With good weather and crazy scenery around every corner, it’s only natural that mountain biking is incredibly popular in South Africa. Whether it’s a scenic trail overlooking the coast or a downhill adventure in a forest, the country has plenty of options to suit beginner and expert mountain bikers alike. Here are the best mountain bike trails in South Africa.
Tokai Forest, Constantia, Cape Town
This fantastic trail is situated around the slopes of Constantia and is part of Table Mountain National Park. You’ll be able to get a break from the sun as you zoom through the forest, just watch out for the trees (and baboons).
Giba Gorge, KwaZulu-Natal
Giba Gorge features a mountain bike park as well as a place to get your BMX riding in. There are several different trails in the area, all with a tough reputation. If you want something easy, go for the Purple Trail. For a more advanced ride, try out the Downhill or the Enduro.
If you’re looking for great views of wineries as you cruise on your bike, this is the trail for you. The location is a single track network with moderate to difficult trails. The trail isn’t that far away from Jonkershoek (later on our list), so you can combine both in the same day.
Hoogekraal, Cape Town
Partially made from developed farmland, this trail offers a gentle warm up before getting too difficult. It also has a spot on the trail called “Beware Alley,” which received its name from the scorpions and snakes that live in the area. Here is a cool video of the trail.
Clearwater, Port Edward
The mountain bike ride at this beautiful trail takes you through the Umtamvuna River Gorge with stunning views of the Indian Ocean. It’s only about 7km from Port Edward and makes a great activity to combine with a getaway.
Jonkershoek, Western Cape
Home to beautiful landscapes and mountains, this area is a great spot for mountain bikers. It contains a network of tracks including the Canary Path, Fire Trail, and Eliatta Path.
Hogsback, Eastern Cape
Hogsback is located between Alice and Cathcart on the Eastern Cape and is claimed to have inspired Tolkien’s “The Hobbit.” Though you probably won’t see any hobbits, riding through the area will make you think you stepped into the book for awhile.
Table Mountain National Park, Cape Town
Although we already covered Tokai forest (which is technically in the area), the entire Table Mountain National Park is worth a mention on the list as the trails are simply stunning here.
Sabie is another tranquil spot that happens to have an incredible waterfall as well. Just be careful in the area, as some of the trails get extremely slippery. Also be advised you need permits to go there.
Augrabies Falls National Park, Northern Cape
South Africa is definitely doesn’t have a shortage of waterfalls. This national park has some amazing trails with stunning scenery such as the Moon Rock and Echo Corner. You’ll also be able to spot quite a few animals including springboks, mountain zebras and giraffes.
Harkerville, Western Cape
This is one of the most scenic trails in all of South Africa. It’s situated in between Plettenburg and Knysna, making it a great spot to grab some oysters after a long day of riding. Here is a video that shows you the experience.
Grotto Trail, Drakensberg
This is a great trail for both beginner and experienced riders. It’s also home to the Royal Drakensberg MTB Challenge, so you know there are some serious routes here. Along the way, there are numerous high bridges and ravines that offer fantastic views of the area.
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This article was originally published on February 20, 2015.