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 is Trail #13 on our TREAD Top Trail countdown.
Tokai – No. 13
Location: Cape Town
Best suited for: Intermediate and Experienced riders
What we love about it: Tokai mountain bike trails is a great example of how mountain bikers, driven by passion, have worked tirelessly to create an incredible playground for themselves. Since the huge fire in 2014, Tokai MTB’s team of dedicated volunteers has been solely responsible for resurrecting and growing the trails network to world-class status.
Signage: With the support of sponsors, Tokai’s trails are well marked, with various local businesses and brands taking ‘ownership’ of different trails, as denoted by their branding on the signage.
Grading: IMBA grading sees trails that include Green, Blue and Black.
Trails: There are just two Green trails lower down to cater for newer riders. But the majority of the riding is on Blue and Black trails, ideal for intermediate and experienced riders in terms of skill level. Because the trails are on a mountain slope, most of the ascending is done on the main gravel road and jeep track and all of the stimulating descending is done on the various trails, which are almost entirely singletrack and single direction. The builders certainly know what they’re doing and have thoughtfully made a myriad of trails that are worth the climb.
A fairly recent addition is the Donkey Trail, which is a fast and flowing downhill trail that you reach by climbing up the concrete switchback trail, above the Silvermine Dam.
It’s effectively on the Noordhoek Peak loop and you turn right towards Elephant’s Eye and the drop into the trail that sweeps down a ravine to the Level 5 jeep track.
It took months of toil to clear out the alien trees and ‘rediscover’ and repurpose an old donkey trail.
For those that are more about the climb, the Tokai mast climb is legendary to the locals and offers 10.7km ascent at an average gradient of 7.7% (max 16%) to give a total ascent gain of 836 metres! The incredible views from the top are Instagram favourites…
Off the bike: Since the trails are in a national park, there’s not much off the bike activity other than a post-ride picnic. But there are loads of decent coffee shops and wine farms in the area where you can enjoy a post-ride meal or caffeine fix.
Summary: The gradient on the slopes of the mountain looking over False Bay, is generous and has resulted in the building and maintenance of a stimulating, well-planned trail network that offers steady climbs and exciting descents. A real Cape Town asset.
Cost: You need a San Parks Level 3 Activity Permit or a day permit of R32 (for adults) or R16 per child. An annual membership (or part thereof) to Tokai MTB is optional and costs R400, every cent of which goes to trail building and maintenance.
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 sean@treadmtb with your suggestions.
Here’s our TREAD Top 15 Trails countdown so far:
Number 13: Tokai, Cape Town