Closest Town: Grabouw
Grading: Easy to difficult | Duration: 1.5 - 3 hours
Location (Area/Province): Overberg & Southern Cape and Western Cape
Start Point: Entrance of the estate
Access: Annual or day trail permits obligatory: available at the gate, open seven days a week during daylight hours
Beware of: Baboons and cattle. Approach cattle herds in the pastures very slowly.. rails often closed after stormy weather for 24hrs, so check in before you set off.
Facilities: Spic and span toilets and showers, a bike wash and secure parking
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Riding the superb Oak Valley trails will make you happy, and the more you ride them, the happier you are likely to be. Built by late wine maker Pieter Visser, this network of routes is a true MTB gem that rates near the very top of most mountain bikers’ bucket lists. The short Blue route is beginner friendly, while the Red route and all the Black loops are for intermediate to advanced riders.
Oak Valley is a premium wine estate, but a forward-thinking winemaker (and avid mountain biker) has transformed the vineyards and orchards of this Grabouw farm into an absolute heaven for fat trackers here in the Western Cape. Colour-coded routes ensure the whole family can find a ride along their single-track with bridges of farm fences and streams.
On your bike
Your adventure kicks off meandering through orchards to the dam. Fence lines are crossed by riding over wooden bridges designed to allow riders to gain easy access yet keep the cows in their place. Follow the Red arrows and just keep on riding the single-track, and riding and riding. Remember to breathe and enjoy the views.
The course will take you up a couple of hills, but nothing that will overly tax a moderately fit rider. Suck them up, as after every uphill there is even more sublime trail. In fact, Oak Valley could just as well be renamed Narnia, because every hill and corner hides yet another undiscovered visual and riding treat.
Once you get to the trail around the large dam you will see some arrows that lead onto the Black route. If you are feeling adventurous, follow them as they all loop back to the Red trail and all of the Black trails are rideable by the average rider – they just have some steeper climbs in them.
Continue to the top of the hill via the Raging Baboon and Cape Leopard trail sections, then look at your riding companions and say in an authoritative voice, ‘If you think that section of the trail was amazing, you ain’t seen nothing yet.’ You’d be right, as the best bits are still to come …
What follows from the top of this hill is very difficult to put into words, because if you haven’t ridden it, the adjectives will seem clichéd. Yes, Vissie’s Magic is epic, and it is awesome, and it flows and swoops and drops and bombs along the course of the river. It is, in summary, everything you ever wanted in a trail ride, and it is all yours for the next 6km of MTB debauchery.
The bottom of the single-track takes you into a gentle scenic ride through an oak forest and back to the finish area. Here you can clean up with a shower in the well-appointed ablutions before you head back into the ‘real’ world. A meal at Peregrine Farm Stall just down the N2 main drag is one way to extend the fantasy for a couple of hours …
Best Time of Year:
Just go. Now.
How to Get There:
Take the N2 from Cape Town, turn left onto the R321, Oudebrug Road opposite the Peregrine Farm Stall just past Grabouw, then right after 1km to stay on the R321 to Villiersdorp. Take the next right after 700m and stay on Oak Avenue, past the Elgin Station and follow the paved road to the main Oak Valley entrance gate.
Off the bike
Enjoy a wine tasting during the week from 09:00 to 17:00 and Saturdays from 10:00 to 14:00, buy some of their delectable Wagyu beef for your post ride braai, or just explore the magnificent Elgin Valley. You can even stay over in Oak Valley’s historic farm cottage. Pop into the Elgin Adventures Centre for some more exciting things to do: www.elginadventurecentre.securedirectbookings.com
Telephone: +27 (0)21 859 2510
GPS: South 34°09’18.43” / East 19°02’47.89”