Wild Coast

 

Bulungula Mpame Route

CLOSEST TOWN > Mganduli

TRAIL DESTINATION > Bulungula to Mpame

DISTANCE > 26km

GRADING > Moderate

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OVERVIEW

This one is more about exploration than about pure mountain biking pleasure as you hit the gravel strips on the Transkei Coast, around 30km or so south of Coffee Bay. The Bulungula 'community lodge' will plunge you straight into the local vibe, while the stunning immediate surroundings will have you wishing you could stay forever. Plunging sea cliffs, rolling Wild Coast hills, cattle-track mountain bike exploration via outlying amaXhosa

On your bike

Head out from the lodge, past the ‘parking’ onto a rough dirt road that’ll quickly spike you into granny gear as you battle gravity while the locals shout ‘Uyaphi?’ – 'Where you going'? Following the road towards the east, you’ll eventually end up in the scrappy indigenous Mpame Forest where you will find lots of eroded footpaths to play on. The Mpame Village is just a bit further on, along a very steep downhill that you will have to conquer again on your way back. If you want to cross the river to continue towards Coffee Bay, you will have to wait for low tide, or otherwise arrange a ferry.

Off the bike

Hiking to secret waterfalls, spotting African Green Pigeons in the beautiful coastal sand forest and fishing are just some of your options

CONTACT:

Telephone: +27 47 577 8900

Website: www.bulungula.com

GPS: 32°08’24.0” South / 29°00’37.9” East

 

FAST FACTS

GRADING:

Moderate

DURATION:

2-3 hours

CONFIGURATION :

26km return

TERRAIN:

Gravel roads and jeep track

MAP:

None available

CELL RECEPTION:

A bar or two on top of the hills

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS:

Public access

FACILITIES:

Non en route; accommodation at Bulungula

BEWARE OF:

Very sticky clay-like mud. Very slipper when wet.

 

HOW TO GET THERE

Leave the N2 and head off towards Coffee Bay. Once you are through Mganduli, follow the detailed instructions vailable on the Bulungula website.

BEST TIME OF YEAR

Wild Coast weather is aways klind of balmy, though when it gets wet, the trails are very slippery.

 

Mbotyi MTB Routes

CLOSEST TOWN > Port St Johns

TRAIL DESTINATION > Mbotyi Lodge, Magwa Falls

DISTANCE > 33km and 42km

 

GRADING > Easy to intermediate

mbotyi

OVERVIEW

The name of this little village in the heart of Pondoland means “the place of beans”. Its fertile soils support the rolling green fields of the huge Magwa tea plantation - one of the largest tea plantations in South Africa and the world.

There are a variety of mapped trails in the Mbotyi vicinity for both the experienced cyclist looking for a challenge and the leisure cyclist looking for a gentle meander around the area. These trails take you through the forest, up on to the grassland escarpment as well as through the magnificent tea plantation.

On your bike

The first route is a lovely scenic route up to Magwa Falls. You could pack a snack and ride out to these magnificent falls and just sit and absorb the amazingness of this natural wonder. This route is 42km long, out and back, and follows gravel roads all the way. The views are something to be experienced.

Then there as a nice loop taking you up the same hill out of Mbotyi and then past Angel Falls. Then the gravel turns South for an awesome downhill, and then meanders through a small rural village, where after you reach the top with FM Tower. From here you crash down a hill along fishermen-paths to the beach. You will cross a small lagoon and then find your way back to the Mbotyi Hotel. 

Off the bike

A lot of other activities to be done: Birding, hiking, caneoing, fishing, horse trails and much more.

CONTACT:

Route Information: Mbotyi River Lodge

Tel: +27 (0)82 674 1064

Website: mbotyi.co.za

GPS: 31 27 53.8 South / 29 43 52.9 East

FAST FACTS

GRADING:

Easy to intermediate.

DURATION:

3 - 4 Hours

CONFIGURATION :

Two route options to choose from. 33km and 42km ride, very scenic.

START POINT:

Mbotyi River Lodge

TERRAIN:

Gravel road and jeep track.

