TRAILS: OVERBERG – WESTERN CAPE

Words and Images by: Jacques Marais

Crank up the magic of the Overberg back roads amidst the breath-taking canola and wheat fields lining the legendary “Around The Pot” Route. This race rates right up there as one of SA’s “greatest gravel grinds” and you’ll be chuffed to know you can now ride it solo any time you like!

Local Buzz:

Welcome to Swellendam and surrounds, my Bru! This lekker dorp stands proud as the third oldest settlement in all of SA, and easily rates as one of my favourite dorp destinations in the whole of the Western Cape. And you can’t help falling in love with Swellies where it nestles against the foothills of the spectacular Langeberg ranges.

These magnificent mountains ruck up along the meandering course of the Breede River, with a host of world-class mountain biking trails just waiting to be explored within this scenic and fertile valley. At its heart, Swellendam is still a proper boeredorp, with bakkies lining the main street and a co-op where farmers pull into sip on a cup of “boeretroos” while discussing the weather.

Gracious architecture, the grandeur of the mountains, excellent restaurants, year-round rainfall and a temperate climate, and a glorious river all add up to exceptional views across the bars, wherever you may decide to ride. Finally, the fact that it’s pretty much half-way between Cape Town and the Garden Route positions it as the perfect biking stop when next you’re cruising the N2 …

Swellendam does not have a working tourism site, but fortunately there are locals who care enough to have set up a portal at their cost – support www.visitswellendam.co.za

An adventure Content Creation Project for CORE MERINO in the Overberg Region at Kambati River Resort, Swellendam, Western Cape, South Africa, RSA

Trail Low-Down:

Ja-ja … I know: this used to be a race (and hopefully will be one again soon). And I know it’s kinda gravel-bikish, but what the hell. These #Groad rides have become the rage right now and what’s more, you can now ride 100% of the actual event route on a solo mission.

Yup, that’s correct: the 60-Miler, 100-Miler and 200-Miler routes have been declared open 365 days per year for your enjoyment, Boet. So go solo or do it with your mates (otherwise it might become a bit boring in that pain cave).

You choose how you want to do it: crank it balls to the wall over one day (if you’re tough as nails), or go gently into that good day over anything up to four or five days. Yup, their new web site even suggests a variety of sleep-over options, so pack your teddy bear 🙂

The racing snakes will be chuffed to hear PETRICHOR ADVENTURES have included STRAVA segments for every day, too, with annual record holders in line for big prizes at the end of the racing year. Let me take you through the 200-Miler Route as an example of what they’ve got planned!

Adventure road trip through the Explorers’ Garden Route Region, Western Cape

Ja-ja … I know: this used to be a race (and hopefully will be one again soon). And I know it’s kinda gravel-bikish, but what the hell. These #Groad rides have become the rage right now and what’s more, you can now ride 100% of the actual event route on a solo mission.

Yup, that’s correct: the 60-Miler, 100-Miler and 200-Miler routes have been declared open 365 days per year for your enjoyment, Boet. So go solo or do it with your mates (otherwise it might become a bit boring in that pain cave).

You choose how you want to do it: crank it balls to the wall over one day (if you’re tough as nails), or go gently into that good day over anything up to four or five days. Yup, their new web site even suggests a variety of sleep-over options, so pack your teddy bear 🙂

The racing snakes will be chuffed to hear PETRICHOR ADVENTURES have included STRAVA segments for every day, too, with annual record holders in line for big prizes at the end of the racing year. Let me take you through the 200-Miler Route as an example of what they’ve got planned!

Get yourself to AAN DE EIKE (www.adlc.co.za), where you are booked in to sleep on your first night as part of your entry fee. Good news is that you can safely leave your car here in their off-street parking. Then saddle up at your leisure and cross the N2, heading south.

You’ll have a KMZ File and a map but keep in the general direction of Protem (aiming for Bredasdorp). The ride is along typical country gravel roads, so keep an eye out for agri-traffic as you bomb amidst the wheat and canola fields for which the area is so famous.

Your final destination for the day is Klipdale (104km), where you can book an overnight self-catering stay in the school hostel, or at Half-Ampieskraal. All your accommodation needs to be booked in advance, and this can be done on the newly revamped AROUND-THE-POT web site.

Adventure road trip through the Explorers’ Garden Route Region, Western Cape

Day 2 kicks off as you meander to the pretty dorp of Napier; bypass both this town and the neighbouring Bredasdorp, and klap your pedals all the way past De Hoop. Feel the burn as you blast along the plains back inland towards Malgas, but don’t miss out on a stop at the Trading Post to dig into a plate of traditional skaapstertjes (sheep’s tails)!

The gorgeous Sijnn Winery is just down the road and perfectly situated for a tasting, with a couple of top-class sleep-over options at either The Tides River Lodge or Malgas Hotel. Your second day’s ride is slightly shorter at an enjoyable 90km.

Day 3 (after a local-is-lekker breakfast) start off with the unique pont crossing over the Breede River, now on a new automated ferry. Point your front wheel north in the direction of Slang River, on the way passing Witsand before you face the long ascent inland.

Keep climbing towards the forested Grootvadersbosch and scenic Langeberg ranges. Breathtaking views and an undulating gravel road (look out for the Strava segment!) wind all the way to the laid-back and lovely Strawberry Hill Farm (85km).

What you really want to do is spend an extra day here, because there’s a good 100km of singletrack to revel in on your “rest” day. This forms part of the superb GVB Conservancy, in my opinion one of SA’s most diverse nature conservancies – www.gvbconservancy.co.za

Adventure road trip through the Explorers’ Garden Route Region, Western Cape

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