Tokai Forest MTB Trail Welvanpas MTB Trail

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Cap e Po i nt

MTB Route
Region: Cape Peninsula Closest town: Simon’s Town Trail destination: Cape Point Nature Reserve

Route Description
Get stuck into this easy ride along a network of tarred roads meandering through the southernmost tip of the Cape Peninsula. This may not be where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet, but it is way more beautiful than Cape Agulhas, so who cares. And don’t moan about the tarmac until you’ve experienced the views – it’s worth it all the way. Your starting point is right at the Cape Point Nature Reserve entrance gate, with a slight climb for the first few hundred metres before you dip down onto the fynbos plains. Pass turn-offs to your left (1.4km) and right (1.9km) to Olifantsbos; it is a gorgeous beach though, and if you have the time ... If you decided to keep straight, turn right (4.9km) towards Gifkommetjie. Another option here would be to turn left just before Olifantsbos onto the only stretch of gravel in the park for a 3km jeep-track jol, thus ignoring the directions in the next paragraph. If you stick to the tar, ignore the sign to Hoek van Bobbejaan (7.1km), rather continuing along the circular section past the viewpoint until you again T-bone with the main route to Cape Point (12.3km). Just on 2.8km later, a signboard to the right (15.1km) will indicate the turn-off to Platboom, a nice little downhill stretch to the sea (17.3km). Breathe in the fresh air and then head back up to the main drag (19.5km). You’ll be doing a bit of up and down along the way and might feel it in your legs if the wind is pumping, but cruise on towards Cape Point. At 21.3km, hit a right towards Maclear Beach and the Cape of Good Hope (24.7km) – a part of Cape Point that most people don’t actually get to in their hurry to make it to the Point parking lot – and drink in the view. Finally, it’s time to climb back out and up to the main road (28.1km) and turn right – you’ll know you’ve arrived when you encounter the tourist buses and attendant baboon troop 3.2km later. Have a meal, hike to the lighthouse and then do the high-speed return run. This is a leisurely cruise through coastal strandveld and fynbos plains, with occasional encounters with anything from eland, bontebok and zebra to excellent sightings of marine and terrestrial bird species, especially sunbirds and sugarbirds.

Rated by: Jacques Marais

How to get there From Cape Town city, head south via Simon’s Town or Scarborough along the Peninsula – Cape Point is well signposted and easy to find. Turn south into the entrance gate around 12km from Simon’s Town. Best time of year Watch out for Cape Point in the summer months of November to February when the southeasterly wind kicks in – it is as wild a Cape of Storms as you will ever encounter. Off the bike Hiking down rocky shores to deserted beaches is one of the reserve’s major draw cards, but many families also visit to relax at the gorgeous picnic spots or the restaurant overlooking False Bay. The modern environmental centre and funicular up to the lighthouse are also popular.


MORE INFO: Website – www.capepoint.co.za Tel: +27 21 780 9010

18

Red Hill & Scarborough M65

Klipfontein Syferfontein
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IMBA Trail Difficulty Rating System

Easiest YES 183cm Hardened / surfaced AVE. TRAIL GRADE < 5% MAX. TRAIL GRADE Max 10% IMBA SYMBOL THIS TRAIL TRAIL WIDTH SURFACE

Easy NO 91cm Firm / stable 5% or < Max 15%

More difficult Very diff. Castle Rocks

Extremely diff. NO 15cm Widely variable / unpredictable 20% or more Max 15% or >

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TRAIL BASICS

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Parson’s Nose NO NO 61cm 30cm Mostly stable / Widely some variability variable Danger Rock 10% or < 15% or less Max 15% or >Finlay’s 15% or > Max Point Boat Rock Partridge Point Baboon Rock

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Normal national park entry fees apply; a Wild Card from SANParks must be loaded with an annual MTB permit
OLIFANTSBOS

FACILITIES: MatroosDam Parking, with security on duty; restaurant and ablutions BEWARE OF: Tourist buses, heavy winds MORE INFORMATION: There is usually heavy tourist traffic on weekends and holidays

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Hoek van Bobbejaan Oompiesgat

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188m

CAPE POINT Simon’s Town OSTRICH FARM NORMAL PARK FEES APPLY. OLD FOREST STATION DAILY PERMIT CAN BE PURCHASED.

