Closest Town: Mbombela
Grading: Easy to extreme | Duration: Various depending on route
Location (Area/Province): Highlands & Lowveld and Mpumalanga
Start Point: Trail Centre Kiosk
Access: Day visitors - mountain bikers only. No bike, no ride. Entry fee payable per bike
Beware of: Snakes, ticks, monkeys, other trail users, sunburn
Facilities: Coffee shop, swimming pools, large entertainment area. Camp sites, log cabins, permanent tented camps. Ablution and shower facilities.
Cell Reception: Yes
Mankele Mountain Bike Adventures is beautifully located in an indigenous forest near the Sudwala Caves and alongside the Houtbosloop River. The mixed terrain of sub-tropical forest, open grasslands, mountains, valleys and river frontage offers the perfect location for a wide variety of trails, with awesome scenery of luscious mountains, rivers and springs.
On your bike
Need-to-know: The riding at Mankele is pretty in your face. Once you run out of valley you immediately go into gnarly climbs, following aggressive and steep lines along the craggy ridges hemming in all around Mankele. Expect loads of rocky drop-offs, slip-sliding bush tunnels and gritty, gravelly corners on the back-country trails. Endless wooden boardwalks and bridges, carefully constructed at strategic spots, perfectly complements the natural trails and pathways, thus ensuring adrenaline pumping trails with an excellent balance of lung bursting climbs, disc burning descents, nail biting north shore, big drops, river crossings and fast, smooth single-track.
This is the training playground for SA’s top riders, but there is also something for everyone, no matter what your riding skill, fitness level or age. All trails are marked using easy to follow colour codes and warning signs for any technical or heart in your throat obstacles, of which many have ‘chicken out’ detours. The trails range from the easy 5km Blue trail with its fast flowing single-track, bridges and jeep track designed for beginners to practice their technical skills to the gruelling 55km Purple route and anything in-between, including the Adventure Zone and another 8 routes at least.
The short but very rewarding and somewhat technical Blue trail starts at reception, leads you out the main gate where the fun starts as soon as you have gone over the bridge and a nice drop in to the right gets you onto some awesome flowing single-track next to the river. After a river crossing and a short climb, some flat jeep track leads you back to the campsite before heading into the Adventure Zone, up Mamba Koppie and back along the river’s edge to the start.
The infamous Purple trail’s first 15km is a nonstop battle with granny gear, but the magnificent view and sick single-track is well worth the climb. The descent can be hair-raising via the bush tunnel or you can opt for the ‘easy way back’. There is a huge drop that is extremely dangerous in the bush tunnel, so be careful, scout it out or opt for the chicken run.
Finally, for the adrenalin junkies there’s the utter madness of the 1.8km Down Hill trail where switch backs, drop-offs and rock gardens will try rip you off your bike or the new Gold and Silver trails. Special, very technical, Black Dot sections on most of the routes will spice things up, but don’t complain if you lose your teeth on these!
No helmet – No ride (helmets for sale or for hire at reception).
Off the bike
Situated in the heart of Mpumalanga, South Africa. Mankele Mountain Bike Adventures is beautifully located in an indigenous forest near the Sudwala Caves and alongside the Houtbosloop River. The property consists of sub tropical forest, open grasslands, mountains, valleys and river frontage. It is home to a wealth of bird and animal life, as well as the mountain biking enthusiast. The mixed terrain offers the perfect location for its wide variety of trails. Come and indulge your mind, body and soul as you experience the excitement of mountain biking, the comfort of the lodge, as well as the breath taking views
Log Cabins: Each self catering log cabin sleeps 8 people (1 double bed, 2 single beds and 2 bunk beds – linen provided) in 3 bedrooms. There is also a dining room, lounge, 1½ bathrooms and a fully equipped kitchen in each. The setting is ideal for sundowners on the deck, after a long hot day in the saddle. If that hasn’t cooled you down, the sparkling salt water pool & entertainment area will do the trick!
Canvas Tented Camps: Each canvas tent has carefully been placed in its beautiful bush setting and consists of 4 single beds (linen provided), fridge, kettle, basic cutlery, braai and wooden deck with table and chairs.
Camping: If you are more adventurous, why not try our camping facilities. The camping area is surrounded by picturesque indigenous vegetation and is next to the Houtbosloop river.
On site facilities include:
Entertainment Area (Big Screen TV with DSTV, Pool Table & Darts Board) • Shop • Kitchenette for campers • Clean Ablutions with Hot water showers • Salt Water Swimming Pools • River Tubing • Bird Watching • Picnic next to the river • Some of the best MTB & hiking Trails in SA.
Located nearby (under 10 km):
Sudwala Caves • Dinosaur Park • Restaurant & Bar • Curio Shop • Petrol Station • Tennis, Squash & Mini Golf
Tourist Attractions: Pilgrim’s Rest 90km • Kruger National Park 105km • Panorama Route (God’s Window & Waterfalls) 150km
How to Get There:
Leave the N4 at the Sudwala Caves (Sabie) off-ramp and travel 6km towards Sabie on the R539. The entry to Mankele will be on your right.
Best Time of Year:
All year-round destination though summer riding can get quite hot, dusty and sticky.
Telephone: +27 (0)78 801 0453
GPS: 25° 23’ 15.62” South / 30° 42’ 47.47” East