Kleinmond Cycle Club Red Route

We’ve often driven the R44 into the coastal town of Kleinmond in the Western Cape Overberg and noticed cyclists riding along the road verge and on the tracks and paths on the slopes of the Kogelberg Mountains to the north of the road. Keen to join in, we discovered that the Kleinmond Cycle Club has managed to secure access to this privately owned land and laid out a couple of routes for their members.

Kleinmond is a delightful little holiday town situated inside a UNESCO declared biosphere about 90km from Cape Town. Holidaymakers flock here in summer, enjoying its Blue Flag beaches, friendly locals, golf course, hiking trails and, of course, its mountain biking trails.

Looking back from the parking area at Rooisand Nature Reserve with the Kogelberg Mountains in the background

At a loose end over the festive season, we decided to give the 22km Red Route a try. A day permit was purchased at the SASOL garage in town (day, month and annual permits are available) and we parked and started the ride at the Kleinmond Cycle Club Bike Park.

What a delightful ride it was (so much so that we’ve now purchased an annual membership and the Kleinmond rides have become a regular thing for us). Initially the route winds its way around a local camping ground before taking you through the small suburb of Heuningkloof and then out along a single track on the side of the R44. A few km from town you turn left through a locked gate onto private property (you get the code to the combination lock with the permit) and along what used to be the main gravel road to Kleinmond, proteas, leucodendrons and everlasting flowers growing en masse along the sides of the trail.

The gumtree lined old main road to Kleinmond.

Glorious flowers on the route - in this case cape-snow everlastings.

Another gate and combination lock and then you’re onto the gravel road that takes you down to the Rooisand Nature Reserve on the edge of the Botrivier Estuary. This is the place where you’re very likely to come across the wild horses that the area is so well known for (apparently the only herd of wild horses in a wetland habitat in South Africa) and also some wonderful birdlife.

(Side note: For a different sort of experience the Rooisand bird hide, an easy 1km walk out along the boardwalk, offers great views of water birds and, with a little luck, the horses).

There are magnificent views across the Botrivier Estuary towards Fisherhaven and beyond.

There’s a low, tricky little style over the cable that demarcates the parking area, which needs to be navigated before picking up the easy single track skirting the edge of the estuary. The style is short with steep ramps so it does need a little momentum and transfer of a rider’s weight to negotiate it, but if it’s too daunting just push it. The whole route is superbly marked so following the trail is pretty easy, and after a few very picturesque km next to the waters edge you’ll cross the R44 again before heading through another gate and up onto high ground, the single track now taking you west and back towards town.

While all the single track on the route (and there’s quite a bit of it) is very easy to ride, there are a few rocky parts on this section that do need a little care. Nothing hectic - just a little rocky in places and if you’re unsure, push the bits that worry you. The fynbos along this section is sublime - cape-snow everlastings, coral reef everlastings, king proteas, cape edelweiss and many more species of fynbos provide a wonderful foreground to the incredible views over the estuary and coastal plain.

Low enough to step over if you are unsure about riding the style at the Rooisand parking area.

There’s quite a steep downhill before you find yourself once more on the tree-lined old main road to Kleinmond. If you still feel like a bit more riding there’s a loop heading off to the right, just before you go back through the gate onto the single track on the side of the R44. It’s part of the Black Route and adds about 4 or 5 km to the route.

The Red Route is a beautiful ride and well worth doing. If you feel like it, take a small flask of tea or coffee along and enjoy it at one of the many spots with spectacular views along the trail.

The views are spectacular but keep an eye on those rocky sections - dismount and push if you are not sure.

Route Distance: 22km for the Red Route and 27km with the added Black Route loop.

Route conditions: Very well signposted. Mostly easy single track with a few sections of two track gravel and a short section of wide gravel road. There are a few sandy sections that make life a little interesting and, in the wet winter months the gravel road to Rooisand Nature Reserve can be flooded but should be rideable. There are a number of beehives en route and while the bees have not bothered us, if you are allergic to bee stings make sure you have some antihistamines with you.

SASOL Garage

Google: https://goo.gl/maps/FizttYtDSUiLFE8S6

GPS: -34° 20.419’ S 19° 01.421’ E

Kleinmond Cycle Club

Website: https://kleinmondcycling.co.za

Bike Park Google: https://goo.gl/maps/of34wm2Ztr7VpaRv5

Bike Park GPS: -34° 20.353’ S 19° 02.115’ E

Download the GPS track for the Red Route here.

Download the GPS track for the Red Route with Black Route loop here.