Western Region EC

 

Veldscape Trails

CLOSEST TOWN >  Graaff-Reinet (12km)

TRAIL DESTINATION > A loop, or number of loops, traversing a number of valleys, or linear training run sprinting down Erasmuskloof

DISTANCE > 7km - 83km

GRADING > Varied

OVERVIEW:

The remote and desolate Great Karoo must host some of the most spectacular vistas in the country.  Horizons stretch in every direction, across terrain varying from semi-grasslands and mountains to arid plains, providing for nightskies strewn with stars and sunsets awash with colour.

Together with its altitude, distances and immaculately clean air, the Great Karoo makes for an outstanding training ground for the big race challenges – however thanks to the myriad homely farm-stays of delightful accommodation, wildlife and fresh farm food, there is something for the whole family here. Not to mention the graceful charm of historical Graaff-Reinet on your doorstep.

Veldscape offers mountain biking from an historic farm located 12km outside Graaff-Reinet, across Erasmuskloof and linking up with various farms all the way up to Nieu Bethesda.

On your bike

Do not expect marked routes, bar the odd painted rock giving you a gentle nudge in the right direction – together with a map and a GPS you must find your own way. Depending on time of day you will startle duiker, happen across zebra/kudu/hartebeest, be barked at by baboon troops and send various bird species into flight. Trails are largely jeep tracks crisscrossed by myriad game trails all begging to be explored. This is encouraged, although remember this is a working cattle farm within a large conservancy so please be respectful of gates, and game.

Veldscape offers a variety of trails. The trails vary in length, gradient and technical demands.  For training, we recommend the route starting near Nieu Bethesda (drop off can be arranged), and traversing 83km across undulating train.  You are eased in gently with a light downhill over roughly 13km, then a challenging rise of 700m over the following 37 km, to a high of 1600m.  After this its plainsailing for the remaining 30km ending back down at 800m at the cottage. This is a fast road, a main dirt artery feeding various historic farms and game reserves, with no reception for most of the duration. One patch of rough ground interrupts your speed and puts you on your mettle.  This is not for the middling fit.

For a challenging, lungbusting start up a steep mountain which then moves into the plateau vistas of the Karoo in every direction, and finishing off with an extremely fast, yet technical descent on the opposite valley, our Plateau trail is for you. Keep an eye out for the inquisitive herd of Blesbok who bemusedly watch cyclists’ progress along the top.

For shorter, less challenging though no less pretty, routes, there are myriad trails to choose from. Pick Horse Camp for a fast cycle to the back of the farm, and where we neighbour the game reserve. Branch off this to climb a gentle slope and then go whizzing into Red Valley, which channels you out along a river bed and through a pair of hills awash with aloes. Our River Route is especially alluring in the early morning or evening, for sighting duiker skittering off into the bush or noting the evidence of game activity during the night.  This is a largely flat route, wending its way through thornbush and provides a number of excellent picnic spots. Routes vary from 7km up. 

Off the bike

Make the most of our nightsky by stargazing, perhaps with whisky in hand, on our plateau platform with fire pit.  Request a night in our star cots to stay up there until sunrise.
Explore the marvellous, cool kloofs which can only be accessed on foot.

Enjoy the peaceful evenings around the firepit, interrupted only by the call of jackal.

Request a special veld supper, hosted by us, or visit town (15 minutes away) for museums, shops and restaurants.

Visit our world famous Valley of Desolation

Stalking/Hunting on request and depending on permits.

CONTACT: Will or Nilene

Telephone: +27 (0)76 902 1956

Website: www.veldscape.com

GPS: 32º13'33.6" South / 24º37'12" East·

 

FAST FACTS

GRADING:

Varies depending on trail

DURATION:

Varies depending on trail

CONFIGURATION :

Loops, or long training run (drop off provided)

START POINT:

Molweni Cottage

TERRAIN:

Mixed

 

CELL RECEPTION:

Patchy

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS:

Riding for guests only

FACILITIES:

Wifi, aircon, firepit, swimming pool in summer, fully self-catering accommodation. Sundowners or special veld supper on request.

BEWARE OF:

Heat in summer, snakes and other African wildlife

 

HOW TO GET THERE

Drive to Graaff-Reionet - we are 12km outside town on the N9 to Johannesburg.

BEST TIME OF YEAR

April to October

 

Van Stadens Wild Flower Reserve MTB Trails

CLOSEST TOWN > Port Elizabeth

TRAIL DESTINATION > Van Stadens Wild Flower Reserve

DISTANCE > Various options

GRADING > Easy

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OVERVIEW

The Van Stadens Wildflower Reserve, about 40 km west of Port Elizabeth, conserves a number of endemic, rare and threatened plants in the Albany Centre of Endemism and serves as an important environmental education centre to local communities in the Nelson Mandela Metropole and outlying regions.

On your bike

This is a beautiful area to ride in and enjoy the paths winding through the fynbos amid an amazing array of wild flowers and their local residents. The ride is mostly not too technical, though some sections on the grassy firebreaks are a bit wobbly.

Off the bike

Walking and hiking on any of the selection of trails available, bird watching, picnicking and fynbos rambling

 

CONTACT:

Telephone: +27 (0)41 956 0155

Website: www.vanstadens.co.za

GPS: 33° 54' 26.68" South / 25° 13' 6.89" East

 

FAST FACTS

GRADING:

Easy

DURATION:

Up to you

CONFIGURATION :

Winding paths

START POINT:

Van Stadens Wild Flower Reserve

TERRAIN:

Mountain trails, hiking paths and footpaths

MAP:

Available at reception or on website

CELL RECEPTION:

Intermittent

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS:

Free entry

FACILITIES:

Flower house with named flower specimens, traditional Xhosa umzi (homestead)

 

HOW TO GET THERE

Off the N2 from Port Elizabeth towards Humansdorp
 

BEST TIME OF YEAR

Year round

 

Get the books

Our books are available at Exclusive Books, Loot, Map Studio and probably other leading book stores.

Buy us a beer

PLEASE NOTE: This site is a flippen labour of love, brought to you for nada. Niks. Free of Charge. If you'd like to contribute some Bucks, please do - bank details below, but I'm not holding my breath wink

ABSA Cheque Account
Name: T. J. Marais
Branch Number: 312109
Account Number: 011 3130 0014
Any donation over R300 will receive a free copy of MTB TOP TRAILS 2 or MORE MTB TRAILS; just remember to send me Proof of Payment and a Delivery address!