In South Africa, mountain biking has become a tremendously popular sport, so there are new trails opening up all the time. There are some timeless classics though, in some glorious surroundings: the Cederberg mountains; the Drakensberg; within sight of whales at De Hoop; or in the forests of Knysna.

Did you know?

Port Elizabeth has a dedicated mountain bike trail through its mid-city green belt.

In South Africa, mountain biking trails are to be found in just about every city and every town. The sport is growing so fast that there are now a number of mountain biking schools to teach you the skills to get the best out of your equipment – and the terrain you move through.

Mountain biking in South Africa offers many options. Some trails and tracks are as short as 10km, while others, like the magnificent Cederberg Mountain Bike Trail in Clanwilliam, can take you over 170 km of the most dramatic rocky terrain you could wish for.

There are trails through misty forests, others through Little Karoo canyons and then there's the Lammergeier Adventure Mountain Bike Trail between Lady Grey and Barkly East in the Eastern Cape. This one takes you within sight of a possible 282 species of birds, including big raptors like the bearded vulture, Verreaux's (black) eagles and jackal buzzards.

Mountain biking schools teach you proper braking techniques, slow-ride balancing, learning to read the track ahead of you (speed vision) and overcoming obstacles in your way. You can also learn how to do a 'wheelie', just for fun.

Sit down one evening with someone who's been on a mountain bike in South Africa and you'll hear about the magic of the De Hoop Nature Reserve trail, those special Drakensberg routes, and the forest rides through Harkerville, outside Knysna, on the Garden Route. Heard of the Wild Coast? Try that on your mountain bike – it will make for great memories.

Mountain biking in South Africa also means meeting those other crazy rough riders and socialising on the trail – it's all part of the adventure.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

African Mountain Bike Association
Tel: +27 (0)21 884 4547
Fax: +27 (0)21 884 4752
Email: info@amarider.co.za

What will it cost

Renting a mountain bike costs approx. R300 per day.

What to pack

Your mountain bike. Bikes are also available for hire in all the major cities in South Africa.

What's happening

There are many mountain biking events, races and marathons throughout the year. Visit the Mountain Biking South Africa website for comprehensive information about these.