Closest Town: McGregor
Grading: Easy to Intermediate | Duration: 2-4 Hours
Location (Area/Province): Breede River Valley and Western Cape
Start Point: Start in Voortrekker Road, McGregor
Access: R25 - self issue permit at Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve
Beware of: Extremely high temperatures may be experienced from November to March, and during this period bikers should set out early in the morning to avoid riding during the heat of the day.
Facilities: Ablution facilities at reserve
Cell Reception: Yes
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McGregor, set within the Breede River Valley and surrounded by rugged sandstone and shale mountains, offers superb mountain-biking options along a network of public gravel roads. Low traffic volumes, superb scenery and a diverse ecosystem known as arid Robertson Karoo make for an enjoyable ride. Succulents dominate amongst dwarf trees and shrubs and klipspringer, grysbok, rhebuck and springbok are common.
On your bike
Start in Voortrekker Road, McGregor and head out on tarmac towards Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve (5 km), where you crank onto a 8 km trail along footpaths and gravel roads through the reserve. Return along the stormsvlei road to the village or double back the way you came. The trail within Vrolijkheid is an easy, undemanding circular ride and you may pass the resident springbok herd en route to the bird hides. In addition to watching the various antelope species and other mammals, you could take time out to spy on some of the 175 bird species that have been recorded within the reserve.
Off the bike
The stunning little village of McGregor has been a hush-hush hideaway for artists, crafters and big city down-shifters for years. Problem is, you can’t keep something this beautiful secret for very long. With its spectacular winter proteas, Victorian architecture and gorgeous restaurants, it was just a matter of time before the rest of South Africa discovered McGregor. Hiking is a favourite pastime here, with day walks in Die Krans and Vrolijkheid Nature Reserves as well as the 14 km Boesmankloof hiking trail from McGregor to Greyton and the 25 km circular Genadendal trail. Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve offers bird hides, shady picnic spots and a dam boasting excellent bass spinning.
Route information: Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve
Address: PO Box 57, Robertson, 6705
Telephone: 023 625 1621 or (021) 483 0190
GPS: 33°55′25.8″S 019°52′57.6″E