In 1999, before mountain biking became a THING, an idea to expand ecotourism and adventure activities with Mountain Bike (MTB) trails in the Kruger National Park sparked, and the first MTB trail from Olifants Camp was officially opened on 4 September 2003.
The trails from Olifants Camp became extremely popular very quickly and tourists and travelers from all over the world enquired and booked to experience this life-changing adventure.
14 years on the trails from Olifants are still going strong and 4 fantastic trails catering for various levels of fitness and skill are now available from the Phalaborwa Gate. Yes, that’s the gate right next to Bushveld Terrace Hotel – which provides the perfect base from which to explore the park on pedal power.
All four of the trails cater for groups of up to 6 adults, 16 and older, and are always accompanied by two armed field guides, whose knowledge of the bush makes every mile travelled an awe inspiring event.
The trails are:
- 13km – a very easy there-and-back route from the Tshutshi river to the old quarry. Anyone who are fit enough to stay upright on a bike for an hour or so can do it.
- 20km circular route – cyclists are dropped off at the starting point 5km south of the Phalaborwa Gate and the trail takes you south and across the Tshutshi river, then along the Mulalani spruit (a very pretty section) northwards towards Vudogwa koppie and below the Sable dam wall, then west again back to the vehicle. A moderate fitness is required.
- 30km - is the same circular route as the 20km, except that you cycle to the start of the circuit rather than getting dropped off there. Moderate to very fit.
- 40km - from Phalaborwa Gate north on the Mahlangeni road to old Malopeni Gate (the original entrance to the KNP from Phalaborwa back in the day), then to the old disused Malopeni windmill where the trail picks up the Malopeni river. The trail then winds north to the Letaba river and to Black Heron dam before ending at Malopeni camp site. A pick-up vehicle and trailer waits there with cooler boxes of pre-arranged food and drink. You have to be very fit for this one.
Things to consider:
- None of these routes are a race and the pace is set by the slowest cyclist. The average speed is ±10km/h.
- It can get very hot in summer – even early in the morning. Be prepared with enough water.
- You can rent a bike and a helmet or bring your own.
- All trails (except the 40km which is a quote-on-request tailor made activity) costs R1200 pp or R910pp with your own bike.
- Bushveld Terrace Hotel provides the included breakfast snack for the morning rides as well as the pre-arranged cooler boxes.
- When selecting the group of friends you plan to ride with, make sure at least one of them is substantially slower than you.
- We were just kidding with number 6.
- Book through Bushveld Terrace Hotel (015) 781 3447.