Tulbagh Bone Trail
14/01/2021
Baviaans River Conservancy – The ‘Bedford’ Baviaans
26/02/2021

St Francis, Kouga Region

The coastal stretch west of ‘the world’s perfect wave’ in Jeffreys Bay rates as one of SA’s undiscovered mountain biking gems. There’s no huge trail network, but you’ll get to super-charge your soul along a range of sumptuous coastal rides.

The Routes

Kamarai: Mountain bikers can enjoy safe and extreme cycling at Kamarai; this used to be known as ‘Tim’s Trails’, and is situated just off the Oyster Bay Road. Three individual routes cater for all levels of riders, with the easy Yellow Route a perfect starting point for beginners and families with kids; this is non-technical and perfect to introduce novices to off-road cycling.

The Green Route is for average mountain bikers, with easier technical sections. A 3.2km lap features flowing singletrack with berms, tabletops and about 70m of climbing. A technical, longer Red Route is for competitive mountain bikers, with testing rock gardens along a 6.5km lap including steep ascents.  Facilities include bathrooms, a kiosk, play area and pet farm – contact Sumare on +27-82 / 550 9606

St Francis Milk Run: The road brigade would enjoy this 37km route starting in St Francis, with 60% gravel and 40% tar. It is a fast, scenic ride that starts off along the R330 towards Oyster Bay, passing wind farms, crossing the Kromme River and several dairy farms, before returning to St Francis. There is also an Oyster Bay Loop starting from St Francis and heading to Oyster Bay. This 56km loop has 650m of climbing, 85% gravel and 15% tar, with spectacular views as you pass Impofu Dam.

Oyster Bay Beach Ride: Go rent a fat bike from ‘Oyster Kaya’ (www.oysterkaya.co.za) in Oyster Bay and cruise the beach at high tide on a 7km ride to Thysbaai. During low tide, you can add an extra 2km to the ride, although there may be some hike-a-bike involved … it is totally worth the effort. A further 8im ride in a westerly direction along the beach will take you to Klippenpunt.

Round the Mountain: A 104km route with 1529m of climbing (85% gravel and 15% tar) starts off from St Francis towards Oyster Bay, before turning right to Humandorp. Pass through town and cross the N2 on the R330, continuing to the mountains. Turn left on the R332 to loop and descends back to St Francis, offering clear coastal views of Jeffreys Bay and St Francis. This is not a ride to be tackled lightly, with heat and wind playing a large role at certain times of the year.

St Francis Singletrack Loop:

This breathtaking 20km trail meanders along 70% singletrack (with the occasional stretch of gravel or tar as connection) between SFB and CSF (yes, I’m sure you can figure this out) … Start in St Francis Bay and head to the harbour along Otters Landing, then turn into the Cape St Francis Nature Reserve.

Pass the legendary Cape St Francis Resort and head right into the Irma Booysen Flora Reserve in the direction of Seal Point (ask any surfer and they’ll point the way). Join the designated singletrack past the lighthouse from here, continuing back into the Flora Reserve before joining onto the R330. Finally, turn right via St Francis Airfield on a new singletrack section that will bomb you back into town.

 

Best time of year

The weather is good with pleasant temperatures for most months. If you are not a fan of rain, avoid visiting during August. December is the driest, sunniest month and January is the warmest month. An ideal year-round destination.

FAST FACTS BLOCK

GRADING: Easy to intermediate
DURATION: 3-4 hours
CONFIGURATION: Various
TERRAIN: Singletrack, tar, gravel
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Public trail; entry fee payable at Kamarai
FACILITIES: Various
CELL RECEPTION: Yes
BEWARE OF: Coastal Trafic
MORE INFORMATION: Bikes can be rented at Oyster Kaya – www.oysterkaya.co.za
POST RIDE BEER: Cape St Francis Brew Company – www.stfrancisbrewing.co.za
LOCAL CONTACT: Tyrone Kindness (Custom Bikes): weekend and daily rides www.facebook.com/custombikesstfrancis/ +27-42 / 294 0349.

Getting There

(and Staying Over)

Traveling on the N2, take the Exit 665 onto the R330 and travel 27km to Cape St Francis.

 Accommodation – Cape St Francis Resort has accommodation options for all types and is a sporting paradise with surfing, kite-surfing, surf ski and canoe paddling – www.capestfrancis.co.za

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