With its breathtaking mountain ranges and rolling hills, Cape Town and its surrounds is a mountain biker’s heaven. Near countless trails dot the landscape from Table Mountain to Stellenbosch, Paarl and beyond offering stunning routes for riders of all skill levels – no wonder the area plays host the world-famous Cape Epic mountain bike stage race every year.
Here’s a look at some of the great mountain biking trails in Cape Town and its surrounds:
Situated on the edge of the city bowl, this network of trails run along the lower slopes of Table Mountain, connecting with the Tafelberg Contour Road (that runs past the cable way station). These trails are accessible from either Deer Park in Vredehoek, or Tafelberg Road off Kloofnek road.
Just outside the city, on the outskirts of Durbanville lies the Contermanskloof farm. Local trail-building legend Meurant Botha designed the single track on the farm, and includes a variety of fun switch-backs and banked and graded single-tracks.
Cape Town’s most famous neighbour, Stellenbosch, is a little Mecca for mountain bikers, and includes a myriad of trails, the arguably most prominent of which is Jonkershoek. Situated in a commercial forest, the trails change all the time due to regular harvesting, keeping things interesting no matter how many times you visit. Jonkershoek has something for every fat tyre enthusiast.
Tokai Forest in the city’s southern suburbs is one of the most well-known mountain biking spots in the region, offering something for all ages and skill levels from lush forest to barren jeep track, including the excruciating climb up to the radio mast. Sadly, due to the devastating fires of 2015 many trails are closed for rehabilitation and will only open towards the end of 2016.
Just outside Stellenbosch is the Delvera wine estate. This is where you will find trail-building guru Meurant Botha, and with him at the helm, the estate offers a complete mountain biking experience with trails that suit all levels. There’s also a shop where you can get some last-minute riding supplies, or even rent a mountain bike.
Situated in Paarl, just down the road from Stellenbosch, Rhebokskloof is another great riding spot for all levels of skill and fitness. It features long stretches of flowing single-track and if you’re willing to sweat it all the way to the top of the hill, panoramic views of the Paarl valley awaits you.
Speaking of views, the Helderberg Trails just outside Somerset West has some of the most magnificent views of any trail in South Africa. Looking out over False Bay and the Table Mountain, there’s something for everyone at Helderberg, situated on the Helderplaas farm, even the most hardcore riders will feel at home, as it’s also a favourite spot for downhill competitions.
By: Stefan de Klerk