Ongegund is the gateway to a network of Mountain Bike Trails that traverse over a number of vineyards and plantations. This hidden valley is where my cape mountain biking all started and it has for some reason been my nemesis.
From buckling my tire, going over my handle-bars, running out of water, sheering off my saddle and being chased by massive dogs, this has been a unique adrenalin rush. Every ride here has brought me a new challenge so brace yourself. You may have to ride 14 km home standing up….
There are a number of trails from a 4km (green) to a 30 km (black). The green trail is pretty much a meander over some jeep track and gravel roads through vineyards, around dams and past horse paddocks. Remember to give horse riders the right of way and enjoy this real country feel.
The red and black trails are where I ply my hobby. With distances a lot longer than Helderberg Farm you can work your endurance in this sugar bowl. Steep gravel roads over fields of cabernet and merlot will leave farmworkers in awe as you summit hill after hill at the beginning of the course.
Cycle your way through the winding gum and pine plantations with relaxed switchbacks, the perfect place for the single track beginner. The feel of this ride takes you far away from the mother city.
As you ride up towards the ancient Hottentots Holland mountain range you may be passed by a steam train or a rider on horseback. “Han Se Kop” is the peak far end of this ride. You may notice him when coming into land at Cape Town International or staring out from the slopes of Cape Town. Enjoy the cooling shadow of this giant as you make your way back down the valley.
The nature of this ride has been plentiful. The Arum Lillies shine in high water tables. Steenbok and mongoose shy their way around the fynbos. The Russian Steppe Buzzard and African Harrier Hawk soar above in peace. You will most definitely be greeted by a plethora of Pea Fowl and this time of year marvel at their iridescent coats. I have spotted Fork Tailed Drongos, Swee waxbills and Cape Francolin in the veld. I still have feelings of nostalgia when I hear the Francolin’s country call.
This is a graceful adventure has unfortunately been marred by the management of Ongugund who see the trail upkeep as a hindrance. Wines to Whales maintain the trail upkeep. At R40 this trail is cheaper than Helderberg but has become overgrown by vegetation as riders have turned away. Since this post was written it has been closed. Hopefully. we can rise up to this challenge and bring back what is a gem in shadows of politics as there is some talk of it opening up again.