I'd never heard of the Kanna-kan-kann River and I suspect few have. In the late 1600s, Willem ten Rhyne, a Dutch doctor and botanist employed by the Dutch East India Company, referred to it as "sine fine flumen" and the Hessequa Khoi-khoi people referred to it as the Kamma-kan Kamma meaning endless water or endless river. Today we know it as the Riviersonderend, the Sonderend Rivier or the Riviersonderend River depending on who is speaking to whom. Its headwaters are in the Hottentots Holland Mountains and, on its way to its confluence with the Breede River, passes a rather magnificent range of mountains that take their name from this ancient river - the Riviersonderend Mountains. Nestled in the folds of their southern slopes are the tiny hamlets of Greyton and Genadendal.
And there are mountain biking trails in them thar hills...
We arrived in Greyton late one afternoon, travelling from the Barrydale area where we were doing a photographic shoot, and checked in at the lovely, cool Lady Grace. It's owned and managed by one Antonio Brandi, an elegant gentleman who went out of his way to ensure that not only were we comfortable and happy but that the ebikes were as well. Nice one Antonio! Alas, there was not much light left in the day so managed just one very pleasant, largely off road route - the 18Km Bench to Bench ride set out by Greyton Genadendal Mtb.
The route takes you out of town on the R406 to the east, and after crossing the road bridge over the Gobos River you turn right onto some well laid out single track - nothing crazy - nice and easy flowing. Soon you turn north and the climb begins to the first of the Benches and this is where things get a bit more technical. The track (a narrow "road") becomes very steep and quite rough in places. It's a climb of note, made easier by the eBike but still, care is needed on the loose rocks. A short detour at the top takes you to the bench overlooking Greyton and the mountains to the west - all rather gorgeous.
The winding single track down the other side and back to the R406 is well built and flowing, making for some big smiles. Then it was through town and up the other side of the Gobos River valley to the next bench, the climbing much easier this time. Then a flowing, wild dash back to town but, again, care needs to be taken on the loose, gravelly surfaces of the downhill single track. It's lovely - just take care.
All in all a lovely ride back to town and a few beers and dinner. We found that 1854 Restaurant was reasonably priced with pretty good fare. Choose your restaurant carefully. We saw some prices in town that would make your eyes water.
Click here to see more of our mountain biking photographs.
Route Distance: 18km round trip.
Route conditions: All good. This one is a little technical in places and there are 2 shortish steep bits - a few hundred metres or so - that will get the blood rushing around, even if you are on an eBike. You do need to purchase a permit to ride these marked trails. You can get them at Vanilla Cafe . Click here for more info.
The Lady Grace: S34° 03.022' E19° 36.518'
Vanilla Cafe: S34° 03.082' E19° 36.444'
1854 Restaurant: S32° 03.940' E19° 07.683'
The First Bench: S34° 02.914' E19° 37.404'
The Second Bench: S34° 02.352' E19° 35.892'