Closest Town: Vanrhynsdorp
Grading: Easy to Difficult | Duration: Various
Location (Area/Province): Cape West Coast and Western Cape
Configuration: Various options from 5km to 26km return routes
Start Point: Various - Namaqualand Country Lodge, Vanrhynsdorp village and Gifberg Resort
Access: Public access (Visitors fee payable at Gifberg Resort (027 219 1555)
Beware of: Summer heat
Facilities: No ablution facilities on the routes
Cell Reception: Yes
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Vanrhynsdorp has a distinct Victorian character and offers a wide range of experience, from culture historical to several eco-experiences. Three botanical kingdoms converge here, namely the Nama-Karoo vegetation, succulents in the Knersvlakte and Cape Fynbos in the mountains.
On your bike
Riverside Route (5 km): This is a short, easy route for the whole family. Start off at the Namaqualand Country Lodge and follow Voortrekker Street in an easterly direction past the succulent nursery. Turn right under the bridge and follow Rivierkantstraat until you come to the first stop sign. Turn right and cycle back to town.
Mauwerskop route (20 km): This scenic route runs along the foot of the Matsikamma Mountains and you are bound to see a duiker or the massive Kori bustard along the way. You start once again at Namaqualand Country Lodge and then follow Unionskraal Road. Turn right after 7 km. Then continue for a further 6 km until you reach the crossing at the Gifberg Road. Turn right here and loop back into town.
Matsikamma Route (18 km): This route follows a path through beautiful mountain surroundings in the direction of the Matsikamma Mountains’ most northerly point. To get to the start, drive along the Gifberg Road from Vanrhynsdorp to the top of the pass where the Ouberg Road turns left. Leave your vehicle in the parking area to the west of the road and crank off along the Ouberg Road (marked VR1) before turning left onto the VR3 route about 250 m from the gate. Follow the MTB route signs for 13 km until you reach the Vlei Farm gates. Up to this point, the route is moderate despite a few short, uphill sections, but from here it is rated ‘difficult’ to ‘extreme’. A punishing 3 km climb ascends from here to very near to the highest point of the Matsikamma ranges and you will be forced to walk the final 2 km. it is, however, well worth the effort and you will be rewarded with a breathtaking panorama across the surrounding landscape.
Klein Koebee Route (18 km or 26 km): Various winding route options, rated from moderate to difficult, traverse the foothills of the Koebee Mountains. It is best to enquire at the Vanryhnsdorp Tourism Office about exact directions to the various routes or, even better, try to hook up with a local rider.
Off the bike
Vanrhynsdorp boasts superb hikes, and the Knersvlakte Trail is particularly renowned for its diverse succulent vegetation. The beautiful Ouberg Waterfall (125 m high) is well worth a visit and the surrounding landscape is dotted with spectacular rock formations. Rock art sites, as well as the annual appearance of Namaqualand’s spring flowers, are more good reasons to visit this quaint dorp. Check out the local museum if you have a thing for late stone age tools, or fill up on koeksisters and other delicacies at the lekker tea gardens and restaurants.
Telephone: 027 219-1480 or 027 219-1552
GPS: 31°36′36.8″ South / 018°44′34.7″ East