Mountain Bike your way through the Cape Winelands and all its incredible views, sights and stops.
Day 1: Bottelary Hills
Bottelary Hills Conservancy, on the northern fringe of Stellenbosch, boasts just under 100 kilometres of mountain bike trails made up of various loops that includes jeep track, farm roads and singletrack. The views of the Boland Mountain Range are spectacular and on the other side of the hill you get views of Table Mountain in the distance.
The routes cater for all levels of rider and day permits can be bought from the Soneike Engen Garage in Kuils River or at any of the trail access points using the cashless Zapper system.
Lunch and wine or tea tasting Hazendal
Choose between a picnic or a homemade pie, beef stroganoff or something else from the Babushka Deli. Finish your afternoon off with sweet treats and a Russian Tea Ceremony (you need to book ahead for the tea).
Overnight at Devon Valley Hotel
The hotel hasn’t lost popularity since the main building was constructed from Canadian Cedarwood in 1947 and with views towards the Helderberg mountains, over olive groves and vineyards, it’s not surprising.
Day 2: Jonkershoek
Stellenbosch has a right to be proud of the world-class mountain biking trail network within the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve. In February 2021 fire ragged the area damaging the trails. However trail-builder Bennet Nel, with support from Specialized’s Bobby Behan and other local riders, soon got to work to fix the trails, the first of which reopened in April 2021. These include the infamous Irish Climb and Armageddon descent.
Mountain Biking day permits can be bought at the gate.
Note: hiking permits need to be booked separately through Cape Nature.
Eat at Ride In Café
There are burgers (and more) for both carnivores and vegans, and you can get your bike washed while you eat.
Mini Wine Drive safari at Waterford
After lunch head to the nearby Waterford Wine Estate for a chocolate and wine tasting or enjoy a mini wine-drive safari through the estate’s vineyards with wine tasting along the way.
Overnight at Eendracht Hotel
Check-in at the comfortable and centrally-located Eendracht Hotel, in Stellenbosch’s well-known Dorp Street, in time for a dip in the courtyard plunge pool. After you’ve freshened up, you can visit one of the many restaurants within walking distance for dinner.
Day 3: Franschhoek
It’s a short drive over Helshoogte Pass from Stellenbosch to Boschendal Wine Estate at the foot of the Drakenstein Mountains, on the outskirts of the Francophile town of Franschhoek.
Boschendal mountain bike trails
Visit the Trail Centre at Boschendal to find out about the farm’s network of mountain bike and hiking trails and to buy your permit. (You can download the trail map on Boschendal’s website). The trails span both sides of the R310 with sections wending through the Banghoek Conservancy on one side and up neighbouring peaks on the other, with an ascent known as Big Bunny and singletrack descents named Porcupine and Inferno.
Have brunch at The Deli at Boschendal
Sit under the oaks and enjoy seasonal and ethically-sourced ingredients, much of which is produced on the farm or sourced locally. Breakfasts include smoothies, oat bowls and farmers breakfast of eggs, bacon sausage and trimmings.
Catch the Franschhoek Wine tram
Explore some of the surrounding wine farms in Franschhoek’s famous tram. Find the perfect route from the colour-coded options listed on the Wine Tram website.
Overnight at Boschendal Wine Estate
Stay at one of the Betha’s Retreat cottages which boast magnificent mountain views. The cottages offer quick access to the hiking and mountain biking trails.
Day 4: Franschhoek
Enjoy a morning of cycling the Franschhoek mountain bike trails above the Berg River Dam. These trails are tucked away in the mountains and although you’re only a five minute drive from town it feels like you are hidden away, surrounded by spectacular natural beauty. The Matopie Mast Climb is popular, as is the Snake Alley loop which takes you past the fern-lined Berg River.
Permits can be purchased at Franschhoek Tourist info and trail maps can be downloaded from franschhoek.org.za.
Coffee and lunch at Terbodore Café
Enjoy a light meal and delicious coffee at Terbodore Café in main road Franschhoek.
Visit Huguenot Fine Chocolates
This boutique chocolaterie, in Franschhoek’s main road will meet the need for something deliciously sweet. The shop offers a 30-minute chocolate experience, which includes tasting, demonstrations and a bit about the history of chocolate. Alternatively, just pop-in to buy some of the hand-crafted treats.
Overnight at Boschendal Wine Estate
A second night at Betha’s Retreat cottages will mean that you have more time to relax and soak up the picturesque surroundings between rides.
Day 5: Paarl Rheebokskloof
From the gentle 5km Chardonnay mountain biking trail to the challenging 25km Shiraz trail, which extends into the Paarl Nature Reserve, Rheebokskloof offers a variety of mountain biking options for all skill levels. There’s also horse riding, trail running and quad biking on the estate.
Lunch at Rheebokskloof
After your ride enjoy a light bite from the restaurant or pizzeria at Rheebokskloof.
Wine and cheese tasting at Fairview Wine Estate
With its famous goat tower, Fairview has been known not only for its caprine themed wines but also for its cheese. If you’re too full to indulge, pick up some wine and cheese and enjoy it another time.
Overnight at D'Olyfboom Guest House
D'Olyfboom Guest House, which forms part of the Cape Country Routes collection, is set against the Paarl mountains and overlooks vineyards and the town. There’s an on-site coffee shop and physiotherapist (in case five days of riding has gotten the best of you) and the estate sells pure spring water, which is drawn from its two springs and filtered using a UV filtration method. The guest house offers easy access to the picturesque town.