Tokai Forest, a lush expanse of green in the southern suburbs of Cape Town, offers mountain bike enthusiasts some of the best cycling routes imaginable. Within 20 minutes drive of the city centre, this forest is just as accessible as is it beautiful.

Did you know?

Tokai Forest is part of the Cape Floristic Region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

If you ask any off-road cyclist in the Western Cape where the best mountain biking routes are, Tokai Forest is sure to be included in their answer. There are a number of clearly marked cycling trails to choose from, ensuring that there are options for both novice and expert cyclists.

The pine, gum and eucalyptus trees of this forest stand magnificently tall, providing shade during the warm summer months. There are some excellent vantage points along the various routes, with terrific views of the Constantia vineyards and majestic Table Mountain.

Along the more advanced routes, mountain bikers will have to negotiate a number of steep and tricky downhill slopes, including several hairpin bends. Fallen pine needles make some sections of the ride fairly slippery, adding to the challenge.

Tokai Forest is managed and maintained by the Table Mountain National Park, under the auspices of South African National Parks (SANParks), and they have stepped up their conservation efforts to ensure the protection of the forest's biodiversity.

Pop in at the Tokai Forest Arboretum when you arrive and let the authorities know that you will be cycling the forest's mountain biking routes. You can also get some expert information about the forest and its many natural wonders.

Even in the car park, you are likely to meet local mountain biking enthusiasts who will gladly share some of their knowledge and stories with you.

Various tour operators in Cape Town, including the highly-rated Downhill Adventures, offer guided tours of Tokai Forest, as well as mountain bike rentals for those who prefer to explore alone.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Table Mountain National Park: Tokai Forest
Tel: +27 (0)21 712 7471

How to get here

From the Cape Town city centre, head south on the M3 and take the Tokai off-ramp. Follow the signs to the Tokai Forest and the Tokai Forest Arboretum, where you will find the parking area.

Best time to visit

If you prefer to cycle in dry conditions, visit the Tokai Forest between October and April.

Around the area

The nearby Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is one of the best picnic sites in the province, and a stunning venue for a stroll.

What will it cost

A daily cycling permit costs R45. You can also buy an activity card for more frequent use from SANParks.

What to pack

All your cycling gear, including bikes, unless you decide to rent a bike from your tour operator. Don't forget to carry plenty of water.

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