Right outside Mbombela in Mpumalanga is a valley where you can pitch your tent and explore your surroundings on a bike.
Some people take it very seriously, others do it to relax, and some do it to shed those unwanted kilograms before heading to Amanzimtoti in December. We’re talking about cycling of course. It seems like everybody’s doing it these days. Everywhere you see bike racks on the back of vehicles, meaning more and more people are taking their bikes when they go on a weekend getaway or holiday. But not all campsites are geared for cycling, especially if you want to pound the pedals for exercise. Your kids might be
able to knock about in the campsite, but if you and your significant other want to burn a few kilojoules, you usually have to head for the highway. Mankele Mountain Biking is known in cycling circles for its superb mountainbiking routes – it’s therefore the right spot if you want to prepare for the 94.7 cycle challenge and you want to camp. Although Mankele is an exercise area and playground for fitter cyclists and hosts races throughout the year, everybody is welcome to come ride here. You don’t have to be embarrassed because your bike costs less than your car, and you also don’t have to wear tight cycling shorts.
You can immediately see you’re in cycling country when you stop at Mankele’s reception office. Every vehicle in the parking area has a bike rack on the back, and there are cyclists as far as the eye can see. Young and old. Up and down. There are quite a few day visitors that come through to cycle, swim and braai. These visitors are welcome, provided you bring a bike. And that you ride it. Mankele lies in a valley and is surrounded by mountains covered in indigenous forest. The V-shaped site is big: it’s about 1 km long and 400 m wide. The site is divided by a lapa and pool area in the middle. To the right of the lapa are the cycling trails, with the campsite on the left-hand side. The campsite itself is divided by the second pool. The stands are unmarked and you camp where you wish. There’s no limit on the amount of people that can camp here; sometimes on race weekends there are as many as 600 participants at >