BUFFELS DRIFT TRAIL PARK

Bicycling (South Africa) - - EDITOR’S LETTER - – Aaron Bor­rill

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

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