This part of the foothills of the Maluti Mountains was originally ‘no-man’s-land’ between the Cape and Natal Colonies before being occupied by Adam Kok and his Griqua tribe. The area has a network of the most amazing natural trails created by the local communities, their ponies, cattle and goats as they go about their daily lives. No matter what detours we take, all riders will be ‘blown you away’ by the riding and amazing scenery.
|TOUR GRADE||3: MODERATE
This ride is for regular mountain bikers, who have a degree of off road experience. Routes include some moderate to difficult technical sections.
|BEST TIME OF THE YEAR||All year round|
|ADDITIONAL INFO||This No Mans Land Highlands ride gives a great taste of riding in the Maluti Foothills and is an ideal basis for groups of friends to customise using our ‘Design Your Ride’ plan as this is a segment of the longer Detour2Rhodes route stretching from Baynesfield to Rhodes. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you and your friends wish to do so.|
SUMMARY OF ITINERARY
|1||Travel to Masakala & evening shebeen||10km||Little||Little||D|
|2||Knira River Trail||55km||850m||700m||BLD|
|3||Black Fountain Trail||48km||1000m||1100m||BLD|
|4||Mparane Ridge & travel back to DBN||26km||700m||625m||B|
Day 1: Friday – Travel to Masakala & Introductory Ride
Stats: 10 – 12 km, not much ascent, not much descent
An introductory ride in the Masakala dongas is always fun, so riders should plan to be at Masakala by 14h00. After a quick briefing, it’s time to play on the trails in the local township and surrounds for an hour or so before a quick shower and the main activity of the day.
Early in the evening (5-6pm) the group will make their way to a popular local Masakala shabeen for a few hours of sitting on crates drinking ‘Transkei dumpies’ and playing pool with the locals. Seriously good fun! It’s then back to the chalet for dinner & more beers before settling in for the night.
Day 2: Saturday – Knira River Trail
Stats: 4 ½ hrs ride time, 55km, 850m ascent, 700m decent
As there are usually a few slightly thick heads, it’s a leisurely breakfast and late riding start!
The trail from Masakala Village descends to the Boteti River and onto a dirt road, heading west. Along the road, the riders will get their first taste of local hospitality as vehicles hoot and their occupants shout greetings.
Once the route turns of the dirt road, it’s into a maze of walking and animal trails on the Knira River flood plains which link the local villages and their fields. After meandering along these for a long while, the riders will be met at an old trading post, Queens Mercy by the support crew.
Is a good spot for lunch and some of the more recreational riders may choose to jump into the ‘Mother Ship’, the rest will continue on more dirt road and rural trails towards the overnight stop.
Day 3: Sunday – Black Fountain Trail
Stats: 6 ½ hrs ride time, 48km, 1000m ascent, 1100m decent
The full trail starts at the Malekhalonyane chalets with some rough track joining a dirt road leading to Thaba Chita, but usually most (if not all) riders choose to transfer to this point and start the ride here. There is a short warm-up of rural walking trails before the route detours off on a rough trail to the west, crosses a river and leads up a steep climb before getting onto a network of pony and sleigh trails past Kobong Village leading up to Black Fountain which marks the start of a 20 km odd ride along a ridge line down to Tinana Mission.
The highlight of the day’s trail riding starts here and the Black Fountain ride will become the benchmark by which many riders will measure all other trails! The ride is by no means easy, but as one rider has said, it’s the most demanding, but most rewarding they have ever done.
After a relaxing lunch at Tinana and a swim in the river, the ‘Mother Ship’ is on hand to take weary riders back to base. Even though riders will be quite tired, around the braai fire, ‘war stories’ will roll off well-lubed tongues!
Day 4: Monday – Mparane Ridge
Stats: 4 hrs ride time, 26km, 700m ascent, 625 decent
From the chalets, the route is down to and along the dirt road past Gladstone Store on to Mparane Village. At the village, there is a short hike-a-bike to get onto the tip of Mparane Ridge which runs towards the main berg and the Lesotho border. Once up on the ridge, riders will appreciate the reward for having slogged a little to get there.
The ride along the ridge is one of our favourite rides as the views rival the natural flowing trails heading up towards the escarpment. The descent off the ridge is both challenging and exhilarating sure to up the enjoyment factor.
After lunch and packing up, there may be time to explore the Maria Zell Mission, its iconic cathedral and hydroelectric scheme before travelling back to Durban.
R 6500 (inc. VAT) per person sharing, there is a single supplement additional charge of 30% if you require a single room.
MINIMUM NUMBER OF RIDERS: 8
Travel to and from the trail is the responsibility of each rider. We do assist in linking riders on request. Detour Trails does offer a transfer service for the tour at a cost of R750 per rider and bicycle from Durban before and after back to Durban.