Tag Archives: mountain biking

99 Steps and a Forest Walk on Helderberg Farm in Raithby (2017-06-17) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 21 AUG 2018

Raithby is essentially a completely ignored/forgotten small farming community that lies more or less between Somerset West and Stellenbosch. While not a lot of public-facing places call this little piece of the Helderberg home, it is home to The Helderberg Farm, an old farm with a long history – some of the buildings still standing are marked as having been built in 1692!

These days the farm (literally on the secluded outskirts of Somerset West) primarily produces wine grapes, but is also responsible for a number of other small crops, including the ever popular strawberry. The grounds are open to the public, and they have an old, Cape Dutch style tea garden which is great for a cup of coffee and small treat.

Of course, that isn’t really a big enough reason to visit – instead, the Helderberg Farm hosts a number of other activities on its grounds, from mountain bike trails to 4×4 trail riding. There are running trails, hiking routes, picnic and braai facilities, a farmyard with goats, bunnies and geese for the kids, and a sprinkling of play areas for the little ones. For those seeking a bit more action, there is also clay pigeon shooting, paintball games, and gravel karts.

Oh, and strawberry picking during season as well.

The forest area can be hired out as a venue (the wide open spaces means that the Helderberg Farm is perfect for kids’ parties), and also makes for a great walking experience with the little ones (who might not feel comfortable doing one of the full hikes).

Not that you would think that mind you, listening to how my girls complain every time I try and get them to walk with me. Surprisingly enough though, the last visit saw them being game enough to attempt the steep 99 Steps path up the hill with me – and even more surprising is the fact that we all three actually made it to the top.

That said, I suspect that they were just as amazed that I actually got up there myself! :D

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Side Note: Unfortunately, the biggest problem for the Helderberg Farm is the fact that it feels to be constantly in disrepair, which in turn discourages visitors, which in turn means less money making opportunities for the farm, which then ultimately contributes to the dilapidation that the farm seems to slowly be accruing as the years go by.

It’s a pity really because I love the lush green tranquility of the place, and really want for it to be doing a lot better.

Related Link: Helderberg Farm | Raithby

Pedal Carts and Craft Beer at Dirtopia on Delvera Farm in Stellenbosch (2017-08-27) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 01 JUL 2018

Delvera (out on the R44 in the Stellenbosch winelands) has now for a long time billed itself as an “agri-village”, a farm estate hosting a lot of little shops focused on arts & crafts, food and kids activities.

Over the years a lot of these businesses have come and gone, but by far the biggest player still left standing in the complex is Dirtopia, the outdoor, off-road event & trail construction company that bases itself out of the Dirtopia Trail Centre at Delvera – which itself was established to provide active travelers with mountain biking, hiking and trail running information (and equipment), as well as serve as a base for permit sales for a range of trails in the Klapmutskop Conservancy.

Dirtopia has also absorbed what used to be known as the Simonsberg Cafe into its operations, renaming the restaurant to Dirtopia Cafe in keeping with the brand. Not that this was the last of their expansions mind you: the team also took over the operation of Oakleaf Lodge, rebranding the lodge to Dirtopia Trail Lodge – so basically affordable country accommodation option for anyone wanting to sleep over while tackling the trails for a weekend then.

Apart from all the Dirtopia operations, there is also Chrisna’s Olives (boutique olive company), the Simonsberg Environmental Education Centre (conservancy), The Vineyard Connection (wine and freight specialist company), Johan Swart Ceramics (ceramics manufacturer), and Polka Dot Party Pants (birthday parties company).

My favourite of the lot though has to be Zebonkey, the cheekily named, family owned micro brewery that produces interesting beers according to the German Reinheitsgebot ( “German Beer Purity Law”) – but always with a twist, like using sea salt water or Buchu smoked wheat!

Anyway, the point is that Delvera is currently super popular with mountain bikers, hikers and trail runners, but if like us you are none of the above, there is still just enough reason to pay a visit – even if it is just to have lunch in Dirtopia Cafe’s wonderfully leafy garden setting while sipping on a Zebonkey craft brew and taking in the stunning Stellenbosch winelands view.

