Stellenbosch Bottelary Hills Conservancy is mountain bike heaven

Posted by Chloe Cowley on 7 March 2022

The Bottelary Hills Renosterveld Conservancy (BHRC) near Stellenbosch offers mountain bike enthusiasts the ideal opportunity to explore a 130km trail network of farm roads, jeep tracks, and 42km single tracks. There are challenging climbs and a variety of distances on offer for riders of all fitness and skills levels.

To that end, R160 000 was invested in new trail developments this past year creating much-needed local employment for Bottelary-based trail building teams.

The BHRC offers endless views

There is the new single-track section on Wolwedans from Neethlingshof Wine Estate with up to 405m elevations amidst sections of pristine Renosterveld. For those riders up for a more technical challenge, head to the new 7km Fort Simon single track with panoramic views as you circle the hills. The Jordan route now features a 1.2km single track designed and built by Conrad Stoltz, former triathlon world champion. This track is suitable for all levels of riders.

With a growing number of junior and novice riders, the BHRC has added interesting extensions to the Orange route that starts at Bellevue Wine Estate. The 7km Polkadraai loop is also an exciting addition that gives access to the broader BHRC mountain bike trail network where shower facilities are available.

Group ride fun Bottelary Hills

A bonus offering for 2022 BHRC annual permit holders, is free access to the new Polkadraai Bike Park. This family-orientated bike park is suitable for all levels of riders from two years with a kiddies track, pump track, skills trail, flow trail, and fun line.

Day permits for R70 are available at the Zettler Strawberry Farm and many other surrounding estates. You can buy annual permits online.

An active marshal group patrols the routes to ensure they are in good condition and to police rogue riding. Please note that riders need a valid permit to access the trails. You can access the starting points and latest route map on the Trailforks app.

Marias Neethling testing his skills

Route maintenance is an ongoing process. The conservancy makes a great effort to create jobs for local youths as often as possible. The BHRC was founded to maintain, expand and sustain the large tracts of remaining Renosterveld in its area – less than 4% of the original Renosterveld in the Western Cape remains. The trails were opened by the Bottelary Hills Conservancy in April 2011 and allowed controlled access to the conservancy via dedicated routes.

The Bottelary Hills falls within the Cape Floral Region (CFR) – listed by UNESCO as one of 34 internationally recognised biodiversity hotspots. Around 9 000 plant species of which around 70% can not be found anywhere in the globe, can be found in the CFR.

No hiking is permitted on the BHRC single tracks, but circular hiking trails on Mooiplaas and Koopmanskloof cross over the MTB routes. In addition, Zevenwacht Wine Estate offers a vineyard walking trail.  Day permits are available directly from the respective tastings rooms – except for Koopmanskloof, which is on appointment via [email protected]  Zevenwacht also offers an annual walking/running permit.

Pictures: Supplied

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