A two-day facilitated mountain biking tour. This tour is aimed at mountain bikers looking for a varied experience combining world-class singletrack with pastoral scenery, warm hospitality and some of the finest cuisine that the Midlands has to offer.
Arrival Day: The KwaZulu-Natal Midlands is an easy five-hour drive from Johannesburg and just over one-hour from Durban, so this MTB Tour is perfect for a long weekend. Self-drive to our first overnight lodge, which depending on the group’s route, will either be in Balgowan Valley or Currys Post Ridge.
Overnight: Balgowan or Currys Post Guest House/B&B. Dinner for own account at a local restaurant. We’ll provide advice and make reservations on your behalf.
Ride Day 1:
After a farmers breakfast, you will set off on one of the most exciting days of riding. Starting down in the Balgowan valley, you’ll soon warm up as you climb steadily up to the first summit of the day, providing magnificent views back across the valley and onto the Drakenberg mountains. You then descend rapidly for a few kilometres before climbing up another district road section through a patch of cool indigenous forest towards Curry’s Post. For the less fit or hill-averse you can overnight in Curry’s Post to avoid these first 10km. Crossing the Curry’s Post road, you’ll meander along cool forestry roads up towards Kyber Pass, where a stiff little climb stands between you and 8km of flowing downhill single-track called “Rene’s Rumble” (a road option also exists for those that don’t want to do this singletrack descent). After descending into the fertile Karkloof valley, you’ll ride a few kilometres on easy rolling gravel road before you choose between two options:
– Heading across scenic farmland to your overnight lodgings where you can shower and lunch, with plenty of time to enjoy the Karkloof Canopy Tours in the afternoon; OR
– Longer Option: connect onto the exciting Karkloof singletrack, heading down to the oft forgotten, but most certainly impressive, Karkloof Falls, where you can enjoy a picnic lunch under the pines. This option will add an extra 10km to the day.
Depending on your inclination, the afternoon can be spent zip lining through the trees on the Karkloof Canopy Tour, or relaxing at your guesthouse.
Look forward to a fine dining experience tonight, as your host is an undercover master chef. Bon apetite!
Overnight: Karkloof Guest House (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner).
Ride Day 2:
After eggs benedict, today’s ride will start by crossing pig and dairy farms and then onto meandering wetland tracks as we make our way to a little country church.
From here there are two main route options depending on the fitness and technical finesse of the group.
Those with a penchant for singletrack can test their mettle on the curves, rock gardens and berms (with more flowing routes also available). With the labyrinth of singletrack, sanctioned by Sappi, we’ll connect one handcrafted track to the next, enjoying flowing trails across the valley all the way to Howick. We’ll head up to the ‘Fire tower’ from which point we have a choice of trails to descend on. ‘Rock & Roll’, ‘Meryls Peril’ and ‘the Face’ may give some inkling to what lies ahead. You can spend all day descending one track and climbing another. As long as your legs hold-out, we won’t run out of new singletrack for you to explore. ‘Home Jerome’ will take us back down to Howick, where we’ll finish at the historic old farmhouse of Sir George Sutton (built in 1872), now home to Yellowwood Café. Enjoy one of the “slow-food” specialties and the old-world charm of this stately home as you relax on the veranda, drink ale and look onto the Howick Falls, which the Zulu people call KwaNogqaza or, “place of the tall one”.
The tamer option, will link the more flowing sections of singletrack to forestry roads, contouring along the Karkloof Ridge with views across to Game Valley. Look out for giraffe and buffalo in the catchment below whilst the landscape opens up ahead to offer a striking view across the three spurs and Albert Falls Dam. From here we enter Everdon Avo Estate where, with the stealth of bicycles it’s not unusual to surprise a family of warthogs foraging alongside the path, whilst wildebeest and zebra curiously circumnavigate our tracks. After a portage across a stream we enter Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve, where you may be lucky enough to see the resident pair of Black Eagles.
It’s a gentle undulating ride to the main entrance for those with weary limbs, but if you don’t suffer from vertigo, we’ll take you along the “Dwarfs Dawdle” and “Inkonka” trail – affording unforgettable vistas down onto the uMngeni River, grandeur cliff faces and pristine tracts of indigenous forest.
We’ll also finish at Yellowwood Café, where we’ll toast a local brew to dirty bikes and nature’s endorphins.
After lunch we will transfer you back to your vehicles (left at the start point) and bid you farewell.