Closest Town: Grabouw
Grading: Intermediate | Duration: 1 - 3 hours
Location (Area/Province): Overberg & Souther Cape and Western Cape
Configuration: Circular options; 8-43km
Start Point: Paul Cluver Amphitheatre
Access: Day and year permits available
Beware of: Too much fun!
Facilities: Fresh Restaurant at Paul Cluver, accommodation options in the Elgin Valley
Cell Reception: Yes
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Velocipede visitors to Paul Cluver Estate are in for a treat. The Elgin Valley boasts what locals like to call a ‘benevolent’ climate. There is a hint of the European summer for much of the year, with little wind and most of the foulness of winter confined to July to August.
The advent of the annual Wines-2-Whales Stage Race has seen a complete overhaul of the mountain biking trails here, meaning the ride is now on par with that of Oak Valley, and that says a lot. Bermed ‘barrel bridges, sweeping single-track, river crossings and gravel roads linking all of the above make for a kick-ass ride.
On your bike
The best way to get to know the trails are to start (and finish) at The Amphitheater. This is where you get your trial permit, pay for, and fix the bike board to your handle-bars. The ‘No board = No Ride’ rule is strictly enforced by the landowners, so be aware.
Here is a short description of some of the key routes:
Short Red (8km) – Start at Amphitheatre and ride to the Skaapsteker turn off, turn right and cross over the Olifants Dam wall before returning to the start.
Blue Route (12km) – Start at the Amphitheatre and ride to the Skaapsteker turn off, turn right and cross the Olifants Dam wall. Turn left here to meander through the orchard hills before returning to the Amphitheatre.
Long Red (30km) – Start at the Amphitheatre and continue to Skaapsteker turn off; keep going straight along past Saaldam, Boomslang and the Switch-Backs past Thandi, and on to Huppelland. Gordon’s Kitchen is a perfect stop-over for refreshments, before taking on the Switch-Backs and Thandi Loop once again as an encore on your way back to the finish.
Black (44km) – Start of exactly as per the Long Red Route, but at the Saaldam turnoff, klap a left via Kroondam, Rietvlei, Kili Hill (yup, both #1 and #2), then Witklippieskloof, Saaldam and finally back onto the Long Red route for the crank home.
Bike Park Sections (three sections): Come check it out, they all start and finish at the same spot near the Amphitheatre.
7km XC Loop– includes the likes of Ball Wall, Raka, Kransvoël, Ark, Cobra, Mamba and Skaapsteker; in total, you will negotiate no less than 17 bridges, varying in distance from around 2m to a fabulous 40m, and ranging in height from 1m to an impressive 8m!
1km Technical Play Park– also known as the ‘Slang Park’ (or Snake Park, if you want the Soutie translation), this purpose-built track includes a number of unique climbs, drops and jumps, as well as a see-saw (teeter-totter) and a few hairy, horizontal tree rides.
Off the bike
You may think Paul Cluver is just another Cape wine estate, with scenic views and great wines, but you’d be wrong. Not about the wines and the views, of course, but about all the other stuff that happens on this expansive estate set within the stunning Elgin Valley. This is where Tri-Active started out, making Paul Cluver arguably the first estate to buy into the concept of outdoor lifestyle supplementing wine making and sales. Add to this their stunning outdoor amphitheatre with regular music concerts and drama performances, and you certainly have a destination that covers all bases.
Telephone : +27 (0)21 844 0605
GPS: 34°10’30.8” South / 19°04’59.8” East