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 12 in our TREAD Top Trails of 2020.

Cradle Moon – No. 12

Location: Muldersdrift (north of Johannesburg)

Best suited for: Intermediate and Experienced riders

What we love about it:

Cradle Moon is a one of those country venues not far from the city that seems to have everything, including mountain biking. The large dam, the game, the restaurant deck on the dam wall, the beach (with real beach sand), the rondawel accommodation, the restaurants, the swimming pool… But that’s peripheral to the mountain bike trails, which are predominantly singletrack and which offer a range of gradient, surfaces and distances.

There are four main trails – Pink, Blue, Yellow and Red. You can ride them separately or link them for a longer, more challenging ride.

Signage: The signage is generally good. There are a few points on the Yellow Route that may be a bit confusing on your first ride there though (there is a shorter option on Yellow).

Grading: The trails aren’t graded. But as a general guide, the Pink is ideal for beginners, Blue and Yellow for Intermediate and the Red for experienced/stronger riders.

Trails: Pink (9km), Blue (9.29km with 171m ascent), Yellow (20.9km with 408m ascent) and Red (15.8km with 375m ascent). Pink has very little singletrack and is ideal for Beginners. Blue, Yellow and Red are mostly singletrack and offer stimulating rides for all levels of rider. Blue and Yellow offer the ideal combination ride for most reasonably fit, reasonably skilled riders, while Red is recommended only for strong, skilled riders

Off the bike: Game drive, boat cruise, paddling, swimming and fly fishing are all options at Cradle Moon. Drinks on the deck over the dam should be considered an activity too… Because it’s only a 30-minute drive from northern Johannesburg, most just arrive, ride and dash home, but consider staying overnight to experience the venue completely.

Summary: With the large dam and the interesting dam wall, as well as surrounding hills and variety of game, you won’t find a more scenic place to ride a mountain bike in Gauteng. The mountain bike trails are well-maintained and stimulating for all levels of rider.

Cost: R50 per person (includes the R30 daily conservation fee)

Security rating: 4.5/5

Website: https://www.cradlemoon.co.za

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.co.za  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