5 Epic Eastern Cape mountain bike trails

Winona Griggs

5 Epic Eastern Cape Mountain Bike Trails

When I think about the Eastern Cape, I can’t help but get excited about the breathtaking nature that awaits me. It’s a region filled with pristine landscapes, just begging to be explored. And you know what makes it even better? The fact that there are some absolutely amazing mountain bike trails waiting for you to conquer!

If you’re planning a road trip or a quick weekend getaway, don’t forget to pack your bikes. Trust me, you won’t want to miss out on these incredible trails. Let me show you five of the best ones:

1. Wild Coast MTB Adventure

The Wild Coast MTB Adventure trail is a dream come true for nature lovers and adrenaline junkies like me. It takes you through breathtaking coastal scenery, rugged cliffs, and dense forests. Get ready to experience the thrill of exhilarating descents and challenging climbs. Don’t forget to take a break and soak in the stunning views along the way!

2. Baviaanskloof Mega Trail

The Baviaanskloof Mega Trail is a true gem hidden within the tranquil valleys of the Eastern Cape. This trail will test your skills and endurance as you navigate through its rugged terrain and rocky riverbeds. But trust me, the effort is worth it, as you’ll be rewarded with jaw-dropping views of untouched wilderness that will leave you in awe.

3. Addo Mountain Biking Trails

If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, the Addo Mountain Biking Trails are perfect for you. This trail offers a unique opportunity to combine the thrill of mountain biking with the excitement of spotting wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for elephants, buffalo, and various species of antelope as you pedal through the enchanting landscapes of the Addo Elephant National Park.

4. Tsitsikamma Forest Trails

The Tsitsikamma Forest Trails will transport you to a world of ancient giants. As you cycle through the dense forest, you’ll be surrounded by towering trees and vibrant greenery. The trails cater to all skill levels, so whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, you’ll find a route that suits you. Don’t forget to pause and listen to the melody of birdsong that fills the air!

5. Groendal MTB Trails

The Groendal MTB Trails offer a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Located in the foothills of the Groendal Wilderness Area, these trails wind their way through peaceful valleys and picturesque landscapes. Prepare yourself for a diverse range of trails, from gentle meanders to challenging climbs. You’ll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views that will make all the effort worthwhile.

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So, what are you waiting for? Get ready for an epic adventure and explore these incredible mountain bike trails in the Eastern Cape. You won’t be disappointed!

5 Epic Eastern Cape mountain bike trails

1. Exploring the Enchanting Hogsback

If you’ve ever been enchanted by tales of mystical creatures and captivating landscapes, then you’ll be delighted to discover Hogsback. This mesmerizing place is the birthplace of legends, where the magic of Green Madonnas and Blue Cypresses comes to life. Starting just outside the cozy Hogsback Inn, the diverse trails in Hogsback offer an adventure like no other.

These trails weave through a variety of terrains, taking you on a thrilling journey through forests, plantations, and open grasslands. With a mix of gravel roads, jeep tracks, and singletrack paths, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty that surrounds you. Along the way, you’ll also encounter picturesque waterfalls that add an extra touch of wonder to your ride.

If you’re up for a challenge, Hogsback has three different routes to choose from. Depending on your fitness level, you can select the trail that suits you best. And if you’re feeling extra adventurous and up for an exhilarating workout, why not combine all three routes for a total distance of a little over 30km?

While the trails may not have received recent maintenance, the thoughtful design of the routes is evident. Each twist and turn, hairpin bend, and ramp has been carefully crafted to create an exhilarating and memorable ride. Wooden ramps and boardwalk bridges add an extra element of excitement to the experience.

It’s important to remember, though, that with great excitement comes some risk. When the trails are wet and muddy, caution is crucial. The slippery conditions can pose a danger, so it’s essential to proceed with care. But don’t let that dampen your spirits! As long as you take the necessary precautions, you’re in for a truly unforgettable adventure.

I have three amazing cycling routes to share with you. Each one offers different sights and challenges, so you can choose the one that suits you best.

1. The Blue Cypress Loop (8km)

This loop is perfect if you want to experience the beauty of an indigenous yellowwood forest. You’ll start at Hogsback and follow Oak Avenue, passing through the forest. Along the way, you’ll come across several streams, four of which have ramp crossings. It’s a great way to connect with nature and enjoy the tranquility of the forest.

2. The Red Deodar Loop (14km)

If you’re up for a more challenging adventure, the Red Deodar Loop is for you. This route takes you across the Tyume River and offers stunning views from above Paradise Falls. Afterward, you’ll join the Cypress Loop, where you can continue your ride and soak in the beauty of the surroundings.

