Magoebaskloof, a densely forested pass along the meandering R71 connecting the towns of Polokwane and Tzaneen, comes from the westernized pronunciation of the name Makgoba, an early chief of the Tlou people. His tribe dwelled within the emerald forests here on the edge of the Wolkberg Mountains many generations ago.
These self-same forests and plantations now offer a huge amount of potential riding, but without local knowledge you can find yourself at a complete loss. To be sure, it seems that Komati Eco-Tourism only allows limited riding in many of their plantations. So, your best way of getting in a good ride at short notice may be to get in touch with outdoor operators Magoebaskloof Adventures, who can help you get onto the trails right from their doorstep.
On your bike
One thing to keep in mind though is that their ‘quickie’ Magoebaskloof route is not for the faint-of-heart. Start off on 3km of technical single-track zigzagging along on the angled contours of the Letaba Gorge; the trail is pretty tight and committing, but at least try to enjoy the indigenous riverine forest (if you can tear your eyes away from the terrain every now and then).
Take a breather to gaze out across the spectacular Letaba Gorge, then follow the gravel road for just on 1km. Get ready for an unforgiving ascent along steep single-track leading up to the R528; make sure you check for traffic to safely cross this road.
Once beyond the R528, continue along the forestry tracks through the eucalyptus stands for about 4km of continuous ascent. The rewards at the end of the climb are spectacular views across the dramatic Georges Valley, and you’ve certainly deserved them!
It is time to pin your ears back and bomb onto the steep 2.5km single-track dropping onto the R528 again. This time an underpass allows you to dip under the road, and seamlessly link onto the remainder of the fast and tight route taking you back to the start.
This route – as well as a number of other mountain biking routes in the immediate area – can easily be accessed from Magoebaskloof Adventures.
Off the bike:
Magoebaskloof Adventures offers a range of adventures, including tubing, abseiling, quad biking, paintball, climbing walls and the Magoebaskloof Canopy Tour. Not far away, the ‘Garden Town’ of Tzaneen provides a perfect springboard from which to explore a huge range of outdoor options in the area. The unique Modjadji Cycad Reserve (named for verdant groves of these ancient tree ferns) as well as the Kruger Park lie within easy reach – check out www.magoebasklooftourism.co.za for more info.
How to Get There:
Haenertsburg is situated between Polokwane and Tzaneen on the R71. Look out for the signage to Magoebaskloof Adventures along the R528 to Haenertsburg from Tzaneen.
Best Time of Year:
March – November; it is best to avoid the rainy season