Closest Town: Kimberley
Grading: Moderate | Duration: 1 to 5 hours
Location (Area/Province): Diamond Fields and Northern Cape
Configuration: Options from 5km to a 40km circular ride
Start Point: Marrick Safaris reception
Access: Day visitor fee applies to riders; no fees for Marrick guests
Beware of: Heat and thunderstorms in summer
Facilities: Guesthouse, self-catering cottages, ablutions
Cell Reception: Reasonable reception
Premium and Curated Trails Only
The Marrick Safari Ranch, an easy drive from Kimberley, offers 3 000ha of pristine African savannah to explore. The area is entirely natural, with a large open pan surrounded by savannah thornveld, bush and plains. Marrick Safari Camp boasts an abundance of bird life as well as at least 18 species of larger mammals. Nocturnal animals and smaller species such as suricates, ground squirrel, aardvark, porcupines, African wild cat, caracal and genet are also found within the four diverse botanical biomes existing at Marrick.
On your bike
The MTB routes basically follow an extensive network of 4X4 trails and roads within the Marrick Safari area, but occasionally ascend along a variety of hiking paths for an exhilarating singletrack blast. Trails are perfect for mountain bikers keen to get closer to nature; several route options allow riders to select distances and terrain suitable to their individual level of fitness. Topography varies hugely, and easy cruising along hard-packed or sandy plains quickly gives way to sharp ascents up the many hills and kopjes.
Many riders underestimate the difficulty of the terrain, as they are lulled into a false sense of security by the apparent ‘flatness’ of the area. Routes are challenging and yet remain fun and enjoyable for all levels of riders. A wide range of ecosystems may be experienced and, as the region changes with every season, you can expect a brand new experience with every ride.
If you want more than just a quickie ride, come back for the multi-day Marrick MTB Challenge hosted here every September – 2011 was the 4th edition of this challenging, 202km Stage Race. Ride through wide open spaces, revelling in more than 40km of singletrack, all the while catching glimpses of a variety of species, including giraffe, gemsbok, zebra, wildebeest and herds of other plains game.
Off the bike
Marrick offers visitors a number of hiking trails, guided game drives and a swimming pool to cool off in on those sweltering, Northern Cape summer days. If you’re keen on some white-water rafting, the Gariep (Orange) River is about one hour’s drive away. If you have time on your hands, check out the fascinating mining museum in Kimberley or do a lake jump into the infamous Big Hole.
Route information: Trevor Datnow, Marrick Safaris
Telephone: +27 (0)53 833 7004
GPS: 28°46’40.3”South / 24°36’40.1”East