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Top 10 MTB Races in Southern Africa

By Edited Dec 20, 2013 0 0


There can be no better place to race then across some of Southern Africa's most beautiful landscapes! South Africa, Swaziland and Botswana boast some of the most senic and exciting MTB races on the planet. If you are looking for adventure racing or multi day mountain biking events then this part of the African continent offers a delightful buffet capable of satisfying a range of riders, from weekend-warrior to competitive cyclists.

Ride Africa

1. The Imana Wild Ride

South Africa, Eastern Cape. South Afica's original multi day moutain bike race. An amazing 200km four day ride along the breathtakingly beautiful indigenous Wild Coast. It's remotness makes it a ride so rich in experience and the comfort of hotel accommodation each night makes the race one of SA's most comfortable. Limited to 80 teams of 2 riders. Entry Fee not listed.


2. Sani2c

South Africa, Kwazulu-Natal. A 271km 3 day race with arguably some of the greatest single track you'll ever ride. A brilliantly organised event where you'll get to experience the hospitality of the wonderful people of Kwazulu-Natal. There are three seperate events starting on 3 consecutive days, The Trail Race, The Adventure Race and The Race. All meals are provided, and I can assure you, you WON'T go hungry! You'll spend your nights in the tent towns all set up for you by Farmer Glen and his team, its an experience I encourage every true mountain biker to try!


3. Wine to Whales

South Africa, Western Cape. A ride that will take you across some of the Western Capes most beautiful wine farms and mountain passes over the period of 3 days, covering distances of 70 -80km per day in teams of two. The event incorporates 3 seperate races starting individually a a few days apart,  W2W Adventure, W2W Ride and W2W Race. Entry fees are R8400 per team with includes two nights tented accommodation and 3 meals per day. A very well organised event with amazing scenery. 


4. The Great Makgadikgadi Pans Mountain Bike Adventure

Botswana and the great pans. What a wonderful new event on the Southern African Moutain Bike calendar. A 3 day 150km ride across the beautiful white salt pans, two nights at the Elephant Sands Lodge and two nights in tents on the unspoilt pans under Africa's most amazing stars. The entry fee is R5990-00 per rider and includes all meals and accommodation on the pans and two nights at Elephant Sands Lodge. Limited entries. Non-riders and riders friends are welcome to join the riders for the trip. This is a ride/race/adventure at the very Top of my 'To Do List" and I hope to participate in the 2014 event. 


5. Cape Epic

South Africa - Western Cape. Africa's toughest mountain bike ride, 1200 riders ( 600 teams of 2) 8 days, 800km and 15 000m of climbing! A true Epic. A race highly regarded by all who have managed to finish it, attended by teams from all over the world and a race incredibly well organised given the logistics and distance. A world class event. There are various accommodation options from tent town to superior upgrades depending on your budget. Entrance fees start at R45 000 per team of two riders. 


6. The Swazi Frontier

Swaziland -Mbabane. The first multi day mountain bike race in Swaziland. Riders pair up in teams of 2 for the 3 day 180km event. Incorporating some fine single track, a mixed bag of accommodation over the three nights and a lovely relaxed atmosphere. A special event, with a small field in a dear little corner of Africa. This is an invitation only event, but you can email them and request an invitation, details on their site. No entry fee listed.


7. Berg and Bush

South Africa - Kwazulu-Natal.  This event offers 3 different races, The 2 Day, The Great Trek and The Descent. Accommodation is provided in the tent village, one team per tent, according to the race you've selected. Entries range from R6200 for the 2 Day Race to R8000 for the 3 day races. A well organised event with some incredible single track. There are not too many 2 day races on the South African calendar so this is a great addition by the organisors for Mountain Bike enthusiasts to get a taste of multi day stage racing. Well done. 


8. joBerg2c

South Africa - Gauteng, Free State and Kwazulu-Natal. An amazing team event over 9 days covering 900km from the capital to the coast. What an incredible event! A true challenge and adventure, riding from the bright lights of South Africa's capital city to through the "Platteland" of the Orange Free State, the green valleys of Kwazulu-Natal before arriving at the warm Indian Ocean 9 days later. This race has recieved rave reviews from seasoned mountain bikers across the country. And only a miserly 10km of the whole route is on tar roads! Day three offers up a challenege to any moutain biker with a staggering 130km stage. There are three events within the JoBerg2c, the 9 Day, a 6 Day and a 3 Day event.


9. Imfolozi Moutain Bike Challenge

South Africa - Kwazulu-Natal. An awesome 55km race through KwaZulu-Natals premier Game Reserve. A fantastic opportunity to ride safely amongst the fauna and flora of this beautiful area. An great ride and well organised event. Families or riders can book into one of the various camps and make a weekend of it. 


10. Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek

South Africa -Western Cape/Karoo. A brilliant 7 day event for 250 teams of 2 riders, passing over two mountain ranges and some of the most breathtaking mountain passes in South Africa.   A truly spectacular ride for good riders. Riders are accommodated in tent villages with all meals supplied. You will ride some of the best single track you've ever ridden, pass through a world heritage site and test your thighs to the max before you reach the finish line. Entry fee is R18900 per team. 


For any moutain bike race contestestants should carry spares, a small first aid kit and a mobile phone. There are a few accessories I believe make multi day events far more comfortable and I encourage you to make sue that apart from your bike, helmet and shoes, pay attention to these. I have listed my favourite torch/headlamp, towel, heart rate monitor, sleeping bag, multi tool, first aid kit and sun/cycling glasses below.

1. A head lamp for walking around tent town at night. Try the Petzl E48 Zipka Plus Plus 4 LED Headlamp (Available on Amazon)

2. A good towel makes life easier, super absorbant and quick drying, nothing worse than a wet smelly towel on day 2! I like the Discovery Outfitters Ultra Fast dry Towel.

3. A good heart rate monitor is invaluable in monitoring your ride, ensuring you're riding within your premium range so you don't hit the wall before the finish line. It is also a great training tol especially if it has a GPS for planning and monitoring your training. I am a Polar fan but there are many great brands. I choose the RS800CX.

4. A warm sleeping bag is not negotiable! After 50 miles/80km in the saddle, you need a good nights rest and being warm is an essential contributor to that. Try the Mountain Hardware Range, they have a huge selection and a good following. I use a Lamina 0.

5. A cycling multi-tool. A critical tool that you'll be sure to use and will make running repairs easy or frustrating. Look at the Lezyne range.

6. A good pair of sunglasses will save you from the glare and debris that flicks up off the path. Oakley offer some great options. Try the Oakley Flak Jacket Range.  

7. A First Aid Kit is a must, accidents do happen and if its just to cover up cuts and scrapes, you'll need one of these. Any small portable kit should do. Try the Medique  Pocket First Aid Kit.          

Good luck, healthy training and safe riding. See you on the trail. Cleat-up!                                                                                                                                                                            





Petzl E48 PBY Zipka Plus 4-LED Headlamp, Black and Yellow
Amazon Price: $99.99 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 22, 2013)
Polar RS800CX N GPS black black
Amazon Price: $461.00 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 22, 2013)
Lezyne Stainless 20 Multi-Tool
Amazon Price: $49.99 Too low to display Buy Now
(price as of Sep 22, 2013)
Medique 40038 Pocket First Aid Kit, 38-Piece
Amazon Price: $9.36 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 22, 2013)


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