Adventure and Travel

Trail Daze 2.0 | Constantia Greenbelts

Words and Images by Shift Media | Riders Dayle Holmes and Oli Munnik

· By Bike Hub Features · 21 comments

Trail Daze 2.0

ep 2

CONSTANTIA GREENBELTS

It’s not often that you find a suburban trail network which offers proper riding, more than just a commuter path from one side to the other. A network of short segments that take you through various types of lush vegetation including ferns, cork trees and all kinds of rain-forest-like ground cover that isolates you from the city’s hustle and bustle. A network accessible for so many mountain bikers straight from home, with no need to load up and drive anywhere. A proper green ride. And with the recent abundance of rainfall, things were particularly green and fresh, with plenty of water around.

There are many ways of connecting the various segments in the area – we planned to do a top to bottom ride, starting at the Kirstenbosch Top Gate. The area has relatively safe parking, however its not officially guarded so it’s always a good idea not to have any valuables lying around on your seats – nothing new. There is also no official trailhead or access point in terms of permits. We dropped in along the first sections of single track, across at Cecilia Forest, up Cork Trees, down from Southern Cross Drive and on the traditional route. Completing the entire top to bottom ride will give you about 15km of riding (so about 30km looping back), with various coffee stop options along the way. We ended up for a spot of lunch at Chardonnay Deli – highly recommended.

An important factor to remember is that these trails are shared by walkers, runners and cyclists alike – so remember to be mindful and courteous towards each other.

My twin brother SmallBlade_Si and I first pinned these singletracks with friends in the early 2000s in between build sessions at our Southern Cross jump track… 20 years later the jumps are still there and the stoke of railing the greenbelt’s turns and dialling your lines though the rooty sections is just as high as it was as teenagers hanging on for dear life riding a pair of Trek 4500s! A special thank you to the various stakeholders who have worked so hard to open up these trails for all of us to enjoy – Thank You!!! 

Oli Munnik

The trails along the greenbelt offer a little bit of everything, from short techy bits, to smooth manicured trail and even the odd dip in to fully covered forest. The thing that stands out for me is just how lush this piece of trail becomes in winter, its nestled amongst houses and roads but feels far more peaceful and tranquil considering it’s location. As you make your way along the trails you’ll notice a bunch of interesting fern and jungle like plants with natural streams funneling mountain water down through the suburbs. It’s a super convenient trail network that can serve as a commuter path as well as a cycle loop offering a bit of fun for all levels of riders.

Dayle Holmes

The green belt is made up of many different segments that are connected by normal asphalt roads that make up the greater neighbourhood. Popping out of the trails usually has a short section of road that quickly spits you back on the trails.

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Directions to Kirstenbosch, top gate:

https://goo.gl/maps/gC9tzjGri5uHRYcC6

No permits are required for the greenbelts, but on San Parks land (like the Cork Tree trails, and Cecilia forest) you need an activity permit.

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

Jul 25, 2023, 11:31 AM

My local. You forgot to mention the whole trail network is on Trailforks with detailed descriptions and trail features added by yours truly.
Matt

Jul 26, 2023, 12:40 PM

On 7/25/2023 at 1:31 PM, Headshot said:

My local. You forgot to mention the whole trail network is on Trailforks with detailed descriptions and trail features added by yours truly.

Thanks for mentioning it here. 

Could you share the links to the sections you maintain (for Cecilia Forest, Cork Trees, Southern Cross Drive & Green belts)? I did spot some well maintained segments on Trailforks, but admittedly got lost in all that goes on on there.

Headshot

Jul 26, 2023, 1:02 PM

21 minutes ago, Matt said:

Thanks for mentioning it here. 

Could you share the links to the sections you maintain (for Cecilia Forest, Cork Trees, Southern Cross Drive & Green belts)? I did spot some well maintained segments on Trailforks, but admittedly got lost in all that goes on on there.

Constantia Greenbelt on Trailforks
https://www.trailforks.com/region/constantia-greenbelt-17002

babse

Jul 26, 2023, 2:58 PM

Making a groadie trail look gnar 

 

🤭

splat

Jul 26, 2023, 3:17 PM

17 minutes ago, babse said:

Making a groadie trail look gnar 

 

🤭

Awesome pics
I feel that I have been holding back a bit!

Headshot

Jul 28, 2023, 9:51 AM

I have a great route around the Cecilia and upper green belt area that takes in all the best features. I see no pics of the rock drop I created on the Kirstenbosch lower track a while before the steep rubber mat descent, or the drop into the river bed after the rock garden. There is also the Avenue Bordeaux descent which is fast and full of baby heads on the first section. If you want, this area is enduro/trail bike worthy and lots of fun.

Stephan

Jul 28, 2023, 3:36 PM

@Headshot can you give more details about these spots please?

drop on the Kirstenbosch lower track a while before the steep rubber mat descent

drop into the river bed after the rock garden

Avenue Bordeaux descent

Headshot

Jul 31, 2023, 8:42 AM

On 7/28/2023 at 5:36 PM, Stephan said:

@Headshot can you give more details about these spots please?

drop on the Kirstenbosch lower track a while before the steep rubber mat descent

drop into the river bed after the rock garden

Avenue Bordeaux descent

https://www.trailforks.com/trails/kirstenbosch-lower-single-track/

https://www.trailforks.com/trails/the-best-bordeaux/

https://www.trailforks.com/trails/corktree-trail/

Mamil

Jul 31, 2023, 10:09 AM

Not part of the constantia green belt which I like a lot - but is there a way to get up onto the lower magic link trail from Victoria road just after suikerbossie?

