The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site has a number of private MTB trails scattered throughout its rural landscape but can now at last boast its own designated public MTB route. This is the unique Cradle Gateway-2-Gateway MTB Trail, situated within the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. It is unique as it is set within the ‘road reserve’ of a number of provincial tourism roads, with amazing access to a combination of natural landscapes, cultural sites and cycling support venues.
On your bike
The trail, designed to provide an enjoyable recreational ride along open, flowing tracks with gentle elevation changes, was initiated in 2013. This MTB trail uses 2 existing Gateways to the World Heritage Site as anchor points for the trail system. Phase 1 consisted of 17km of purpose-built single-track from the Gateway located approximately 300m due South of the Kloofzicht Lodge entrance (information, rules and general guidance is provided here) to the Gateway near Lanseria Airport. It follows a clockwise route towards the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve and on to the next major Gateway en route to Lanseria Airport.
Phase 2 extended the trail system by adding a further 11km of single-track dedicated MTB trail to form a complete “loop” trail utilizing the best natural elements in the road reserve to create a trail route suited to trail users with intermediate technical skills. The one-way trail system further improves trail flow and rider enjoyment. The primary provincial tourism route accommodates both the MTB trail as well as dedicated road cycle lanes along the entire “loop” route and beyond. This unique feature provides for road cyclists and mountain bikers to experience this special area and rural landscape each on their own terms. The “loop” configuration of the trail system provides freedom to trail users to start and finish their ride at a number of cycling support venues along the trail route.
Venues such as Riverstone Lodge, Avianto, Ground Café, Kloofzicht Lodge, Bidon Bistro, Neck and Deck Restaurant, The Cradle Restaurant, Valverde Eco Hotel and Cradle Moon, to name but a few, provide a range of support services to visiting cyclists.
The section of trail from Bidon Bistro to Neck and Deck Restaurant (5km) is suitable to beginners and designated a “Green Trail”. The remainder of the trail system from Neck and Deck Restaurant in a clockwise direction (23km) back towards Bidon Bistro is designated a “Blue Trail” grading and hence suitable to riders with intermediate MTB skills.
The combination of trail and cycling support venues easily accessible from the trail create an opportunity to trail users to customise their experience and ride distance mostly dictated by time, availability and group composition. Should trail users however be unable to complete the entire “loop” route, an easy ride following the dedicated cycle lanes are available for a shortened return journey.
Trail users should however be aware that the trail route necessitates a few road and private entry access-way crossings which requires due attention to motor vehicle traffic and other road and trail cyclists. Although the trail provides “free access” to trail users, riders are encouraged to support the bicycle support venues and use the trail responsibly.
Off The Bike:
Attractions nearby include the Visitors’ Centre at Maropeng, the Sterkfontein Caves, the Rhino and Lion Park and numerous hospitality venues in the area that support cycling activities and riders.
How to Get There:
Gateway 1 is close to the intersection between the R114 and the D374 and Gateway 2 at the intersection between the D540 and the D101. The trail roughly loops along these roads; D374, D540 and D101. Head for one of the recognised parking areas, they’re all situated on one of these roads and gives access to the trail loop.
Best Time of Year:
You can cycle here throughout the year, but load up with water in summer, as the days get hot.
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