Closest Town: Ballito
Grading: Easy to Extreme | Duration: Various: 1-8 hours
Location (Area/Province): Holiday Coast and KZN - Natal
Configuration: Circular & return options: 340km in total
Start Point: Collisheen Estates
Access: Day or annual permits available
Beware of: Be aware that cane harvesting is from mid April till Christmas. Beware of tractors and vehicles at all times!
Facilities: Secure parking, ablutions, bike wash, light snacks and drinks
Cell Reception: Yes
Holla Trails has over 340km of routes in total, made up of an exhilarating mix of district roads, a fair bit of jeep track and seemingly endless stretches of single-track. The routes range from a short and very easy 14km Green Route for rookie riders, through to a tough and testing 84km Black Route, which will break all but the most hard core of mountain bikers. The single-track has mostly been purpose-built to contour through the river valleys, and meanders through superb scenery.
On your bike
The 14km Green Route is flat and easy, so head here if you’re new to the biking game; there are however a few short sections of sand to spice things up, but the lack of hills makes up for this. The Blue Route has both10km and20kmoptions; escape onto the former 800m after the stunning 1.5km Living Earth single-track, or crank the full signature route. Keep following the blue arrows after the Living Earth single-track for some lovely riding along the Umhlali River and up the infamous ‘Fig Tree Hill’.
The 28km Red Route kicks of relatively gently with flat and easy single-track through eucalyptus forest before hitting the Compensation Flats. Soon after passing a dam, you can choose between a long but intermittent 23km climb, or a seemingly endless, very technical and tough 5km detour pushing the route to 28km. You’ll be in for a gruelling crank, but the flowing single-track beyond the stream will more than make up for it.
Testing yourself on the 13km Orange Time Trial Route may give you STRAVA bragging rights, while the 25km Purple Route offers a solid but challenging ride up and out of the ‘inner bowl’. An initial climb of around 10km will soon slot you into nearly 2.5km of stunning single-track. Another short climb out of the valley leads to some fast, drifting downhill for a really high-speed descent, and finally a short single-track segment bombing the Living Earth dam back into Holla.
One of Holla’s firm favourites is the 25km Maroon Route, with a handful of challenging hills, all off-set by loads of flowing single-track. This makes for an extremely rewarding ride, but be warned that it can be very challenging. The 45/48km Yellow Route is the second longest route; expect two nasty big climbs, tons of single-track along the river course and a grunt of a ridge-line climb before descending along the next valley.
The Black Route has three versions; firstly, the 53km Howard’s Bush route ascends to the radio tower before you blast into some of the most beautiful tropical bush the North Coast can offer. The 72km Black Skipping Reserve cuts out the last climb to the escarpment and the reserve and take you straight to the 4-wheeler track in Mamba Valley. Finally, the 84km Monster Black is a truly tough, but amazing ride. The first 36km is nearly constant granny-gear climbing, and not many people are brave enough to ride it. However, if you can stay the distance, you will battle to beat this trail for pure mountain biking joy.
Off the bike
Dedicated trails for runners are also available.
Route information: Ben Shabane or Nic Jordan (If all else fails)
Telephone: +27 (0)74 897 8559 or +27 (0)82 899 3114
GPS: 29° 29.516’ South / 31° 10.914’East