With all the mountains, hills, rivers and valleys in the Western Cape, it’s no surprise that mountain bike trails are both popular and aplenty. So, for all those mountain bike fanatics, here’s a list of some of the must-ride biking trails in the Western Cape, according to fellow enthusiasts.
A mere 26km mountain bike trail doesn’t seem too daunting a task for an experienced rider, does it? What about Beware Valley, Spykers Hill and Widow Maker… those make it sound more like a challenge doesn’t it? How about extending it to 44km when linking to the Fair Cape trail?
Hoogekraal is one of the seven mountain bike trails that fall under the Tygerberg Mountain Bike Club and will cost you only R60 to experience. Starting at 46m above sea level, enjoy the unpredictable technical tracks and climb through 4km ascent to 226m. Don’t be fooled by the false summit, your legs need to carry you a bit further before you can really enjoy the view.
And don’t worry, you will be rewarded with a swooping singletrack that offers an option for recreational and advanced riders. Keep left to take it easy and pass right if you want to try the unforgiving technical routes. Put your pedalling skills to the test and experience jeep track and bridges to keep you alert on this mountain bike trail.
Taking you to the largest town in the Cape Winelands and the third oldest town in South Africa, you’ll find yourself in the beautiful town of Paarl. And in this beautiful town, you will find the Rhebokskloof Wine Estate. This estate is home to a short, steep and technical mountain bike trail that provides breathtaking views of the valley while you’re scouring Paarl Mountain’s northern slopes.
You have the option of the 20km Shiraz Route or 14km Chardonnay Route, both of which involve some steep climbing (up to 226m above sea level to be exact) and exciting singletracks to test your technical skills. If you find these routes a bit too short, take the 20km route into the Paarl Nature Reserve and keep the fun going. Or, you could even ride to Rhebokskloof, before starting the trail, from wherever you reside.
It’s R60 for a day permit. Definitely affordable and worth the views.
Now, one of the best singletrack trails in the Western Cape, according to a local riders community, is Welvanpas. “Single closest thing to land surfing there is.”
Welvanpas Family Vineyard is close to the town of Wellington and, more importantly, Bainskloof Pass. Sitting between the Hawekwa and Groenberg Mountains, your mountain bike adventure will start and end here at the farm. Map out which of the four routes you will be taking, all varying in difficulty, and then you’re ready to ride.
Prepare yourself for technical challenges of note by singletrack through the vineyard, fynbos and even waterfalls when the season allows it. Once you reach the top of Groenberg, which you will – just keep pushing, you will be so stoked that you attempted the trail because here comes the fun part. Find yourself speeding down the steep and technical mountain track towards the Kromme River and follow the banks through the forest and prepare yourself for round two. Now it’s time to ride up towards Bainskloof Pass (you can trust your legs will feel it both in the moment and the morning) before making your speedy-way back down towards the farm.
These trails are definitely for the more advanced and technical riders and at about R50 for a day permit, you most certainly can afford it.
More about the sport
The Western Cape is host to some of the most popular MTB races including Eselfontein, Ride2Nowhere, Tankwa Trek, Wine to Whales, Tru Cape and the Darling Brew Bone Crusher. But there are so many more races celebrating both mountain biking as well as our province. With our ranging landscape and incredible views, it’s really no surprise that this sport makes the most of exploring the terrain.
And what’s the best part about all of these routes you may ask? They all have breathtaking views, a welcoming restaurant and surrounding wine valleys nearby to take care of you after the ride. Get your Chris Willemse Cycles gear together, clip in those cleats and away you go.