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Mountain Biking on the Meander

 

The picturesque views and rugged landscapes of Midlands Meander region make it ideal for mountain biking.  The sport has been developing in the Midlands for about 30 years at a competitive/ event and recreational level, and this has fostered the development of a strong mountain biking culture.

There are a number of top class recreational riding opportunities in the Midlands. The Howick, Karkloof and Big Wheel Cycles (Lions River) trails are some of the most highly rated in South Africa, with over 200km of purpose built MTB single-track be across the networks. These trail networks primarily traverse Sappi’s properties and to a lesser degree one or two other private farms.

Sappi land offers a mixture of terrain, including conservation areas such as grasslands, wetlands and pockets of indigenous bush. It is not uncommon for riders to come across small buck, porcupine or even bush pigs; and perhaps the occasional black-backed jackal or caracal. All three of the trail networks utilise the International Mountain Biking Associations trail grading system, which makes for a consistent and safe riding experience across the valleys.

More information on the recreational aspect of Karkloof Mountain Biking can be found on http://karkloofmtbtrails.co.za/, and find them on Facebook. Karkloof offers a range of permanently marked routes to suit all levels of rider, including a 10km route, a 15km route, two 20km routes (one is more technical than the other) and a 30km route. The Karkloof trail network was rated Number 1 on Bicycling Magazines SA's Top 100 trails in 2014.

The Howick Mountain Bike Club trails are easily accessible from approximately 800m up the Currys Post Road from the Howick Private Hospital where day rider permits can be purchased. More information on the Howick trails can be found on www.howickmountainbiking.co.za, and find them on Facebook.

Big Wheel Trails are situated on the R103 in Lions River. Riders can purchase day rider permits from Big Wheel Cycles situated within St Ives Lodge & Restaurant. Other publicly accessible recreational trail networks can be found in the Hilton area. 

 

Events

Two of the oldest and most iconic events in the area are the Sappi Karkloof MTB Festival which is held annually in May and the Sappi Howick Classic which is held at the beginning of June. These events are a great reason for people to visit the Midlands Meander and spend some time enjoying the Meander on and off the bike.

Visit Midlands Meander members offering MTB facilities

There are a number of Midlands Meander members who offer mountain biking on or nearby their properties to their guests:

 

 

 

 

•    Bellwood Cottages

 

033 266 6218 - S29° 22' 37.4". . . E29° 59' 38.2"

•    Tillietudlem Game and Trout Farm

 

033 234 9045 - S29° 36' 53.4". . . E29° 56' 19.9"

•    Rockwood Karkloof Lodges

 

031 502 4043 - S29° 18' 03.0". . . E30° 13' 40.0"

•    Inversanda Farm Cottages

 

087 640 0044 - S29° 32' 03.6". . . E30° 03' 13.1"

•    Fordoun

 

033 266 6217 - S29° 19' 38.2". . . E30° 01' 50.6"

•    Riverside Cottages

 

033 267 7245 - S29° 21' 71.0". . . E29° 42' 40.0"

•    Lions River Country Cottages

 

033 234 4543 - S29° 26' 04.1". . . E30° 08' 50.1"

•    The Bend

 

082 454 1311 - S29° 21' 46.6". . . E29° 51' 23.4"

•    Pleasant Places

 

082 456 2717 - S29° 26' 43.1". . . E30° 04' 30.1"

•    St Ives Lodge & Restaurant 

 

033 234 4490 - S29° 27' 24.6". . . E30° 08' 00.1"

•    Whispering Waters

 

033 266 6893 - S29° 26' 20.0". . . E29° 56' 22.8"