THERE’S MORE TRAIL RIDING IN THE CEDERBERG THAN YOU CAN SHAKE A STICK AT, AND EVEN IF DOWNHILLING IS YOUR THANG, IT’S GOTCHA COVERED.
Travel-thirsty mountain bike riders need look no further than the Cederberg for thrills and chills, as well as more low-pressure trails.
The Olive Grove route
Going down a treat with young and old, this is a family-friendly trail at Mount Ceder. Meandering through olive groves for 6 km, the route takes in rocky and sandy terrain, ups and downs. As good as you get for wholesome family fun (ph 023 3170848).
A short but steep pass on a minor gravel road down to the Biedouw Valley, this is for the fearless at heart. And take note that on the flat stretches, the surface is a conglomeration of corrugations, thick loose gravel and sand. Some maps call it Uitkyk Pass, but the official Uitkyk Pass is near Algeria Forestry Station in the Southern Cederberg.
This 26,4-km pass (among the Top 20 passes in the country in terms of length) goes head-to-head with the best mountain biking destinations in South Africa. But be warned: at a glance, the R364 looks pretty straight-laced. However, within 5 km it rises from some 500 m to 824 m.
From the get-go, the Cederberg majesty hits you right between the eyes. The deeply atmospheric red rock scenery in ochres and oranges will slay even the most blasé. Adding to the charm of the wilderness spirit are old grave sites, picnic spots and flourishing fynbos.
With a tarred surface for much of the length, Route 364 makes for pure cycling pleasure. On the northern switchback section, the gradients are quite steep and the corners (although nicely radiused by the road builders), are super-sharp.
As a three-day bikepacking excursion, you could do the 182-km Cederberg circuit: starting in Clanwilliam over Pakhuis Pass to Wuppertal. Then loop towards Matjiesfontein and back to Clanwilliam via Algeria. There are many places for stay-overs along the way.
Suitable for riders of all levels, the 3-hour, 26-km Boschkloof MTB trail is sufficiently challenging for more experienced riders too.
Kicking off in Voortrekker Rd, Citrusdal, ride along the Ceres Mountain pass and then head off onto a single track with varied terrain, fynbos for Africa, steep hills, electrifying descents and mountains of fun. Proceed through the Boschkloof homestead, across a river and back onto tar for the last stretch. Permits from the Citrusdal Tourism Office (ph 022 9213210).
Another one for the bold and brave. Starting in Citrusdal, 7 km of tar is followed by 11 km of gravel. Then, staring you in the face is a tough 900-m climb, followed by a bracing 10-km swoop down the other side until you reach Suikerbossie. After resuscitation, head on back the way you came.
Situated 9 km outside Citrusdal on the Middelberg Pass, Allandale Farm offers pleasant MTB trails on farm roads, as well as a more robust 50-km trail. Map with entry costs R50 per person. (Ph 083 2605071).
So without further ado: grab your bikes and off you go!