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
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.
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
GPS: 32º13'33.6" South / 24º37'12" East·
Varies depending on trail
Varies depending on trail
Loops, or long training run (drop off provided)
Riding for guests only
Wifi, aircon, firepit, swimming pool in summer, fully self-catering accommodation. Sundowners or special veld supper on request.
Heat in summer, snakes and other African wildlife
HOW TO GET THERE
BEST TIME OF YEAR
April to October