The advent of mountain bike (MTB) enthusiasm has been a boon for many wineries. Many have dramatically expanded their offerings to cater specifically to this sport.
At the same time, these routes have given wine-lovers a new way to explore old favourites too.
The list that follows comprises a small selection of intersecting trails and wineries in diverse regions of the Cape Winelands. Most of the trails require permits and more information about these may be found at corresponding links.
Bot River Wine Route
Wildekrans Wine Estate
Wildekrans is a 1 000ha estate catering to various interests including wine, foodies and outdoor enthusiasts. MTB trails vary from 5.5km to 23km. In addition to cycling, there’s horse riding trail running and an opportunity for bird-watching walks. To do the trails it's R50 pp for a permit to bike on the farm. The Restaurant is open from Wednesday to Sunday for Breakfast and Lunch; and Friday night dinners (Breakfast from 08h00 – 11h00; Lunch 12h00 – 15h30, Dinner 18h00 – 21h00).
www.wildekrans.com; 028 284 9488
Klein Karoo Wine Route
De Krans Wines
Enthusiastic riders will find plenty of remote and scenic dirt roads and tracks in the vicinity of Calitzdorp. The area is also the home of the Redstone MTB and Trail Run Weekend, which took place this month. Among the wine farms on the outskirts of town that offer a welcome break is De Krans, whose bistro sits beneath a large vine-covered gazebo and serves breakfast and lunch.
www.dekrans.co.za; 044 2133 314
Durbanville Wine Route
Meerendal, Bloemendal Estate and Hillcrest Farm
Durbanville is one of the Cape’s most popular MTB destinations with numerous trails as well as bike workshops, toddler trails, and retail stores at some of the bigger departure points. Tygerberg MTB Club administers routes of over 150km and is also the source for permits. Some of the more extensive facilities, including restaurants catering to MTBers, are located at Meerendal, Bloemendal and Hillcrest.
www.meerendal.co.za; 021 975 1655
www.hillcrestfarm.co.za; 021 970 5800
www.bloemendalestate.co.za; 060 657 6344
Franschhoek Wine Valley
Boschendal Wine Farm
The farm ranks as one of the area’s top tourism destinations. For riders, it promises some “mean climbs and sweet singletrack rides” through its vineyards and wilderness areas. Its trail centre, which also hires out bikes, is open from 07:00 on weekends. Distances vary from 4km to an extendable, 23km Black Route. Most cyclists start or conclude their visit with a meal at the Boschendal Deli, whose menu includes an all-day Farmer’s Breakfast.
www.boschendal.com; 021 001 9401.
Namaqua West Coast Wine Route
Fryer's Cove Vineyards
The Viswater Mountain Bike Route is a circular route of approximately 30km that starts at Doring Bay and meanders to Papendorp and back. At certain places riders come as close as 50m from the crashing ocean waves. For information, visit www.namaquawestcoast.com. Riders often start and end their trips at the Fryer’s Cove winery and restaurant, located in a former crayfish factory in the old harbour.
www.fryerscove.co.za; 027 215 1092.
After a lull in organised MTB, routes around Vredendal are making a come-back thanks to the Vines & Views MTB Classic to be held on September 4, 2021. One of the popular weekend trails however remains a 15km track at Teubes Family Wines, which has a restaurant serving light meals and refreshments.
www.teubeswines.co.za; 027 213 2377
Paarl Wine Route
Rhebokskloof Wine Estate
Paarl Adventure Trails custom-built the routes at Rhebokskloof. These link with a larger trail network on and around Paarl Mountain. Trails open at 07:00 every day of the year. There’s an adventure centre at the winery as well as the estate restaurant and pizzeria. Picnic baskets may also be booked.
www.rhebokskloof.co.za; 021 869 8386
Wellington Wine Route
Val du Charron Wine and Leisure Estate
Six Wild Boar trails start and finish at this winery and cater to single track lovers and those who prefer open gravel roads or just a ride around the vineyard block. Many of the routes have formed part of the ABSA Cape Epic and cross dramatic wilderness areas and several farms. Once done, riders head for Pizza Vista, the estate’s laid-back pizzeria with-a-view.
www.vdcwines.co.za; 021 873 1256.
Hemel-en-Aarde Wine Route
The Hemel-en-Aarde region is another that is visited by the gargantuan ABSA Cape Epic and which has developed as a popular MTB destination. There are different routes, each catering for different skill levels, from an easy 7km ride to the tougher 65km that climbs 1 750m. The trails traverse or pass by several wine farms with restaurants including the magnificently appointed Creation Wines, which offers breakfast, brunch and lunch for cyclists. For trail permit information, visit www.hermanusadventures.co.za.
www.creationwines.com; 028 212 1107
Plettenberg Bay Wine Route
Packwood Wine Estate
There are several MTB routes administered by SANParks on the Garden Route. One of them, named the Petrus se Brand Route, passes Packwood Wine Estate. Apart from being on of the few members of the local wine route, which is forging a reputation for its excellent wines, it also serves “breakfast and bubbles”. The meal comprises eggs benedict and a glass of Packwood Gent Cap Classique.
www.packwood.co.za; 078 244 9400
Elgin Valley Wine Route
Oak Valley Estate
Oak Valley is one of the region’s historic farms, a lush and sprawling property. The trails were pioneered by legend Pieter Visser who designed the routes to accommodate all skill levels. Riders pass through beautiful natural scenery, forests of ancient oaks, vineyards, fruit orchards, across cattle pastures, all set against the stunning backdrop of the Groenlandberg mountains. Oak Valley also plays host to major MTB events such as the Absa Cape Epic and FNB Wines2Whales.
www.oakvalley.co.za; 021 859 2510
Robertson Wine Valley
Van Loveren has built a solid reputation in wine and MTB through amongst others, its JavaMTB event and trails. Included with every riding permit is a free cappuccino, and permits can be purchased via the Van Loveren online shop. The well-supported visitor centre is home to a vast tasting room as well as Christina’s Bistro, which situated in a lush garden – just the place to recover after a long ride.
www.vanloveren.co.za; 023 615 1505
Stellenbosch Wine Routes
Somerbosch Wine (Helderberg Route)
This farm restaurant on the R44 buzzes especially over weekends when the expanded parking lot is jammed by cars with bike racks. So too that of the 96 Winery Road restaurant nearby, which is affiliated with Ken Forrester Wines. This is the territory of the Wannabees MTB club, which has developed more than 150km of trails across more than 20 farms.
www.somerbosch.co.za; 021 855 3615
Kunjani Wines (Bottelary Route)
Bottelary Hills MTB Trails were opened by the Bottelary Hills Conservancy in April 2011 and allow controlled access to the conservancy via dedicated routes. Permits can be purchased via www.bottelaryconservancy.co.za. Access points are located on various wine farms including Zevenwacht, Overgaauw, Jordan, Hazendal and Asara. One of the rest stops along the way is at Kunjani, whose restaurant serves a re-energising breakfast and is open from 08:30.
www.kunjaniwines.co.za; 087 630 0409
Swartland Wine & Olive Route
Kloovenburg Wine & Olive Estate
Information about MTB routes around the Swartland is hard to come by and many riders either train on public roads or during events at, for example Piketberg. One alternative though is a gravel trail along the base of Kasteelberg. See more information at www.riebeek-valley.com. One of the convenient dining options en route is Kloovenburg wine and olive farm’s new Kringe Inni Bos outdoor restaurant. It serves pizza and burgers from 09:00 to 14:00, Friday to Sunday only.
www.kloovenburg.com; 022 448 1635