best-places-to-mtb-western-cape

Best Places to MTB in the Western Cape

If you live in the Western Cape, chances are you are either an avid mountain biking (MTB) enthusiast – or you know someone who is… It’s a fact of life.

And it’s no wonder because the Western Cape offers some of the best places to MTB in South Africa. With so many gorgeous reserves, country spaces and even city cycle spots, we are spoilt for choice.

So, for this post, I am sharing a few of the best places to MTB around the Western Cape. Because, although it’s been many moons since I last rode about our farm on a kid-friendly MTB bike (unless you count one recent e-bike experience)… I have always had a love for cycling and I have, perhaps unintentionally at times, visited many popular MTB places on my travels.

Take Note

best-places-to-mtb-in-the-western-cape

Please note: I am not writing this from a technical point of view at all. As I said before, it has been many years since I even rode a standard mountain bike – and I don’t pretend to have any professional knowledge or experience in the matter.

If you require inside information regarding MTB tracks and trails, gear and skills – please speak to a qualified MTB coach/expert or contact one of the local cycling organisations.

However, if you are simply keen to discover more new places to cycle and zip through the air, passing mountains, country fields and wild animals, then this post is for you… Safe riding, everyone!

Best Places to MTB in the Beautiful Western Cape

1) Boschendal Trail Centre (Franschhoek)

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Boschendal Trail Centre (@boschendaltrailcentre) on

One of my favourite places in all the Cape, Boschendal, now has their very own Trail Centre. Here, on this beautiful Franschhoek wine estate, you can enjoy riding (or trail running) with your family.

Explore this beautiful farm, steeped in history, natural beauty and rich country vibes, while enjoying the best trails on offer.

Trails on Offer

While there are some hard climbs, MTB lovers are rewarded with some lovely singletracks all the way down.

There are routes to suit all ages and skill levels – but in order to ride, all riders must have an MTB Day Permit, Boschendal Annual Permit or Winelands Annual Permit.

Boschendal offers five unique trails: Yellow Route (4 km); Green Route (9km); Blue Route (11km); Red Route (15km) and Black Route (23km). There is also the Black XL route, which adds an extra 3-4 sections onto the Black Route.

Please note: The Black Route is a more advanced trail so it is perhaps best suited to intermediate and advanced riders.

Trail Notes:

All trails are enjoyed at your own risk and are weather dependent. This means that on rainy days, the trails are closed. Please keep this in mind before visiting. If you’re unsure, rather call ahead and find out from the Boschendal Trail Centre directly.

All riders must wear a helmet at all times. 

Please remember to keep your permit on you at all times. You will need to show this at the Rhodes Avenue gate. No permit, no riding…

For MTB permits and shower keys, please visit the Boschendal Trail Centre.

Maps can be downloaded from Boschendal’s website or simply scan the available QR code.

Fees and Rental Costs:

There is a permit fee and all riders must have a permit. The permit fees go towards building and maintaining the tracks.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Boschendal Trail Centre (@boschendaltrailcentre) on

  • MTB Trail Day Permit:

R50.

  • Boschendal Annual Permit:

    – R500 per person;
    – R800 for a couple;
    – R1000 for a family of four. (R200 per additional family member.)
    – Permits are valid for 12 months from date of purchase.
    When applying for an annual permit, please bring an ID photo with.
    – The annual permit takes a week to process. However, riders can ride for free on the day they apply and pay for this permit.

  • Winelands Annual Permit:

    – R500 for children under 13.
    – R800 for students aged 13-18 and pensioners (over age 60).
    – R1000 for adults over 18.
    – R2 500 for a family membership (two adults and two students/kids). For each additional child, you pay R400.
    – Permits are valid for 12 months from date of purchase.

Bike Rentals
  • E-bike Rental: Flat rate of R800 per day.
  • Single Suspension Rental: R200 (half-day fee); R350 (full day fee).
  • Full Suspension Rental: R350 (half-day fee); R500 (full day fee).
  • Kids’ Bike Rental: R150 (half-day fee); R300 (full day fee).
  • Bike rental bookings are recommended for the weekends and public holidays. To book, please email trailcentre@bmtsa.co.za directly.

Facilities:

The Boschendal Trail Centre is your one-stop for all things running, cycling and walking.

They can assist you with information, route maps, rentals – including e-bikes, kiddies’ push bikes, single suspension, full suspension and helmets – and more.

While you are riding, you can use the watering stations found on the Red and Black climb (heading up Big Bunny) or on the Black climb (after Sugarbowl).

For parking, please find the main parking area close to the Boschendal Trail Centre.

Boschendal Trail Centre is open from Monday to Sunday, 08:00 am – 16:00 pm. 

Things to Do Nearby:

boschendal-wine-farm-western-cape

While you are at this gorgeous wine farm, why not spend the day exploring it?