MAP:

Ask at the lodge.

CELL RECEPTION:

Intermittent

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS:

Mountain bikes available for hire or bring your own.

FACILITIES:

Mbotyi River Lodge have an extensive range of facilities, swimming pool, canoes, bar, showers etc...

BEWARE OF:

xxx

 

HOW TO GET THERE

See below:

BEST TIME OF YEAR

All year round.

 

 

Kap River Nature Reserve MTB

CLOSEST TOWN >  Kleinemonde

TRAIL DESTINATION > Kap River Nature Reserve

DISTANCE >  Less than 10km

GRADING > Easy

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OVERVIEW

The Kap River Reserve boasts a pleasant ride punctuated by unforgettable views through a unique riverine ecosystem with a distinctly tropical character to it..

On your bike

The Reserve is in the process of marking several routes for your cranking pleasure and the landscape is ripe for off-roadexploration with various options along gravel roads and game tracks. 

Off the bike

Hiking, bird watching, game viewing, fishing and canoeing.

CONTACT:

Telephone: +27 (0)82 738 4970

Website: www.sunshinecoasttourism.co.za

GPS: 33° 28' 35.04" South / 27° 4' 40.44" East

 

FAST FACTS

GRADING:

Easy

DURATION:

As long as you like

CONFIGURATION :

No formal trails

TERRAIN:

Gravel roads and game tracks

MAP:

None available

CELL RECEPTION:

Patchy

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS:

Entry fee payable

FACILITIES:

Lodge accommodation

BEWARE OF:

Wild animals

 

HOW TO GET THERE

The reserve is just off the R72 from Port Alfred

BEST TIME OF YEAR

Year round

 

Coffee Bay MTB Routes

CLOSEST TOWN > Coffe Bay

TRAIL DESTINATIONNgqungqu

DISTANCE > Up to you

GRADING > Moderate to difficult

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OVERVIEW

The remote and rugged Wild Coast region, languishing between the Kei and Umngazi Rivers, must rate as one of South Africa’s most undiscovered cycling destinations. No wonder, as merely getting to the numerous, secluded getaways dotting this infamous, ship-killer shoreline constitutes a major adventure. But if you rate yourself as a staunch biking brave, a pedal into the heart of Pondoland will deliver the riding experience of a lifetime.

Head for Coffee Bay if you’re keen to spliff out on the laid back calypso vibe characterising this sub-tropical coastline brimming with soaring cliffs and dense coastal forests leading onto beaches straight from a glossy travel magazine.

On your bike

The undulating topography and wall to wall views of the Wild Coast makes for inviting riding along a selection of tarmac highways, gravel byways, footpaths and hiking trails. Beach cruising, especially along the southern section of the coast above Kei Mouth, add a sublime dimension to an off-road riding adventure that is out of this world. Hluleka, Dwesa, Silaka and a selection of small nature reserves gracing the coastline offer a combination of technical riding and bike-based game viewing, while the grassland slopes are crisscrossed with cattle footpaths and hiking trails. Access, with the exception of the nature reserves, is free, but care should be taken in the area as muggings, theft and intimidation have been reported. This is the exception to the rule though and I found the local amaXhosa people to be incredibly friendly.

Tarmac:This is definitely one of those rides where one would rate the tarmac tribe as way more ballsy than the off-road guys. The Old Transkei roads are notorious for cowboy drivers who regularly take the law into their own hands, so extreme care should be exercised at all times. The safest section for a road ride is the ascent from Coffee Bay along the newly tarred route en route to Umtata, a stiff, 50km climb contouring towards Ngqungqu. Expect to work hard along the looping curves and hairpins as you crank away from the coastal plain before zigging into a whoop-it-up return ride.

If you want to ride the Wild Coast as part of an organised group, get in touch with 180 Degree Adventures (check out www.180.co.za) who operate the Wild Coast as a multi-day MTB ride. The Imana Wild Ride, scheduled annually for July or August, also allows a limited number of cyclists to cruise the coastline from The Kei to Umngazi River mouth as part of a sanctioned event. Solo rides are a dime a dozen along nearly 300km of coastline, but a good free-ride bike, topo map, compass (or preferably a GPS), ample food and water, as well as a bountiful sense of adventure, are prerequisites.

