Hogsback is old news to most mountain bikers heading into the Eastern Cape’s Amatole Region, but only a handful of out-of-towners have discovered the nearby Katberg area. If you’re up for a serious bout of big mountain wheezing, there are dozens of day rides bombing the Winterberg ranges here.
Head out of the gate and turn left onto the gnarly Katberg Pass, turning left again after 1.4km to bomb the contour roads cruising through the Langfield pine forest for a rollercoaster ride. While you’re there, keep your eyes peeled for some scattered and unusual exotic trees, such as the Himalayan cedar and North American redwood. Crank across mountain rivers and past waterfalls, ascend grassy summits or bomb a mix of forested ravines and sweeping plantations while bush pig, bushbuck, touraco, rare Cape parrot and samango monkeys play in this dip-diving dirt paradise. A few hiking trails will entice those with singletrack tendencies into helter-skelter heaven.
Your second option is to bang straight into the thin air zone on a gritty climb past Boesmanskrans and onto the plateau. Slog it out up the 15km+ Katberg Pass snaking along the slopes above the hotel, and you will be rewarded by breathtaking views across the distant Winterberg. You can ride for ever up here, but pack a good map or GPS and the requisite gear to sit out an emergency.
Circular or return, 22km
Gravel, grass and mud patches, forest tracks
No permits required
Accommodation, bar, pool
Extreme erosion, roots; mountain weather changes lightning fast (mud, fog, cold)
Katberg is about breathing in fresh mountain air and enjoying the solitude – this part of the world remains unspoilt and beautiful, but it is demanding MTB country, especially when wet
HOW TO GET THERE
From the N10, follow the R63 through Bedford and Adelaide to Fort Beaufort, where you turn left onto the R67 towards Seymour. Travel north for about
30km, then keep your eyes peeled for the Katberg Hotel signs. Follow the signs left to the hotel; it’s located about 12km from the main road.
BEST TIME OF YEAR
During the colder half of the year (April to September) you should be chilled and semi-dry, but be ready for sub-zero temperatures in June/July. If you want it muddy, choose November to February.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 040-864-1010
- Website: www.mtbroutes.co.za