While much of the international MTB awareness of South Africa centers on the Absa Cape Epic stage race, you don’t have to sign up for 800km (500mi) of racing and 15,000m (49,000ft) of climbing just to enjoy the great trails that South Africa has to offer.
While central South Africa is home to a quintessential African savannah on the flat Central Plateau, along the 2,500km (1,550mi) South African coast runs the Cape Fold mountain range, where all of the trails mentioned in this article are found.
While we haven’t been to South Africa before, if we were to take a trip there, these are the trails we’d start with:
Located in the mountains of eastern South Africa, the Giba Blue Trail seems to be a popular one with Singletracks reviewers, garnering 12 5-star reviews. According to AdeleB this 19km singletrack “includes switchbacks, bridges, [roots], rocks, and drop offs.”
“Awesome riding. The tracks are well maintained and loads of fun. There is some nice technical sections but nothing an intermediate rider can’t handle.” -Russell Hove
Clearwater Trail System, Port Edward
This trail system features a network of looped singletrack combined with jeep roads. While the trails here ride great, the views are worth pausing to enjoy: you can find gorgeous vistas of the Umtamvuna River Gorge, the coastline, and the forest and grassland areas.
“An adventurous trail with a good mix of single track, jeep track, berms and natural obstacles. The views of the river gorge and ocean are spectacular!” -JanNatalie
This 19km trail offers some steep climbing and technical descending.
“Short but technical little course that will test your skills going up as well as coming down. 2 routes available depending on the skill and fitness levels.” -Richard Bauer
Tokai Forest is home to some great trails, but be aware that there are some huge road gaps, drops, and jumps out there! If you’re into aggressive DH/freeride sort, Tokai is the place!
“Ranges from beginner to advanced, and is suitable for all MTB styles – endurance, technical, downhill, casual, fitness. A great place to test and unwind.” -Freewanderingspirit
The race this past weekend at Jonkershoek was sick! The course was super fun, here's a pic from Saturdays practice laying down a bit of a tabe on the road gap. Shot by @afreakineric ???? #trails #dirt #downhill #mtb #table #DH #downhillmountainbiking #slopestyle #enduro #jonkershoek #stellenbosch #Capetown #southafrica @dialdbikes @661protection
This 32km purpose-built trail system sports several different levels of singletrack climbing and descending the mountains. Recommended trail segment: Canary Path.
“Nice fast flowing single track with some rock gardens and small jumps.” -stephenventer0
Your Turn: Know of a South African trail that we don’t have listed in our trail database? Please add it here!