Enjoy browsing the revamped Farm Shop; dine at The Werf Restaurant or The Deli; check into the stunning accommodation; or even head for a horse ride.

And if it’s spring or summertime, you can even book ahead and tuck into one of their famous picnics.

Boschendal is one of the best wine farms to explore and is ideal for solo travellers, couples and families alike.

boschendal-things-to-do-boschendal-trail-centre-mtb-trails

Contact Information:

Email trailcentre@bmtsa.co.za – or call Frankie Du Toit on +27 (074) 502 0997.

Website:

www.boschendal.com

 

2) !Khwa ttu (West Coast)

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by !Khwa ttu (@khwattu) on

Situated right near Yzerfontein, some 70 km away from Cape Town – !Khwa ttu is an incredible heritage centre and accommodation farm filled with excellent outdoor activities, rich history and insights into the ways of the San people, good food and accommodation – and above all, wonderful wildlife and country spaces in the unique, fiercely wild West Coast region.

Best of all, they offer visitors and overnight guests a range of activities, everything from mountain biking to hiking and guided San tours.

When we visited back in 2017, it was a truly memorable experience. And if I could hike or MTB anywhere now, I think !Khwa ttu would be top of my list.

If you are looking for a fun weekend getaway, I suggest booking an overnight stay in advance. This is a great way to relax and enjoy all their activities at your leisure.

Trail Notes:

khwattu-mtb-trails

There is something for every independent outdoor enthusiast to enjoy here.

Both the mountain biking, trail running and/or more gentle hiking can be enjoyed on the same trails – although the two groups scarcely cross paths apparently.

You will need to bring your own bike and helmet.

There is also a small fee you need to pay to ride. But this applies to general use of the trails, including hikes/trail runs.

Thereafter, all you need to do is decide which trail best suits your needs and experience level. There are hard core options, as well as easier ones.

For the more adventurous MTB rider, there is a purpose-built, 10km singletrack course.

There are several route choices, with twists, zigzags and berms to navigate – but it’s a great track that you can enjoy again and again.

For the less experienced or even for those who prefer a gentler outing, try the route that runs along the jeep tracks and gravel roads.

Best of all, you may even find yourself in the midst of a herd of game, such as zebra, eland or springbok,  so soak up the wildlife as you go!

And why not make a pit stop near the traditional replica San village? It’s great fun to explore!

Fee:

For hikes, trail runs and MTB rides, there is a fee. Sign up and pay at reception and become a Friend of !Khwa ttu – it’s as simple as that.

This costs R100 for adults and R80 for students and pensioners. Free for children under 12.

Your Friend of !Khwa ttu card membership is valid for 12 months and includes free self-guided access to the Heritage Centre/Museum.

Accommodation is best booked in advance – but all other activities, including MTB trail rides, can be planned at reception on the day.

For groups of 10 or more, please contact !Khwa ttu in advance so they can assist with planning.

!Khwa ttu is open Monday – Sunday, from 09:00 am – 17:00 pm. (Note: Last entry is 45 minutes before closing.)

Facilities:

There are no specific MTB facilities outside of the trails themselves – but there is plenty to see and do at !Khwa ttu.

Things to Do Nearby:

During your visit, take time to explore the unique, newly-built San Heritage Centre (Museum).

When I was last at !Khwa ttu, they were busy with its construction. Nevertheless, I found the San history, language and relics absolutely fascinating. It is an insightful and humbling experience and I definitely recommend it.

You can even join in on one of their guided San tours – but self-guided tours are definitely an option too. Pricing will vary depending on what you choose.

And, as for their in-house restaurant and accommodation, I absolutely loved it. The food was wholesome and good and as for their cottage accommodation, I would check back into it in a heartbeat.

khwattu-cottage-accommodation

They have everything from beautifully appointed, self-catering cottages to furnished tents with open showers and a communal boma.

tented-camps-khwattu

Lastly, you can also browse the lovely shop for an array of rare, handcrafted gifts. This includes everything from ostrich shell jewellery to ‘love’ bows and arrows.

Contact Information:

 Contact !Khwa ttu on  +27 (022) 492 2998 or email them at info@khwattu.org.

Website:

kwhattu.org

 

Durbanville’s Main MTB Hubs

Durbanville is one of the city’s most popular MTB regions. There are a number of wine farms and other areas where locals and visitors can enjoy some scenic, fun and challenging MTB trails. Included among these are Meerendal, Bloemendal and Majik Forest.

Many of these incredible trails are attentively managed by the Tygerberg Mountain Bike Club, who do a stellar job of ensuring the trails are well-maintained and kept in tip top shape.

 

3) Meerendal

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Meerendal Wine Estate (@meerendal) on

Built and designed by the Tygerberg MTB Club, though managed by the estate itself, Meerendal’s trails offer an excellent variety for MTB riders.

