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Drakensberg MTB Trails


driewiel

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Was lucky enough to spend the first weekend of September in the Northern Berg and used the opportunity to cycle some of the MTB Trails in the area. Chris from All Out Adventures has done a fantastic job of putting together a number of trails catering for all levels of MTB junkies. Do yourself a favour and visit AOA when in the area. A day permit cost a mere R60 and you WILL find something to challenge you.

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So how much singletrack can one expect on the Grotto trail for example?

Only single track. We did it from Hlalanathi via Trilby (apparently easier the other way) and only had about 400m of tar getting out of the Tugela Valley. The rest was singletrack. Lots of river crossings, lots of purpose-built bridges. The section where you might encounter Quads are the only wider sections.

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booya! and the location for next year's 500km Expedition Africa is DRAKENSBERG, race hotel Mont aux sources. I'll be sending the mtb trail map to the organiser ASAP.

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This is fantastic mountain biking territory, mainly along old horse trails. It looks like some new trails have been added recently. The whole section linking with the Cavern is new, as well as all the purple trails. If you do the trilby trail and montusi gorge trail, it's about 40 km of great single track with river crossings, some technical climbs and descents, and generally very nice challenging riding, both technically and from a fitness point of view, but not undoabe.

And in the most pristine drakensberg environment. Mountain biking doesn't get much better than this.

Also there's the drakensberg MTB challenge in May / June which has several distances, the longest is 45km, but it's pretty challenging, with a climb that takes you up about 400 - 500m, followed by an awesome descent down a rocky 4x4 track. If you like a race that is not just 70km down corrugated farm roads with queues at the technical sections, but great single track that you almost have to yourself, but still there's a really cool vibe, this one is worth making a weekend of. And a nice goodie bag to go with. I can see this event getting better and better, as the new trails will open up new routing possibilites.

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Hi Beanz,

Yes it is a great ride and was enjoyed by all. You mention the "awesome descent", it was a descent that I will not forget. I got caught up with the spirit of the day - forgot my limited skills and saw my ass in a big way.

Lovely part of the world and highly recommended.

Regards

Sarge.

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Also there's the drakensberg MTB challenge in May / June which has several distances, the longest is 45km, but it's pretty challenging, with a climb that takes you up about 400 - 500m, followed by an awesome descent down a rocky 4x4 track.

 

Spoke to Chris, the director at AOA and race organisor, the Royal Drakensberg Race will move to the first weekend in September 2013. Like in 2012 it will be a weekend affair, with a night ride and family ride on the Friday and Saturday. I will not be surprised if the longer distance goes to 55km. Incorporating the climb past Alpine Heath, Montusi Gorge, Acacia, Grotto and Trilby. AOA are also planning an official launch of the trails, early in December, 10-13 December if memory serves me correctly. Will have various rides, including the 55km monster :cursing: and leisurely beginner rides, family rides etc. Will ask Chris to make official comment.

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Nice pics. Looks like plenty of snow still about in the berg.

I also wouldn't be surprised if they lengthen it next year. Somehow if the longest distance is only 45km, serious mountain bikers struggle to take the race seriously. But then they would probably need to add a middle distance, maybe a 35km, skipping out the drifters climb.

I wish Chris all the best for this event and hope it grows from strength to strength, but I hope it also doesn't become too serious and lose some of the appeal it has as a great family weekend event.

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, but I hope it also doesn't become too serious and lose some of the appeal it has as a great family weekend event.

 

I agree. I've stopped doing events in in Gauteng, because 2500 other riders kinda spoils the feel. Smaller events in KZN, especially if they are well organised (like this was), are well worth the extra effort. Add a Kid Zone to get "rid" of the liitle ankle biters and you have a winner. :thumbup:

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Spoke to Chris, the director at AOA and race organisor, the Royal Drakensberg Race will move to the first weekend in September 2013. Like in 2012 it will be a weekend affair, with a night ride and family ride on the Friday and Saturday. I will not be surprised if the longer distance goes to 55km. Incorporating the climb past Alpine Heath, Montusi Gorge, Acacia, Grotto and Trilby. AOA are also planning an official launch of the trails, early in December, 10-13 December if memory serves me correctly. Will have various rides, including the 55km monster :cursing: and leisurely beginner rides, family rides etc. Will ask Chris to make official comment.

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 Thanks for the intro Theo. Here's a blurb bout the trails.

The permanent, mapped 85km Drakensberg MTB Trail System in the Northern Berg has been a labour of love for the past three years.  Based at All Out Adventures, Drakensberg MTB Trails now offers 55km of permanently marked mountain bike trails, with routes for all ability levels.  An additional 30km of mapped trails provide riders with the chance to create their own routes.  The trail system can be accessed form many of the surrounding resorts, so come ride for the day, or treat yourself to a stay in one of the many Northern Berg Resort featuring the “ride in ride out” facility.  Passes available at All Out Adventures or surrounding resorts.

Join us for the launch of the trail system with Camp MTB Drakensberg from 10 to 14 December 2012 and get a jump on your multistage race prep while, enjoying time with your family up in the mountains.    

Visit http://www.alloutadventures.co.za/mtb-trails/ for more info. 

 

Contact details

079 417 4989

072 386 1344

info@alloutadventures.co.za

www.alloutadventures.co.za

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  • 2 months later...

We are visiting friends over the December holidays (26-30 December) and we definitely want to go ride at AOA, are you guys open between 26 - 30 December? From what I gather, the trails are amazing...

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@Chris Meck great job on the trails, did the 20km race a few years back and attempted the 45km this year, really awesome surroundings and great trails.

 

@BearManGuy you will enjoy this, was looking at the trails last night...we will have fun.

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  • 9 months later...

I did the Berg and Bush training camp this last weekend here and these trails are incredible. And it's pretty much all single track.

Chris Mecklenbourg from All-Out-Adventures really does deserve some recognition here as he's done a fantastic job creating these trails that these really must be amongst the best in the country. And I don't think he's quite done yet.

The Grotto trail will surely come to be spoken of in the same breath as other legendary must-do trails like the harkerville red route. It starts with some fast flowing quad bike track from All Out Adventures down into the valley. It meanders along for a few kilometers in the valley before hitting a steep stiff climb up to and through the Cavern hotel to the higher contour level. The next 8-10 km is a sublime section of ridge riding; up, along the contour, then a drop down, a narrow bridge river crossing, a sharp bend followed by a steep punchy climb. Some sections right along the edge. It's as mentally demanding as physically as you're on your toes the whole time. But wow exhilirating doesn't go anyway to describing it.

Then you get to the crest of the ridge, where you might want to take a short break to admire the panoramic views, with the entire northern and central berg from the Amphitheatre to Catherdral Peak on the one side, and the escarpment stretching across the other, before flooding your veins with adrenalin winding down on the 250-300m descent to the tugela valley.

Then it's a short section on the river valley, before a steep climb out past the Hlahlanathi resort followed by a final section of up and down single track back to the Adventure Centre. And with 760m or climbing, mostly of the short sharp steep variety, on a 25km route, you're well knackered.

I lost count of the number of bridges, there must have been about 20 - 25 of them on this loop alone, some amply wide, others narrow enough to put you on your best behaviour. And fence ramps (don't know what they're called) so you don't have to get off your bike.

And it's not just this one - there's lots of other great trails that are equally spectacular and special that you could take days to explore and come back to.

Chris has put an amazing amount of effort (and poured plenty of cash) into creating something incredibly awesome. So if you want true proper mountain biking, you owe it to yourself to go there and check out these trails.

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