Closest Town: Nelspruit
Grading: Moderate to very technical | 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
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Talk about legendary riding destinations, and the name Mankele is sure to surface at some stage during the conversation. This fantastically varied trail network is situated within indigenous forests blanketing the mountain ranges rising up near the Sudwala Caves. Their bike park perches upon the banks of the Houtbosloop River, with a terrain mix of everything from sub-tropical forest, open grasslands and dense kloofs to towering peaks. In short, mention any kind of riding, and you can bet your bottom bracket it is possible here at Mankele.
The beauty about Mankele as a destination is that the trail network is consistently being updated, with wooden boardwalks and bridges added at key points. These additions perfectly complement the natural trails and pathways, thereby ensuring adrenaline-inducing riding with a superb balance between challenging ascents, downhill blasts, huge drops and super-smooth single-track.
Mankele rates as a training destination of choice for many of SA’s top riders, but there is something for everyone, no matter what your riding skill, fitness level or age. All trails are well-marked and colour-coded, with clear warning signs for any technical or extreme obstacles (these will generally have ‘chicken run’ detours).
On your bike
Start off with an easy pedal along the 5km Blue Route, with a mix of flowing single-track, bridges and jeep track perfect for beginners practicing their technical skills. Short but ultimately rewarding, this ride starts at reception and leads you out the main gate, where the fun starts. Cross the bridge to drop in to the right onto an awesome stretch of single-track following the river. Cross the water course after a km or so, cranking into a short climb and then along some flat jeep track leading back to the campsite. Continue into the Adventure Zone, up Mamba Koppie and back along the river’s edge to the start.
Or you can go balls-to-the-wall on the infamous 55km Purple Route, but you better wear your big girl pants. The first 15km is a non-stop battle granny gear grunt of a climb, but you had better believe there as some magnificent views waiting for you once you reach the summit. The descent is all about sick single-track zigging through bush tunnels and huge hoicks, so get ready to re-define your view on hair-raising riding. Always be careful and scout the runs, and if at all unsure opt for the chicken run.
If this does not kick your adrenal gland into over-drive, there is always the utter mayhem of the 1.8km Downhill Run. This is reserved for full-on gravity riders, with a combo ofsweeping switch-backs, drop-offs and rock gardens intent on ripping you off your bike. For the slightly less insane, the new 1.8km Black Route is special and very technical. Black Dot sections on most 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
Route information: Mankele Mountain Bike Park
Address: P.O. Box 821, White River, 1240
Telephone: +27 (0)78 801 0453
GPS: S 25° 23´19.45” E 30° 42´43.36”