Off the bike

Visitors to the Wild Coast often succumb to a condition locally known as Pondoland Fever, no doubt linked to the sampling of an organic mountain cabbage known around the world as Transkei Gold. Mind-altering substances are no prerequisite though – all you need to slow down your world is a few days in C-Bay.

CONTACT:

Telephone: +27 74 101 5170 

Website: www.wildcoast.co.za

GPS: 31°59′05.7″ South / 029°08′57.3″ East

 

FAST FACTS

GRADING:

Moderate to difficult

DURATION:

Depends on route chosen

CONFIGURATION :

Depends on route chosen

START POINT:

Coffee Bay

TERRAIN:

Tarmac highways, gravel byways, footpaths and hiking trails.

MAP:

Get a topo map of the area

CELL RECEPTION:

Intermittent

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS:

Access, with the exception of the nature reserves, is free.

FACILITIES:

Hotels, backpackers and camping available

BEWARE OF:

Cowboy drivers on the Transkei roads.

 

HOW TO GET THERE

Follow the N2 south past Umtata for 18km and turn left to Coffee Bay along an 80km stretch of good tarmac road.


BEST TIME OF YEAR

Year round destination

 

Drifters Wild Coast Biking Trails

CLOSEST TOWN > Port St Johns

TRAIL DESTINATION > Along the Wild Coastline

DISTANCE > Between 9 to 16 km per day over 5 days

GRADING > Easy to intermediate

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OVERVIEW

Drifters operate, in conjunction with the local communities, 6 camps between the remote reserve of Mkambati and the historic town of Port St Johns. This is undoubtedly the most spectacular section of this dramatic, unspoiled coastline. The involvement and co-operation of the local community ensures the safety and long term viability of this venture for all parties. 

On your bike

On offer will be a package that allows hikers / cyclists to park their vehicles safely in Port St Johns (for those without vehicles, public transport is available from Umtata). Drifters will provide a transfer from Port St Johns at 14h00 every day to the start of the hike at Msikaba where hikers / cyclists will spend the night in comfortable, twin-bedded log cabins, with rustic bathrooms en-suite.

The next five days will be spent exploring the Coast, moving from camp to camp, covering distances of between 9 and 16 kilometres each day.

Off the bike

Each night will be spent in relative comfort in a different camp, with all camps offering a similar standard of twin bedded rooms with bathroom en-suite. Hikers / cyclists will be required to supply their own sleeping bags and towels, and to either carry their own belongings and necessary food supplies, or arrange on site to have luggage portered from camp to camp.

Clients will be required to self-cater, although all cooking equipment, crockery, cutlery, etc will be available at the camps. There are supermarkets etc. in both Port St Johns and Lusikisiki where clients can purchase the necessary food and drinks supplies before starting the hike / ride. Each of the camps will supply safe, drinking, tap water.

This has to be one of the worlds best hiking / cycling areas, boasting 150 km of undeveloped, pristine coastline with endless beaches, the warm Indian Ocean, unpolluted estuaries, rolling hills dotted with traditional Xhosa villages, shipwrecks, whales (in season), a warm climate, and much more.

CONTACT:

Route information: Drifter Adventure Tours

Tel: +27(0)11 888 1160

Website: www.drifters.co.za

 

 

FAST FACTS

GRADING:

Moderate

DURATION:

5 days

CONFIGURATION:

Circular

START POINT:

Port St Johns

TERRAIN:

Undulating

MAP:

Detailed maps and route descriptions will be provided, and Local Guides will be available for those who require this service.

CELL RECEPTION:

Intermittent

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS:

Booking is required. Book at Drifters.

FACILITIES:

Rustic, fully equipped, self catering accommodation at each camp

 

 

 

BEST TIME OF YEAR

Year round destination

 

Get the books

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

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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!