The trails offer about 20 kilometres’ worth of riding, 15 kilometres of which is flowing singletrack. This is aimed at a less skilled rider or those who don’t require too much of a technical challenge.

Trail Notes:

The trail is made up of three different routes: Yellow (5km), Green (10.5km) and Blue (17.8km).

All of the routes start at the Meerendal car park and are marked accordingly.

The Yellow and Green routes are gentle, making them ideal of newer riders, children or anyone desiring an easier ride for the day.

The Blue route, meanwhile, is the main loop. It is manageable for most riders – especially if you exclude the climb up to Dorstberg and the subsequent descent.

Without going into too much detail, these trails are hugely popular and seem to award stunning scenery.

Plus, Meerendal is always a good estate to visit and one that I find especially pretty.

For more in-depth information on this trail, please see Tygerberg MTB’s detailed writeup. 

Fee:

Paid members of the Tygerberg MTB Club can ride for free, otherwise non-members can expect to pay R50 (per adult) and R20 (per student, pensioner and under 18s). Payment can be made at the parking guard house.

Please ensure you pay before your ride and keep your proof of payment on you.

And remember: no helmet, no riding…

Note: This payment is only valid for the Meerendal trails and does not include access to any of the adjacent farms’ trails.

For more information on the Meerendal MTB trails, please see here.

Meerendal Trails are open from Tuesday – Sunday, from sunrise to 17:00 pm. 

Facilities:

Aside from the trail itself, the only other facilities seem to be those of the estate itself.

However, Meerendal offers visitors a lovely, all-round experience; it is a special Durbanville wine estate well worth visiting.

Things to Do Nearby:

meerendal-wine-estate-mtb-trails

When at Meerendal, you can dine out at the relaxed Carlucci’s or at the fine dining option, iL Tesoro.

Pop by the still-new farm stall for a varieties of goodies, including Meerendal-themed merchandise and food items.

Or even check into the estate’s luxury boutique hotel and enjoy a memorable stay.

Contact Information:

Contact Meerendal on +27 (021) 975 1655 or email them at info@meerendal.co.za.

Website:

meerendal.co.za

Source:

www.tygerbergmtb.co.za and meerendal.co.za

 

4) Bloemendal

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by BiosportSA (@biosportsa) on

Bloemendal is arguably one of the most geared up estates in Durbanville as far as MTB is concerned.

In addition to the excellent trails they have, the estate is also home to the Biosport Cycle Track.

Overall, Bloemendal is also a very family-friendly estate and it is the perfect place to safely introduce the kids and family to cycling, while making fun memories out in the sunshine.

Trail Notes:

These trails are built and maintained by the Tygerberg MTB Club. They offer riders a chance to zip through the Cape’s unique renosterveld, while also offering a selection of “technically xco type of trails, huge jump runs, wonderful flow trails to easy, green picturesque trails”, as TMTBC so eloquently puts it.

The trails are divided into two primary regions: Bloemendal South and Bloemendal North and Hillcrest – yet another lovely local wine estate.

Bloemendal South:

The trail begins with a drop into a great singletrack called B-Spot. This flowing, easy track is very popular and offers riders a good warm-up.

From there, you can either head straight via the dirt road and climb up to the Majik Forest gate – or veer left into D’Aria for a scenic loop before you return to Bloemendal.

Members have the added bonus of being able to access the Protea Hotel corridor via D’Aria, another popular local wine estate.

There is plenty more to enjoy through Bloemendal South – but I think it’s best if I point you to Tygerberg MTB’s detailed writeup of this… You can find it here.

Bloemendal North and Hillcest:

One of the most important things to remember with this region is no riding is allowed on Telkom’s concrete road. This leads up from Tygervalley Road to the old restaurant.

The only exception is the clearly marked green passage (above the gum trees) where you must port your bike across.

Bloemendal North is also best suited to more experienced, technical riders or those who wish to use it as a gateway across into the neighbouring Hillcrest, Contermanskloof, members-only Traverse or Bloemendaaler.

For this, you will start at the trail centre and head for Tygervalley Road via Bloemendal’s main gate.

Again, there is quite a bit of detail and few different options – so I think it’s best to point my readers to the Tygerberg MTB Club’s writeup for this; you can find it here.

Fee:

Paid members of the Tygerberg MTB Club can ride for free.

Non-members can purchase a day permit for R60 (per adult) and R40 (per child).

You can pay at the Biosport Cycle Track shop counter or at one of the trail centre’s SnapScan facilities.

Please ensure you pay before riding and keep your proof of payment on you. This payment ensures access to Bloemendal, D’Aria and Hillcrest only.

Please also ensure you have the necessary gate codes before riding.

For more information on day permits and general rules, please see here.

And remember: no helmet, no riding…

Facilities:

biosport-sa-bloemendal-mtb

The main facility is naturally Biosport, which offers a Techzone, Kids Zone and Cafe. Here, you can access bike rentals, bike fitment and more.

