If you’re a Jozi mountain biker in search of a quick arvie or early morning ride, chances are ‘The Spruit’ should be top of your local ride list. Here, right in the centre of the Big Smoke, you have a ride that is virtually 99% single-track. The footpaths and trail basically follow the water course, except where you have to cross the occasional tar roads or skirt around security fences here and there.
On your bike
Although you can access the route in dozens of places, the most used section arguably runs between Emmarentia and Sunninghill. If you decide to start from the circle on Olifants Road, pedal south from Emmarentia Dam to loop anti-clockwise through the JHB Botanical Gardens until you get back to your starting point (4.3km). Continue northwards to Victory Park Estate, crossing Tana and Rustenberg Roads en route to Delta Park (8km).
Skirt along the edge of the park in a clockwise direction, sticking to the obvious trails, then cross Jan Smuts Drive (12km) on your way to Oerder Park. AT around 13km (just before you reach Willowild) keep left to leave the actual Spruit, following Republic Road for a few kays before crossing William Nicol Drive (15.5km). Bang past the River Club Golf Course, over Ballyclare Drive (18km) and then Bryanston Drive (20km).
This is also one of the few ‘technical’ bits along the route; watch out after the fence as you pass some dirt jumps. The little drop-off into the dry river bed has caught quite a few guys out, so you may need a bit of speed here. A further 3km takes you to the Western Bypass, as good a place as any to turn around back to your vehicle for a solid ride of just on 47km.
Despite the best intentions of groups such as JMBAG (JHB MTB Advocacy Group), security is still a major issue along the Braamfontein Spruit ride. There has been many muggings along the route, so never ride alone (and preferably in a group). Be vigilant and always be cautious when crossing major roads – the last thing drivers are looking out for will be mountain bikers. Emmarentia Dam is however access-controlled, with car guards and safe parking, so this is a good option if you’re taking the family out for a ride.
Off the bike
The Botanical Gardens at Emmarentia have beautiful water features and are perfect for a relaxing picnic. Wedding photos are taken there every weekend. In the same park, you can walk or ride with your dogs in the extensive open area off Orange Road. Horse riders can be accommodated at the Sandton Field and Study Centre.
Picnicking can be done along most of the trail, but especially at the Sandton Field and Study Centre, Delta Park and Emmarentia Dam where there are more formal facilities for jogging, rowing and canoeing, dog-walking, bird watching and picnicking.
Telephone: +27 860 562 874
GPS: 26°09′01.0″South / 028°00′21.0″East