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As for the girls, there was only really one thing that they were dead set on tackling during our visit – the pedal carts! (But be warned – there is a LOT of competition to grab hold of one…)

Tip: According to their website, please note that some businesses at Delvera (not any of the Dirtopia ones mind you) are open by prior arrangement only, so it is advisable to call in advance to avoid disappointment.

Related Link: Dirtopia Trail Centre | Zebonkey Brewery | Delvera | Stellenbosch

Here Comes the Wet: Mountain Biking in Stellenbosch
[Partner Content] 03 JUN 2014

Winter looks to have properly arrived now, bringing with it all the wet and mud you expect from a Cape Town cold season – which of course directly translates to all those nutters out on their mountain bikes coming home a whole lot dirtier now!

If you are tired of riding around the ‘burbs of Cape Town or Durbanville, then of course Stellenbosch is next in line with its exquisite nature reserves and iconic mountain backdrops. And as expected, thanks to the explosion of mountain biking in terms of popularity over the recent years, Stellenbosch boasts the full range of trail types, from moderate single trails all the way up to the more technical trails for the most experienced mountain bikers.

So as a start, here are a couple of Stellenbosch trails I yanked off from the ‘Net:

Jonkershoek Mountain Bike Trails: This is one of the best mountain biking areas in South Africa – safe, surrounded by mountains, lined with hundred year old pine trees – what more could you ask for? There is gravel road, jeep track, single track and some built jumps for the extremists!

Vineyard mountain bike trail (Devonvalley): The Devonvalley mountain bike trail is a fantastic trail not too far from Nooitgedacht Village. The trail starts at the parking lot behind the Devonvalley hotel. Once there you will then cycle to the exit gate where you’ll turn left from there a short steep cycle will lead you towards the hill. Continue on the hill by following the Devonvalley routes marked in orange. This trail is one of the most visually rewarding trail to do as spectacular views of the Devonvalley and pristine vineyards surround you. Cape blue Waterlillies are also abundant in the many farm dams. This is a great ride for the inexperienced to the professional riders, you wont want to miss out on this fantastic trail.

Porcupine mountain bike trail: This is also a mountain bike trail that is favored by many mountain bikers. It is a 6km single mountain bike track and offers a 3km black route to test your technical skills. This track is perfect for all experienced mountain bikers. You are also treated to amazing views of Stellenbosch, the surrounding wine farms and vineyards as well as unsurpassed views of the Stellenbosch Mountains even the magnificent Paarl Rock is visible. This trail will definitely leave you wanting more.

Groenlandberg mountain bike trail: This is a beautiful trail through the Hottentots Holland nature reserve. 26.1km from central Stellenbosch and not too far from Nooitgedaght Village. It’s a 22km mountain bike trail on a moderate out-and-return route that will lead up Groenlandberg. The summit of this peak offers incredibly rewarding views over the ocean and farmlands. This trail has mountain bikers coming back again and again.

Dirtopia mountain bike trail: There are many different Dirtopia mountain bike trails. One of the more popular ones is the Delheim bike trail. This trail starts at the exquisite Delheim wine farm near Stellenbosch. The track is 12km with some good climbs up to the slopes of Simonsberg along with some really fantastic single track sections. Anyone who wants more of a challenge can do two laps making up a 24km ride, while those wishing to take it a little easier can do the 7km route. This trail is great for riders of all levels. If you are up for the challenge then this is definitely the trail to do.

And if you’re not particularly keen on Stellenbosch, well…

Deerpark mountain bike trail: This mountain bike trail runs through Vredehoek 48.3km from central Stellenbosch. The mountain bike tail starts in the Deerpark parking lot and heads left towards Devilspeak. Bikes will gradually climb up the Kings Block house and ride along the contour path back towards Cape Town. You’ll then do the drop down on to Tafelberg road. You will then cycle the 5km on the tar past the cable station and onto the dirt road below. This is a must do for those who enjoy the steep single track. The combination of jeep track, smooth flowing single track and technical single track makes this perfect for all levels of skill and fitness.

Right, so now that we’re all inspired and ready to hit the dirt, I guess I’d better set about sourcing me a good second hand mountain bike at a reasonable price – in other words, Gumtree, here I come!

mountain biking in the forest

(Please note that this is a Sponsored Post, placed via the MyScoop blog advertising network.)

Related Link: Mountain Bikes for Sale