There is also a cafe, where you can buy fresh coffee, snacks, cake, beer on tap, sandwiches and other goodies.

In addition to these bike services, they also host MTB-themed kiddies’ parties… Something that is sure to delight avid, young MTB riders!

For more information on Biosport and their on-site offerings, please see here.

Biosport is open from 08:00 am – 17:00 pm.

Things to Do Nearby:

bloemendal-wine-estate

In addition to Biosport, there are of course Bloemendal’s own facilities, such as their wine tasting and Bon Amis Restaurant. Bloemendal is a lovely estate to visit and explore. It’s small but charming.

And because you are in the midst of the Durbanville winelands, there are many other wine estates within close proximity along Tygervalley Road and beyond.

These include D’Aria, Maastricht Wines, Nitida Wine Farm, Hillcrest Estate – and further on, Klein Roosboom, Durbanville Hills and lastly, De Grendel.

Each estate offers good wine tasting and a host of other activities and experiences to enjoy.

Contact Information:

Contact Biosport on +27 (060) 657 6344 or email them at admin@biosport.co.za.

Website:

Sources:

www.tygerbergmtb.co.za and biosport.co.za.

 

5) Majik Forest

majik-forest-durbanville

I could wax lyrical about Majik Forest. I consider it to be one of the  most beautiful, green city spaces anywhere in Cape Town.

And while this is still true, crime has become something of an issue at this beautiful place and its surrounds. So whether you walk, run, picnic or cycle here, it is best to do so in groups and always keep your wits about you.

Trail Notes:

Majik Forest offers some of the oldest existing MTB trails in the Northern Suburbs. Over the years, these have been built and maintained by the Tygerberg MTB Club.

However, while the trails are still annually maintained by Tygerberg MTB Club, building has since ceased and Majik Forest is now a fully public space for MTB lovers, hikers, dog walkers and trail runners.

This network offers a 11.63km-long, largely singletrack. There is no specific routing and markings and trails are open to all so please keep this in mind when using them.

majik-forest-mtb-trail

For mountain bikers, there are a number of entrances you can use. The major cycling entrance is off Jip de Jager Road, past the Protea Hotel and to the right of the Vineyard Office Estate. You will enter via a marked singletrack.

If you keep along this singletrack, you will reach the beacon at Lower Majik. From here, you can either return to the Jip de Jager entrance via the same track to your left – or head on towards the power stations.

Follow this past the substations and through the fenced off gate into Upper Majik Forest.

You can carry on if you have Tygerberg MTB Club membership or a valid non-member day permit, as this will lead into the Bloemendal Trail Centre. If not, rather turn back and return via the same route. 

As there is no real signage and fixed routing, the Majik Forest trail is best reserved to those who know the area or who are riding with someone familiar with them.

For more information on this trail, please see here – or read the Tygerberg MTB Club writeup here.

Fee:

There is no fee, as Majik Forest is a public space.

However, if you wish to cross over into the Bloemendal Trail Centre (see above), you will need to be a paid member of the Tygerberg MTB Club or else a non-member with a valid day permit.

Facilities:

There are no specific facilities for this trail.

Things to Do Nearby:

majik-forest-walks

When you are visiting Majik Forest, you can enjoy walking, picnicking, birdwatching, scenic, short hikes and of course, MTB rides.

It is a good outing – but as mentioned above, crime has become a bit of a concern in recent times, so I feel it is best to go when it is busy or visit in groups.

Contact Information:

Contact Tygerberg MTB Club on +27 (079) 693 3177 or email them at info@tygerbergmtb.co.za.

Website:

www.tygerbergmtb.co.za

Source:

 

6) Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve

paarl-mountain-nature-reserve

As I have said before on the blog, Paarl is one of my favourite Cape Winelands’ towns and regions. And it is also one of the most overlooked – for reasons I still don’t understand.

But with its unique beauty, famous wine farms – including Fairview and Nederburg – and outdoor spaces, Paarl is one of the best places to hike, cycle or walk.

It’s a town and region made for outdoor exploration. One such Paarl location is the beautiful Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve.

Home to the well-known, otherworldly Paarl Rocks, pristine nature, impressive views and of course, a plethora of hiking, biking and picnicking options – Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve is an excellent place.

It is especially fun for families to visit and enjoy an escape to relatively undisturbed Cape nature.

Trail Notes and Fees:

paarl-mtb-hiking-trails

At Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve, there are various loops that offer MTB fans a chance to relish the incredible Boland views – and beyond.

The trail, which can range from 4-35 km according to MTB Routes, is considered easy to intermediate and takes you up to the Afrikaanse Taal Monument, past Victoria Dam and/or up to Paarl Rock.

For information on the different MTB trails, rules and cost of day permits around Paarl Mountain, please contact Paarl Adventure Trails.

