Kalahari

Witsand Nature Reserve

CLOSEST TOWN > Groblershoop

TRAIL DESTINATION > Witsand Nature Reserve

DISTANCE > 18–36km

 

GRADING > Moderate to difficult

witsand

OVERVIEW

Witsand Nature Reserve is a unique spot as far as arid ecosystems go. You’ve got three major vegetation biomes - Karroid Kalahari Bush Veldt, Orange River Nama-Karoo and Kalahari Mountain Bush Veldt – all merging to form a thorny desert destination of breathtaking beauty. And yes, you can ride your bike here, to your heart’s content.

It might not be a place many people have heard of, but it certainly rates as one of the best conservation destinations in the whole of southern Africa. The stone chalets and camping site are hemmed in by spreading, ancient thorn trees, with a number of dirt roads spider-webbing into the arid ridges from here.

On your bike

Witsand Nature Reserve is a unique spot as far as arid ecosystems go. You’ve got three major vegetation biomes - Karroid Kalahari Bush Veldt, Orange River Nama-Karoo and Kalahari Mountain Bush Veldt – all merging to form a thorny desert destination of breathtaking beauty. And yes, you can ride your bike here, to your heart’s content.

It might not be a place many people have heard of, but I’ll put my hand right now to say that I confidently rate it as one of my favourite conservation destinations in the whole of southern Africa. The stone chalets and camping site are hemmed in by spreading, ancient thorn trees, with a number of dirt roads spider-webbing into the arid ridges from here.

Off the bike

It was only by 1994 that the area was proclaimed a protected zone by the then provincial government of the Cape Province and mainly because of the famous ‘Roaring Sands’ of the Kalahari. This ‘Brulsand’ produces a subterranean rumble when disturbed, supposedly due to tiny particles rubbing against each other when disturbed. Ride a 4x4 trail, relax along the 3km Botanical meander, go bird watching – there are more than 170 species, hiking or dune boarding.

CONTACT:

Telephone: +27 (0)83 234 7573

Website: www.witsandkalahari.co.za

GPS: 28°33'59.6" South / 22°29'14.4" East 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FAST FACTS

GRADING:

Moderate to difficult

DURATION:

2–4 hours

CONFIGURATION :

Various return options (18–36km)

START POINT:

Reception office

TERRAIN:

Gravel roads, jeep tracks – sandy patches

MAP:

Map of reserve roads at reception

CELL RECEPTION:

Switch it off - you will make a natural connection

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS:

Day visitor fee applies to riders; no fees for reserve guests

FACILITIES:

Various accommodation options, kiosk, pool; no fuel

BEWARE OF:

Extreme heat and reflection from the white dunes, paper wasps, and thunderstorms

 

HOW TO GET THERE

From Kimberley, take the R64 towards Upington; 80km after Griquatown on the Groblershoop road, turn right at the Witsand sign. From here, it is another 45km along a good gravel road.

BEST TIME OF YEAR

The cooler winter months – makes sense, doesn’t it?

The roaring dunes vibration is more prevalent during the hotter months from September to April 

 

Hakskeen Pan MTB galore

CLOSEST TOWN > Rietfontein

TRAIL DESTINATION > Hakskeen Pan

DISTANCE > Self-determined

GRADING > Easy all round

no-picture

OVERVIEW

This area belongs to the “Mier”. They’re an indigenous community, sharing all of the area. Places such as Rietfontein , Klipkolk and Groot Mier are at the core. The Mier people are extremely friendly – you should be too!  

On your bike

You can start just about anywhere on the Pan – as long as there is a road to it. It’s a good idea to invest in the Topographical 1:50 000 maps as described below. You’ll use it for more than just your Mtb experience. The legendary “Lost City of the Kalahari” is near the Pan and better known as “Eierdop Koppies” You can ride all the way there from Klipkolk – about 12km away and along the Southern edge of Hakskeens Pan.

Off the bike

Popular activities for visitors are walking and birding. In the rainy season (Dec–Feb), the pan sometimes fills up and becomes a haven for a number of bird species. At the Mier Tourism Info centre visitors can see traditional Bushman dancing, Bushman art and crafts and experience the lifestyle of the local community. The centre has a coffee shop which sells meat and firewood. In addition there is a tented camp.

CONTACT:

Contact Person:  Hendrik Bott - Mier Tourism

Cell: +27 (0)73 805 9469 / +27 (0)72 159 6726 

Website: www.miertourism.co.za

GPS: 26º 52' 371" South and 20º 05' 329" East

 

FAST FACTS

GRADING:

Easy all round – It can’t get flatter than this.

DURATION:

As long – or short – as you wish.

CONFIGURATION :

The Pan is your “oyster”. Why not combine the Pan ride with a ride to the “Lost City of the Kalahari”?

START POINT:

You can either start at Klipkolk at 26º 52' 371" South and 20º 05' 329" East at or drive to the edge of the pan at 26º 48' 175" South and 20º 09' 488" East, between Philandersbron and Klein Mier.

TERRAIN:

100% solid Pan-sand with Desert shrub along the Southern and Western edges.

MAP:

2620 CA,CC and CD 1:50 000. Alternatively, just stop off at Klipkolk and speak to Mr or Mrs Bott.

CELL RECEPTION:

Intermittent

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS:

Free on Hakskeens Pan.

