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Mountain Biking and Trail Running the Retreat Guest Farm Trails in the SWARTLAND Tourism Region near Piketberg, Western Cape, South Africa, RSA

Mountain biking trails with some serious payoff in the form of stupendous views.

Whether it’s the endurance and technical skill of cross-country, the speed and raw nerve of downhill, or even a leisurely family ride, Piket-Bo-Berg has ‘em all.

For the pros

An extensive network of single-track trails on the Mouton’s Valley and Bugler’s Post farms make up the 110-plus kilometre ride. Featuring bridges, berms, steep descents and rocky climbs, the ride through fynbos, mossy forests and rock formations is technically challenging for sure. However, the views – from Table Mountain to the Rooi Karoo – reward the blood, sweat and tears.

As a private trail it’s only open publically for two weekends a year during the The Piket-Bo-Berg Cycle Challenge & Trail Run (end-October) and the formidable The U. So all tough guys and gals should diarise 24 – 26 September and contact https://www.facebook.com/pbbtrails or enter here.

Something more moderate

If The U sounds a tad intimidating, book in for an overnight or two-day stay at Retreat Guest Farm for an easy- to intermediate-graded, 3-hour circular trail.

With good signposting and scaped specifically for mountain bikers, the 24-km loop is mostly single-track. From Langberg cottage it passes the dam before ripping via rocky outcrops beyond the dam wall. Follow the trail clockwise over the Langberg tar road and into the hills. After a zigzag climb into fynbos, the trail loops to the Blackburn single-track climb. Grind away for 3 km to the Beacon Aisle single track (about 9 km into the ride).

The Beacon Aisle flows into Leopards Lair. This is a pleasant peddle through an olive tree canopy and rock cave. Here, as a matter of interest, a former resident Cape Leopard left scratches on the olive tree. Prepare for a rumbustious downhill ride with bermed corners, a rocky chute and a quirky detour through a sandstone arch.

As you whizz towards the cottages, well-designed jumps and a final berm greet you before the Gums & Bees track. Now things get decidedly interesting. On the Perdekop foothills – 14 km into the ride – the trail is pleasant, with short downhill sections providing much-needed respite for calves and quads. A flowering gum avenue leads to stunning fynbos ridges.

Mastering the 5-km ascent to Perdekop is worth the slog. Stop for some resuscitation to admire the mind-blowing views that stretch asunder to Saldanha Bay.

From here, you can either head down calmly along the single-track, or combine it with a Red Bull-pumping down-run. But the caveat is: your skill level needs to be tops!

Throughout the ride, enjoy the tapestry of botanical diversity, remarkable rocky outcrops and the indigenous insect life.

Stay over

Apart from the spine-tingling mountain-biking, a stay-over in one of Retreat Guest Farm’s three tucked-away pet-friendly cottages is just great, thank you very much. Beautifully appointed, the two six-sleepers and one four-sleeper have the sort of glamour that’ll make them a favourite with discerning visitors. The attention to detail is faultless and the setting on a small almond farm couldn’t be more perfect. Every element of this farm ­ rooms, pool, dam and grounds – is in harmony.

Rates are R1 000 – R2 800 pn. To book, contact Jane on Retreat Guest Farm: 083 2086873; jane@zwfarm.co.za.

*Cycling images by Jacques Marais.