Bergplaas MTB Route
The 7 Passes Tented Camp on the Mandalay Road makes for a perfect base if you’re keen to ride some of the Garden Route’s lesser-known routes. Although most of the fat-trackers in the region gravitate towards the well-known Knysna trails, the recently laid-out trails in Farleigh Forest and the endless forestry roads of Bergplaas make for a superb endurance session on the bike.
On your bike
With all the riding options along the 7 Passes Road, the best is probably to concentrate on just one option, so let’s make it Bergplaas. This section of Cape Pine plantation stretches along the Outeniqua ranges to the north of Karatara, Woodville and Hoekwil. (And if you don’t know where this is, think around 15km or so inland from Sedgefield and Wilderness).
Access to the plantations and the Bergplaas State Forest is blissfully easy from 7 Passes Camp. Saddle up and turn left out of the parking lot for a quick 1.3km crank to the main tarmac track, and nudge right along the shoulder from here for 500m. On your left. You will notice the Woodville General Dealer and a gravel road heading into the hills through farmland … this is where you’re going.
You’ll reach the Cape Pine signs after a further 1.5km; keep left into the indigenous forest and ignore the road to Woodville to your right. A few dips and climbs later you’ll be able to check out a kick-ass panorama over the farmlands below the forest as you ess-bend to the summit of your first big climb (6km). Forestry gates to the left and tight allow you to explore off the main drag, but keep an eye out for access control signs warning you of areas where tree-felling may be happening.
The second gate to your right takes you past the fire lookout point, with a nice little bomb along a dippy forest track which loops anti-clockwise to take you back to the main gravel stretch (10km). If you keep right, you’ll drop down towards the river past the original Bergplaas homestead, with literally hours of riding pleasure awaiting you across the valley … you go, buddy, and don’t miss the Diek’s Brew Blonde at Timberlake!