Let me start out by saying that I LOVE technical single track!
There is nothing more euphoric than the fine line between the adrenaline rush and total panic of bombing downhill, through a rock garden, over roots, or taking a drop off. And with that said, we are blessed here in the Western Cape, especially the Northern Suburbs area, to be surrounded by a plethora of options mere minutes away from each other. The Tygerberg Mountain Bike Club maintains several trails that will bring pleasure to all that seek a variety of challenges (http://www.tygerbergmtb.co.za).
However, sometimes it’s nice to be able to find a place where you can just ride your bike, watch the birds, contemplate the world, and be able to infect others with that joy and the desire to be outside and find new worlds on wheels.
Not everybody can go from couch potato to single track demon over night. It takes time to first get fit, get comfortable with the bike, and get confident on different terrain. Being able to find a place that allows you to experience the joy of mountain biking, without stressing about technical challenges, makes it easy to grow a love for the sport and stay enthusiastic. Koeberg, to me, is such a place.
Located just off the R27, near Melkbosstrand, the Koeberg Nature Reserve is a unique merging of Nature versus Nuclear.
With approximately 20kms of gravel road looping around the reserve, there is more than enough time to find your pedal groove while taking in the multitude of animal life gems.
On a good day you could sight any of the following: Zebra, Eland, Springbok, Grysbok, Steenbok, Bontebok, Caracal, African Wild Cat, Grey Mongoose, and Genet.
If you are an avid birdwatcher (twitcher), slow down the pace, or choose to take in the sights by foot. Be sure to stop at the bird hide, and you are likely to see Pelicans, Flamingo, Gulls, Herons, and Egrets. There are apparently around 150 species of birds that have been recorded in the reserve, including the African Fish Eagle!
One of my favorite stretches of the trail is the section that has you pedaling parallel to the coastline. You hear the ocean, smell the sea, and on a clear day have Table Mountain in your view. Soul food!
The mix of bush and sand dunes is a unique combination. One minute you feel like you are on a safari, the next in some far off desert.
The trail is conducive to all rider levels. Whether you are starting out, looking for a recovery ride to smell the roses, or are a racing snake that wants to go “head down” and time-trial the loop, this trail will leave you with a smile on your face.
Thank you Jean and Steph for being adventurous with me. =)
What: Koeberg Nature Reserve
Trail Distance: 21kms, easy, gravel road, rolling hills, 50m of ascent.
Where: Off the R27, Melkbosstrand, Blaauwberg
Coordinates: 33° 37’ 47” S, 18° 25’ 18” E
Distance from Cape Town: 30km
Cost: FREE! Be sure to bring your Drivers License.
Hours: Open 7 days a week, from sunrise to sunset.
Amenities: Toilets and covered parking available.
Security: Since everybody has to show ID going in, I consider it a pretty safe ride.
PS… If you would rather leave the bike behind, there are also hiking trail options. See the website for more details.
About the Author
Nicki Sutherland is an outdoor enthusiast who loves hiking, biking, taking pictures, and getting people moving! =)