In keeping with the traveller’s increasing focus on experiential experiences and sustainability, the award-winning Gondwana Game Reserve on South Africa’s Garden Route, accessibly located close to Cape Town, has opened several mountain bike trails on the reserve, adding cycling as a complimentary activity for guests. Combining a traditional Big Five safari experience with healthy outdoor exercise, adventurous individuals can interact with nature in a fun and active way, enjoying game viewing of non-dangerous wildlife while breaking a sweat in the saddle.
If you are seeking to explore the reserve’s beautiful country at a close range, there is no better way to do this than biking through it. Gondwana is a treasure trove of exciting routes waiting to be discovered, with mild weather allowing for cycling at any time of the year. Located in Gondwana’s 1000-hectare protected area, the new trails have been designed for all levels of fitness and skill levels to enjoy, including families with smaller children.
Graded from novice to advanced, the routes consist of varied terrain from dirt roads and jeep tracks to long valley descents and steep technical climbs. Cycling through Gondwana’s stunning wilderness, guests see endangered and specialty species such bontebok, cape mountain zebra, sable and giraffe as well as herds of eland and impala that roam freely in open grass plains and plateaus, wetlands, rolling hills, riverine and sub-tropical thicket valleys.
Another draw is the incredible endemic birdlife as well the ever-changing beauty of the Cape Fynbos vegetation which has something of interest to see year-round, with the best time to view the phenomenal South African Protea flowers in April, May and June and the pincushions in November.
Complimentary mountain bikes are available for both adults and children.
Routes are as follows:
Red Route – 7.44km – novice rating
This route is on Reserve dirt roads and great for the whole family to enjoy.
Blue Route – 8.62km – intermediate rating
This route has a short bit of Reserve Roads in the beginning and the end, and then goes on to Jeep tracks, then a long decent down the valley, some loose areas, then climbs back up towards the Milkwood Roads. A good fitness level is required as there is a good 2.5 kilometres of climbing as well as some technical sections, so previous experience is essential.
Green Route – 10.4km – advanced rating
This route follows the Blue Route on the descent and then halfway on the climb out of the valley, it turns left and drops down and then runs along the hills and has a very steep climb. This route is only for more experienced riders.
Orange Route – 12.4km – advanced rating
This is an advanced loop off the green route with some steep climbs. It joins back onto the green route at the end and is only for experienced and fit riders.
Wendy Rutherfoord, Gondwana’s owner comments: “The new cycling trails on the reserve add a new dimension to our guest experience as well as a level of adventure and fitness. We are very excited to add this as a new complimentary guest activity – it is not every day people can cycle through a beautiful landscape dotted with African wildlife!”