Timing it perfectly between the year's first proper grey and rainy winters days, the Trail Daze crew headed out towards Hoogekraal, just a few minutes drive outside Durbanville, to experience some tacky trails, green grass and a herd of curious cattle.
Forming part of the greater Tygerberg MTB trail network, this loop probably won't keep you busy all day, or even half a day, but what it lacks in distance, it more than makes up for on the fun scale. Likewise on the scenery scale, with luminous green rolling hills in every direction, and on a sunny day as we experienced it, blue skies and puffy clouds.
Celebrating women's month, this episode sees the first all ladies edition of Trail Daze, featuring three of Cape Town's (well one of them is imported from Switzerland, and the other from KZN) finest trail riders in the form of Joanna Dobinson, Rika Olivier and Simone Futter.
A quick pedal out from the parking area and you're surrounded by views stretching all the way to Table Mountain.
Hoogekraal remains a commercially active farm, so expect to encounter some curious locals during your ride. These guys have notoriously bad eye-sight, so don't be alarmed when they get startled and start running as soon as you get close.
Some high speed A-frames to indicate the start of the single track. The Hoogekraal loop consists of pretty much 99% pristine, single track, all courtesy of master trail builder, Bennet Nel.
A late afternoon winter ride at Hoogekraal is special – green landscape, tacky dirt and, if you’re lucky like we were, that winter kind of sunshine. Perfect golden afternoon fun.
Simone sending the jump line. This section was added more recently and features a high speed, flow trail with a few big jumps and a drop with an alternative chicken line.
Blue skies, green grass and some puffy white clouds along with a super fun trail = good times.
Ascending the switchbacks towards the top of Hoogekraal.
In stark contrast to the extremely dried out and dusty summertime conditions, this region transforms into a lush and colourful landscape during winter.
Tiny riders in a sea of green.
Muddy trails... something we haven't seen much of in the Western Cape for a very long time.
Dropping into the Cobra. A fast paced descent, filled with boulders, a few shaley sections and a lot of fun.
I like Hoogekraal for its rocks, jumps and flow. Though it's a short trail, there is a lot to play with and the many switchbacks make it a great workout. We scored a great day after heavy rains and were rewarded with super tacky trails. Bombing down the last flowy section left me smiling silly, long after arriving back at the car.
With the Cobra taking you all the way back down the hill, there's a punchy climb back up to the top of the trail.
From the top of Hoogekraal, you get panoramic views of pretty much the whole peninsula - from Table Mountain, all the way to Stellenbosch.
Hoogekraal is a trail riders treat! Perfectly groomed swooping berms, big drops, fun table tops and rocks made for a perfect balance of speed, exhilaration and heart pumping action! The fact that I got to ride it with two ladies who inspire me with their riding style and immense skill, made it an afternoon that will never be forgotten! #BigBikes&Baggies
Swooping back down towards the parking area on perfectly tacky trails as the last rays of the days start to fade away.
Cheers to all the female mountain bikers out there, having fun and shredding trails 'till the sun sets.
GPS: 33°47'01.2"S 18°34'53.4"E
Permit: R40 (part of greater Tygerberg MTB trail network)
All images by Ewald Sadie
This project is made possible by:
Riders : Joanna Dobinson | Rika Olivier | Simone Futter
Stay tuned to Bike Hub for more Trail Daze coming soon...