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3. The Green Madonna Loop (22km)

The Green Madonna Loop is a longer route that will take you to some truly enchanting places. You’ll begin by heading towards King’s Neck and then descend to Robinson and the Madonna and Child Falls. This loop offers a diverse range of landscapes and is perfect for those seeking a more adventurous ride.

If you’re feeling ambitious and want to experience all of these incredible routes, you can combine them to create an unforgettable 30 km journey. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cyclist, these routes have something for everyone. So grab your bike and get ready for an amazing adventure!

2. Storms River

Storms River is a place of untouched beauty that will leave you in awe. While it may be tempting to leave your bike at home and simply soak in the views, I highly recommend bringing your bike along. There’s something truly special about earning those spectacular views through your own effort and determination.

Hey there! I’ve got an exciting adventure in store for you on this 22km route. Before we get started, we’ll need to grab a (free) permit at the SANParks gate. Look for the box next to the gate and fill in the form. Once that’s done, we can begin our journey by cruising down a steep 5km descent to the river. Hold on tight!

After the thrilling descent, we’ll face a tough climb up the coastal bluff. But don’t worry, it’s a short one, and soon enough, we’ll reach a leveled-out section. As you pedal forward, keep an eye out for a stunning viewpoint. Trust me, you won’t want to miss it!

Now, get ready for another challenge because we’re not done climbing just yet. We’ll rejoin the original route and embark on a 5km slog back to the trailhead. It’ll be a test of strength and determination, but I know you can handle it!

If you’re craving more biking fun, I’ve got great news. Just a hop, skip, and jump away from Storms River Village, you’ll find the Misty Mountain Reserve. They have not one, not two, but four color-coded trails waiting for you. Starting from an easy 8.7km Forest Meander all the way up to the more thrilling 65km Classic, you’ll find a trail that suits your taste.

If you’re looking for a family-friendly hike, the Forest Meander is a great choice. However, if you want a spectacular view, I recommend taking on the 15km orange Look Out Adventure trail.

The blue Family Epic is a moderate 31km trail with a few sections of loose rocks. For a more challenging ride, the black MTB Classic covers 65km and includes an extra 35km of steep ravines, rocky sections, and technical riding. You’ll need permits from Misty Mountain Reserve to tackle this one.

3. Sebumo Tude

Situated between Kenton-On-Sea and Port Alfred, Sebumo Tude Nature’s Lounge is a hidden gem.

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If you’re a beginner rider, you’ll love exploring the 6.5km and 9km tracks in the resort’s beautiful indigenous bush area.

If you’re a family just starting out on your cycling adventure and you’re not sure if mountain biking is for you, we’ve got the perfect option for you. With this option, you can leave the hassle of loading bikes onto your car behind and not worry about little Judy getting tired just a few kilometers into the ride.

You’ll need to make a booking in advance, but you can rent bikes from The Cycle Asylum and have them delivered directly to your starting point.

4. Bedford Cycle Safari

South Africa may have more than one Die Hel, but as far as we know, there’s only one ‘Devil’. This exciting adventure starts at Request Farm and can be a two, three, or four-day cycling trip, depending on how challenging you want it to be. You’ll cover a distance of 180-200km as you explore the beautiful Baviaans River Valley.

The biking route I’m talking about is a fully guided adventure with luxurious accommodation at charming guest farms along the way. Despite its intimidating name, the route is actually not as scary as it sounds. There’s no need to worry about technical tricks or narrow paths. However, be prepared for some demanding uphill climbs and steep downhill descents.

If all of that seems too challenging, don’t worry! You can also try out the 7km, 18km, or 32km mountain biking trails available on the farm.

5. Commando Drift

If you’re up for a thrilling mountain biking experience, the Commando Drift trail in the Commando Drift Nature Reserve (located between Tarkastad and Cradock) might be just what you’re looking for. This trail does have a few challenging climbs, but they’re not too overwhelming. You can choose to follow a simple circular route or explore various alternative paths that will lead you back to the starting point. Plan for around four hours to complete the entire trail.

Before you start your adventure, I want to give you a heads up: the area you’ll be cycling in is full of rocks and thorns. So, it’s essential to come prepared. But trust me, it’s all worth it. The route you’ll take is absolutely stunning, with breathtaking Karoo mountains and lush riverine thickets.

And oh boy, the scenery! With those majestic mountains in the background, it’s like cycling through a dream. But be careful, there’s also a bunch of wildlife roaming around. Picture this: mountain zebras, red hartebeests, kudus, black wildebeests, and reedbucks. They’re amazing to see, but remember to keep a safe distance.

Now, here’s the deal: you’ll need a permit to enter this area. No worries, though. You can get it from the Commando Drift Nature Reserve Office. Just keep in mind that there might be conservation fees involved.

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