Neels du Toit is not a dude to hog the limelight, but if anyone has been putting in serious overtime on the Hogsback singe-track production line, he’s the man! Over the past year or so, he has single-handedly tackled the area below Hog 1 to shape some kick-ass rides along the wooded slopes here.
Pop into the Cycle Roots / Hogsback Adventures offices on the main road across from the Information Centre to pay your permit fee and obtain a cycling map. It’s important to chat to Neels before your ride in order to get information regarding the trails. Most of the single-tracks meander through private forestry land, so access is occasionally restricted due to harvesting.
On your bike
Most of the singletracks are at the foot of Hog 1, passing many streams and lovely forest sections. The highest one on the mountain passes two rather large waterfalls. All the trails interlink which makes for a great XC course.
There are guided tours of about 3-4 hours. Visitors are shown eight waterfalls on a 18km circular loop which also takes them along the Puffadder Run, passing by two bridges built over the waterways. It is a truly scenic ride. There is a view deck next to Robinson Falls with an exceptional view into the valley below. One can also see the Tuyme River snaking through the Valley which used to be the old South Africa/Ciskei border from this viewpoint.
Riders are welcome to explore on their own and the singletracks are clearly marked with yellow Cycle Roots Logo branded arrows. The map is easy to read and has detailed descriptions of all the trail routes. Neels can be contacted on 073 567 9487 should anyone get lost.
Grading: Beginner: Lots of dirt roads and jeep tracks available with some added smooth singletrack. Scenic ride towards Waterfalls with lots of viewpoints for break time.+-18km’s
Intermediate: Good combination of flat and hilly sections leading up to a number of singletracks winding through the Forests which are both adventurous and challenging to the every day rider.
Head straight up the main road, turning right onto Oak Avenue and cycle into the Arboretum, past the parking area and follow the footpath (to the left) to 39 Steps Waterfall. Return the same way and exit the Arboretum, turning left along the gravel road. Keep going for about 1km, ignoring any right hand turns into the forest. After the dip, you will arrive at a fork in the road. Look out for the yellow ‘Cycle Roots’ arrows from this point. Veer right and continue through the pines until you end up at a gate on a main gravel road. Turn left and continue for about 1km.
After the Madonna and Child carpark, there is a steep downhill; beware of logging trucks. Look out for orange stickers at the bottom of this hill and follow the footpath to the top of the Madonna and Child Waterfall to a fantastic viewpoint.
Back on the bike, continue up the gravel road (about 50m) and turn right on a steep hill onto a rugged service jeep-track following the cliffs overlooking the Tyume Valley below. This duck-and-dive through tall stands of wattle brings you to Robinson Dam. Carry on with the gravel road (keeping the dam to your left) to the end of the dam. Turn right onto the jeep-track and cycle (about 200m) till you get to a left hand bend. Leave your bike hidden in the bush (very safe) and head off into the forest to your right to view Robinson Waterfall. This is the best viewpoint on the ride so don’t miss it!
Back at the dam; turn right at the tall trees/picnic area and cycle for about 300m to the exhilarating Puffadder Run single-track Section. Meander through the forests until you reach the switchbacks which bring you to the end of the trail. End with a very sharp right turn and a little further, take a left at the fork. This section leads onto an equally beautiful track winding through tree ferns and crossing through a cascading stream, before you eventually connect back onto Wolfridge Road, turning right to return to the village.
All in all, it’s an eye-bleedingly scenic ride, with exceptional views across the Tyume Valley below.After rippin’ the tracks apart one is welcome to enjoy an ice cold frosty at the legendary Wizzards Sleeve Inn at Away with the Fairies Backpackers – www.awaywiththefairies.co.za
After rippin’ the tracks apart one is welcome to enjoy an ice cold frosty at the legendary Wizzards Sleeve Inn at Away with the Faries Backpackers. An epic way to top of your most scenic ride ever.
Off the bike
Bikes can be hired and a few spares such as gear cables, housing, chain links, tubes, bombs and a few other odds and ends are available.
An outdoor playground of note awaits … Abseiling, Archery, Trout Fishing, 4×4 trails, Horse Rides, Arts and Crafts, superb walks or the multi-day Amatole Hike are just a few of the other attractions in the area. After rippin’ the tracks apart one is welcome to enjoy an ice cold frosty at the legendary Wizzards Sleeve Inn at Away with the Faries Backpackers. An epic way to top of your most scenic ride ever.
Route Information:Neels du Toit
Tel: +27 (0)73 567 9487
GPS: 32°35′52.1″ South / 026°56′17.9″ East (Hogsback Information Centre)