Trail Daze: Vineyard Haze at Bottelary Hills

As part of the Winelands region of South Africa, the greater Stellenbosch area features an abundance of trails, one of which is the Bottelary Hills trails network. Covering a total of 76km, these trails offer scenic beauty and incredible views of the winelands, Table Mountain and False Bay, and combines a variety of different elements to form a well rounded MTB destination. The network can be accessed from 7 different starting points, all of which sell day passes and something to eat or drink, and it also happens to be a few hundred meters from my doorstep.
Thanks to Canyon, Matthieu got a brand new ride only a few days before, and was keen to put it through its paces. As with our previous outing, we started early and was at the trail head at dawn, ready to experience the first flowy piece of single track that descends into the valley...

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Mother nature treating us to an epic sunrise.

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From the top of the first climb, a long and flowy descending single track awaits.

"In the last month, two of our most popular mountain bike destinations have been severely burnt by huge wild fires. People have lost their houses, some of our precious wildlife lost their lives and mountain bikers lost our wonderful trails. As heartbreaking as it is to see, we know this is all part of the circle of life and we know the damage will be repaired, given time. Thankfully, we have many other trail networks around Cape Town to make use of in the mean time! The Bottlery trails provide us with some great cross country riding with ever expanding option of trails." ~ Daniel Dobinson | iRideAfrica

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Fynbos fields separates the block of vines and provides the perfect, hard packed single track.

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Short, punchy climbs on the switchbacks as the trail winds down into the valley.

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Early morning mist still hanging around on the valley floor in the distance.

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New bike. Happy rider.

"When we think about Cape Town, we think about wine and vineyards. What could be more logical than riding these tracks during the harvesting period, in order to smell the morning parfume of these plants a last time before the crop goes in the tank. This ride was also for me the opportunity to ride my new Canyon Strive, and the least we can say is that I can't wait for the next rides! This bike makes everything faster and easier, in uphills as well as downhills." ~ Matthieu Hamel

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Connecting the various parts of single track is a network of gravel roads winding through the vineyards.

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Rocky climbs out of the valley with the morning mist lurking further down below.

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Entering the pine forest. During midday summer's rides, these forests provide the perfect break from the relentless heat.

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The town of Stellenbosch in the distance.

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Back out into the fynbos and onto the dry and dusty soil.

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Apparently no such thing as 'too early for beers', so 10am beers it is.

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Heading back into the valley.

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Scandi flick anyone?

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Watering hole specifically for Bottelary Hills MTB riders. Specially handy during summer.

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Watch out for the guard otter.

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Cooling down and escaping the midday heat before we head back out on the trails.

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17 Comments

Comments

Buff_SA, Mar 23 2015 11:38

My local hangout, so glad to see these awesome trails getting some recognition.

Johny Bravo, Mar 23 2015 11:55

That Canyon is a good looking bike.

Lukep, Mar 23 2015 12:30

What is safety like on these trails?

Is it safe to ride alone?

JohanC, Mar 23 2015 12:47

What is safety like on these trails?

Is it safe to ride alone?

 

Yes, it's safe. I ride at least once a week solo on these trails.

Zatopek, Mar 23 2015 01:16

What is safety like on these trails?

Is it safe to ride alone?

One of the few places where I'm comfortable if my wife ride on her own.

Lukep, Mar 23 2015 03:33

Where is the best point of entry? I live in Die Boord and would like to ride from home if possible

Timothy Cross, Mar 23 2015 03:54

these are my home trails. ride there from my doorstep.

We are so spoilt. loving the new routes that keep getting added

Fabian46, Mar 23 2015 04:16

Where is the best point of entry? I live in Die Boord and would like to ride from home if possible

Not quite sure, but maybe Overgaauw

Lukep, Mar 23 2015 04:19

Are there any trail maps?

Hellwarp, Mar 23 2015 04:55

Where is the best point of entry? I live in Die Boord and would like to ride from home if possible

From Die Boord, closest would be Asara Wine Estate, day permits available from Asara hotel reception.

Gazzan, Mar 23 2015 04:56

Rode there a few weeks back.  Loads of fun and great views.  

 

Tip - Top up on sealant there are bucket loads of devil thorns.

jaypaul, Apr 06 2015 03:56

I tend to ride solo in Tokai where the security is pretty good (well at least I used to feel safe there despite a couple of bike-jacks). How's the security on these trails? After these photos, I am seriously thinking about hitting these trails but again, I tend to ride solo so security is important. Anyone?

dirtman, Apr 06 2015 04:29

I tend to ride solo in Tokai where the security is pretty good (well at least I used to feel safe there despite a couple of bike-jacks). How's the security on these trails? After these photos, I am seriously thinking about hitting these trails but again, I tend to ride solo so security is important. Anyone?

 

No incidents since we opened the route in 2011.  Lots of solo riders. 

jaypaul, Apr 06 2015 04:33

No incidents since we opened the route in 2011.  Lots of solo riders.


Sweet! Hitting these next weekend! Thank you for the info!

jaypaul, Apr 11 2015 03:07

Did this trails today. It was incredible. The single tracks are really some of the best I've ridden in a long time. Rode solo. No problem at all. Tons of people out there and everyone is friendly. It was good. New playground!

dirtman, Apr 11 2015 04:24

Did this trails today. It was incredible. The single tracks are really some of the best I've ridden in a long time. Rode solo. No problem at all. Tons of people out there and everyone is friendly. It was good. New playground!

 

Glad you enjoyed the route.  The single tracks will even be better once we get some rain and can start with maintenance.