Closest Town: Tokai
Grading: Moderate to Extreme | Duration: Up to 2–5 hours
Location (Area/Province): Peninsula and Winelands and Western Cape
Configuration: Various circular or return options, up to 40km
Start Point: Arboretum, Tokai Forest
Access: Fee payable at picnic area; a Wild Card from SANParks must be loaded with an annual MTB permit
Beware of: Slippery during/after rains; baboons, snakes and hikers
Facilities: Parking, with a car guard on duty; tea room and toilet facilities
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All Cape fat-tyre fundis eventually trek south in search of the singletrack paradise that is Tokai Forest. Blood, sweat and granny gears are the order of the day as you wind your way up towards the Sentech mast, with a range of trail configurations awaiting you on the way down via working plantations and indigenous forest.
On your bike
The trailhead starts at the Arboretum and from here a gruelling stretch of gravel snakes up into the rugged Table Mountain range. After 300m, you’ll enter to the left of a swing gate before continuing along a gradual gravel climb to fork right after 2.4km. (Or you could crank up the Fairy Garden singletrack by turning left 300m after the gate).
The green-and-white MTB signage along the gravel road indicates access points as per the attached map, and most riders stick to the gravel road all the way up to at least the Level 4 or 5 contour roads (6km from Arboretum). You could however crank up both the Boomslang and Mamba singletracks to get onto the contour roads).
Turn left if you want to climb further to Silvermine gate, and look out for a drop left onto Boulders singletrack through stands of pine, probably the sweetest 2kay section in the whole of Tokai. If you instead hang right to Vlakkenberg, a gritty ride will eventually link via Level 4 through to the tar road ascending up to the radio mast.
Head right just before the tarmac to the Mast starts, dog-legging right through a dip and then dropping down onto a wicked set of switchbacks (Bridle Path). Beware the rainy season here, as it will be rooty and rutted with enough hairpin bends and manic drops to demarcate this as the domain of the technically skilled. Head right again to climb back up to Level 4, before bombing onto the Mamba singletrack dipping steeply down to your left.
Hang on tight, because this is where the fun starts. Basically, you’re railing a super-tube banging across the dirt roads you cranked up. Twenty minutes of white-knuckle singletrack later, you’ll bottom out via the Vasbyt DH section onto Your Roots / My Roots before T-boning onto the gravel road. Now whoop it up on an easy home run to the Arboretum.
NB: Due to the devastating fires early in March 2015, certain trails have been close until further notice. Please call Sanparks for the latest updates
Off the bike
The Peninsula wine routes are a must-do, with no fewer than 24 estates producing world-famous wines. Surfing Muizenberg and Kommetjie, penguins at Boulders, vibey Kalk Bay and historic Simonstown are all within easy driving distance.
Table Mountain National Park
Telephone : +27 (0)712 7421
Website : www.sanparks.org
GPS: 34º03’394”S 18º24’582”E