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TThe Table Mountain National Park is trying to keep up with the growing demand for areas used for leisure activities, especially cycling and mountain biking. As a result, the park has now converted some of the existing Jeep tracks within the park for “trail sharing” by cyclists, runners and walkers.
In the past, the primary focus of mountain biking was in Tokai plantation, but after devastating wildfires raged through the area in 2015, cyclists have limited areas to use. SANParks have taken a proactive approach and after a lengthy public consultation process, additional routes have been identified to fill this void.
CCycling and mountain biking has grown in popularity over the last few years, as it is a healthy, fun, clean recreational activity. It can be enjoyed by young and old, fit and unfit. The park is a significant leisure asset to both the local community and to visitors to Cape Town, and has the potential to be a world-class venue for mountain biking.
Table Mountain National Park
AAccording to the park’s planning manager, Michael Slayen, additional trails have been identified at a number of different locations which include the iconic Signal Hill, Lions Head, above Camps Bay and a Newlands via Kirstenbsoch route to Cecilia Plantation. Additional trails will also be opened at Deer Park below Tafelberg Road, Groote Schuur Estate (ideal for family and recreational riders) and a Tokai to Silvermine linkage route.
There are several positive impacts associated with the trails. For users, these include physical exercise, time spent in a natural environment and awareness gained around environmental issues. Another broader benefit is that the presence of cyclists may discourage crime in the park.
All cyclists using the park require an activity permit and have to agree to the code of conduct to ensure that the environment and other recreational users are taken into account. Some guidelines include staying on dedicated routes, not leaving litter behind and respecting the wildlife.
According to the plan, the long term goal is to create a mountain biking route from Signal Hill to Simon’s Town, and if possible, on to Cape Point. The latest developments are one step closer to making this goal a reality.
The changes are in partnership between SANParks, Kirstenbosch, the Table Mountain MTB Forum and the public. Trails will start opening in December in preparation for the holiday period.
Download the Cycling Environmental Management plan from the Table Mountain National Park’s website. Visit https://www.sanparks.org/for more information.