Closest Town: Pretoria
Grading: Intermediate | Duration: 2-3 Hours
Location (Area/Province): Gauteng and Northern Gauteng
Configuration: 20km circuit
Start Point: Fountains Valley
Access: Entry fee payable
Beware of: Cycling alone
Facilities: Ablutions, picnic and braai facilities. Camping and caravan park.
Cell Reception: Yes
The Fountains Valley supplied the city with fresh water until 1930 and has played a vial recreational and environmental role in the lives of Pretoria’s citizens for over a century. Shortages of wood and paper during the two World Wars resulted in portions of the valley being leased to the Union Government’s Department of Agriculture and Forestry for commercial wood plantations.
The environmental impact of thirsty alien plant species such as eucalyptus and pine was keenly felt in the late 1970s when the Apies River was reduced to a mere trickle. The area was turned over to Nature Conservation and an ambitious rehabilitation programme was launched to restore the valley to its natural state. Klapperkop is a conspicuous example of this.
On your bike
Pretoria MBC holds XC events here and the Fountains has a number of MTB circuits on singletrack, jeep track and tarred road. There are a variety of exciting, twisty singletracks through the forests bordering the fountains Park picnic area and alongside the railway line. Steep, rocky tracks and footpaths may be negotiated up to Fort Klapperkop, a Boer War fort turned military museum. Fort Schanskop near the Voortrekker Monument may be accessed from Fountains Park via a tunnel under the railway line.
While in other parts of Gauteng quality of life is being inexorably eroded away, the city of Pretoria, capital of the nation, is genuinely keeping up its reputation as the ‘Garden City’. At the time of writing, the property and trails were undergoing redevelopment. The primary natural areas of the Valley, Groenkloof, Fountains park, Monument Hill and Klapperkop will ultimately be interlinked via a network of trails.
Thanks to the foresight of a few, a green gem of inestimable value is being quietly redeemed for the benefit of all. However, be aware of overcrowding on public holidays.
Off the bike
In addition to camping, swimming, braaing, picnicking and, of course, riding, a miniature train operates on weekends.
Telephone: (012) 440 7131
GPS: 25°46′ 52″ South / 28°11′ 38″ East