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The Cape Town Cycle Tour MTB Challenge is almost upon us. Use your last few training weekends wisely by exploring some of SANParks best MTB trails, and start the MTB Challenge strong and skilled.
SANParks has been investing heavily in trail access and maintenance in recent years, and now offer some of the most beautiful riding in the country. The more we use the trails on offer, the easier it is to lobby for more… thankfully, this is not a difficult task: try some of the following spots, and you will not want to go home.
The jewel in the crown has always been the fabulous Harkerville Red Route, between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. 22 kilometers long, the bulk of the route is ridden under a forest canopy, with a dramatic pop out onto a cliff path followed by some long climbs and exhilarating descents before you return to the start, and the temptation to go again.
Harkerville has been on the trail map for 25 years, but our next Park ride is just a year old: the traverse from Newlands Forest to Constantia Nek, in Cape Town, crosses Kirstenbosch and offers a knee-popping number of meters-gained-per-kilometre. Don’t be deceived by the relatively short distance, a there-and-back ride is proper, but do ride it if you are in Cape Town; the views across the Peninsula are usually reserved for the multi-million-rand houses you ride above.
Feeling a bit braver? How about a ride in the Kruger National Park? The mountain biking routes from the Olifants Rest Camp are guided, front and rear, by armed rangers so beasties won’t bother you too much. This will not be ideal training for a big event, more a tourist trip, but an experience that is unrivalled as you hear, smell, see and feel real Africa.
The other SANParks properties that offer mountain bike trails are Augrabies Falls National Park, Bontebok National Park, more of the Table Mountain National Park and the West Coast National Park. For more information about SANParks and its MTB trails, visit https://www.sanparks.org/tourism/activities/mountain_biking.php.