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 Number 9 in our TREAD Top Trails of 2020.
Holla Trails – No. 9
Location: Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal
Best suited for: Beginner, Intermediate and Experienced riders
What we love about it: There are two things that really stand out for us at Holla Trails, variety and vibe. With a network of over 300km of marked, maintained trails, Holla is the largest mountain bike trails park in South Africa and one of the biggest in the world. It would be easier to just have three or four routes, which would be just as appreciated, but no, the Holla crew has created 10 routes! Some routes head southwest from the trailhead, while the rest head west, mostly in out-and-back loops, all of them stimulating. With the hilly terrain, you can rack up some decent climbing and distance if you’re into that kind of riding. Although the longest route, the Black, is 85km long, it’s a really challenging 85 that will leave you spent, no matter what your condition. But the most popular routes are shorter and offer a combination of factors that make you want to holla (that’s where the name came from). They use the more formal sugar cane farm roads to gain elevation and then bring you back down via superbly crafted, flowy singletrack descents through lush coastal vegetation ravines or river banks.
The vibe? We have ridden most bike parks in South Africa and have never sensed the same level of general pre-ride energy and post-ride chatter as we have at Holla. It’s really quite special.
Signage: The signage is generally good. We like how they change the signage slightly so that you know you’re on your way back on your chosen route; and they include distance-to-finish kilometres on almost every sign! With that vast trail network you can imagine how many signs there are, so don’t be too upset if one is ‘missing’. It’s likely been knocked over by a sugar cane vehicle as the trails are all mostly on working sugar cane farms. They have all the routes in Garmin files that you can download from their website.
Grading: As with many South African trails parks, the trails aren’t graded according to IMBA’s skill level grading system. Holla Trails is listed on Trailforks though, where it’s trails are rate mostly Blue and Green.
There are a total of 10 trails as follows:
Silver Route: 14km
Blue Route: 16km
Purple Route: 26km
Pink Route: 29km
Red Route: 28km
Maroon Route: 26km
Yellow Route: 49km
Gold Route: 49km
Black Route: 85km
Off the bike: There’s a very established trailhead which sells good coffee and light meals and snacks. Over the years, the trailhead venue, known as Sugar Rush Park, has developed into a destination for families with loads of kids’ indoor and outdoor activities, a full restaurant and a small bike shop too.
Summary: Holla Trails is one of the original South African mountain bike trails parks. With driven staff, Holla Trails has always shown resourcefulness and ambition that’s resulted in a vast network of reliably stimulating trails for all levels of mountain biker.
Cost: R75 per adult; R45 for youth (12-18 years) and pensioners; free for under-12s and over-70s.
Security rating: 4/5
Website: Holla Trails
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions.
Here’s our TREAD Top 15 Trails countdown so far:
Number 15 Big Red Barn, Midrand, Gauteng
Number 14 The Spruit, Randburg/Sandton, Gauteng
Number 13: Tokai, Cape Town, Western Cape
Number 12: Cradle Moon, Johannesburg, Gauteng
Number 11: Buffelsdrift, Pretoria, Gauteng
Number 10: Northern Farm, Johannesburg, Gauteng