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Kommetjieberg 114m

START
34015’42” S 18027’29” E
Rooihoogte 319m

M65

Steenbrasrots Whale Rock

Smitswinkelbaai Smitswinkelbaai

The Chair Hell’s Gate
Judas Peak 319m

Batsata Rock BLAASBALK CAVE

Cape Peninsula National Park (Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve)
LEAN ROCK
Paulsberg 366m

Bloubergstrand Muishondbaai

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302m

Batsata Cove

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Christinasgang Venus Pool The Cauldron 1000m

ANVIL ROCK

Booi se Skerm

FALSE BAY
Black Rocks BUFFELSFONTEIN VISITORS CENTRE
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DIAS MONUMENT 1488
Rondeheuwel 107m

Tidal Pool DA GAMA MONUMENT 1497 ivie BOAT LAUNCH r Bordjiesrif PICNIC Buffelsbaai (Mackellar’s Bay) PICNIC Tidal Pool Matroosdam Suikerbrood GOLDFIELDS CENTRE AND WHALE VIEWING

Skilpadvlei

Matrooskop 107m

LEGEND
GATES, PARKING & FACILITIES MAJOR & MAIN ROADS OTHER ROADS MTB TRAILS OTHER JEEP TRACKS & WALKING TRAILS The Island

Fransdam Antoniesgat Matroosklip Platboom Point Platboombaai Peagram’s Point LOOKOUT POINT LOOKOUT POINT Rooikrans Trappiesgrotte Platbank Plumpudding Rock RESTAURANT

Vasco da Gama Peak 266m

LOOKOUT POINT

GRADING: Easy DURATION: 3–4 hours CONFIGURATION: Various return options up to 60km START POINT: Reserve gate COORDINATES: 34˚15’42.29” S, 18˚27’29.25” E TERRAIN: Tarmac, with a 3km jeep-track section MAP: Available from main gate CELL RECEPTION: Intermittent

TRAIL INFO

209m

Maclear Beach LOOKOUT POINT Cape of Good Hope

LOOKOUT POINT Cape Maclear

Penguin Rock LIGHTHOUSE Diaspunt Cape Point Dias Rock

AT L A NT I C OCEAN

19

Cont e rm a n skl o o f Fa r m , MTB Trail B lu e R o ute
Region: Winelands Closest town: Durbanville Trail destination: Durbanville Hills Route Description
When the singletrack is designed and built by Meurant Botha, you know you are in for a treat. Contermanskloof is no exception, and farm owner Robert Starke has taken on the trail expansion role with great enthusiasm and success. The very well-marked trail starts around a beautiful farm dam, before heading up the steps of ‘Bushvine climb’ and the easy switchbacks of the meadow above. This first climb is rewarded with some classic banked and graded singletrack, before the trail swoops down into the farmyard. Follow the signs and turn left onto the gravel road, riding through the farmyard and out again on a very gradual climb. Two well-signposted right-hand turns take you to the base of the main 106m climb, where you can also turn right onto the Green route. We are following the Blue route, however, so we turn left and find there are two choices awaiting us. Choice one is to go straight up the hill. Choice two is to follow specially made singletrack contours that wind back and forth at a more gradual ascent – and heart rate. At the top of this section of singletrack the route once again reverts to a wide gravel road as it makes its last slight climb to the right-turn arrow that marks the start of the fun. You are now exactly 8km into your ride and it is payback time, with some of the sweetest trail you can find in Cape Town. Turn after turn of quality, well-maintained singletrack sweeps across the slopes of the kloof, gradually leading to the bottom of the valley. After endless turns, jumps and berms, you will find yourself at the bottom of the trail where you are met by another singletrack climb up to some more jeep track that takes you to yet more singletrack. This trail takes you past a dam on your left-hand side where you have the option to detour over Kliprug farm to Hillcrest. Keep riding the singletrack straight down until you have to go under the road via the concrete subway, and the end of the trail will be right in front of you.
Rated by: Chris Hitchcock


MORE INFO: Website – www.tygerbergmtb.co.za Email – info@tygerbergmtb.co.za

How to get there Turn left off the N7 at Plattekloof Road off-ramp (exit 22), and head back across on Plattekloof Road East until you get to the traffic circle. Turn left at the circle and continue up Tygerberg Road till you turn left into Contermanskloof Road. Follow this road past the quarry for 3km, where you turn left and follow the minor road to the farm. Best time of year Summer is very hot (start early), while winter is great as the singletrack is so well drained. Off the bike Fishing permits are available for fishing in the farm dam.