If you use their trails, Paarl Adventure Trails can also assist with bike rentals. Booking is essential (minimum of 48 hours in advance) and options range from standard MTBs to e-bikes. 

Facilities:

Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve has some nice facilities, including a ranger’s office, safe parking, picnic and braai spots, toilet facilities and more.

Things to Do Nearby:

spice-route-destination-paarl

While you are in Paarl, you can catch up on hiking and nature walks; picnics or braais at Meulwater Botanical Garden (situated within the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve); wine tastings and dining out at the local estates and venues, like Fairview, Spice Route Destination or Nederburg; and of course, exploring every inch of the beautiful, safe Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve, including walking, driving or riding to see the famous Paarl Rock.

The options and beauty in Paarl are endless… and there really is something for everyone.

Contact Information:

For information on Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve, please call +27 (021) 807 6231, 073 748 6325 or email Lindsay.Lewis@drakenstein.gov.za. You can also visit Paarl Online’s website.

Website:

I recommend visiting Paarl Adventure Trails’ website here.

Source:

mtbroutes.co,za

 

7) Oak Valley (Elgin)

oak-valley-mtb-trails

Few places on earth could be more beautiful and alluring than Elgin Valley. This special region, famed for its untamed natural beauty, fruit and cool climate wines, is one of my favourite places anywhere in South Africa.

I never tire of driving through or visiting this unique part of the diverse Overberg Region.

In a similar vein, possibly one of the most stunning, lovely wine estates I have visited to date is Oak Valley. It has a rich Cape history and absolutely fairytale-like surroundings, blessed with oak trees, wild flowers and other natural flora and fauna.

Aside from producing glorious wines, fresh flowers, fruits, wagyu beef and acorn-fed pork, Oak Valley also offers incredible accommodation and gorgeous MTB trails.

You can either bring your own MTB or book an e-bike or MTB bike tour through Elgin Adventure Centre. Either way, Oak Valley is made for riding and exploring… that much I know for certain.

ebike-mtb-tour-elgin

When I visited Elgin in 2019, I embarked on an incredible e-bike and wine tasting tour, led by Elgin Adventure Centre. This took me from the popular Elgin Railway Market (another local gem) through the valley, riding inside the beautiful Oak Valley estate to The Pool Room for a winetasting.

And let me tell you, riding through the ancient oak trees, over smooth wooden bridges, around sharp twists in the forest path and through muddy puddles is one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had!

If the e-bike or MTB bug bit me, it was definitely that day. 🙂 The adrenaline and the sheer bliss of that ride is something I still instantly relive almost a year later.

So if you don’t have your own bike or gear, I would strongly recommend doing a professionally guided and endlessly fun tour with Elgin Adventure Centre, who are also responsible for Cape Canopy Tour in Elgin.

Trail Notes:

oak-valley-mtb-tourOtherwise, if you have everything you need, Oak Valley has a range of MTB trails and routes. Even to someone as inexperienced as me, it really looks and feels like prime MTB terrain.

Oak Valley’s trails were pioneered by legendary Pieter Visser, himself a keen mountain biker, who designed the trails for all skill levels. (Something I can attest to.)

You ride through the beautiful oak woodlands, past vineyards and fruit orchards and even across cattle fields, surrounded all the while by the splendour of the Groenlandberg mountains, which are also a strong inspiration for their wines.

This is a world-class MTB experience and Oak Valley is well-known for its groomed singletrack.

Visit the trails and discover their popular Sounds of Silence, Stone & Steel, Fountain of Youth, Harrier Hawk sections, to name only a few.

The trails consist of a short blue route and a longer red route. The red route links up with several black loops, best suited to more advanced riders.

In addition to its everyday MTB fun, Oak Valley frequently hosts major MTB events, such as the Absa Cape Epic and Wines2Whales. In fact, when I rode there in 2019, the Wines2Whales was underway…  No pressure riding past all those MTB experts. 🙂

Oak Valley’s trails are open 365 days a year during daylight hours and are only closed for scheduled events and during severe weather conditions.

After such occurrences, the trails are closed for one day to ensure their integrity and keep them in good shape. 

oak-valley-mtb-tours-elgin-adventure-centre

Fee:

The daily rate for using Oak Valley’s MTB trails is R50 (per adult) and R30 (per child).

You can also invest in an annual membership, which costs R500 from the date of purchase.

Facilities:

Oak Valley offers MTB riders bike washes, showers and secure parking.

Things to Do Nearby:

elgin-railway-market

Aside from the great wine tasting, picnics at The Pool Room and beautiful accommodation (in their 1902 Cottage) that you can also enjoy at Oak Valley alone – Elgin Valley and nearby Grabouw offer visitors plenty to see and do.

While you are in Elgin, visit the popular, steampunk-style Elgin Railway Market; book an incredible zipline experience with Cape Canopy Tour; or make a stop at the popular Peregrine Farm Stall in Grabouw for roadtrip supplies and other delicious goodies.

