Freebody-Sports Launch the De Hoop Vlei MTB Experience

The routes circumnavigate the De Hoop Vlei, the region’s rolling limestone hills, cross the fertile plains of the reserve and explore the surrounding farms; where wheat, canola and merino sheep are the staples of the local economy. Photo by Oakpics.com.
The routes circumnavigate the De Hoop Vlei, the region’s rolling limestone hills, cross the fertile plains of the reserve and explore the surrounding farms; where wheat, canola and merino sheep are the staples of the local economy. Photo by Oakpics.com.

The jewel in Cape Nature’s reserves, De Hoop Nature Reserve, will be hosting a three day mountain biking experience this September which will change your perception of Western Cape mountain biking. View big antelope, rare birds and one of the world’s most diverse floral kingdoms form the saddle of your bike in the De Hoop Vlei MTB Experience.

From the 22nd to the 24th of September 2018 the De Hoop Vlei MTB Experience will explore the game trails, 4×4 tracks and gravel roads of the 34 000 hectare nature reserve. Nestled between the Potberg Mountain and the Indian Ocean the reserve boasts a rugged coastline – known for shipwrecks and perfect whale watching – a Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance vlei and a diverse landscape of mountains, limestone hills, grassy plains and snow white sand dunes.

The three day mountain bike experience will showcase all of these aspects, as well as visit the surrounding farms where wheat and canola fields will be growing in the Overberg sun, while Merino sheep graze alongside blue cranes, the South African national bird, in the next paddock.

The De Hoop Vlei MTB Experience takes in three days of spectacular mountain biking in and around the De Hoop Nature Reserve. Photo by Oakpics.com.
The De Hoop Vlei MTB Experience takes in three days of spectacular mountain biking in and around the De Hoop Nature Reserve. Photo by Oakpics.com.

Two of the three days of the event will feature entirely new routes, never used before by mountain bike races or weekend fun riders visiting the De Hoop Collection. Local farmer and avid mountain biker, Niel Neethling, is responsible for the routes and promises stages of 55, 65 and 52 kilometres in distance with 900, 1 300 and 800 meters of climbing respectively.

Neethling has been hard at work securing land access to private farms and negotiating thoroughfares through highly restricted areas. One of these special sections is the Renosterveld Reserve, located within the heart of the region’s wheat farms, which protects the biodiversity of the exceptionally endangered renosterveld fynbos vegetation. Another is the western banks of the De Hoop Vlei, where the historic 200 year old Melkkamer Manor house is located, which has not seen public access off the main road to the Melkkamer house since the 1980s.

With three days of mountain bike exploration provided by the De Hoop Vlei MTB Experience game sightings are guaranteed. Not only with riders see bontebok and cape mountain zebra; but also herds of eland, the world’s second largest antelope. For the birders in the mountain bike community the vlei’s Ramsar status ensures it remains a protected and ideal habitat for a plethora of wetland bird species, while the Potberg Mountain is also home to a large colony of Cape Vultures which take to the wing most afternoons in search of carrion. The reserve is the largest conserved area of lowland fynbos in the Western Cape and its diverse flora includes 1 500 species, many of them endemic to De Hoop’s specific climate and soil. In total De Hoop Nature Reserve boasts 86 mammal species, more than 260 bird species and over 250 species of fish in its marine reserve.

The event’s mix of singletrack, 4x4 trails and gravel roads provide a scenic and varied riding experience. Photo by Oakpics.com. The event’s mix of singletrack, 4x4 trails and gravel roads provide a scenic and varied riding experience. Photo by Oakpics.com.
The event’s mix of singletrack, 4×4 trails and gravel roads provide a scenic and varied riding experience. Photo by Oakpics.com. The event’s mix of singletrack, 4×4 trails and gravel roads provide a scenic and varied riding experience. Photo by Oakpics.com.

The De Hoop Vlei MTB Experience entry fee includes accommodation in a standard dome tent but offers riders and their families a choice of accommodation upgrades in the De Hoop Collection’s superb facilities, as well as providing three breakfasts and lunches as well as two dinners during the event. All rider and supporter meals will be catered for by the amazing Antoinette Events, the Overberg’s premier wedding and functions catering company. Supporter packages which including meals are available for riders’ family members and friends. The De Hoop Collection are also offering a fun ride and trail run, environmental education tours and even spa treatments for non-riders to book during the event. Accommodation upgrade options meanwhile include luxury camping, self-catering cottages and suites in the 300 year old manor houses.

For more information on the event visit www.dehoopvleimtb.co.za, while to find out more about the De Hoop Collection – the activities they offer for non-cyclists and their accommodation – options please visit www.dehoopcollection.com.

Fast Facts: De Hoop Vlei MTB

Dates: 22 – 24 September (Riding days, arrive Friday 21 September)
Location: De Hoop Nature Reserve, Western Cape
Stage 1: 55km with 900m of climbing
Stage 2: 65km with 1 300m of climbing
Stage 3: 52km with 800m of climbing
Entry Fees: Solo: R3 600 | Team: R6 900 for 2 riders
Spectators: Adults: R1 125 | Children: R585
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch Friday to Sunday. Dinner Friday and Saturday.
Website: www.dehoopvleimtb.co.za
Facebook: De Hoop Vlei MTB
De Hoop Nature Reserve is one of Cape Nature’s best loved reserves, and boasts 1 500 plant, 86 mammal, 260 bird, and over 250 fish species within its boundaries. Photo by Oakpics.com.
De Hoop Nature Reserve is one of Cape Nature’s best loved reserves, and boasts 1 500 plant, 86 mammal, 260 bird, and over 250 fish species within its boundaries. Photo by Oakpics.com.

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