Closest Town: Somerset West
Grading: Easy to Intermediate | Duration: 1.5 to 2.5 hours
Location (Area/Province): Peninsula and Winelands and Western Cape
Configuration: Options from 10–32km
Start Point: Ongegund Conference Centre
Nestled on the slopes of the Hottentots-Holland ranges above Sir Lowry’s Pass Village, just outside Somerset West, the Schapenberg MTB Trail is one of the region’s newest trails. Surprisingly, it is also one of the only trails in the area to offer year-round access to singletrack for the general riding public
On your bike
Starting at the Ongegund Conference Centre, the trail makes its intentions known right from the word go, heading into an immediate climb on good-quality jeep track. We decided on the Red route, approximately 24km in distance and with a total altitude gain of 560m.
Keep your eyes well peeled for directional signs, as they can be very confusing and in some cases well hidden. Continue up and around the various vineyards and meadows until the jeep track turns 90 degrees right (4.5km) and heads down a steep hill. Stop right there: don’t ride down the hill, or you will have to ride back up again!
To your right is the well-concealed entrance to the start of the singletrack, and this is not to be missed at any cost. It is only 1km long but its entertainment value is huge. The singletrack exits onto more quality gravel roads that take you up past the entrance to Knorrhoek farm, then cross a railway line before heading back up the side of the mountain. Beware of cyclists coming towards you as a lot of this trail is shared by riders going in both directions.
Keep following the arrows for another 8km during which time you will climb a bit more and be treated to some amazing views. At 13.3km you will see the entrance to the next singletrack on your right. Everything you’ve ridden up to this point is basically a stocking filler, and this is where the real fun starts.
Fast, sweeping track, a rock garden, small drops and wicked berms take you to a short stretch of jeep track where you can recover before an even faster and smoother track will bomb you back to the bottom. At the end of the roller coaster down the hill you will find yourself on familiar roads as you are backtracking to return to the start.
Schapenberg has just completed a major re-condition of the Han-se-Kop Black route (part of the Wines2Whales route). The best route is 1st option – Go Red; 2nd option – Go Black (Hans-se-kop Black Route); 3rd option – Go Black / Red.
Off the bike
Restaurant and wine sales are available. Somerset West is also an excellent gateway to both the Whale Coast and the Winelands, if you’re keen to spend a few relaxing days here.
Local MTB info: Helderberg Cycle World
Telephone: +27 (0)21 858 1554
Website : www.ongegund.com
GPS: 34°6’48.76″South / 18°54’24.0″E