There are also a host of other lovely wine farms in the area, including Elgin Vintners, South Hill Vineyards, Lothian Vineyards and more.

Finally, for true blooded MTB riders, you can also check into Trail’s End. This bike hotel is the perfect base camp for MTB lovers and outdoor adventurers in Grabouw and Elgin.

Contact Information:

Contact Oak Valley on +27 (021) 859 2510 or email them at mail@oak-valley.co.za.

Website:

 

8) Montagu (Route 62)

montagu-route-62-town

Montagu is a town dear to my heart, as it is where I grew up. I know from first-hand experience that this warm, cheerful little Route 62 town offers visitors the best in unblemished Cape wilderness and friendly hospitality.

Montagu is ideal for meanders about town, cycling and MTB trail riding, hiking and a host of other outdoor activities.

It also has some lovely restaurants, farm stalls, cafes and B&Bs that make it perfect for a weekend getaway or extended holiday break.

montagu-route-62

Trail Notes:

Although you can essentially ride all over town and along the many dirt and tarred roads that feed into this small town, there are more dedicated MTB trails to enjoy.

There are several routes to enjoy in Montagu. However, for this post, I am focusing on two as, knowing the areas off by heart, I feel they would offer the best and/or longest MTB rides.

Baden Route:

Leave town via the R318, past the Montagu Golf Club and take the right-hand fork that leads down the long, dirt road.

Follow this until you can turn left through the farmlands.

From there, turn left again (at the next turn) and link up with the R318 that will lead you back into town.

This route can also be done in a clockwise order, depending on where you set off from.

It is a scenic route that offers a good view of the outskirts of Montagu, surrounding farmlands and of course, of the impressive Langeberg mountain range too.

Talana Route: 

To enjoy this route, head down Long Street, travelling along the R62.

You will take this road a short distance out of town until you reach the Talana T-junction.

Here, turn right to the R62 – and once on the R62, you can turn right again for a zippy ride along the tar, following the wide shoulder.

This is a nice, easy ride and offers great views of the surriunding farmlands and Langeberg mountains.

Tracks:

montagu-mtb-trails

From Church Street, travel into Montagu South and head up past the Montagu Hospital. Right at the top, past the last houses, you will find open fynbos and dirt areas.

Follow this until there is a track off to the left. Once on this track, you can explore the area and soak in the views looking out across town and towards the mountains.

This track is best suited to more technical riders, so for new riders or the less experienced, perhaps stick to the Baden or Talana routes.

Fee:

There should be no fee, as these are generally considered open farm and/or town roads.

Facilities:

No specific MTB facilities but Montagu offers all you need in terms of local shops, hotels, B&Bs and restaurants.

Things to Do Nearby:

montagu-hikes-mtb-trails

Montagu has plenty of free to inexpensive local attractions to enjoy. Some of my favourites include exploring the tranquil Montagu Nature Garden; swimming in the hot water pools at the Avalon Springs; browsing the Saturday Montagu Village Market; or enjoying a meal or cake and a milkshake at one of the local eateries, such as Die Kloof Padstal, Die Boord or The Rambling Rose.

I also love some of the local nature walks and hikes, including Lover’s Walk and Badskloof Trail (may require entry fees), which connects the hot springs with Eyssenhuis/Ou Meul at Joubertpark.

There are plenty of other fun activities to enjoy – and generally, Montagu is pretty child- and pet-friendly as far as travel goes.

Contact Information:

Contact the Montagu Tourism Office for MTB trail info and other attractions on +27 (023) 614 2471 or email them at info@montagu.org.za

Website:

www.montagu.org.za

9) Kogelberg Nature Reserve (Overberg Region)

kogelberg-mtb-hiking-trails

The Kogelberg Nature Reserve, tucked away in the gorgeous Overberg Region, is one of my favourite local Cape Nature reserves. Like many, I not only consider it to be one of the most beautiful but I love everything about its eco-friendly accommodation, nature walks and hikes and diverse natural flora and fauna.

Considered the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom, Kogelberg offers breathtaking mountain views, rich natural wildlife and a variety of excellent activities like hiking, swimming, nature walks, wildlife watching and yes, you guessed it: MTB.

Trail Notes:

Kogelberg Nature Reserve offers a moderate, 22km ride along the jeep track through the Kogelberg Valley to the reserve office (found quite near to the Oudebosch eco cabins).

Known as the Palmiet River Valley MTB Route, this route is estimated to take between 2-4 hours. Skill level is considered moderate and riders are advised to ensure they have plenty of sunscreen and water for the trail.

If it is anything like the Palmiet River Hike, then you are guaranteed gorgeous natural flora and fauna, mountain views and the best in pristine Overberg countryside.

Riders must wear a helmet at all times during this trail ride. 

