Closest Town: Mooi River
Grading: Intermediate | Duration: 1-2hours
Location (Area/Province): KZN - Natal and Midlands
Configuration: 13.2km return route
Start Point: Kamberg Camp Site
Access: Permit required and fee payable
Beware of: Summer thunder storms, baboon raids on your chalet
Facilities: Five 2-bedded chalets and one 6- bed cottage.
Cell Reception: No
Head past Mooi River and Rosetta into the southern Berg, and you will soon revel in the beauty of the scenic Kamberg Nature Reserve. Unfortunately you pass through a slightly unsavoury settlement right on the reserve boundary, and this detracts from the feeling that you are about to escape into nature. Despite faint sounds of drunken disorderliness disturbing the night-time calls of Verraux Eagle Owls, Kamberg is still a gorgeous destination and should be on your itinerary.
On your bike
One thing is for sure; you won’t get lost on your Kamberg crank. It is most probably one of the easier MTB routes to navigate, so don’t stress about packing a GPS or a compass. Kick off from the Kamberg Camp Site, rolling downhill from the cottages along a cement dual-track descending towards the trout dams (900 metres).
Turn left here onto a very short section of tarmac and onto the jeep-track (1.2 kilometres), ignoring the NO ENTRY sign as this is aimed at vehicles only. A gritty little climb through a drift and into the grassy foothills will get your blood pumping, but you’ll have ample time to look around for eland and other plains game.
At the 3.9 kilometre mark, you can either keep left past some giant tree ferns to the old Roman Baths ruins, but this track soon peters out. Rather stick to the right, heading onto a juddery dual-track, dipping and climbing amidst the grassland ridges. Expect a few steep climbs and descents, as well as a stream crossing or two, so watch your step.
By now, you will be zipping along tight dual-track descending steeply towards the Mooi River way below (6.6 kilometres). Keep your weight back on this downhill section to avoid going over the bars on some of the stony drop-offs, then chill out at the riverside before heading back to camp.
Off the bike
Kamberg is famous for two things – the first is fly-fishing for wily trout in either stocked dams or along the Mooi River, while the second reason to visit is the amazing rock art. If you do the latter, tramp onto the Gladstone’s Nose hike, arguably one of the more scenic hikes in KZN.
Route Information: Kamberg Nature Reserve
Telephone: + 27 (0)33 845 1000
GPS: 29º23’13.54″ South / 29º40’04.82″ East