DISCOVER the beauty of the Bottelary region near Stellenbosch from October 1 – 3, when the Bottelary Hills Renosterveld Conservancy (BHRC) is hosting its first MTB & Eco-weekend. Bike, hike, sip and taste your way through this off-the-beaten track destination in the heart of the Cape Winelands.
MOUNTAIN BIKE RIDES
Mountain bikers can pick from eight self-guided rides at different starting points varying in distance and difficulty levels. The specially marked routes will be open on Saturday, October 2 and range from 18km to 45km across rolling hillsides, vineyard trails and single tracks through the indigenous Renosterveld. One of the new single tracks has been developed by multiple world triathlon champion Conrad Stoltz. Park and ride starting points as well as exciting trail extensions and a newly developed bike park are part of the line-up. Guided rides led by the regular marshals will also be available.
This event celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Bottelary Hills MTB Trails and the continued conservation work done by the conservancy. Entries will be limited to between 50 and 100 riders per venue in adherence to current Covid protocols. Entry fees are from R230 – R250 and include a bottle of wine and a commemorative keyring. Fun lucky draw prizes are up for grabs. Limited entries are available, so book early to avoid disappointment. Enter here.
Take note the MTB trails are only open to event entrants on Saturday, October 2 and will run on the normal annual and day permit system from Sunday, October 3.
WINE AND DINE
For those just wanting to relax and enjoy the rural magic of the Bottelary Hills, each starting venue has planned specific activities, including live entertainment, fun outdoor experiences and fantastic food and wine offerings. Check the website to see what Bellevue, Devonvale, Fort Simon, Hazendal, Jordan, Karibib, Neethlingshof and Zevenwacht are planning on the day. From breakfast to lunch, there will be something for every taste and budget. Pizzas, platters, picnics are all part of the menu, and pop-up food trucks, mobile coffee bars, a traditional braai and exotic Russian tea ceremonies also form part of the programme. Pre-bookings are advised.
Runners will have special access to the new 6.2km Polkadraai MTB loop normally restricted to cyclists on the Friday evening by entering the Smokkel Run from Karabib. Entries are limited to 100 runners at R220. This is a self-timed race and all finishers receive a bottle of either Smokkelman Red or White. The race starts at 6.30pm at the Somm & Co Karibib Tasting Room with food and wine available for supporters and after the race. Headlamps are mandatory.
Hikers can explore the 5.6km hiking trail on Mooiplaas Wine Estate and Private Nature Reserve situated in the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom with breathtaking 360-degree views of Table Mountain, the Cape Peninsula, Stellenbosch, Paarl, Table Bay and False Bay. Limited spots are available for Sunday, October 3 from 8.30am to 1pm at R200, which includes a guided hike, wine tasting and a bottle of Mooiplaas wine. Linger a little longer in the beautiful garden and enjoy a cheese platter for two (R160) or a gourmet picnic for two (R385).
GAME DRIVE AND WINE TASTING
Sit back and relax on a two-hour game drive through the 220 hectares of the Villiera Wildlife Sanctuary followed by an informal wine tasting of a selection of six Cap Classique, white wine and red wines. The sanctuary includes 12 dams plus marsh areas, which attract a huge variety of birdlife. Villiera staff grows indigenous trees are grown in old milk containers and plastic water bottles, which the farm buys from them after a year to plant throughout the reserve. Thousands of indigenous trees have also been donated by the Cape Garden Centre. To date, well over 100 000 trees have been planted. A number of mammals have been introduced in the wildlife sanctuary including springbuck, kudu, giraffe, bontebok, eland, gemsbok, black wildebeest, bush pig, Burchell’s zebra, common duiker, steenbuck, waterbuck and grysbok. Game drives can be booked on Sunday, October 3 for 9am to 11am (tasting will be afterwards) or 1pm to 3pm (tasting will be before the drive at 12pm). The rates are R260 for adults and R130 for children under the age of 15 with a maximum of six people per vehicle. Bookings via [email protected].
The Bottelary Hills Renosterveld Conservancy (BHRC) was registered as a non-profit organisation in 2002 and forms part of the UNESCO-listed Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve. The area is valued for its high conservation status, especially for its exceptional diversity and the presence of the critically endangered Swartland Granite Renosterveld in the area. The area is easily accessible to day and weekend visitors and offers a variety of activities that cater for families, nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, food and wine connoisseurs. The ever-evolving network of MTB trails remains a key attraction.
Follow social media platforms @bottelary_hills_conservancy on Instagram and @BottelaryHillsConservancyMTN for updates on the local hospitality offered by each venue. Bookings and more information here, here and here.