Wrapping up our trip to KZN, the Trail Daze crew headed for Karkloof - an amazing trail network with immense flow and maximum fun factor, sculpted by master trail builder Hylton Turvey.
A short drive North from Howick, my usual base when visiting KZN, you find yourself in the centre of a 60km odd trail network, with a big variety of trails to choose from. Rene's Rumble, Jewitt's Jive and Bat Outta Hell, to name a few, will all leave you with that silly grin on your face and the feeling that you could also one day maybe definitely race as a pro. Such is the speed and flow of these trails.
As to be expected, a trail network over such a vast area will feature a wide array of terrain. From the tight, loamy forests of Rene's Rumble, to the exposed, golden grasslands of Bat Outta Hell, there is something for everyone. And with a total descend of around 1275 meters, you'll find yourself going back up for one more lap, more often than you'd think.
Bikes washed, and ready to leave cassa Millar en route to Karkloof.
With scenery like this, the 15km drive from Howick flies by, and you almost wish it was further away.
Ah man, I don't really know if I can ever express what I feel when I ride here. Maybe a bewildered happiness that it's on my back door? The Renes Rumble descent has to be one of the most sensational sets of continuous single track in the country. It's got the perfect gradient to make you feel like a super-hero, and it's packed with delicious little treats like popper jumps, fat berms, moon shaped bridges, rock features and high speed motorways of pine needles threaded between green trees.
Still one of my favourite trail networks that I've had the pleasure of riding, and its right in my backyard! Long flowing trails with berms that make you feel like you're in a super tube. What a great day out with friends riding until the sunset over the midlands.
Countless bobsled-like berms, super grippy loam and endless flow.
While the rocky sections of these trail are short and not too burly, its enough to keep you on your toes, and will catch you out if you to don't respect them.
The trails here hold a special place in my heart and have always been brilliant thanks to Hylton Turvey whose vision of MTB translates into flowy technical trails. The OutBack trails are located a bit further away from the Karkloof Country Club than the rest of the trail network and give those willing to make the journey some brilliant varied single track, with some phenomenal descending. The three main trails include the legendary Bat Outta Hell, Rene's Rumble & Jewitt's Jive.
Perfect late afternoon golden light. #lightbro
Heading down the last stretch of Rene's Rumble, we had to be quick as the light was fading fast and we still had to make it to the top of Bat Outta Hell for the last rays of the day.
*Special permission was granted for this story to bring our vehicle on to Sappi land. This is not the status quo, private vehicles are not allowed on Sappi land. The access road up to Bat Outta Hell will be open to riders shortly, please visit the Karkloof MTB Club Facebook page for up dates on trail closures and openings.
Surreal golden fields, literally as far as the eye can see, waited for us at the trail head. With the sun seemingly setting down below in the forest, the exposed elevation rendered the perfect golden hour setting for us to wrap up the day.
Black-jacks doing their thing.
3 tiny riders in a sea of rolling hills and golden light to end off an epic weekend of riding.
Bat Outta Hell has to be on every riders bucket list, and I have to hand it to our friend Hylton Turvey for crafting his vision from this hillside. Nowhere else have I ever felt like I'm riding full pace through a field of golden butter with such a view in front of me. The only problem with Bat Outta Hell, is that as soon as it's finished, you want to ride it again...and again.
Tim embracing his inner phone-tographer and paying tribute to man's finest invention as the last rays disappear.
Thanks for awesome times Karkloof. Now let's get some pizza.
GPS: 29°22'58.1"S 30°15'49.7"E
Permit: R40 at the Karkloof Country Club
All images by Ewald Sadie
This project is made possible by:
Riders : Kath Fourie | Mark Millar | Tim Bentley
Stay tuned to Bike Hub for more Trail Daze coming soon...