Closest Town: Howick
Grading: Tough, rough mountain biking – not for novices | Duration: Allow 4 hours
Location (Area/Province): KZN - Natal and Midlands
Configuration: Out-and-back – route loops with options to return home early – and miss the fun!
Start Point: Howick Private Hospital
Access: Sappi access indemnity - donation to Howick Mountain Bike Club appreciated. These forms can also be downloaded off the following HMBC website page: howickmountainbiking
Beware of: Cycling without permit indemnities and of raw un-manicured tracks!
Facilities: Facilities availible at hospital, no facilites on trail.
Cell Reception: Along most of the route
Please note that timber harvesting is currently taking place in the Howick MTB Trails area. The following trails/areas are out closed and out of bounds to all riders until further notice:
– 6 beer hill
Please also exercise caution when riding Puffadder Pass, Nyaga Nyaga and Middle Road as these trails pass areas that are active with logging trucks.
Harvesting will also be taking place in G Block soon (area left of the Curries Post Road).
Single-track delight is the name of the game here … Add a few solid climbs, awesome (and endless) views over Midmar Dam, the Drakensberg foothills, plus technical challenges such as rock gardens, drop-offs and wooden bridges. Oh, can we mention all that flowing single-track just one more time?
On your bike
From Howick Medical Centre, crank northwards along the slip road towards the N3, before turning right into Lakeview Road. Continue to the top of Lake View and enter Beacon Hill Grassland Reserve. Keep climbing to the right of Beacon Hill until you connect onto ‘Eagle Ridge Run’, which bisects the Curry’s Post tar road and eventually onto the ‘Home Jerome’ section of single-track.
The climbing’s not quite done yet, so continue on the fantastic single-track running parallel to the tar road. Enter ‘Wattles’ via the ‘Wattles Bridge’, and time your exit (pursued by a bear) via ‘Meryl’s Peril’. A left turn onto ‘Red Face Hill’, followed by another left onto ‘Mind-the-Gap’, will take you all the way up ‘Dhulha Ngulubhe’.
At the top, take a right turn into ‘Gums’ and keep bombing till you pop out onto a forestry road. Bear right and follow this road to a confluence of roads, passing ‘Rooty Fruity’ and on to ‘Lurker Lane‘. Cross a timber road into ‘Fast Track’, blast down ‘Rock ‘n Roll’ into ‘River Run’ and up, up and away onto ‘Zig-Zag’. Another forestry road takes you to ‘2 Zig’; after a few hundred metres, turn left up to ‘Howie’s Hut’, then carry on upwards to ‘Dr Keytels’ and before exiting via ‘Bradleys’.
Turn right on a contour road, then right on single-track leading to ‘Duiker Dip’ and ‘Lower Face’. Cross the timber road into ‘Mike’s Lights’, ‘Grassy Road’ and then ‘Nyagga-Nyagga’. Follow ‘New Track’ down to the next main road then turn left, left then right to follow this road for 3km. Continue up to ‘No 6’, then up ‘Christopher’s’ and finally to ‘Back-of-beyond’.
Keep heading towards the fire tower; enjoy the view for a second, then zigg into ‘Pines’ and onto ‘Joe’s Did Dib Dob’. Cross the forest road back into ‘Red Face Hill’ to retrace your route back to ‘Wattles Bridge’. Head for home across the Curry’s Post tar road, then find the way to Lakeview Road and the finish.
Off the bike
Karkloof is a steep flat topped kloof, stretching for over 50 kilometres, between Rietvlei and Curry’s Post, in the scenic countryside of the Natal Midlands. The Karkloof Falls, with its 88 metre drop is an impressive sight which can be enjoyed while picnicking or braaing under the shady trees surrounding it.
Route Information: Ken – +27 (0)82 572 3297
GPS: 29° 28′ 38.42” South / 30° 13′ 6.89” East