The Bottelary Hills Renosterveld Conservancy (BHRC) offers mountain bike enthusiasts the ideal opportunity to explore a 130km trail network of farm roads, jeep tracks including 42km single tracks. While never too technical, there are challenging climbs and a variety of distances on offer for riders of all fitness and skills levels.
Trails run through a conservation area and game such as caracal, grysbok, grey duiker, porcupine, bat-eared foxes, cape foxes and otters still roam naturally in the Bottelary Hills, while more than 110 bird species have been identified in the BHRC.
To ensure that the routes continue to offer exciting new mountain bike experiences to riders, R160 000 was invested in new trail developments this past year creating much needed local employment for Bottelary based trail building teams.
For spectacular views of the Stellenbosch and Helderberg Mountains and a steady climb, opt for the new single track section on Wolwedans from Neethlingshof Wine Estate with up to 405m elevation amidst sections of pristine Renosterveld. For those riders up for a more technical challenge, head to the new 7km Fort Simon single track with a 100m ascent and 360 degree views as you circle the hills. The Jordan route has been extended and now features a 1.2km single track designed and built by Conrad Stoltz, former triathlon world champion. Riders can look forward to a flowy single track in natural terrain with unique granite dome rides that is suitable for all levels of riders.
With a growing number of junior and novice riders venture out on the trails, the BHRC has added interesting extensions to the Orange route that starts at Bellevue Wine Estate. This 20km route runs mostly on jeep tracks and dam walls, but still offers stunning views of both Table Mountain and Stellenbosch Mountains with 277m ascent.
A super exciting addition to the BHRC trail network, is the 7km Polkadraai loop that starts and finishes at Somm & Co at Karibib and gives access to the broader BHRC MTB trail network. Shower facilities are available.
A bonus offering for 2022 BHRC annual permit holders, is free access to the new Polkadraai Bike Park. This family orientated bike park is suitable for all levels of riders from two years with a kiddies track, pump track, skills trail, flow trail and fun line. (Day permits (R70) are available at the Zettler Strawberry Farm.
The BHRC is easily accessible to day and weekend visitors and offers a variety of activities that cater for families, nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts as well as food and wine connoisseurs. Accommodation options include self-catering, B&B’s to boutique and luxury hotels. The area also offers unique indoor and outdoor locations for unforgettable functions. The tranquil surroundings provide the perfect backdrop for a wellness weekend or a relaxing game of golf at one of the world class golf courses in the area. The ever-evolving network of MTB trails remains a key attraction.
Day permits for the Bottelary Hills Conservancy mountain bike trails (R70 payable with Zapper) are available from Asara Wine Estate, Bellevue Wine Estate, Devonvale Golf & Wine Estate, Fort Simon Wine Estate, Hazendal Wine Estate, Jordan Wine Estate, Neethlingshof Wine Estate, Zevenwacht Wine Estate, Somms & Co. Karibib, Engen Soneike, Shell Kruispad and Polkadraai Bike Park. Annual permits available online starting from R420 for under 18’s, R525 for students and pensioners, R735 for main members and R630 for a spouse.
An active marshal group patrol the routes to ensure they are in good condition and to police rogue riding. Please note that riders accessing the trails without displaying a valid permit on their bicycles are trespassing on private property. The BHRC MTB Trails network has several designated starting points with the latest route map available on the Trailforks app.
Route maintenance is an ongoing process. Trail-Blazers is constantly busy with trimming back overgrown sections, cutting grass, fixing erosion damage, clearing fallen trees and repairing damage caused by general farming activities. As part of the conservancy’s efforts in terms of job creation, local youths are employed where possible.
The BHRC was founded to maintain, expand and sustain the large tracts of remaining Renosterveld in its area – less than 4% of the original Renosterveld in the Western Cape remains. The BHRC MTB Trails were opened by the Bottelary Hills Conservancy in April 2011 and allow controlled access to the conservancy via dedicated routes. Funds generated through permits sales are used mainly to subsidize alien vegetation eradication. In addition, dedicated community programmes and projects address the socio-economic challenges of the people living and working on the farms within the BHRC.
Did you know that the Bottelary Hills falls within the Cape Floral Region (CFR) – listed by UNESCO as one of 34 internationally recognised biodiversity hotspots? Around 9 000 plant species of which around 70% are endemic – meaning that they are found nowhere else on earth – can be found in the CFR.
HIKING TRAILS AND TRAILRUNNING
No hiking is permitted on the BHRC single tracks, but circular hiking trails on Mooiplaas and Koopmanskloof cross over the MTB routes. In addition, Zevenwacht Wine Estate offers a vineyard walking trail. Day permits are available directly from the respective tastings rooms – except for Koopmanskloof, which is on appointment via [email protected]. Zevenwacht also offers an annual walking/running permit – visit www.zevenwacht.co.za for more details.