Closest Town: Hermanus
Grading: Easy to Difficult | Duration: 30min - 6hrs
Location (Area/Province): Overberg & Southern Cape and Western Cape
Configuration: Circular and return options
Start Point: Hemel-en-Aarde Village, Wine Village
Access: Day permit available at the wine Village, White Stone Cycles and Village Cycles. thee is also an Honesty Box at the wine Village.
Beware of: The trails are clockwise, no against traffic allowed except on 1st km which is 2-way traffic
Facilities: Bike shops, toilets, restaurants at start
Cell Reception: Good
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Get on your bike and explore the beautiful Hemel and Aarde Valley, just inland from Hermanus, with its awesome views, stunning wineries and loop upon loop of single-track just waiting for your front wheel… it can only get better than this if somehow Scarlett Johannsen, a #Trance 29er and Sandy Bay became part of the story line. Four trail options cater for every style and level, from the beginner friendly Green Trail (7km) to the challenging Black Route (65km) for experienced riders.
On your bike
Starting from the Hemel and Aarde Village, the route follows the tar road winding up the valley – look out for the route markers on the left dropping into single track snaking along the river. This is flat with a slight drag up till the Camphill turnoff. Here you turn left and follow the gravel road. The BLACK route will zigzag up a challenging climb but is well worth the climb if you want to enjoy some of the ever increasing single-track between the blue gum plantations.
FYI, the GREEN Route returns from here via some kick-ass, but non-technical and smooth single-track, right on the edge of Onrus River, ducking and diving between the shrubs and trees.
The BLACK, RED and BLUE routes will continue climbing into the valley past Camphill, where the black route once again goes for a lung busting loop (again well rewarded with newly opened jeep tracks).
Once you enter Volmoed with its stunning stream crossings and purpose built wooden structures to keep you out of the swamp, say goodbye to the BLUE route, which winds its way back via Plaaskombuis (a popular breakfast stop) along the river in flowing single-track towards the start.
The BLACK and RED routes will continue climbing up the valley on the banks of the Onrus River Gorge, after a compulsory portage up some steps just after Volmoed farm. Watch out for stunning waterfalls and once you hit the top of the climb you may want to take a break at SUMARIDGE for a wine tasting. From here, the RED route winds back down the valley past BOUCHARD FINLAYSON, HAMILTON RUSSELL and SOUTHERN RIGHT wineries all the way home. It’ll be difficult to stay on your bike!
From Sumaridge, the BLACK route meanders through vineyards and berry farms all the way to MOGGS COUNTRY KITCHEN where a lovely cup of coffee and scones awaits. (Remember the code given to you with your permit: you’ll need to open a gate with it after 500m on the R320!) After this welcome breather, the route continues past wineries such as Newton Johnson, La Vierge, Bouchard Finlayson, Hamilton Russell and Southern Right. There are some breath-taking views, awesome single track and jeep tracks and be on the lookout for some whales once you hit the top of Rotary Drive.
Off your bike
You can visit any of the many restaurants and coffee shops in the Hemel en Aarde village. During the whale season (July to November) be sure to do some whale-watching. For the more adventurous there is sea kayaking, quad biking, paintball, tree-top slides and shark cage diving.
Best Time of Year:
The trails are open all year round and always a pleasure to ride. The best time to spot some whales is from July to November.
How to Get There:
As you enter the outskirts of Hermanus on the R43 from Cape Town, take a left at the Sandbaai/Caledon intersection. The Hemel en Aarde village is on your left. Register and pay at The Wine Village or Village cycles. There is ample parking.
Website : www.hermanusadventures.co.za
GPS: South 34°24’41.68”/ East 19°12’04.17”