A wild ride

Fancy a ride on the wild side? We rather like the idea of these three day cycling adventures through big five territory.

A proper treat for mountain biking enthusiasts, these Biking In The Bush getaways at Shamwari Private Game Reserve include a bit of luxury … and who doesn’t want that after three or four hours in the saddle.

The idea is to enjoy a guided cycle every morning, with afternoon game drives and guided walks, and then luxury all the way in the gorgeous Bayethe Lodge.

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Andrew Kearney, ranger manager at Shamwari and a keen rider himself, says the rides are suitable for people who cycle regularly and are reasonably fit, and assures it’s absolutely not a race but rather about the experience of cycling through the bush and chance encounters with a variety of wildlife. The aim, he says, is to count time in the saddle rather than the kilometres ridden.

He stresses safety is a priority and cyclists receive a detailed briefing before each ride. Two experienced guides accompany each group and one guide will wait with anyone who needs to stop, with a sweeper vehicle picking up anyone who is unable to continue the ride.

The rides vary depending on game sightings, animal movements, the weather and fitness of the groups. All take place in the wilder wilderness area in the north of the reserve, where there are no other people or vehicles.

It’s a fabulous weekend for a group of friends (minimum of six, max of eight, all need to be 16 or older, with those 65-plus asked to provide confirmation of their fitness). If you’re more of an e-biker … they’re permitted, but they, along with faster riders, do have to stay with the group. Dates coming up are March 3 to 6, March 17 to 20, March 31 to April 3 and May 5 to 8. Rates are R4950 per person, sharing, which include accommodation, all guided rides, guided walks, game drives, meals, visits to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and Born Free Big Cat Rescue Centre, pre-game drive refreshments and game drive drinks and snacks. Details: Bookings via [email protected] or 042-203-1111.

Get your running shoes on …

There are two fabulous events for trail runners this year … one this month and one later on in the year. The Thirsti Africanx Trail Runs are said to be synonymous with magnificent trails, spectacular views, mouth-watering food, a relaxed atmosphere and great vibe, and treat entrants (who gather from around the country) to a trail running experience like no other. Whether a seasoned trail runner or newcomer to the sport, you are guaranteed to be left in awe of the sensational routes on offer. The first – the flagship 3-Day Stage Race – takes place at the Houw Hoek Hotel in the Western Cape from Saturday 19 to Monday 21 March. This three day stage run (24km, 32km, 18km) is for teams of two runners (male/female/mixed), and entries close Friday March 11. The second, recently announced trail run takes place in August at Van Gaalen Cheese Farm, in Hartbeespoort in the North-West Province on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21. Entries are already open for this individual 2-Day stage trail run (20km and 16km). Your entry fees includes T-shirts and finisher medals, refreshment zones and well stocked water points, and the evening prize giving. Details: Stillwater Sports on 082-991-0045 or email [email protected]

And a MTB Classic in Plett

The Sky Villa Trans Plett MTB Classic (whew … the name’s as long as the ride) promises to be a magnificent event for mountain bikers. The competition will be held in Plettenberg Bay at the Sky Villa Boutique Hotel, who recently launched Sky Trails – a bio-diverse, eco-estate of specialist mountain bike trails, which offers riders not only untamed and unspoiled trails, but also breathtaking views of the ocean, the mountains and the lagoon. Riders will be tackling a brand new route with a variety of flowing but punchy climbs and exhilarating descents … a route designed for a marathon stage. Hosted by Overberg MTB Events, the two-day MTB stage event, from March 11 to 13, has loads of entry options, fees and packages, from a solo entry without meals or accommodation to full all-inclusive packages, for riders, with or without partners, with accommodation in one of the Raw Africa Boutique Collection properties, as well as all meals and entry fee, permits and a goodie bag. Details: For entries, info and more deets contact Anneke Jacobs on [email protected]

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