MTB SA: Mountain Biking in Tesselaarsdal - Western Cape
I recently took two good friends to explore the new mountain bike trails in and around one of the Western Cape’s hidden gems. The town of Tesselaarsdal is a small community consisting of less than 2000 people and is nestled in the mountains of the Overberg region. This forgotten apartheid-era hamlet is a mountain biker’s paradise and is literally “off the beaten track.”
We stayed at Heilfontein Lodge, a farm which has the most amazing accommodation and provides everything one could wish for. Even though it is self catering we were looked after like kings. There is even the log cabin which lends a more rustic feel.
Cycling permits are available at De Postkantoor, which, as the name suggests, is in fact the old post office. Now a quaint restaurant, De Poskantoor offers great food allowing one to fuel up properly for a long day on the trails.
There are a few routes one can choose from, catering for all ability levels. Taking the bull by the horns, we decided to ride the most challenging loop on our first day, one which was included in much the 2017 ABSA Cape Epic’s much talked about first stage. Taking us through the village and into the surrounding farmlands, this route’s challenging nature was complemented by scenery second to none. Fynbos, apple orchards and even some paddocks containing free range pigs – the rugged and rustic scenery warmed us up nicely for the real fun.
Haarkappers Roete is named after an energetic barber. As Stanford’s resident “haarkapper”, this intrepid hairdresser walked over the Klein River Mountains on a regular basis, his sole purpose being to cut hair in the small coastal town. The climb is extremely difficult, both technically as well as in terms of gradient. Needless to say that a portage or two is not uncommon, even for the most experienced rider. But this vertical switchback single track is certainly worth the effort, as the views over Stanford and back to Tesselaarsdal prove once reaching the summit. And like the climb, the descent down into Stanford is not for the faint hearted. In short, it is fair to name this drop back down the mountain an “adrenaline junkie’s dream,” and that is not an exaggeration.
Once arriving into Stanford, small town hospitality is once again evident. That’s right, the owner of Heilfontein Lodge collects weary and elated cyclists and drives them (and their bikes) back to the rustic rest camp for a good bout of R&R. But only after lunch, though, which can be enjoyed at one of Stanford’s characteristic village restaurants.
If wanting to ride any of the three routes in the Tesselaarsdal area please contact me: Tel; 021 7943443 Cell 082 4910684; firstname.lastname@example.org. Also please visit our photographic website www.arkimages.com