20

IMBA Trail Difficulty Rating System

Easiest YES 183cm Hardened / surfaced AVE. TRAIL GRADE < 5% MAX. TRAIL GRADE Max 10% IMBA SYMBOL THIS TRAIL TRAIL WIDTH SURFACE

Easy YES 91cm Firm / stable 5% or < Max 15%

More difficult 254m diff. Very YES 61cm Mostly stable / some variability 10% or < Max 15% or > NO 30cm Widely variable 15% or less Max 15% or >

Extremely diff. NO 15cm Widely variable / unpredictable 20% or more Max 15% or >

Hoogkraal
M7 / Cape Town

R304

VISSE RSHO K ROA

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Oatlands West

M48

TRAIL BASICS
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Regular trail entry fees apply to riders FACILITIES: Toilets and picnic facilities at the start/finish area

Oatlands
500m

BEWARE OF: Snakes in summer, extreme obstacles on the Black route MORE INFORMATION: There are various other route options at Contermanskloof, including the far more technical Black route and a beginner-friendly Green route

185m 190m Durbanville

MICROFLIGHT LANDING STRIP PICNIC
M7 / Cape Town
CON TERMANSKLOOF ROAD

FISHING PERMITS AVAILABLE

STANDARD ENTRY FEES APPLY TUNNEL

CYCLE SHOP

Contermanskloof

START
33048’11” S 18035’0” E

Kliprug

GRADING: Intermediate DURATION: 60–90 minutes CONFIGURATION: A return ride with various side-road options; up to 36km START POINT: Contermanskloof Trails parking area COORDINATES: 33°48’11.59” S, 18°35’0.44” E TERRAIN: Well-drained, hard and smooth singletrack; gravel roads 343m MAP: No map is available but the trails are very well marked CELL RECEPTION: 100% coverage

TRAIL INFO

Eureka Amanzi

443m

LEGEND
GATES, PARKING & FACILITIES MAJOR & MAIN ROADS OTHER ROADS MTB TRAILS OTHER JEEP TRACKS & WALKING TRAILS

21

Deer Park, Table Mountain
MTB Route
Region: Cape Peninsula Closest town: Cape Town Trail destination: Table Mountain National Park Route Description
A network of gnarly gravel roads traverses the steep slopes of Table Mountain, connecting to the Tafelberg Contour Road at various points. The surface is reasonably hard-packed, but loose gravel, ruts and rocks are bound to rear their ugly heads every so often. Deer Park and Tafelberg Road are the most obvious trail heads. However, Chelmsford Road in Vredehoek is a central start to the route, and allows you to get into the uphill first. From Chelmsford Road, turn left to follow a contour road running above De Waal Drive. Keep left at 1.9km and again at 2.8km to climb along rocky gravel roads towards Queen’s Blockhouse overlooking Cape Town (4km). Below the blockhouse, a road bears right towards Tafelberg Road, ascending steeply towards two metal gates just before you reach the tarmac (6km). Now you’re into an easy cruise past the cable station (11km) before you turn right onto the gravel tracks through a metal boom (11.8km). Drop sharply and then keep right where the gravel track splits into three (12.9km), continuing on a steep climb towards the cable station. Then it’s all the way downhill to Platteklip stream, where you cross a concrete causeway (15.1km) before looping around to Deer Park. Keep right, climbing through a pine forest to a T-junction where you turn left (17.2km) onto a level section and into the home stretch. A very loose downhill bangs you across a second stream (dry in summer) to the quarries (18.6km), now on your right, just above Chelmsford Road. You could also add some distance to your ride by heading to Rhodes Memorial from Queen’s Blockhouse. Drop down and keep to your right until you’re above the game fence area, then climb sharply towards the contour road above the memorial. You can bomb this up to just before Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens to bump up your distance by a good dozen kilometres or so. Strict access rules apply to Kirstenbosch, so do not try to sneak onto the trails into the gardens themselves.
Rated by: Jacques Marais


MORE INFO: Website – www.sanparks.org Tel: +27 21 701 8773

How to get there Head up Buitenkant Street to the top, turn right into Deer Park Drive and continue to the parking area. Alternatively, head along the M3 towards De Waal Drive and turn into Vredehoek along Clive Street. Follow Derry Street to the mountain, keeping right where it forks, before turning left into Chelmsford – park at the end of the road. Best time of year Table Mountain’s slopes are an excellent riding destination throughout the year, but midday rides during the summer should be avoided. Muggings have been reported in the area, so it is preferable to ride in a group and during daylight hours. Off the bike: You’re in the heart of Cape Town, ranked tops among the World’s Best Cities. Stunning shops, restaurants, beaches, museums and historical monuments abound.

