NIKKI HAYWOOD shares her experience after a recent trip to the Garden Route area with her and the Trail Angel’s crew.
IMAGES: NIKKI HAYWOOD
One of the perks of being part of the Trail Angel Community is the opportunity to go away on a women’s mountain biking getaway. This for a lot of the ladies is a highlight of their year. Time away from their families where they can hang out with like-minded women, not having to bother about preparing meals, looking after kids, deciding on where to ride etc. A time to switch off, recharge and have loads of fun. One of our favorite places to visit is the Garden Route area. It is home to hundreds of kilometers of pristine forest trails. I think in the area of Hoekwil where we stayed there are 500km of trails winding through the indigenous forest.
A Trail Angel getaway requires you to only pack your bike and bag as all the other logistics of the weekend are organized. Food, wine, cycling routes, permits, local guides and very comfortable accommodation. Once the bikes are loaded we headed for an area called Hoekwil, a tiny village just outside Wilderness. We have been very privileged to stay on Oakhurst Farm for the last three years. We return to the same farm every year as our hosts, Jake and Claire Crowther are amazing in assisting and accommodating the Trail Angels’ needs. Firstly, the accommodation on their farm is really special with beautifully decorated cottages, comfortable beds (very important after a day on the bike), stunning verandahs and all the mod cons and even a hot tub to soak our tired legs. Our weekends are fully catered with all our meals delivered to the cottages by one of the locals.
Oakhurst is a well-known dairy farm and although Jake is an avid farmer he also likes to mountain bike. He is naturally our guide and has access to all the forests in the area so first thing on Friday morning we head into the pristine Bergplaas Forest area. Lots of forest jeep track cycling up high onto the plateaus with views as far as Mossel Bay. Day Two takes us to the Garden Route Trail Park where there are various routes to choose from. If you are ever in that area it is well worth a visit. There is an awesome coffee shop at the Trail Park, a backpackers, a stunning cottage available for rent and loads of various trails to choose from. It also offers a swimming pool, hot showers and a chill zone, a very organized set up. This is a day of single track riding deep in the forest – our favorite trail: Jungle Fever.
Day Three sees a leisurely breakfast on the veranda and a farewell cycle on the farm on the trails that Jake has created through the band of forest on his farm. All in all, a fantastic weekend away with a great bunch of women. Every time we run a weekend away we always have such amazing women turn up. These women are always the first to support and push each other. This is what makes a Trail Angel getaway so special … a time to reconnect with yourself and others in a beautiful place with good food and wine and amazing mountain biking trails. For further information on upcoming getaways email Nikki at email@example.com