Closest Town: Krugersdorp
Grading: Easy to intermediate | Duration: 2 - 4 Hours
Location (Area/Province): Central Gauteng and Gauteng
Configuration: 27 km circuit
Start Point: Various
Access: Public domain
Beware of: Always ride in a group and watch out for vehicles.
Facilities: Numerous country lodges in area.
Cell Reception: Yes
Minutes from the ‘domestic bliss’ of cluster complexes lining Hendrik Potgieter Road, nestling in a peaceful rural valley, lies ‘The Cradle of Humankind’, a World Heritage Site. Straddling two provinces from Sterkfontein Caves to Pilanesberg, this is the world’s richest hominid site, a resource of global importance and the heritage of every person on this planet. The whole area is underlain by dolomite which started out as coral reefs in a warm shallow sea some 2.3 billion years ago.
The dolomite has given rise to an abundance of water as well as caves and sinkholes into which the remains of long-ago plants, animals and hominids were washed and fossilized over millennia. The Sterkfontein Caves are probably the best known of the 12 sites. At present, only the Sterkfontein Caves and the Wonder Cave are open to the public. Cycling has not been given much, if any, consideration as a means of experiencing this area but millions have been spent on upgrading roads to accommodate more motor vehicles.
On your bike
From Beyers Naudé Drive (M5), take the Kromdraai Road. Cross the Crocodile River and follow this road until you reach a T-junction. Turn right, crossing the Blaauwbank Spruit. Turn right and ride past the Rhino Reserve for 13km of gentle cruising, with panoramic views over the Crocodile River valley, until you reach the Muldersdrift/Lindley junction. Turn right and cross the Crocodile River again, continuing straight along this road (which is actually the extension of Beyers Naudé) until you reach the Kromdraai turn-off.
Off the bike
For a unique upmarket dining experience, book at The Cradle restaurant on (011) 659 1622. Apart from hot-air ballooning, game-viewing, trout fishing, paleontological tours and more, a star attraction of the Conservancy is the Wonder Cave. The cave is estimated to be 2.2 million years old with dripstone formations as impressive as those of the better-known Cango Caves near Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape. Unlike the well-traversed Cango, the Wonder Cave is in pristine condition as it was only opened to the public in 1991. Contact +27 11 957 0106/9 for information about the hourly guided tours.
Telephone: +27 14 577 9000
GPS: 25°56′57.2″South / 027°47′03.3″ East