Experience the Beauty of Piekenierskloof this Winter

rooibos
Crossing the Kruismansrivier was a highlight of the 2023 race when the wet winter produced a healthy water level across the low-water bridge. Photo by Oakpics.com.

Escape the City to Piekenierskloof for the Rooibos MTB by Carmién

Piekenierskloof is a gem of the Cederberg. As the mountain range’s ridgelines reach west, into the coastal plains, the sheer size of the massifs dwindles, yet their beauty remains. With lower passes to conquer the terrain becomes more suitable to a family mountain bike race. Which is exactly what the Rooibos MTB by Carmién presents.

Scheduled for Saturday, 27 July 2024, the event boasts three distances; is suitable for mountain-, gravel-, and electric-bikes (E-Bikes); and promises fun for the whole family. Starting and finishing at De Tol Farm Deli – the home of not only Carmién teas, but also Piekenierskloof Wines, fresh fruit in season, dried fruit, and naturally fed Angus beef and lamb directly from the Bergendal farm – it mixes exhilarating riding with spectacular scenery. With the orchards, tea plantations and fynbos at their winter best there is no better time to visit the Citrusdal region.

Less than two hours’ drive up the N7, De Tol Farm Deli is just 170 kilometres from Cape Town, yet it feels a world apart. The pace of life is slower. You are encouraged by the fresh mountain air to relax, refresh your mind and spirit. Perhaps even to indulge in a glass or two of Piekenierskloof Wines or a calming cup of Carmién rooibos.

The trick will be not unwinding too much, for those making the trip for the Rooibos MTB by Carmién. There is riding to be done too, after all. The flagship 80-kilometre route features an elevation gain of 1 415 metres, and begins by dropping from the heights of the Piekenierskloof Pass to the Kruismansrivier Valley to the south. 50 fast kilometres of riding follow before scaling the old pass back up into the mountains and looping to the west along undulating dual tracks through mountain orchards and vineyards.

The 55-kilometre route spends more time on the valley floor, having also dropped down towards the south, and even crosses the Kruismansrivier on occasion before climbing back to De Tol Farm Deli.  An undulating 30-kilometre course provides the final route option. It remains on the Piekenierskloof plateau, showing off the seasonal best of the far western reaches of the Cederberg. Wildlife sightings, particularly of the region’s beautiful birdlife and perhaps even of small antelope, provides additional bonuses. Riders will not have to be as eagle eyed to appreciate the immersion in the floral magnificence of the unspoilt fynbos though, the glorious winter blooms will draw riders’ attention regardless of the speed they race by at.

All three routes are gravel and E-Bike friendly, though only the riders on mountain bikes will be rewarded at prize giving at which the celebrations for a day well spent out in nature will begin in earnest. Beyond the event there is ample entertainment. Dogs, of the well-behaved variety, are more than welcome at De Tol Farm Deli and there will be a host of family friendly activities in indulge in too. These include, food stalls, live music, wine tasting, tea tastings and pairings, a tea blending stand (where visitors will be able to blend their own teas), as well as gin tasting and pairings. The farmstall will also provide activities for the youngest visitors with an extensive kids’ play area, as well as a shaded playground, there will be ample picnic sites in the shade too, so you might find yourself lingering at De Tol Farm Deli all afternoon.

To find out more about the 2024 Rooibos MTB by Carmién or to enter the race online visit www.rooibosmtb.co.za. Follow @carmientea on Instagram and like the Carmién Tea Facebook page to see what else the organisers have in store this winter. Come experience it and escape the city.

2024 Rooibos MTB by Carmién
Date:27 July 2024
Start/Finish Venue:De Tol Farm Deli, Piekenierskloof Pass
Distances:30km with 700m | 55km with 850m | 80km with 1 415m
Entry Fees:80km – R600 | 55km – R450 | 30km – R300
Enter Online:www.rooibosmtb.co.za or www.entryninja.com
Website:www.rooibosmtb.co.za
Instagram:@carmientea or @rooibosmtbbyCarmién
Facebook:Carmién Tea or Rooibos MTB