We’re fortunate to have such a variety of mountain bike trails in South Africa. From inner-city mountain bike parks to remote wilderness trails, from free-to-ride trails on public land to privately owned mountain biking gems. Since we launched TREAD in 2009, our crew has ridden most of South Africa’s mountain bike trails. Here’s a look at our Number 11 in our TREAD Top Trails of 2020.
Buffelsdrift – No. 11
Location: Buffelsdrift Conservancy (north of Pretoria)
Best suited for: Beginner, Intermediate and Experienced riders
What we love about it:
Dry and dusty in winter, muddy at times in summer, always stimulating and always well maintained with a variety of trails to suit all fitness and skill levels. That’s Buffelsdrift in a nutshell. When you drive to Buffelsdrift, not too far from the gate, you head over a small ridge and all you can see in the distance in front of you is scrubby bushveld. You actually feel like you have crossed the border between chaotic city life and serene bushveld bliss. This feeling is extended when you ride there – it’s peaceful and playful. There aren’t any huge climbs, but the available gradient is very well utilised by the trailbuilders and sufficient to test you on the way up and excite you on the way down, albeit with some pedalling from time to time on the descents. The Supertubes descent, a sweet slice of 2.5km twisty singletrack descent has recently been refurbished to be less sketchy and more flowy. There’s also some great riverside singletrack that’s more fun the faster you go.
Signage: The signage is excellent. With the sharing of sections by different trails, directions can become confusing, but the Buffelsdrift team has made sure there’s no doubt as to which direction to go with bold, visible signage.
Grading: As with many South African trails parks, the trails aren’t graded according to IMBA’s skill level grading system. Buffelsdrift is listed on Trailforks though, where it’s trails are all either marked Green or Blue, with only the Enduro lines classified as Black.
Trails: There are a total of 10 trails as follows:
Turtle: 7km – Beginners
Rabbit: 14km – Beginners
Impala: 17km – Beginner and Intermediate
Kudu: 24km – Intermediate
Zebra: 30km – Intermediate and Advanced
Short Nguni: 31km – Beginner and Intermediate
Nguni: 50km – Intermediate
Buffel: 50km – Advanced
Buffuni: 85km – Advanced
Enduro: Six downhill runs – Advanced
Off the bike: There’s a small bicycle workshop for those needing repairs done and a restaurant as well as a large safe parking area. The ablutions include hot showers. The restaurant food is good and always worth lingering longer for…
Summary: Buffelsdrift is a world-class mountain bike trails park just north of Pretoria that offers stimulating trails for every level of rider, both in terms of fitness and skill. It’s more than a trails park though, it’s a wonderful bushveld escape with your bike.
Cost: R60 per adult; R50 12-18 years and pensioners; R30 Kids under 12. There are various annual membership packages for locals.
Security rating: 4/5
Note: The TREAD TOP TRAILS 2020 feature is subjective. If you feel we are missing great trails from our top 15, please email Sean Badenhorst on email@example.com with your suggestions.
Here’s our TREAD Top 15 Trails countdown so far:
Number 14 The Spruit, Randburg/Sandton, Gauteng http://www.treadmtb.co.za/tread-top-trails-2020-2/
Number 13: Tokai, Cape Town http://www.treadmtb.co.za/tread-top-trails-2020-3/
Number 12: Cradle Moon, Johannesburg http://www.treadmtb.co.za/tread-top-trails-2020-number-12/