From white-knuckle downhill descents to scenic country tracks, South Africa is the perfect place for mountain biking. First Car Rental recently put together an inspiring list of fantastic mountain bike trails in South Africa. Nearly all of the country’s provinces featured in our inspirational article, however, we’ve decided that ten destinations just aren’t enough to fully showcase what SA has to offer.
So we’ve added a ‘Part 2’ to our mountain biking series, just in case we left out any adrenaline-filled routes that you need to know about. Here’s another list of top magnificent mountain biking trails for you to explore.
1. Karkloof, KwaZulu-Natal With its high-speed single track and world class trail network, KZN’s Karkloof has become one of South Africa’s premier mountain biking destinations. For those looking to compete, The Mr Price Karkloof Classic takes place in April every year and the unique Mr Price TrailBlazer event happens in November. However, if you’re just looking to spend a day exploring this beautiful reserve, the Karkloof mountain bike trails are open to recreational riders all year round.
2. Richtersveld National Park, North West This mountain bike trail is not for the fainthearted! This ancient desert landscape is dotted with volcanic ridges that rear up on the alluvial plains making for some very challenging mountain biking. This vast and unforgiving land is not for everyone, but it can’t be beat for a sense of isolation and solidarity.
3. Freedom Trail, KwaZulu-Natal - Western Cape You might need to book a few days off for this one. The Freedom Trail begins in KZN’s Pietermaritzburg and ends in Paarl in the Western Cape. The 2300 kilometre route was established in 2003 and is the longest mountain bike trail in the country. The trail is promoted with the annual Freedom Challenge - a race which takes places over nearly a month and includes an extreme triathlon.
4. Tsitsikamma Mountain Bike Trail, Eastern Cape Deep gorges, lush rainforest terrain and sparkling pools dominate the Tsitsikamma National Park in the Easern Cape. It is also home to some stunning mountain bike trails. Dart through the indigenous forests passing towering yellowwood trees, or traverse the pine plantations overlooking this gorgeous reserve.
5. Cascades, KwaZulu-Natal The Cascades mountain bike track was home to the 2012 RockyRoads UCI Mountain Bike World Cup and the World Cup Downhill and is considered one of the toughest tracks to ride, so you can be sure that this is a well maintained mountain biking playground for the newbies as well as for the fit and powerful. Be warned, you need legs and skill for some of these exciting single tracks. Located behind the Cascades Shopping Centre, these mountain bike trails have a reputation for being convenient, safe and a whole lot of fun!
6. Thabela Thabeng Mountain Bike Trail, North West Nestled between the scenic mountain of the Vredefort Dome (a World Heritage Site) and the cascading waters of the Vaal River, lies the Thabela Thabeng Mountain Retreat. The magnificent mountain bike trails here were the location of choice for the National MTB Championship downhill in 1997 and they offer exciting rocky downhill descents and rutted jeep tracks.
7. Tokai Plantations, Western Cape The Tokai Plantations are a mountain biking heaven. From zig-zagging switchbacks to speedy single track, it’s not hard to see why these mountain bike trails are so popular. It’s best to hit the trails early in the morning to avoid crowds and in winter be careful of routes that have been closed due to erosion and surface damage.
8. The Cape Country Meander, Western Cape The Cape Country Meander stretches for 100km through rustic vineyards and tranquil streams along the N2 from Botrivier to Villiersdorp. With 10 official mountain bike trails open all year round, there is plenty of fun to be had for all skill levels. It’s no surprise that the ABSA Cape Epic has made the Overberg its home.
9. Queen Rose Mountain Bike Trail, Mpumalanga The Queen Rose mountain bike trails in the picturesque Mpumalanga hills offer an enjoyable social cycling experience mostly on dirt roads with some single-track. The trails here vary from laidback riding to more technical track that will test even the experienced mountain bikers.
10. Kruger Park MTB Trails, Limpopo The Kruger National Park is regarded by many to be the jewel in South Africa’s tourism crown. This renowned game reserve is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna as well some gorgeous, sprawling vistas and world-class accommodation. In 2003, the reserve introduced mountain biking to the park activities list allowing cyclists to access areas of the reserve that are rarely seen. There are three mountain bike trails around the Olifants Camp area that should be on the bucket list of all keen mountain bikers.
Rent a car from First Car Rental and explore SA's top mountain bike trails today! Click here for the first article in our mountain biking series .