Cape Town - What better way to explore the remoteness of the Karoo than from your mountain bike? If you're an adrenaline junkie with a love for the wide open spaces of the Karoo, we've got just the thing for you...
The inaugural two-day Roof de Karoo Mountain Bike Traverse will be happening on 24 and 25 March this year, starting at a picnic site in the Mountain Zebra National Park (MZNP) outside Cradock and ending the following day at the historical Winterhoek homestead at Camdeboo National Park (CNP), which surrounds the town of Graaff-Reinet.
The unique traverse will give adventurers the opportunity to ride through sections of the two national parks, one of which has big game like buffalo and lion roaming about!
The 175km route traverses parts of the 268 000 hectares of the newly proclaimed Mountain Zebra-Camdeboo Protected Environment (MZCPE), established to protect the biodiversity of the land which lies between the two South African National Parks (SANParks) locations.
SEE MAP: Mountain Zebra-Camdeboo National Parks gets NEW protection corridor
The purpose of the traverse is multi-fold: to celebrate the first anniversary of the declaration of the protected environment, open up the area to those who may otherwise never get the opportunity so they may enjoy its uniqueness and remoteness and create jobs in the form of trail maintenance and in the tourism sector.
The race’s name, the Roof de Karoo, stems from the fact that participants will be riding mostly along the roof of mountains of the Karoo, from where, on a clear day, one can see into the distance for kilometres far.
Legend has it that is was in these mountains where South African Boer war spies located themselves to see the enemy approaching from far away.
What can MTBikers expect?
Chairperson of the MZCPE’s Landowners Association and avid mountain biker, Ed Kingwill, says, “Participating teams of two will depart from the MZNP camp site early on the Friday morning in the crisp Karoo air and end under the shadow of the imposing 2 430m high Nardou mountain peak.
"After 85 kilometres and an elevation gain of 1 260m, the cyclists will be able to relax under the shade of the poplar trees and cool off in the stream at the source of the Great Fish River.”
Day Two will start with a climb and descent over Nardou on an old ox-wagon track.
Cyclists are rewarded with a downhill gradient criss-crossing the Sundays River through private game farms, finishing at the Winterhoek homestead about 90km later in view of the Valley of Desolation.
No less than 20 different properties will be crossed over the two days.
What to enter? You better act fast
Only 50 team slots are available for this very special event.
A team entry fee of R4 200 includes three nights of tented accommodation and all meals - breakfast, supper, water and feeding stations along the route.
With stunning views to marvel at while on the bike, an opportunity to camp out under the Karoo’s star-studded skies and experience true Karoo hospitality and cuisine prepared by the local farmers, this event is set to become as special as the area where it takes place.
You can enter here.
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