Closest Town: Stellenbosch
Grading: Easy to difficult | Duration: 1-3hrs (Much longer if you do all the trails)
Configuration: Circular/Return options from 5km-50km
Start Point: Die Landbousaal
Access: Free (but please feel free to donate what you can afford)
Beware of: Slippery when wet; watch out for racing snakes, trail runners and walkers (and their kids and dogs) as well as baboons around Eden. Please follow the signage – there for a reason...
Facilities: Only parking, but you're in Stellies, so you should be fine
Cell Reception: Good
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The Stellenbosch Trail Fund is an incredible NPO that has built and maintained over 50km of trails in the last six years in and around Stellenbosch! Their long-term aim is a seamless network of trails through the heart of the town, extending all the way from Jonkershoek to Spier and from Coetzenburg to Paradyskloof. You’ll find something for everyone here, from the Koloniesland trail that is easy riding for the whole family to quite a strong XCO fix for skilled riders on the Maties XCO track.
Situated in the heartland of South Africa’s wine industry, Stellenbosch boasts some of the most scenic trails in South Africa, some within a mere 10min ride from the heart of the village. It is therefore no wonder so many international athletes from around the globe come here to do their winter training, the G-Spot being one of their favourites. Steep and muddy switchback trails through forest, vineyards, and fynbos, offering spectacular views of mountains close and far…. the STF trails are addictive!
On your bike
From the trailhead at Die Landbousaal you have direct access to the Koloniesland trail and you’re only a very short link to the XCO and Bergpad Trails. Koloniesland is flat and winds along the river; perfect to hone skills or get the younger ones trying out some technical riding. You can even opt to start them off on the jeep track, before attempting the single-track option.
The Maties XCO track is a track for highly skilled riders with good medical insurance. Fast and with big obstacles, this is the track that hosted Africa’s first UCI XCO race in 2018. For the easier going but still fit trail rider, the Bergpad is a good option. Follow the well signed-posted shortcuts between the jeep tracks at various points along single-tracks ranging from RED to BLACK. A highlight is undoubtedly the drop to Welgevallen Dam along the Welgevallen Gorge RED Track.
Once you’ve had your XCO fix, continue on the jeep track south in the direction of G-Spot. At the top of this legend trail, either return on the single-track to Eden Forest or descend G-Spot itself. This truly rates as one of the jewels of SA MTB, but keep in mind that the route is designated RED with numerous jumps and rollers that will challenge unskilled riders. (UP signs will return you to the top of G-Spot again). G-Spot is smooth ride with plenty of berms and jumps and you can choose to go full tilt down this piece of track or use the many chicken lines.
Now follow the jeep-track towards Eden Forest (there’s fresh water from a perennial stream just below the reservoir). Crank through the fynbos valley on various tracks or follow signs onto the downhill route to the bottom gate. From here, a network of jeep tracks will take you in a southerly direction through pine plantations to an expansive fynbos area.
Single-tracks to the right mostly circle back to the Eden Forest Gate; if you continue over the small valley and the next ridge, you will reach the Mont Marie part of the track that will take you through some spectacular scenery. Most of this section of the route is rated BLUE but watch out for signs to RED/BLACK shortcuts.
Off the bike:
Wine tasting within the heart of the SA wine region; dozens of gourmet restaurants; the beautiful beaches of Strand and Gordons Bay … what are you waiting for?
Best Time of Year:
Trail running and mountain biking is great throughout the year; Augusts tends to be quite wet, while February and March can get ridiculously hot.
How to Get There:
In Stellenbosch, follow Dorp Street Down to the Eerste Rivier (It changes to Pastorie Road). Die Landbousaal is on the corner of Die Laan and Nordwal-wes Road. You can access all the trails from here, but if you want to park closer to a specific trail, check the trail maps. There’s parking at Paradyskloof Road, Kronendal Road and the Maties Sport Complex at Coetzenburg stadium.
GPS: South 33°56’20.27″ / East 18°51’54.84″
Web site – www.stellenboschtrailfund.co.za / Tel +27-63-467-0293