Feature: Hidden Gem Trails – Hennops Trail Park

Words and Images by: Timo Cooper

Timo Cooper is fairly new to Gauteng. Finding new kiff places to ride his bike in the urban jungle is his mission.

I never thought I would say this, but Gauteng is an amazing place to ride a bike. We are so spoilt for choice and there is no slowing down by the amazing trail builders. Hennops Trail Park is still one of the best kept secrets in the cycling world. The park is very well-known for its amazing hiking trails and over the last year they have invested in building some of the best mountain biking trails I have ever ridden. Hennops is located about 40km from Fourways Johannesburg. We usually cycle out to the park, do the 50km loop and ride back.

The Park offers something for everyone with technical, nontechnical and beginner trails. The park is located on a hilly farm and that is a great recipe for mountain biking. There are some proper climbs in the 50km route with great downhills to follow. The overall route and terrain in rough and rocky it should be for a mountain bike. The 50km route is the one every avid mountain biker must try; it is tough and will take the average rider close to three hours to complete. The route starts off with a gradual climb up to the first peak and you are greeted with a technical rocky downhill on the other side. If you are doing the loop for the first time be careful, there are a lot of places where you can come off second best. The route then makes its way up against the infamous snake trail and then the mini Umko Drop, a short but super fun replica of the famous trail we have all come to love at Sani2C.

 

You will then hit Killarney, a race track like singletrack that goes on for a few kilometres; this trail does not have berms in it for a reason, you must stay focused and really try and keep your traction as much as possible. After that the trail goes up again and to what is probably the hardest part of the route, rough yet super fun up and down a few times. If you still have some energy here you can make some proper time on your fellow riders. We all know that a group ride ends up in a race most of the time. The last trail down to the trail centre is amazing, some jumps, berms and just a great mix of grip and technical aspect makes it the best out there.

Hennops is our Jonkershoek here in Johannesburg. It offers us everything we need to better ourselves as mountain bikers, it even has a few climbs in it as I mentioned. The trail centre offers all the things you need to have for a great ride; your usual coke, sweets and on weekends a coffee and some food as well. The usual R50 entrance fee is not over charging at all, once you have done the full loop you will be happy to pay even more than that.

Trail Talk

Hennops MTB Trail’s unique features are the Hennops river flowing through a valley bordered by mountain ranges to the north and the south. This gives our 90% singletrack purpose-built mountain bike trail a variety of terrain, some steep climbs and descents, lots of natural obstacles and great views to enjoy.

The trail is 36km in total (Elevation gain 500m) and is made up of six sections with shortcut options after each section to make up your own distance.
* Beginner riders: Take the “Short Cut” at Safari and Snake and try the Kyalami section, complete with the Home Run back home. This will be 14km. Or take all “Short Cut” options to ride only 10km.

The first section “Safari” starts of with a 30m suspension bridge.

SAFARI (6 KM/ELEVATION GAIN 100M)
Entering the game fenced 4×4 park. Some steady climbs and downhill singletrack to negotiate whilst you can keep an eye out for zebra, impala, blue wildebeest and kudu. In this section, the MTB trail crosses the hiking and 4×4 trails on a few occasions.

SANI (6.4KM/ELEVATION GAIN 138M)
The name says it all! If you like mountain climbing – this is the one! Dragon is fast flowing, twisting and turning. You will meet four witches (bridges) at the bottom of the valley.

SNAKE (4KM/ELEVATION GAIN 54M)
This is a twisting mountain singletrack with many switchbacks. Come test your technical skills here, but be careful as the name suggests the Snake can bite!

KYALAMI (3.7KM/ELEVATION GAIN 28M)
Kyalami is a flat, super smooth flowing singletrack with long and short corners to test your flat terrain riding.

SKELETON (8KM/ELEVATION GAIN: 170M)
Skeleton offers a variety of terrain from flat savannah to gorges and creek bed riding.

HOME RUN (3KM)
Home Run takes you back to the home leg of River and back to Hadeda camp. This is a fast downhill track.
Panoramic views await!

 

 

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