The Mountain Biking Mecca on Cape Town’s Doorstep
Mountain biking has become one of the most popular activities around. Not surprising when you consider the beautiful South African landscapes and scenery that mountain bike enthusiasts traverse – and that it is a sport for young, old, singles or families.
The allure of being able to ride bikes off-road through sensational natural landscapes and be out in the fresh air, as well as the camaraderie that exists amongst mountain bikers are all drawcards that fuel the growth of this sport.
The good news for lovers of this pass time is that the Bergrivier region, situated right on Cape Town’s doorstep, is a mountain bike mecca with a variety of stunning trails available for beginner, intermediate and experienced riders. In addition to this are fantastic places to stay and adventures and activities of all kinds to be had.
Below are a few of the top mountain bike trails in the region and where to find them:
Just above the town of Porterville, which is one and a half hours drive from Cape Town, is the Beaverlac Mountain Bike Route. Tucked high up in the Olifants River Mountains, this trail – which offers two main routes – is good for beginner or intermediate riders who can try their hand at either the 10km loop or the 18km return trail.
Beaverlac offers camping and cabin accommodation in a beautiful setting – a secluded 5000-hectare valley surrounded by mountains – and there are a wide variety of hiking trails and rock pools available for visitors. The mountain bike route is open to all (booking required) and Beaverlac guests do not have to pay the entry fee.
Also just outside Porterville is the 22 Waterfalls Mountain Bike Route – a 15km circular trail for intermediate riders that sets off from the Waterval Campsite on the Waterval farm – a proclaimed private nature reserve situated at the foot of the Olifantsrivier Mountains. This trail is open to the public (bookings required), and guests at Waterval do not need to pay to use the mountain bike trail.
In addition to camping sites and chalets, Waterval offers a hiking trail that takes you on a route past 22 waterfalls surrounded by indigenous fynbos and 47 indigenous trees. Wildlife like the Klipspringer, Cape Leopard, and Reebok can sometimes be spotted and there are many opportunities for bird watching on the way. Freshwater bass fishing is also offered in the farm dams.
While in the Porterville area, mountain bikers should also do the Dasklip Pass Gravel Bike Route. This 70km route is good for intermediate riders and winds its way up the Dasklip pass into the beautiful Groot Winterhoek wilderness area. Whilst up there you can visit the secluded Ginsmith artisanal distillery for a gin-tasting experience – just let them know ahead of time that you are coming. This mountain bike route is on public roads and is free to access.
Accommodation-wise, Beaverlac offers camping and cabins, as does the Waterval campsite. In addition to these, visitors can book to stay at Pampoenfontein, Berghoff, or Cedarpeak – all wonderful accommodation options in the Groot Winterhoek mountains. In the town of Porterville itself are great accommodation offerings at the Rendezvous guesthouse, the Flyers Lodge, or Villa Cho-Co-Latt.
A short drive from Porterville is the Piketberg area, where mountain bikers will find the Retreat Mountain Bike Route, situated on the Retreat Guest Farm. This 24km trail is good for intermediate riders and makes its way over beautiful fynbos-covered slopes. The Retreat route starts at the self-catering cottages on the farm and offers various circular segments including Firebreak, Beacon Aisle, Blackburn, Gums & Bees, and Perdekop. It is available to guests only.
Another private mountain bike trail that is a must-do is the Highlands Estate Leopard Mountain Bike Route, situated on the Highlands Estate – a premium eco-estate on top of the Piketberg mountain. This 10km route, suited for intermediate and advanced riders, makes its way past an array of indigenous flora and fauna, panoramic mountain views and a multitude of sunset vantage points – on a clear day, you can see Table Mountain in the distance. This trail is also only available to guests
In addition to these routes, Piketberg offers the Piketberg Gravel Bike Circuit – a challenging four-day route that traverses approximately 316km of stunning landscape from Aurora to Goedverwacht, on to Piket-Bo-Berg then Eendekuil, Redelinghuys, and back to Aurora – all on public roads and free for all users.
Various types of accommodation are available for the first night near the quaint village of Goedverwacht – or opt to stay in Piket-Bo-Berg. Choose from venues such as Kruistementvlei, Noupoort Mountain Estate, Pomona, or the Retreat Guest Farm. A range of accommodation options are available in and around Redelinghuys for night two, then make your way back to Aurora for the finish of this extensive route. Chateau La Terrance is a great option to spend the night in Aurora.
Other options for accommodation in the surrounding areas include the Cornerstone Guesthouse, Home with a View, or Vue de Montagne – all in the town of Piketberg; Dezehoek Cottage, or Kapteinskloof Guesthouse – both on nearby working farms; Die Ark Backpackers in the neighbouring town of Koringberg; Kleine Paradys next to the Berg river; the Piekenierskloof Mountain Lodge; or the Sandveld Dorpshuys in Redelinghuys.
There are also many other activities to do whilst visiting any of the Bergrivier areas. Options include birdwatching, river cruising, canoeing, fishing, hiking, horse-riding, shopping, enjoying delicious food and great wine, gin-tasting, beer-tasting, cheese-tasting, or just relaxing and re-energizing in nature. There is so much to do in the Bergrivier area that visitors are truly spoilt for choice, which is great news for mountain bike enthusiasts and their families who are looking for a city escape and the next great mountain bike memories.
For more information on these mountain bike routes, the nearby towns, and where to stay, eat and others things to do visit Bergrivier Mountain Bike Guide – Bergrivier Tourism or https://bergriviertourism.co.za.