Adventure and Travel

Trail Daze 2.0 | Banhoek Conservancy

Words and Images by Ewald Sadie / Shift Media

· By Bike Hub Features · 11 comments

Trail Daze 2.0
ep 1

BANHOEK CONSERVANCY

October 2017 saw the last episode of Trail Daze 1.0 go live. It was a 3 year long passion project showcasing some of the best mountain bike trails South Africa has to offer. We travelled throughout the country in search of sublime singletrack, epic views and in one case even road from Wilderness to Knysna along the beach. Part of the project was also to shine a light on the countless hours of physical labour and vision by trail builders and riders alike. A process that is often taken for granted, but one that lies at the core of our sport. So when I was approached by Bike Hub to reboot the series, it was an obvious and definite YES. A chance to show what’s been brewing for the last 6 odd years…

We kick things off by visiting a trail network that hasn’t been featured previously. Well not completely that is. The Banhoek Conservancy stretches over a vast area, from Bartinney Wines to Boschendal (previously featured on Trail Daze) with a multitude of access points, kilometres of trail and countless ways of combining them. These access points all have safe and secure parking areas and sell day permits, but if you’re fortunate enough to have the regional winelands membership, its all included and you can just show up and ride. We accessed the trail network via Old Bethlehem farm, located at Kylemore.

With multiple Trailseeker events having made use of these trails for the past few years, and most recently the Cape Epic as well, the trails are clearly suited for marathon riders. But this shouldn’t deter those looking for something a little more technical and fun. If you ad speed to any trail, things get interesting very quickly, and with the addition of some jumps and transferable berms, a 140-160mm travel trail bike will feel right at home on the single track here. The views certainly are above average also, with the majestic Hottentots-Holland mountain peaks surrounding you on the one side and the iconic Simonsberg across the valley. More than 1300 different species of fynbos can be found in this area, and with some of them in bloom during summer, spring and autumn, you’re bound to have a splash of colour lining the trails whenever you decide to go. All this is why we decided to start our new journey here… enjoy.

Beautiful morning light at Banhoek.

Banhoek is one of those places that no matter your skill level or riding interest, you will always have a good ride when you go there. You can just see the attention to detail and love that is put into the trails and trial maintenance by the team there. It also just has the most amazing backdrop with the mountains surrounding you. It’s a shortish loop but never fails to deliver a great ride and I always leave there with the biggest smile on my face.

Frankie du Toit

For me there are 3 things that stand out. Firstly the epic location. The backdrop of those mountains are just super majestic, and the way the sun rises over them in the mornings is just beautiful. Then the climbs are super easy, not just on an E-bike but on a normal bike as well. The switchbacks are extremely well maintained, very smooth to climb, which means you can do a couple of laps in one ride and not be completely wrecked. Then lastly the trails caters for riders of all skill levels. There are jumps and drop-offs for advanced riders as well as really rollable features for people to progress on. The work that has gone into building these trails and the ongoing maintenance is just insane.

Dayle Holmes

Directions to Bethlehem Farm, Stellenbosch

https://goo.gl/maps/neCd73zEMRLvf5As8

Daily permits – R60 or free access with the Winelands Regional pass

Be sure to keep an eye out for the next episode, where we bring you a visual essay from another awesome South African trail.

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Comments

Headshot

May 2, 2023, 10:38 AM

Nice - need to get out there this winter.
ewaldsadie

May 2, 2023, 11:06 AM

31 minutes ago, Headshot said:

Nice - need to get out there this winter.

You won't regret it, it checks a lot of boxes 👌

Robbie Stewart

May 2, 2023, 4:16 PM

Welcome back to the Trail Daze series. I really enjoyed version 1.0, and it\'s awesome to see it back again for more fantastic images and great write-ups of the amazing trails on offer around these parts. And to start with Bethlehem farm is a omen of good things to come.
ewaldsadie

May 3, 2023, 9:09 AM

16 hours ago, Robbie Stewart said:

Welcome back to the Trail Daze series. I really enjoyed version 1.0, and it\'s awesome to see it back again for more fantastic images and great write-ups of the amazing trails on offer around these parts. And to start with Bethlehem farm is a omen of good things to come.

Great to be back! We hope to do it justice and get more people out on the trails.

Headshot

May 3, 2023, 10:08 AM

Just worried these trails ar E-Bike specific :-)
ewaldsadie

May 3, 2023, 7:16 PM

9 hours ago, Headshot said:

Just worried these trails ar E-Bike specific 🙂

They're definitely not E-bike specific, but can certainly be enjoyed by both. That's why we had a normal bike and E-bike in the episode.

Mohs

May 4, 2023, 9:37 AM

Great to see Trail daze are back! @Headshot Please explain the meaning of \"E-bike specific\"? or do you mean skill level specific? n Fiets is mos n fiets en n trail n trail...The rider makes the difference. My skill level allows me to go-big at Banhoek, where the next guy loves the Super-tube flow of the trail? Be that on E-bike, Analog or Drie-wiel.
MORNE

May 4, 2023, 11:48 AM

2 hours ago, Mohs said:

Great to see Trail daze are back! @Headshot Please explain the meaning of \"E-bike specific\"? or do you mean skill level specific? n Fiets is mos n fiets en n trail n trail...The rider makes the difference. My skill level allows me to go-big at Banhoek, where the next guy loves the Super-tube flow of the trail? Be that on E-bike, Analog or Drie-wiel.

I think he might be referring to the fact that more and more trails/enduro’s and what-nots only go down half the time and are a bit ‘xc’ in that you’ll do some ascending on the way down as well, you know…. use the full range of your cassette lol.

I think the modern trail builder partial to ebikes could 100% forget that some of us are still on ‘Amish’ bicycles.  It certainly makes their lives easier. Banhoek is not one though… you can gooi an Aaron Gwin and go down chainless for that matter.

it is a bit ‘flowey’  but it rides awesome and is probably one of the best maintained around.

 

Robbie Stewart

May 4, 2023, 11:56 AM

I don't much care for what specific bike those trails are built for. The miles-to-smiles ratio is strong at Banhoek. If you have the impetus to ride down there and send it on a TT bike who am I to question that.

Whenever I ride there I leave with the biggest smile.

FredButer

May 5, 2023, 5:55 AM

Well done Ewald! And The Hub. Lekker read and lekkerder pics of a very special place. Thanks.
Wynbass

Nov 7, 2023, 6:18 PM

Well done Ewald. Die foto’s is amazing en mens kry regtig lus om sommer op jou fiets te spring en die trail te gaan verken!

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