Closest Town: Bergville
Grading: Moderate | Duration: 2-4 Hours
Location (Area/Province): KZN - Natal and Midlands
Configuration: Between 30 and 35km
Start Point: Either at the Arendsig Car Park or at the bottom of Mike's Pass.
Access: Permits required
Beware of: If riding down Mike's Pass be extremely cautious as this road is consistently used by vehicles and a speed limit of 40km/hr is set. There are blind bends and sheer drops on this pass and mistakes at high speed from ‘downhilling’ could be fatal. In wet con
Facilities: Budget accommodation at the KZN Wildlife’s Didima Campsite. Upmarket accommodation at Cathedral Peak Hotel, (036) 488 1888
Cell Reception: Yes
This 35 km mountain bike trail on demanding dirt road and technical jeep track was opened with a race and a fun ride as a pilot project in 1996, by the then Natal Parks Board. It’s arguably one of the best rides in South Africa.
On your bike
Ride or drive up to the Arendsig car park at the top of Mike’s Pass The Pass is closed to public. Only NCS vehicles are permitted to take guests with a fee payable. Alternatively, park at Didima camp and ride your bike up or begin from the bottom of Mike’s Pass to add on an extra 8 km.
From Arendsig you can enjoy around 25km of mountain-biking on real mountains along gravel roads and gnarly management 4×4 tracks. In 1946 Mike’s Pass was built by Mike de Villiers who was researching the effect of commercial forestry upon water catchment areas. Evidence of this project can still be seen at the “Old Hostel”; 6 km into the trail, after you reach the top of the Pass.
Scenically, this is the most beautiful trails in the country. Once you reach the top of Mike’s Pass, you will understand how Cathedral Peak earned its name for you are surrounded by an amphitheatre of soaring mountains with a canopy of blue sky, and the experience is literally like stepping through the front door of a cathedral. The elation stays with you the entire ride, as you never lose sight of this heavenly vista.
Off the bike
There is hiking to your heart’s content. All other activities – either at Didima or the Cathedral Peak Hotel – are restricted to guests. While the Cathedral Peak Hotel has all sorts of amenities, the cost of accommodation is as steep as the pass. It seems that our South African ‘Berg resorts no longer cater for South African pockets. Non-residents have to pay a rather cheeky gate entry fee even if it’s only to fill up with petrol at the hotel to get home.
Route information: Ann van Eysen, KZN Wildlife.
Address: Private Bag X1, Winterton, 3340
Telephone: +27 (0)35 488 800 (Didima Reserve Office) or +27 (0)36 488 1880 (Cathedral Peak Hotel) or +27 (0)33 845 1000 (KZN Wildlife)
GPS: 28°56’35.68″ South / 29°13’54.17″ East