Tour SA’s most cycle-friendly neighbourhoods

Private Property South Africa
Taryn Isaac

South Africa is blessed with beautiful neighbourhoods that are perfect for experiencing on a bike. Here is our selection of marvellous localities that are perfect for the everyday cycling enthusiast to explore.

With the breeze in your hair and the sun on your back, it is easy to see why cycling has become one of the best ways to explore the natural wonders of South Africa.

We’ve come across a few areas that offer a wide range of expanses, from mountain passes, African bush trails and a variety of coastal roads that make for the perfect cycling destination.

Take a tour of the most prominent cycle routes found in and around the country:

1. Paarl in the Cape Winelands

A trip around the beautiful town of Paarl in the Cape Winelands is best done on two wheels. This secure and intimate community is known for being the perfect escape from the busy city life. The town offers an abundance of tree lined streets, luscious vineyards and picture perfect cycle routes to discover during your favourite pastime. The Jan Phillips mountain road is one such route that offers 35km’s of adrenaline filled excitement through Paarl Rock - the second largest granite outcrop in the world. Families can also take shorter routes that range from between 4 to 20 kilometres, which begin at the entrance of Paarl Nature Reserve and are fairly easy with no serious climbs. The town is also known for hosting mountain bike events like the Paarl Rotary’s Bouckaert-Soenen race. This is a popular cycle event where all proceeds are used for the benefit of community projects supported by the Rotary.

knysna cycling route outdoors bikers

2. Knysna in the Western Cape

Along the Garden Route is Knysna, a must see neighbourhood nestled into the city of Cape Town. With natural beauty and a temperate climate, Knysna offers the best cycle experience with shady forests and lush landscapes for an exciting pedal out and about. Its Garden Route Trail Park is most popular amongst cyclists and is equipped with carefully designed cycle routes to provide riders of all levels with an oversupply of adrenalin, excitement and amazing views. The town also holds its annual Momentum Weekend Argus Knysna Cycle Tour which is a 10-day event that takes place during the first week of July each year. The cycle tour is a major sporting event on the calendar and consists of four main activities: MTB events, road races, SPUR children’s cycling tour, and the forest family fun ride.

3. KwaZulu-Natal Midlands

The KwaZulu-Natal midlands is an inland area that lies outside of Pietermaritzburg, in close proximity to the breathtaking Drakensberg mountain range. The area offers a collection of arranged routes and open fields that offer a revitalising outdoor experience for the everyday cyclist. It is home to a few nature reserves as well as spectacular waterfalls like the Howick Falls. Road cyclists can pedal through the R103 from Estcourt to Howick and pass through a variety of towns that offer a few irresistible detours along the way. For adventure junkies, the must see attraction is the MTB Trails in Karkloof which is regarded as the best trail riding destination in South Africa, with all routes beginning and ending at the Karkloof Country Club. The routes are graded according to International Mountain Biking Association trail-grading standards and offer four exhilarating trails in total - 10km, 20km, 30km and an XCO trail. Karkloof also offers an outback trail with even more enjoyable unmarked routes for the avid cyclist to explore.

Midlands cycling route outdoors bikers

4. Heidelberg in Gauteng

Heidelberg is a small countryside town in easy reach of the golden city, Johannesburg. The area is rich in nature and offers a host of activities for a lively outdoor adventure. Heidelberg is a must see neighbourhood for cyclists where all types of biking events can be enjoyed, such as club socials and regular cycle races around the town. The Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve situated just off the N3 between Vosloorus and Heidelberg, is a bike-friendly zone with an MTB cycle trail that provides a thrilling wilderness experience for cycling enthusiasts. The reserve is most popular amongst many mountain bikers for its quiet tar roads, serene trails, steep climbs and fast twisting descents, which all make for an ideal biking adventure.

5. Hogsback in the Eastern Cape

Hogsback is a small town tucked away from the city life in the mountainous Eastern Cape highlands. The town encapsulates the perfect cycling escape. It is best known for its breathtaking forests, valleys and mountain ranges and is loved most for its variety of cycle routes that cater to all bikers, from beginners to pros alike. Cycle Roots / Hogsback Adventures is the perfect biking spot for energetic riders of all ages. It offers everything from cool forest cruising for the whole family to challenging single track paths to blow your mind. Some of the most frequented and established trails are: the 8km Holy Cyprus Loop, the 14km Deodar Loop, the 22km Madonna Loop and the 15km Tor Doone cycle route. The trails all offer a different experience with a few magnificent views and waterways to stop by and catch your breath.

Hogsback mountains cycling route people biking

Whether its pedalling through the winelands and national parks, cycling through the majestic mountains or roughing it on rocky terrain, there's no doubt there’s a cycle-friendly neighbourhood for everyone in South Africa.

Get to know more about one of our featured neighbourhoods here:

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Explore neighbourhoods mentioned in this article

Paarl to Franschhoek
Serenity amongst the hills and vineyards
Surrounded by serenity and splendour, the area between Paarl and Franschhoek is simply breathtaking wherever you look. The locals are friendly, helpful people and this area attracts tourists from all over the world. There is an abundance of activities, from historical monuments to quaint farm markets, there's never a dull day here. Paarl offers residents a feeling of safety and security, and a supportive, intimate community. It's a great neighbourhood for families and young couples wanting to be away from busy city life.
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