Closest Town: Louis Trichardt
Grading: Easy to Intermediate | Duration: 1.5 - 3 hours
Location (Area/Province): Limpopo and Soutpansberg
Configuration: 8km and 22km return
Start Point: Medike Mountain Reserve
Access: Private property. Day visitors by arrangement only; free for guests
Beware of: Bring insect repellant in summer to avoid getting tick bite fever. Puncture proof your tyres
Facilities: Fully-equipped, self-catering cottages with bedding, linen and towels provided.
Cell Reception: Very limited
Just 36km to the west of Makhado, the Sand River cuts an impressive gorge with massive quartzite cliffs through South Africa’s northernmost mountain range, the Soutpansberg. Medike Mountain Reserve lies centrally within this Natural Heritage Site, brimming with forested kloofs and gorges, archaeological sites, mountain streams, waterfalls, spectacular rock formations and mysterious Bushman shelters dotted with ancient rock art.
On your bike
Two riding options include an 8km trail along a steep dirt track contouring up the side of the gorge, making for a thrilling albeit demanding trail affording stunning views across the Sand River and the mountainous bush veldt beyond. The second trail is a flatter, 22km route following the Sand River via neighbouring farms all the way to the R522. Permission from your hosts is required before you crank onto this route.
Off the bike
The reserve offers 32km of hiking trails with a river route to the waterfall, and to a lookout point over the gorge as well as routes to a massive mountain baobab, San rock art and a remote gorge with fascinating rock formations. Off the reserve, spend a day driving around the Venda Art route (170 km round trip) or meander along the closer Levubu Fruit Route which is 30km away. You can also take a tour of the salt pans from which the Soutpansberg mountain range gets its name. your hosts, the Underhays, will provide further information.
Route information: Hannes and Maritjie Underhay, Medike
Address: PO Box 513, Makhado, 0920
Telephone: 015 516 0481 or 082 893 2958
GPS: 22°59.654’ South / 29°36.832’ East