There is also no cellphone reception inside Kogelberg Nature Reserve (last reception point is at the turn from the tar road onto the long, gravel road.)

Kogelberg Nature Reserve gate times are from 07:30 am – 18:00 pm (April to August) and from 07:30 am – 19:00 pm (September to March).

Reserve office hours are from 07:30 am – 16:00 pm.

Fee:

You will need a permit for this trail ride. Permits can be purchased at the Kogelberg Cape Nature office.

For exact pricing, please contact Cape Nature or the Kogelberg office directly.

They are a cash-only facility, so ensure you have cash on you if you are buying your permit on the day, otherwise you can normally also book and pay online.

Facilities:

Kogelberg Nature Reserve has clean, well-maintained toilets for use and lovely accommodation for those who wish to spend the night here.

For the MTB trail and hikes, you will, however, need to bring along your own bottled water and energy bars/snacks with.

Things to Do Nearby:

palmiet-river-trail-hike

Aside from the many wonderful hikes, wildlife viewing, nature walks and swimming one can enjoy within Kogelberg, they also offer incredible, eco-friendly accommodation in the Oudebosch Eco Cabins.

In the area, you can also explore the amazing Harold Porter Botanical Gardens; say hello to the penguins at the Stony Point Nature Reserve; and enjoy visiting the nearby small coastal towns and villages, such as Betty’s Bay, Kleinmond, Rooi-Els and Pringle Bay.

harold-porter-botantical-garden

stony-point-nature-reserve-penguins

Contact Information:

Reserve office number: +27 (087) 288 0499.

For accommodation and permit bookings, please contact them on +27 (087) 087 8250.

Website:

capenature.co.za 

10) West Coast National Park (West Coast)

kraalbaai-west-coast-national-park

The West Coast National Park is known for offering so many glorious outdoor attractions, with everything from deserted beach hikes to incredible, seasonal wildflower spotting, houseboats and swimming in Kraalbaai available to visitors.

The park is great for romantic, fun couple excursions, trips with your family and friends or even solo travels designed to leave the city and its stresses behind.

Trail Notes:

Among the park’s many activities and attractions are the perhaps lesser known MTB and cycling routes.

For normal cycling, you can cycle from the Langebaan gate to Geelbek on a return trip that spans some 30km on tarred road. Or, if you’re craving a longer cycle, you can cycle from the Langebaan gate to Kraalbaai on a return trip that amasses some 70km on tarred road.

For mountain biking, there are two routes. The first is the 13km Green Trail (follow the green signs), which starts at the Langebaan gate. This leads up to the Seeberg Bird Hide before taking you back to the gate.

The second, slightly longer route is the 17km Red Trail (follow the red signs). This uses a similar route to the Green Trail but instead takes you up to the Seeberg Lookout and thereafter onto Mooimaak before you head back to the Langebaan gate.

There are some rules that cyclists and mountain bikers must follow. These are as follows:

  • No helmet, no riding…
  • Respect the Park and please do not damage anything;
  • Beware of and do not scare or hurt the animals;
  • Leave behind no trace, except tyre spoors on the road;
  • Ride on the marked, signed trails and obey the no-entry signs;
  • Be aware of other cars and cyclists on the roads;
  • Follow normal rules of the road on the tar roads;
  • Barring the permitted cycling and MTB routes, no bike may use any other trail or dirt road in the Park.

Fee:

All cyclists and riders must pay the standard conservation fee at the gate – or purchase a Wild Card and reap its benefits.

For current rates and fees, please see here on the SANParks website

Within the reserve, Wild Cards can be purchased at Geelbek Information Centre. (You can also book overnight accommodation here – but I would say it is best to book that in advance to ensure availability.)

Facilities:

The West Coast National Park does not have any specific MTB facilities, however, it does have toilet facilities, overnight accommodation, the Geelbek Restaurant, braai and picnic spots and information centres at both Preekstoel and Geelbek.

Things to Do Nearby:

west-coast-national-park-flower-spotting

Aside from the West Coast National Park’s incredible activities and attractions – many of which I mentioned above – you can also take a drive into Langebaan or visit some of the other nearby local attractions in the area, such as Thali Thali Game Lodge; local cafes and restaurants in Langebaan and much more.

Contact Information:

Contact the West Coast National Park on +27 (022) 772 2144/5 or email them at moipone.thathane@sanparks.org.

Website:

www.sanparks.org

 

And a Bonus One for the Love of Cycling…

11) Up Cycles Cape Town

sea-point-promenade-cape-town

Because not all of us our brave enough to MTB or we simply haven’t tried yet – I wanted to also include normal cycling options too. And if you are based in Cape Town, one of the best is undoubtedly Up Cycles.

