South Africa is the ideal location for an exhilarating, adrenaline-filled mountain biking experience. From the picturesque valleys of the Magaliesberg in Gauteng to the majestic Drakensberg Mountains in KwaZulu-Natal, every province in the country has something to offer keen mountain bikers. And the temperate SA weather allows for bicycling all year round (although things can be a little trickier in the rainy season).
So whether you’re after a chilled ride in a game reserve or a hard-core adventure up a steep precipice, SA has a trail to suit your needs. First Car Rental has put together a top 10 list of some of the most thrilling and awe-inspiring mountain bike destinations that South Africa has to offer.
1. Magaliesberg, Gauteng
Magaliesberg is an enchanting town to the west of the hustle and bustle of Joburg and Pretoria. It is a gorgeous region famed for its mountains, valleys and indigenous bushveld with a number of mountain bike trails that allow you to explore and absorb the dazzling scenery.
2. The Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal
The magnificent Drakensberg mountain range offers unrivalled scenery, beauty and character. Home to two major mountain bike races - the Sani Pass Transfrontier Mountain Bike Epic and the Volvo Classic - this is the place to be to for bicycling fanatics of all levels.
3. Knysna, Western Cape
With spectacular scenery and exciting festivities Knysna is the perfect town for a mountain biking getaway. The Pick n Pay Weekend Argus Rotary Knysna Cycle Tour takes place in early June and is the perfect time to visit this popular coastal town. Make sure you check out the Oyster Festival when you’re not exploring the forest trails.
4. Table Mountain National Park, Western Cape
The steep slopes of the Table Mountain National Park are ideal for mountain biking. Scenic valleys and beautiful streams surround the trails here and the views from the top are nothing short of incredible. Just be aware that the delicate fynbos ecosystem can’t sustain too much high impact biking, so stick to the demarcated mountain bike trails. Popular areas include Tokai Plantation and Silvermine.
5. Sabie, Mpumalanga
Sabie is arguably one the best mountain biking destinations in South Africa. Suitable for novice and experienced riders, this region offers cyclists a chance to enjoy the sport in a secure environment amidst stunning bushveld scenery.
6. Hogsback, Eastern Cape
Hogsback is mountain biking perfection! With cool forest mountain bike trails for the whole family and lightning-quick single-tracks that’ll get your adrenaline pumping, this is superb bicycling territory.
7. Overberg, Western Cape
The Overberg hosts an annual event that is sure to whet the appetite of keen mountain bikers. The Dirtopia Mountain Bike Festival takes place in April every year and with night rides, trail riding, gravity events (downhill, dual & dirt jumping), cross country fun rides, a trail run and kid’s activities, it’s sure to provide entertainment for the whole family.
8. Clearwater trails, KwaZulu-Natal
Against the backdrop of the Indian Ocean, these four custom-built mountain bike trails in Port Edward offer something for all bicycling enthusiasts. With jeep track, single track and tarred roads, you’re bound to find something to suit your skill level. Make sure you pop into the Beaver Creek coffee estate to get your hands on some locally produced java.
9. Toyota MTN Cycle Park, Gauteng
The Toyota MTN Cycle Park is the place to be for mountain bikers in the Gauteng area. Built by international mountain bike trail builder, Geoff Vorpagel, the park offers colour-coded trails of varying difficulty. This is the ideal place to take the kids, so they can learn the ropes.
10. Giba Gorge Mountain Bike Park, KwaZulu-Natal
Situated in the tranquil town of Hillcrest, this popular park offers some fantastic mountain bike trails and some of the best permanent dirt jumps in the country. The BMX track is ideal for the kids while the pros can take to the huge jumps for some serious adrenaline .