Closest Town: Port Edward
Grading: Easy to Difficult | Duration: Various options from 30min - 4hrs
Location (Area/Province): Holiday Coast and KZN - Natal
Configuration: Circular plus out-and-back from 4.7-16km
Start Point: Clearwater Cabins and Trails office
Access: Day visitors welcome. A trail fee is payable.
Beware of: 'No helmet, no ride’ rule applies here. Secure parking within the Clearwater Trails Office/Accommodation premises, which is fenced off. Go out in pairs or groups for the longer rides. The shorter rides are relatively safe. Staff check the routes regularly
Facilities: Ablutions. Self-catering, rustic, timber chalets. Camping. Braais, Trampoline, Kiosk
Cell Reception: There is cell phone reception so carry your cell phones for contact.
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Clearwater Trails boasts a marvellous mix of terrain and scenic views along four custom-built and well-marked MTB trails. Jan ‘The Man’ Abbott went all out when he designed the routes, making sure there would be something to suit all levels and types of mountain bikers.
On your bike
Although you will be riding on single-track and jeep tracks for 90% of the time, an occasional stretch of tarmac is now and then used to link sections of the ride. All trail options traverse the calypso coastline of the balmy Indian Ocean, crisscrossing stands of shady coffee trees within the Beaver Creek Coffee Estate.
An exhilarating mix of hand-made single-track, jeep track and gravel road constitute a fast and riveting ride. Choose between routes along moderate gradients or attempt a few of the more serious downhill sections if, of course, you’re prepared to take on the burn as you climb back up out of the valley!
The classic view of the Umtamvuna estuary meets your eyes before you carry on to “Spook House Downhill” for a white-knuckle ride. Hit the awesome “Red Desert” for some technical fun and fly onto some wicked single-track through rolling grassland above the D595 with its magnificent views of the river gorge and waterfalls in the nearby Umtamvuna Nature Reserve.
Berms, switchbacks, natural ramps, bridges and water crossings all add to the adventure and will test your balance and agility to the max. Conquer “Coffee-Bean Uphill” before ending off your day with a stunning cuppa Joe at the beanery en route to Clearwater Cabins.
Here goes with more of a breakdown of the individual trails:
Green Route (4.7km):This easy circuit on farm roads and single-track is ideal for family outings and sprint rides. From the cabins, head from the gate to Mtamvuna Gorge Viewing Deck. Follow the white poles with black arrows and luminous paint to stay on route.
Blue Route (11km):This is an easy to moderate circular option along a mix of gravel roads, single-track and dual-track. This trail follows the ridge line with only a few gradual hills, but is more technical than the Green Route.
Black route (16km):This tough circuit whips you round on mostly single-track, with the odd bit of tar and gravel road. Ride with care.
Red Route (6.3km):This is very technical, so only attempt it with both a proper skill set as well as the right bike. There is a short 2km Red Route option as well.
Off the bike
Other activities at Clearwater include hiking, walking, birding and bass fishing. Tree identification walks with renowned botanist, Tony Abbott, and guided farm tours can be arranged. Fifteen minutes away, guests can enjoy the casino, restaurants, cinema and live entertainment of the Old Pont Resort and the Wild Coast Sun.
Take a lighthouse tour or a deep sea charter. There’s deep sea and estuary fishing, golfing, bowls, tennis and squash at the local Port Edward Country Club, arts and crafts, farm stalls, and the beach of course.
Stop at Beaver Creek Estate for a grand coffee experience. Anything goes, from great cappuccinos at the Estate Cafe to purchasing a selection of 66 fine roasts and blends. The 30-minute Coffee Tour allows ou to walk around the plantation with a knowleegeable guide.
Route information: Natalie Abbott, Clearwater Trails and Cabins
Telephone: +27 83 549 6710
GPS: 31°04’45.4” South / 30°10’07.0” East