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  • Lisa Martus

MOUNTAIN BIKING IN MAGOEBASKLOOF

Surrounded by towering trees and rugged mountains in the distance, you are only aware of the wind in your face and the small circles you are making with your legs to move forward down the single-track trail.  It is like a moving meditation getting into the zone of navigating down a technical track and feeling the freedom that only mountain biking can give you.  That rush of endorphins truly makes you feel alive but it is also about the joy of exploring and discovering something new around the next corner. 





For many people, mountain biking isn’t just a hobby, it’s a way of life and a journey of self-discovery.  Duncan Barry, a local Mountain Bike enthusiast says, ‘ I absolutely love cycling in our fantastic surroundings breathing in the clean Magoebaskloof mountain air and riding with friends is a real plus.  I get more than enough exercise in a very enjoyable manner and with the assistance of an e-bike, I am able to ride with younger bikers and not embarrass myself too much. It is a real privilege to be able to ride through so many farms where the landowners have generously made their properties available to traverse which means that I am able to get on my bike from home and ride in any direction.’


Duncan has sometimes been contacted by guests from lodges in the area, and has been able to show them around the trails and tourist spots. There are two marked Mountain Bike routes which can be found on the Magoebaskloof Tourism Association Website with starting points from Haenertsburg Village, Blueberry Heights / Stanford Lake Lodge, Cheerio Gardens and Zwakala Brewery.  The Blue (10km) and Yellow Routes (25km) have some challenging single track segments but can also be ridden by the less experienced riders if they just take it easy. These two routes are such that they can be combined to give a longer ride and are the only routes that currently have direction signs.





He says, ‘I thoroughly enjoy the circular route around Ebenezer Dam, which meanders through the huge tree-fern wetlands of Enon and pine forest tracks, over the dam wall, past the yacht and powerboat clubs. Then along the bailiff’s road on the edge of Ebenezer Dam to Haenertsburg or back, via farm access roads to Blueberry Heights. But Duncan has many other favourite routes in the area, explaining that he ‘likes riding up Mount Merrick to the Long Tom Lookout and then via Doddington Weir to Dap Naude and returning through Woodbush forest. That’s a 40km-plus ride with a lot of climbs. I also ride up from the village on the E Road to the foothills of Iron Crown and then across to the Annie’s Fortune Road past Black Forest and back to the Village.  There are so many options and variations, It’s just great fun to explore the area.’ 


Duncan says that ‘we have a great variety of cyclists coming to Magoebaskloof, some of whom are super-fit, some enjoy a challenge but are not necessarily up for the longer rides, and there are other riders who just want to enjoy the area and visit a pub or restaurant along the way.  There are also those who are looking for family excursions with very easy and short rides.  We would love to make Haenertsburg / Magoebaskloof a destination of choice for MTB riders so we're listening to what bikers want and creating routes to match.’  





‘We have a small team of bikers, landowners and tourism enthusiasts who will identify new routes and we will develop these as we have funds to not only cut the trails but also ensure that we are able to adequately maintain them.  We try to plan our routes to avoid extended riding on the busy R71 or the George’s Valley Road, but a biker can start a ride from virtually every accommodation venue in the area and make their way to a great route. We welcome lodge owners to contact us, so that we can assist them with route planning from their lodge.  One of our landowners is planning to substantially increase challenging cycle paths on his property and we look forward to working with him to get that off the ground.  Enjoy your ride in our beautiful countryside and leave your comments on our website.  We’re all about improving and making your biking experience an epic one!’


For more information, take a look on the Magoebaskloof Tourism Association website, www.magoebasklooftourism.co.za.



Duncan’s Top Five Tips for Mountain Bikers coming to Magoebaskloof:

  1. Check the current weather and see if there have been recent rains. The trails can be extremely slippery and a fall becomes more likely.

  2. Always try to ride with at least one other person for safety, in case of a fall.

  3. Preferably share your live location with your family or friends in case they need to find you.

  4. Please be considerate to the landowners property that you traverse. We enjoy that privilege due to their generosity. Leave any gates in the state that you find them and, most importantly, do nothing that could start a fire.

  5. Make sure you ride with someone who knows the route or stick to our published routes that you will find on the Magoebaskloof Tourism Website.

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