One of those areas is the beautiful Overberg, specifically the coastline between Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond.
The Kleinmond area needs no introduction, it’s a firm favourite for many a weekend adventure or day trip for a scenic drive along Clarens Drive, but while a busy beach might not be everyone’s cup of ale, there is a small reserve just off the main road between Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond that has some great trail running and MTB routes.
While the MTB route is just 11km out and 11km back, it has some great views with just over 400m of climbing. Not much single track though but the jeep track is so technical at times it more than makes up for it.
The route starts from the main car park where you can also purchase your day permit. It starts off with a gradual climb up along past the eco-cabins that have been put up recently. Called the Mbali Collection, they are 8 magnificent glass fronted eco-cabins built with as little impact to the reserve as possible. Five of them are 2 sleepers and three are 6 sleepers. The perfect place to relax and explore all that the nature reserve has to offer. Each cabin has its own bedding, crockery and cutlery and is powered by the Eskom grid with backup solar power. A Braai and grid is provided as well.
The jeep track, as mentioned, is very rocky and technical so the ride still requires a fair amount of concentration. The road actually goes out all the way to the highlands road that links up to Grabouw but it’s unfortunately not possible to link up to Grabouw any more due to different landownership in the valley.
The track follows along the Palmiet River which in summer is an excellent way to cool down as it can get quite warm in the valley. Winter rainfall means the river flows stronger in the colder months, which makes the views out over the valley pretty exceptional. Like I said, it might not have twisty singletrack and steep drop offs but the views more than make up for it.
The jeep track route also makes it the perfect place for a novice or beginner cyclist to build up some confidence before tackling something a bit more advanced. There are a few river crossings which need to be navigated on foot but otherwise it is a great place to practise, especially if you have just moved from flat pedals to clipless pedals. We all know how daunting that can be, so having a space free of cars to build confidence clipping in is always a winner.
Once you turn around you almost feel like you are in a different valley because you see things from a different perspective. It really makes the ride feel like you are going point to point instead of out and back.
Also on the reserve is the Oudebosch Eco Cabins which make you feel about as close to nature as you can get. Just like the Mbali Collection they are glass fronted but they feature five four sleeper cabins with two separate bedrooms and a spacious kitchen, lounge and dining area. The type of place you can arrive on Friday evening with all your supplies and not leave till Sunday evening. A total mountain Emersion experience.
Apart from the MTB track there are plenty of hiking trails of various difficulties waiting to be explored. The shortest being just 3km and the longest being 24km. For those who enjoy multi-day hikes, there is a fantastic two day hike called the Highlands Trail which leaves from the Iona wine farm.
It’s safe to say that whatever sport or activity you enjoy other than your cycling, the Kogelberg area has access to it all.
CapeNature is offering free entry at selected CapeNature reserves during Access Week from 13 - 20 September.