Headshot

Jul 31, 2023, 10:30 AM

18 minutes ago, Mamil said:

Not part of the constantia green belt which I like a lot - but is there a way to get up onto the lower magic link trail from Victoria road just after suikerbossie?

That would be great if it existed. I think the issue there was that SANP owned/controlled the land in that vicinity which is why the trail officially ends/turns around at the large rock/signpost on the upper trail.

capediver

Jul 31, 2023, 7:45 PM

9 hours ago, Mamil said:

Not part of the constantia green belt which I like a lot - but is there a way to get up onto the lower magic link trail from Victoria road just after suikerbossie?

If only! The Missing Link trail ends at the fence just before the Apostle Battery up on the hill above Llandudno, Cape Town side...last visit there, there's a big hole in that fence and if you go thru...don't...you end up inside the Battery operations office complex where you will get gears for trespassing as it is closed. Only way really is to coast down to Bootleggers, double espresso in the tank and leg it up to Theresa Avenue to do a loop....out and back...

michaelbiker

Aug 1, 2023, 5:34 AM

We run through there. You can try take your bike through but if there is someone around they will stop you. Looks like they may be converting it into a luxury hotel, so we won’t be able to hike / run through there for much longer anyway. Sucks that Hout Bay trails are getting more and more closed off  

https://newmarkhotels.com/accommodation/apostle-battery

 

Zebra

Aug 2, 2023, 6:03 AM

I wonder if there is any ‘opportunity’ in a structured, high-level proactive approach asking the developers / owners to allow/enable a sustainable MTB trial to pass through the extreme lower- or -upper reaches of the to-be-developed property, selling it to them on corporate responsibility, blah, blah, etc.

A missing link, indeed! “Completing a link around the table”

Got to hope! 

Chris

capediver

Aug 2, 2023, 7:21 AM

1 hour ago, Zebra said:

I wonder if there is any ‘opportunity’ in a structured, high-level proactive approach asking the developers / owners to allow/enable a sustainable MTB trial to pass through the extreme lower- or -upper reaches of the to-be-developed property, selling it to them on corporate responsibility, blah, blah, etc.

A missing link, indeed! “Completing a link around the table”

Got to hope! 

Chris

This was done with the Ruyterplaats estate development I believe...public have access to the old public road and Viktorskloof Road through the estate...my route from Constantia Nek to the top of Suikerbossie and back...

babse

Aug 2, 2023, 7:56 AM

Is there no scope/leaverage for some trail building from the constantia trail upper down to lower trail along Rhodes Drive... this forest section has the making of some epic trails. 

 

image.png.306fe9918f8d0f625238d1a16ffb16e7.png

 

 

capediver

Aug 2, 2023, 8:12 AM

12 minutes ago, babse said:

Is there no scope/leaverage for some trail building from the constantia trail upper down to lower trail along Rhodes Drive... this forest section has the making of some epic trails. 

 

image.png.306fe9918f8d0f625238d1a16ffb16e7.png

 

 

For sure, this would be between the Cork Tree trail and the first level jeep track heading to Newlands reservoir?.....unfortunately this section is full of walking trails...

Headshot

Aug 2, 2023, 8:50 AM

37 minutes ago, capediver said:

For sure, this would be between the Cork Tree trail and the first level jeep track heading to Newlands reservoir?.....unfortunately this section is full of walking trails...

Yes, and SANP controlled so not City run green belt. There are some sneaky tracks in there of course but they are off limits 🙂 

babse

Aug 2, 2023, 9:07 AM

15 minutes ago, capediver said:

For sure, this would be between the Cork Tree trail and the first level jeep track heading to Newlands reservoir?.....unfortunately this section is full of walking trails...

Yeah so much potential right there. The forestry section reminds me of old tokai. Still alot of gradient which would make it a serious operation.

 

Karen and co can still still have them walking trails!?

michaelbiker

Aug 2, 2023, 9:21 AM

There is potential to build some trails inside the forest above Ruyteplaats. It's a tiny bit of forest but a good XC course could be a lot of fun. I used to ride there years ago. Not sure about the legality of it but its riddled with trails and a few old roads. Only issue is getting up to the trails from Suikerbossie but it's a short push of approx 50m if you aren't a trials rider.

Zebra

Aug 2, 2023, 9:54 AM

2 hours ago, capediver said:

This was done with the Ruyterplaats estate development I believe...public have access to the old public road and Viktorskloof Road through the estate...my route from Constantia Nek to the top of Suikerbossie and back...

Yes, I use that’ corridor’ frequently, both as a runner and cyclist; works brilliant, thank the guards for opening the lower gate each time air use it; in a word it is seamless!

Kylie

Aug 7, 2023, 8:50 AM

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Tell us in the comments where you’d like to see Trail Daze explore next, and subscribe to the Bike Hub roundup to stand a chance to win a set of Maxxis tyres of your choice.

*Terms and Conditions

  • The winner will be selected by way of a random draw.
  • Entries close on 18 August 2023 at midnight.
  • The winner will be announced on Monday 21 August 2023.
  • The winner will be contacted via email. If no response is received within 48 hours the winner will be redrawn.
  • This competition is only open to residents of South Africa.
  • The prize is not transferable or redeemable for cash
  • Tyres are subject to stock availability

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