FACILITIES:

Use Klipkolk as your base. Semi self catering Guesthouse. Take your own food and drink. They will provide breakfast. Other meals on request.

BEWARE OF:

Heat in Summer.

 

HOW TO GET THERE

Situated 20km from the Namibia–South Africa border post and 13km outside the hamlet of Philandersbron

BEST TIME OF YEAR

Avoid summer months.

 

Lost City MTB route

CLOSEST TOWN > Askham

TRAIL DESTINATION > Mier Community

DISTANCE > Various

 

GRADING > Easy to intermediate

lost-city

OVERVIEW

Surreal saltpans dot this region in the vicinity of Mier, offering lunar cranking along moonscape flats occasionally measuring more than 20km across. Lay fresh tracks on surfaces varying from blistered mud and shifting sands to coarse salt fields stretching as far as the eye can see. 

On your bike

 

You can start cranking just about anywhere on Hakskeen Pan and try to find the legendary “Lost City of the Kalahari”, near the Pan and better known as “Eierdop Koppies”. You can ride all the way there from Klipkolk – about 12km away and along the Southern edge of Hakskeen Pan.Ride beyond the pans into the contorted rock world of ‘The Lost City of the Kalahari’. A craggy jeep track rises sharply and winds into a mesmerizing world where soaring cliffs and tumbling escarpments mimic the shapes of a lost city straight from the pages of an H. Rider Haggard novel.

Another local option would be a ride into the contorted rock world of “The Lost City of the Kalahari”. A craggy jeep track rises sharply and winds into a mesmerizing world where soaring cliffs and tumbling escarpments mimic the shapes of a list city straight from the pages of a Rider Haggard novel. Endless gravel roads and jeep tracks wind amongst the rocky outcrops and windblown dunes but be prepared for a ride verging on the rough side.

Take note: there is no organized route here, so you need to think for yourself. And don’t ask the locals as most of them would think you’ve got a hole in your head if you ask where you can ride your bike.....

Off the bike

Go dune tracking with San guides at the Molopo Kalahari Lodge or opt for a camel-riding experience to “The Lost City of the Kalahari” from Koppieskraal Farm. You are also only a few hours away from the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, one of Southern Africa’s premium arid national parks.

Or how about a game of 'sand golf'?

CONTACT:

 

Website: www.koppieskraal.co.za

Tel: +27 83 564 4613

GPS: 26°52’51.3” South /  20°05’62.4”East

 

 

FAST FACTS

GRADING:

Easy to intermediate

DURATION:

Up to you

CONFIGURATION :

Various return and circular options

START POINT:

Klipkolkgastehuis

TERRAIN:

Gravel roads and jeep tracks among rocky outcrops,
dunes and saltpans. This ride verges on the rough side.

MAP:

Invest in a 1:50 000 topographical map

CELL RECEPTION:

Limited to no cellphone reception

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS:

Free access

FACILITIES:

Various accommodation options.

BEWARE OF:

Extreme heat and dust storms

 

HOW TO GET THERE

Take the R360 from Upington towards Askham and Andriesvale. Then follow the R31 to Rietfontein and Koppieskraal Farm.

BEST TIME OF YEAR

Definitely during winter.

 

Molopo MTB Trail

CLOSEST TOWN > Askham

TRAIL DESTINATION > Molopo

DISTANCE > Various distance options

 

GRADING > Moderate

no-picture

OVERVIEW

The Molopo Kalahari Lodge, named after the currently dry river the Molopo, is situated in the area known as the Green Kalahari, 200km north of Upington, 5km from the Botswana border and 60km from the world famous Kalahari Trans Frontier Park. [div2 class="highlight1"]

On your bike

Various options on surfaces varying from blistered mud or shifting sands to coarse salt fields stretching as far as the eye can see. Another local option would be a ride into the contorted rock world of “The Lost City of the Kalahari” along a craggy jeep track. [/div2]

Off the bike

The Molopo Kalahari Lodge is a wonderful, fully-equipped facility consisting of ten en-suite rondavels, 14 en-suite chalets, and a reception area with a gourmet restaurant, a lively bar and a parlour.

In addition to the more than 60 available beds, there is a fully-equipped camping facility with ablution blocks and a large thatched lapa for functions, conferences or product launches. A large selection of drinks are available at the outside bar by the pool. Private braai facilities are available.

Visit the Kalahari Gemsbok Park and Kgalagadi National Frontier Park, both less than 30 minutes from here.

CONTACT:

Telephone: +27 (0)54 511 0008

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website: www.molopolodge.co.za

GPS: 26°56’00.3” South / 20°39’49.9” East

FAST FACTS

GRADING:

Moderate

DURATION:

2 Hours

CONFIGURATION :

Return rides

START POINT:

Various options - you choose

TERRAIN:

Sand, jeep-track, gravel roads

MAP:

Invest in a 1:50 000 topographical map

CELL RECEPTION:

Limited cell phone reception.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS:

Free access

FACILITIES:

Various accommodation options, but you can’t go wrong with the Molopo Kalahari Lodge.

BEWARE OF:

Extreme heat and dust storms

 

HOW TO GET THERE

From Upington, follow the signs to the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park on the R360. 600 m after leaving the tarmac, you will find us.

BEST TIME OF YEAR

Avoid summer months.

 

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