Closest Town: Ficksburg
Grading: Intermediate to Difficult | Duration: 1 Hour
Location (Area/Province): Central Free State and Free State
Configuration: 7.5km circular
Start Point: At Meulspruit Dam
Access: Day visitors welcome. Gate fee payable.
Facilities: Ablutions. Basic camping and caravanning facilities. Thatched boma.
Cell Reception: Yes
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Ficksburg nestles between the foot of the Imperani Mountain and the banks of the Caledon River. Magnificent views of the majestic Maluti Mountains form a backdrop that changes with the seasons as you ride along these trails around the Meulspruit Dam.
On your bike
A gentle grassed slope leads down to the dam. However, away from the dam, that same slope steepens considerably as it becomes the mountain backdrop to a brilliant, custom-built 7.5km singletrack loop through the hills. This was the course for the MTB Nationals in 1999 and 2000, so expect an exhilarating ride mix. Bang up and over rocks and tackle drop-offs with some switchbacks thrown in for good measure. This track is excellent practice for anyone wanting to improve on their cross country skills. There is also a dual course where you can get some big air and rail those berms.
Trail signage: The route is marked with a foot-print sprayed on tin plates mounted on posts or sprayed on rocks.
Off the bike
Take a break from the bike and take the White Mischief cigar bar and single malt whisky boat cruise on the dam. Excellent catering comlements the sundowners. There’s fishing, canoeing and 4x4ing at Meulspruit Dam or Thabo Venter Lodge, 082 552 8398.
For pursuits a little more laid-back, take the Sandstone Way historical tour of all the sandstone buildings in nearby Ficksburg or visit the Pellissier Art gallery with its Perneef art collection. For an unforgettable experience, take a light aircraft flight over the Katse Dam in neighbouring Lesotho, one of the largest engineering construction projects in the world. Diarise the annual Cherry Festival in November as well as the Cherry MTB Classic the same month.
Telephone: +27 (0)51 933 2527
GPS: 28°52.77′ South / , 7°50.15′ East