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Spanafrican Adventures's Blog

The latest news on Spanafrican Adventures operations.

El Pancito at the Races

A 10mth old cyclist can get more attention than one that has cycled continents

A 10mth old cyclist can get more attention than one that has cycled continents

el Pancito doesn't know this yet, but he lives in the heart of one of the cycling meccas in Africa! Howick is most famous for its rather impressive waterfall and the fact that it is the geriatric capital of the country, with more retirement homes than in any other town. However of late other attractions like the hundreds of kilometres of rocky, rolling, singletrack are becoming the reason to visit or live here! (10 May 2015)

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Pre-himalayan training

Lately sunday rides have become really social, today 10 of us set off to explore the karkloof with an added incentive of stopping at Trebadore coffee en route. Our garden looking like car park.

Another glorious winter midlands day. This 65k Himalayan training ride took us stereotypical rolling landscapes that typify the area. Pinus plantations, lush dairy farms, grassland patches and views of the Karkloof, Nthalzan and the snow-covered Drakensberg way off in the distance. I am always in awe of the fact that despite cycling extensively in Karkloof we still get lost, like today - just goes to show you don't have to go far to have a bit of adventure and enjoy some stunning scenery and trails.

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What I do at lunchtime

The favourite view of the valley. I usually ride the 14km loop along the main access road into the reserve and then skipping down onto the single track 'dwarfs dawdle' that runs along the top of a dolerite cliff.

This years winter has been particularly freezing, the coldest in 20 years so they say. And I believe them. Daily, Anisa and I have to cope with more than just work issues but keeping warm in an office that faces north and feels like a fridge to any visitor. We have blankets, drink bottles of boiling water, use hot water bottles and reluctantly turn the heater on (yes, being the environmentalists we are ;-)) when we border on hypothermia. Lunchtime is my one opportunity to finally warm up - so its either a 9km run or 15km mtb ride in our lovely Umgeni Valley reserve. It takes exactly the full lunch hour for me to finally feel my toes... but there are the other benefits of course.

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Dusty days: Mt Gilboa and Lebanon descent

A steep climb out of Mbona reserve brought us to the burned grassland and forested approach to Mt Gilboa (1800m) offering unsurpassed views of the midlands

Sunday morning rides are a fixed event on most of our calendars, and is usually the day we choose to explore and check out more of the seemingly endless cycle route options we have right at our doorstep in the KZN Midlands. This day we decided to explore the back end of the Karkloof venturing out from Mbona reserve and up the back of Mt Gilboa - a fair climb and good training ride for our imminent trip to the Himalayas. An epic day it was. A fabulous mix of forestry roads, grassy tracks and slick pine forested trail descending Lebanon. Expecting to be back at midday we trundled in at 4pm exhausted and out of steam. A great day out none the less.

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Umbumbulu valley

Sweeping views over the Umbumbulu conservancy. Vaughan and Karen followed a fabulous track which snuggly followed the edge of the gorge.( Unfortunately I forgot my camera, but my cellphone didnt do too badly).

What I love about KZN is that there is no shortage of great riding topography. Besides having some of the best single track literally out my back door, which keeps us all entertained year round, sometimes we do venture a little further afield. A short 45min drive took us to Virginia Farm in the Umbumbulu valley. 45km of sumptuous single track adorn this sugarcane farm and conservancy. Cycling in sugarcane can be dead boring but thankfully the Stainbank farmers are environmentally inclined and have left large pockets of subtropical forest crammed with palms and aloes in many of the ravines while grassland slopes intersperse the cane fields. A clover-leaf of trails criss-cross this beautiful farm overlooking the Beaumont-Eston valley.

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