22

Camps Ba y Stream

TRAIL BASICS
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A Wild Card from SANParks must be loaded with an annual MTB permit FACILITIES: None, but you’re on the edge of the city BEWARE OF: Loose rocks and resulting broken collarbones; muggings have been reported MORE INFORMATION: Access information on Table Mountain often changes – make sure you are up to date
UNION CAVE

Hout Bay

Camps Bay
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Easiest Easy More difficult Leeukop YES YES YES 183cm 91cm 668m 61cm Hardened / Firm / Mostly stable / surfaced stable some variability AVE. TRAIL GRADE < 5% 5% or < 10% or < FOREST STATION 15% Max 15% or > MAX. TRAIL GRADE Max 10% Max IMBA SYMBOL THIS TRAIL TRAIL WIDTH SURFACE

IMBA Trail Difficulty Rating System

Very diff. NO 30cm Widely variable 15% or less Max 15% or >

Extremely diff. NO 15cm Widely variable / unpredictable 20% or more Max 15% or >

CAVE

Mocke Reservoir BOOM GATE

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LEGEND
GATES, PARKING & FACILITIES MAJOR & MAIN ROADS OTHER ROADS MTB TRAILS OTHER JEEP TRACKS & WALKING TRAILS
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33056’24” S 18025’55” E

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Newlands Reservoir

KING’S BLOCKHOUSE
431m

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Table Mountain National Park
1044m

Vredehoek
TURN LEFT A WILD CARD FROM SANPARKS LOADED WITH AN ANNUAL MTB PERMIT

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M3 N2

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PRINCE OF WALES’ BLOCKHOUSE

Plumpudding Hill 291m

RHODES MEMORIAL

Rosebank

GRADING: Moderate DURATION: 2–4 hours CONFIGURATION: Various circular or return options; 16–34km START POINT: Chelmsford Road, Vredehoek COORDINATES: 33º56’24.15” S, 18º25’55.09” E TERRAIN: Gravel road and jeep track MAP: Hiking maps available from the cable station CELL RECEPTION: Good

TRAIL INFO

23

TOP MTB TRAILS
IMBA Trail Difficulty Rating System

Easiest

Easy YES 91cm Firm / stable 5% or < Max 15%

More difficult YES 61cm Mostly stable / some variability 10% or < Max 15% or >

Very diff. YES 30cm Widely variable 15% or less Max 15% or >

Extremely diff. YES 15cm Widely variable / unpredictable 20% or more Max 15% or >

YES 183cm Hardened / surfaced AVE. TRAIL GRADE < 5% MAX. TRAIL GRADE Max 10%

IMBA SYMBOL THIS TRAIL TRAIL WIDTH SURFACE

Glen Etive

Leeukop 736m 804m

Dwarsberg 790m

DEATH DROP

Sandhoogte

697m

RED BULL HILL

Prinshof
Werf Dam

PHILLIPS CREEK DEAD MAN WALKING

Top MTB Trails covers the best trails, routes and rides in the three Cape provinces. Edenville Up-to-date route info, great photographs Kweperfontein and excellent, detailed maps, along with IMBA Trail Difficulty Rating System and AMA approvals, make this book the perfect comVergenoeg panion for experienced as well as aspiring mountain biking enthusiasts.
Ceres

Top Trail Map
Sannasleegte Dam PURCHASE DAY MTB PERMIT AT ERIKA’S CAFÉ IN CERES CHERRY PICKING
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Eselfontein
START
33024’06” S 19026’00” E Rooihoogte Dam BLAIR WITCH FOREST
Furrow

BABOON HIGHWAY

SHAPIRO’S FOLLY TITUS’ RIVER

Floris Dam

545m

SNAKE BITE
Geelboskop 598m

SUIKERBOSSIE

R312

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So, get on your bike and ride!

I S B N 978-1-77026-277-5

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MAC/CPT/0512/TG/NB/MP

2012.

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Cape Town

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MapStudio website

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A comprehensive list of trails to explore in the other six provinces, plus a directory of bike shops and a handy atlas of the area, can also be found at the back of the book.

Brandkop 565m

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