About Karkloof MTB Trails

Where: Karkloof area, near Howick
Level: easy to extremely difficult
Type of route: varied
Best: any time of year

Regarded in the MTB world as THE best trail riding destination in the country, and the site of the annual Sappi Karkloof 60km Classic, Karkloof is a flat-topped kloof that includes the Karkloof Falls between Curry's Post and Rietvlei, on the Midlands Meander. This network of trails wind through Sappie's plantations.

All routes begin and end at Karkloof Country Club, graded according to International Mountain Biking Association trail-grading standards. Facilities include hot showers and safe parking, a pub and toilets.

There are four trails – 10 km, 20 km, 30 km and an XCO trail, but once you become familiar with the trails you can open up and explore the outback trails to create longer and even more enjoyable routes. The outback trails are as they sound – irregularly maintained and unmarked – but for avid bikers, they are what makes Karkloof exhilarating.

10 km white trail – this is an easy trail for beginners combining forestry roads with the odd jump and berm, and gentle climb; avoid the single-track signs if this is your first time, but if this is 'old hat' then add the Boomslang and Heaven trails (any further single-track options could prove too technical).

20 km green, blue and diamond trail – graded as mostly easy with some technical bits, so it's a lot more challenging than the 10 km trail – heading down to the Karkloof Falls. It includes the Boomslang single-track trail and the River Riviere. Expect flowing trails through forest and grassland and the odd gnarly rock garden, wooden bridge, switchback and berm. Make sure to add Heaven to the mix.

30 km mostly blue – the trail is mostly single-track and whilst graded as moderate includes the best trails at Karkloof – Benno Boy, Bubble and Skweek, Zille, Fawlty Towers (technical sections), Mattison's, Sam's Slide, Bruisier's Burn, Bernies Bundle and the Carnival, Back of Beyond, Puff Adder, No Balls and Flatters. You can add the 20 km route to extend your ride.

XCO is black diamond, for advanced riders and is very difficult. The 6 km trail is 95% single-track that includes Pul Pit, Revolver, Tripple x (a climb to burst your lungs), the technical rock gardens and wooden bridge of Panga, followed by Subway that drops into a quarry with a berm wall ride before a series of steep switch-backs, aptly known as Supa Tube, followed by Digits Dive, Salmon's Sidewalk and the Auto Bahn finish.

No helmet – no ride. Leave No Trace.

Need to Know

WhereKarkloof Country Club, Cramond, Karkloof, Natal Midlands

WhenDaylight hours.

How muchPrices on request.

TelephoneNot supplied.

OvernightStay nearby in Cramond, in KwaZulu Natal

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