Mountain biking in the Kruger National Park is a fun and thrilling way to experience one of the world’s great game reserves. If you're reasonably fit, are confident on a bike and have a sense of adventure, then cycling through this great wilderness area is an awesome experience.

Did you know?

Trails are graded by difficulty: green is moderate; black is advanced and strenuous.

Mountain biking in the Kruger National Park is a fun and thrilling way to experience this magnificent game reserve. You don't need to be Lance Armstrong fit, but you do need some degree of fitness. Choose from one of three cycling trails on offer that you feel is best for you.

All three cycling trails start from the Olifants Camp – one of the Kruger National Park's best-loved camps thanks to its superb location, perched atop a rocky outcrop overlooking the Olifants River and its huge elephant population.

You can choose between morning or afternoon rides that take between four and five hours, or opt for a full day trail taking approximately seven hours. Olifants Camp will provide your mountain bike, a helmet, water, snacks and a backpack.

To give you some idea of what's in store, let's go along the Hardekool-Draii trail – the easiest trail, although quite long (24km). You'll be one of only six riders climbing into an open game vehicle with two armed rangers and then it's a 12km drive to where you start using your own pedal power.

You'll cycle along game paths – those trails regularly used by game as they go up and down to the river to drink. Hippos, crocs and all sorts of wildlife use these paths daily.

Then it's time to park your bike, walk down to the river and watch nature's passing show: hippos basking in the sun; crocs dozing on sandbanks; elephants bathing; perhaps even a pride of lions snoozing under a jackalberry tree.

Snacks and drinks are served under a huge sycamore fig tree alive with birds, and then it's back on your bike and back to camp.

In a word: awesome!

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Kruger National Park: Oilfants Camp
Tel: +27 (0) 13 735 6606/7
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 888 6563

How to get here

North by road from Johannesburg (five to six hours) via Nelspruit or Phalaborwa, depending on which gate you choose to enter the Kruger National Park. You can also fly into the park via the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport near Nelspruit and hire a vehicle from there.

Best time to visit

Winter can be chilly, but your chances of seeing game are better. Summer can be very hot, but the bush is at its most lush and there are lots of baby animals to be seen.

What will it cost

R480 per person for a morning ride; R260 pp for an afternoon ride; R1470 pp for a full day ride.

What to pack

Comfortable walking shoes, binoculars, sunscreen and a hat. Olifants Camp provides bikes and helmets.

What to eat

You'll be provided with water, snacks and packed lunches.