Kogelberg Mountain Biking Route

There are some fantastic rides in the Overberg area of the Western Cape in South Africa and we’ve just ridden one of them - the Palmiet River Mountain Bike Route in Kogelberg Nature Reserve. It’s just outside the great little seaside town of Kleinmond and within a few metres of entering the Reserve’s entrance gate you have a wonderful feeling of being in a remote wilderness.

Kogelberg is South Africa’s first registered biosphere reserve and a World Heritage Site. The biosphere reserve is huge, stretching from Gordon’s Bay in the west to the Bot River estuary in the east, and inland to Grabouw and the Groenland Mountains. At its wilderness core is an 18 000ha wild area set aside for the conservation of the incredible fynbos habitat found there. Hiking is encouraged and they have set up an enjoyable, somewhat technical, out and back mountain bike trail. In addition there are a number of very nice looking chalets for overnight visitors.

The track from the entrance gate to the reception offices is beautifully paved - a nice easy start to the ride.

The track from the entrance gate to the reception offices is beautifully paved - a nice easy start to the ride.

The mountain bike trail starts at the Cape Nature offices and heads up the stunningly beautiful Palmiet River Valley. We elected to start riding at the entrance gates which adds another 6km (3km each way) to the 22km ride and, initially you’re on a paved tweespoor track. After you’ve registered at the office and paid your R50.00 per rider fee (Note: cash only - no credit card facilities), the road becomes a mountain track, quite rocky in places, sandy in others but mostly fairly smooth gravel.

The place was deserted and we pretty much had it to ourselves. At one time we heard talking and laughing and it came from a large, inviting pool in the river where a small group of people were having much fun cooling off in the heat of the day. The ride is pretty much about the scenery and exquisite fynbos. At the turn around point there is another large pool and it struck us that it would make an awesome picnic spot. So, pack a few sarmies, a beverage or two and ride up in the morning, spend the middle part of the day lazing around the pool and then head back in the afternoon!

Sometimes you just have to stop and take it all in!

Sometimes you just have to stop and take it all in!

There have been some wash-aways on the route, which have been packed with rock - a little challenging for beginners.

There have been some wash-aways on the route, which have been packed with rock - a little challenging for beginners.

On this ride we gave our new Cycle Africa handle bar bags a proper workout for the first time. Big enough for a mini tripod, selfie stick and a few other odds and ends they were incredibly useful. Much better than having the items in your backpack, which you have to take off every time you need something. Check them out here.

Route Distance: 22 or 28km depending if you ride from the gate or the office.

Route conditions: Initially smooth paved track that turns to gravel after the office. There are a few steep climbs, some with loose gravel making traction a bit of a problem. Patches of rocks and a few rock packed gullies may be a challenge for the less experienced rider so some pushing could be needed..

Cape Nature offices at Kogelberg:

Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/DZZsZCy8YgUG6VydA

GPS: S -34° 19.380' E 18° 58.034'

Kgelberg entrance gate:

Google Maps: https://g.page/kogelberg-nature-reserve?share

GPS: S -34° 19.929' E 18° 59.268'  

Download the GPS track for the Palmiet River Mountain Bike Route here.

Check out the Strava Route here.


The Kogelberg  Mountain Bike Route in red. Map, courtesy of Tracks4Africa

The Kogelberg Mountain Bike Route in red. Map, courtesy of Tracks4Africa