BUFFELS DRIFT TRAIL PARK
Located just outside Pretoria, Buffelsdrift Trail Park is part of the Buffelsdrift Conservancy, which facilitates the preservation of the region’s indigenous terrain, flora and fauna. Wild animals roam these parts freely, and the chances of spotting kudu, impala, zebra or even warthog are not just possible but highly probable. The natural topography lends itself to some pretty interesting (read: intense) riding, owing to its unique geographical markers: the entire trail network falls within an old volcanic crater, home to a large number of wetlands, rocky ridges and riverbanks.
The network comprises around five routes, each offering varying degrees of difficulty. The 7km Turtle Trail is for beginners and children, while the 24km Kudu Trail offers a little of everything. For those with greater fitness and more advanced skill-sets, there’s the short-but-technical 20km Impala Trail, the 30km Zebra Trail, and the 50km Buffel Trail. As some of the trails intersect with each other, you can mix and match to your preference.
From super-fast and flowing singletrack to rocky descents and short, punchy climbs, you’ll encounter a superb mix of riding. While the total elevation gain (which varies from 270m to 720m) may not seem too hectic, the sheer nature of the terrain coupled with the thinner air means you’re likely to bust a lung or two if you’re going for a Strava segment. The guys at Buffelsdrift have clearly marked out all the Strava hotspots along the route, so there’s no guesswork as to where a segment starts or ends. That said, be careful if you’re gunning a particular segment, as there are many blind corners, rises and descents on these trails. Despite the asphyxiating effect of the thin air, life at 1 169m above sea level truly is spectacular. From the smell of the air, and the colour of the soil, to the harshness of the surrounding environment – it’s unsullied and raw.
DISTANCE: 7KM, 20KM, 24KM, 30KM, 50KM TERRAIN: FLOWING AND TECHNICAL RATING: BEGINNER TO INTERMEDIATE