Whether it’s because of the location (about an hour from Cape Town CBD), or the summer temperatures, Welvanpas doesn’t get the credit it deserves. One thing’s for sure though: the trails are in the same league as (if not better than) anything else in the Western Cape.
Each route (blue, yellow, black and white) starts at the Welvanpas farm, located between the beautiful Hawekwa and Groenberg mountain ranges, near Wellington. The place is known for its heat, and can easily hit figures in the upper 40s (that’s degrees Celcius) in the summer months. While the black route is more sheltered than the equally challenging white, the humidity in the forested sections is palpable.
The notorious Aap d’Huez switchback climb and its 9% average gradient confronts riders almost immediately. Though it’s not a particularly difficult climb, the switchbacks (especially near the top) are tight to negotiate. There are 21 of them, and each one poses a unique challenge, whether by roots, ruts or steep kickers.
The black route comprises roughly 27km, with 1200m of vertical gain. While it never feels like tough work riding, you do have to earn your descent; but the reward is superb.
The Full Monty is that reward. This singletrack descent is fast and flowing, but also pretty tricky in places – washed out, and rutted by brake marks.
There’s more technical riding per kilometre at Welvanpas than on any other trail in the Western Cape. Fact. The terrain here is some of the most testing you’ll find anywhere in the world, and it’s the perfect place to benchmark not only your fitness and skills, but your bike’s resilience, too. It is to mountain biking what the Nűrburgring is to motorsport, a test bed to gauge just how fast, fit and agile you are as a rider. –
DISTANCE: 15KM - 30KM TERRAIN: TECHNICAL AND FAST RATING: INTERMEDIATE