Trail Daze | Witfontein

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Following last year's example in a desperate attempt to find greener pastures, a Southeaster-less, damp riding environment and even some loam, we headed about four hours up the N2 towards the Garden Route.

Based out of Sedgefield, we were pretty centrally located with easy access to a list of trails - all within a 30-40 minute drive. We were however only interested in two of these, one of which is dubbed Witfontein. Forming part of the 38 000 hectare Outeniqua Nature Reserve, the Witfontein trail network is a relatively small geographical area, packed with multiple ultra flowy lines, short climbs and some eye-popping green ferns, and has such an incredible atmosphere to it that it became and an instant favourite.

 

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Which way shall we go. Turn right for dust, or left for ferns.

 

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Well, I guess the popcorn's out the bag - it's movie snacks that make him fast....

 

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The necessary evil. Even though it totally disrupts the beautiful rolling landscape, it's rather clean and tidy compared to most industrial setups.

 

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A quick beer and pizza stop at Pili Pili in Sedgefield to wrap up the four hour drive before we head to base for an early morning rise.

 

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Sunrise over Sedgefield and you know it's gonna be a good day out.

 

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Wilderness at dawn has got to be up there with the most scenic in the world. Definitely worth the 5am alarm.

 

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In many ways, the story of South Africa. Such amazing beauty, ruined by a$$holes.

 

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This part of the country is hops central, with massive productions on both sides of the Outeniqua Pass. #getyourbeeron.

 

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With no real rain in forever, and the Southeaster sucking the last bit of moisture out of Cape Town, the contrast in environments are stark. Lush blankets of ferns and other luminous green flora, covered with droplets, line this whole network from top to bottom.

 

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Next level trail building. Constructed in the 1940's, the 14km long Outeniqua Pass connects the Garden Route to the Little Karoo. It's hard to imagine something of such scale, constructed of sandstone, was done by the hands of Italian prisoners of war and later (after the war) by local labourers.

 

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The top of the trail network is indicated by a railway line. This is the highest point of the Witfontein trails, and from here you drop down along the exposed downhill line, before entering the pine plantations that host the rest of the trails.

 

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If you looked at a map of the trails around Witfontein, you'd probably give it a miss and go and ride elsewhere. You would certainly be making a mistake in doing so! They only cover a small area but every trail is an absolute gem. Multiple lined rock gardens, punchy corners, poppy roots, and beautifully shaped jumps will mean you'll want to ride all day long in this little patch of paradise. Daniel Dobinson | iRideAfrica

 

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Strava = Hospital? Challenge accepted.

 

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Logging and fire roads connect the various segments of trail, and with a very mild gradient, you'll find yourself pedalling up 'one more time', a few times.

 

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Witfontein trails are somewhat of a hidden gem in the forests of George. They offered some incredibly fun riding with poppy berms and steep rock shoots among the rooty trails. There are so many trail options to choose from, each with multiple lines. I haven't had such a good day riding my bike in South Africa for a long time, as I did at the Witfontein trails. The locals really have turned the forest into a trail riders dream. Matt Lombardi

 

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*Pine Ring mushrooms add another splash of colour to the already technicolour surroundings on offer at Witfontein. Apparently they're edible - but don't quote me on that.

 

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With all but one trail segment under full canopy, this is the perfect place to ride during summer months as the trees keep the scorching African sun off your back.

 

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Keep an eye out for part two of the Garden Route Trail Daze trip...

 

This project is made possible by:

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Outeniqua Nature Reserve parking GPS: 33°56'06.6"S 22°25'38.5"E

Riders : Daniel Dobinson | Matt Lombardi

Permit: Apparently it's free

 

All images by Ewald Sadie

www.esphotography.co.za

instagram: @ewaldsadie

 

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17 Comments

Comments

nox1111, Feb 27 2017 07:56

That new Trance...WOW!

Oh yes, and lekker photos, looks like fun!

Robbie Stewart, Feb 27 2017 08:14

George....how I miss that part of my history.

the nerd, Feb 27 2017 08:24

Looks amazing!

PhilipV, Feb 27 2017 08:33

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Following last year's example in a desperate attempt to find greener pastures, a Southeaster-less, damp riding environment and even some loam, we headed about four hours up the N2 towards the Garden Route.
Click here to view the article

You know it is going to be a lekker week if it starts with a fresh Trail Daze. Lekker!
I think om knocking off early to go ride.
Dankie Ewald.

Headshot, Feb 27 2017 11:59

Kief whips ek se!

Odinson, Feb 27 2017 12:26

Interesting...

 

 

Permit: Apparently it's free

 

Nevertheless, sick pics and even sicker riding.

iRide, Feb 27 2017 02:20

Looks amazing!

It really is a great place to ride. T one of those places you you can introduce newbies to and they would have a blast as well as trails that will get seasoned riders beaming from ear to ear.

iRide, Feb 27 2017 02:22

Interesting...

 

 

Nevertheless, sick pics and even sicker riding.

Why interesting? We asked the local builder there (Dihaan) and that's the information we received. He did mention that you could sign up with HillBillies for an annual membership and the money would go towards signage and trail building costs, so that would always be first prize.

MTBeer, Feb 27 2017 02:40

How long is a full loop? Can anyone just pitch up and ride? Is there trail signage?

 

Makes a 3 day trip to the area worthwhile - Harkerville + GRTP + Witfontein.

iRide, Feb 27 2017 03:13

There aren't really 'loops' but there is signage to all the trails so you can just make your own ride up (the best kind of trail network in my opinion and pretty much same concept like last month's featured article on Table Mountain). Check out Trailforks and you can get idea of the routes and then you can just have a blast linking them up to your preference. AC/DC is an all-time great though it's short and steep so be careful!

Matchstix, Feb 27 2017 03:55

AC/DC was part of the original dh we tried to build back in 2000. It's a shame the 2 upper parts has been lost over time.

As for the DH Raymond Bloem, has spent a lot of time there at one stage. Bret Pelser and another guy who's name escapes me now. Mr Fred Lingenfelder also built acouple of the trails there.

hansolo, Feb 27 2017 04:13

Nice to see trails I started to ride on (and helped to build in some cases) here, brings back great memories! Think I should plan a weekend to the old hometown soon.

 

Keep up the good work.

Matchstix, Feb 27 2017 04:23

Muddy mission in the area with Hansolo... a while ago

Attached Images

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iRide, Feb 27 2017 06:02

Muddy mission in the area with Hansolo... a while ago

The good old days-and people complain about new bike technology! Nice baggies :D

Bibi, Mar 01 2017 12:01

love it 

tunariaan, Mar 01 2017 11:02

place.
If you enjoy it out here please pay up for Hillbillies membership at any of the local bike shops.
We uae the money to maintain and build new tracks.
Hopefully on the next shoot you guys are down the old track would have been extended another 300m al the way to the sentec tower

MTBeer, Mar 06 2017 12:14

place.
If you enjoy it out here please pay up for Hillbillies membership at any of the local bike shops.
We uae the money to maintain and build new tracks.
Hopefully on the next shoot you guys are down the old track would have been extended another 300m al the way to the sentec tower

Hi Tunarian

 

We will be in the area (coming from Cape Town) later this month and plan to ride there. Do we need to pay anywhere?