Up Cycles are Cape Town’s drop-and-go bicycle rental company. With stations in Sea Point, Camps Bay and Silo 5 at the V&A Waterfront, Up Cycles allows you to enjoy cycling around the inner city and along the coastline on their eye-catching, immediately recognisable tangerine bicycles.

You can choose from a standard bicycle, e-bike or mountain bike, so they really do cater to all needs, pleasures and skill levels.

Note: While I have never used them personally yet (although I have been dying to try it for years now!) – I know friends who have. And honestly, I have only heard glowing reports about this service and the overall experience.

How It Works:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Up Cycles Bicycle Rental (@upcycles) on

For those who are unfamiliar with Up Cycles, it is a very simple and fun process.

You simply arrive at the station, choose and pay (cash, card or SnapScan are accepted), take note of the rules and safety measures and then head on your merry way!

When you are finished, you simply hand your bicycle and gear back in at your closest Up Cycles station.

You can choose from city bikes (with an option to add a child seat or child carriage for an additional fee); mountain bikes (these must be pre-booked); road bikes (these must be pre-booked); or e-bike (these must be pre-booked).

Obviously, some basic safety rules and recommendations apply. These are as follows:

  • Minors must be accompanied by a legal guardian;
  • Ensure you feel comfortable on your bicycle;
  • Test your brakes are working before you set off;
  • Ask for help if needed;
  • Give right of way to pedestrians;
  • Obey the general rules of the road and be respectful;
  • Do not speed;
  • On the road, ride with the traffic;
  • Obey road signs and use hand signals when needed;
  • Do not text and ride;
  • Wear a helmet for your safety.

For a breakdown of Up Cycles’ pricing, please see here.

Price:

Rental pricing will varying depending on which bike type you choose. But generally, pricing starts at a minimum R80 (for one hour on a city bicycle) and can run up to R650 for a full day experience on an e-bike.

Helmets and locks are included in the set price for city bicycles and mountain bikes. 

If you choose a city bicycle, you can also add a child seat on for an additional fee of R80 or a child carriage for R100 extra.

For more information on Up Cycles pricing, please see here.

Unless it is raining heavily, Up Cycles Cape Town is open 365 days a year.

However, their operational hours change throughout the year. For exact operating hours, please contact Up Cycles directly.

Things to Do Nearby:

Before or after your cycle, if you are riding along Sea Point or Camps Bay, you can either stroll along the Sea Point Promenade; grab an ice-cream; visit the Green Point Urban Park; pop by the Mojo Market (Sea Point); or stop by the beach.

And if you are near the V&A Waterfront, there is a whole range of activities to enjoy, including shopping, eating out, browsing the local stores and stalls; visiting the Two Oceans Aquarium; riding on the Cape Town Wheel and of course, exploring the Zeitz MOCCA Museum.

So soak up the scenery as you cycle and then enjoy the best the city has to offer in outdoor and indoor fun, shopping and much more!

Contact Information:

Contact Up Cycles Cape Town on 074 100 9161 or 076 135 2223 or email them at hello@upcycles.co.za.

Website:

upcycles.co.za

COVID-19 Disclaimer

Note: Not all activities, venues and facilities may be open during COVID-19 so always check ahead before visiting or attempting to book. 

For anyone visiting any facility, venue or trail during COVID-19 times, please remember to adhere to the national rules and regulations, as well as those wherever you are visiting.

Remember to wear a mask, sanitise frequently and social distance.

If you feel unwell or are exhibiting any possible COVID-19 symptoms, please rather stay home to ensure everyone’s safety. 

General Disclaimer and Other Important Notices

Disclaimer:

While all information in this post has been carefully researched from reliable sources – such as MTB Routes and Tygerberg Mountain Bike Club – or written from my own experience of having visited these places as a traveller – I am in no way an expert on mountain biking.

For any additional information on MTB trails, general rules or expert insights – please contact the relevant cycling organisation or trail management before riding.

Mountain biking is a dangerous sport and should be enjoyed with the utmost care and safety precautions.

Please never attempt anything above your skill level. I have seen and heard of too many tragedies and accidents, even with experienced riders.

Please also ensure you wear a helmet at all times and follow all necessary rules (including the rules of the road) to ensure yours and others’ safety.

Finally, wherever possible, please also avoid riding alone in remote areas.

Always make sure someone knows where you are going to be cycling and when you are expected home.

Note: Pricing and other information was as up-to-date and relevant as possible at the time of publishing.

However, I assume no responsibility for any changes in pricing or general information that may occur during or after this post’s publication. 

Author: Tamlyn Ryan

Content writer by day and blogger by night, Tamlyn Ryan passionately runs her own travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, from her home base of Cape Town, South Africa. And, despite a national diploma in Journalism, in her free time, Tamlyn’s preferred niche remains travel writing.

Tamlyn is a hopeless wanderer, equipped with an endless passion for road trips, carefully planned, holiday itineraries and, above all else, an innate love for the great outdoors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *