Franschhoek By Bike: Three Top Trails

While the culinary attractions of Franschhoek might be what draw the crowds, there’s far more to this beautiful little town than food and wine. Surrounded by some of the most scenic landscapes this side of the equator and blessed with close to 3,000 hours of sunshine each year, Franschhoek is custom-made for the outdoor enthusiast.

Whether you’re an MTB maniac, cycling enthusiast or just an avid wanderer, there’s no better way to get acquainted with Franschhoek than on two wheels. Quiet country roads, spectacular mountain passes and panoramic vistas beckon the adventurer in you to get saddled up and start exploring.

If a lazy meander is your idea of a good time, a casual cycle around the town’s quiet streets is a must during your stay. But if you’re in the mood to break a sweat, here are three more challenging routes sure to reward your intrepid spirit.

Matoppie MTB trail

The Matoppie route is local favourite. Expect a fairly technical trail with a gradually steep climb, contour riding and a few challenging spots tossed in for good measure. The trail is quite rocky in some areas and rather sandy in others, making it a difficult route for beginners. If you’re an intermediate to advanced mountain biker, you’ll find this route to be a great test, and the views from the top are well worth the effort.

Distance: 14km

Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced

Zachariashoek Trails

These trails are based in the Limietberg Nature Reserve, which covers 117,000 hectares of land between Franschhoek and Paarl. Begin at the entrance near Wemmershoek Dam and head back along the tar road before turning right onto the jeep track to into Zachariashoek. The Klein Drakenstein ranges are no easy conquest and gravity will not be your best friend for this ride, but if you’re looking to beat your personal best, this route is the ideal training ground.

Distance: 20-40km depending on the route you choose

Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult

Robertsvlei Loop

Enjoy a peaceful ride through undulating farmland and take in the immaculate views of the Franschhoek River and the famous Roberstvlei Road, lined with majestic Oak trees. Start at the intersection of the R45 and Robertsvlei Road and head towards Franschhoek. This route is great for beginner cyclists or those who simply wish to revel in the unique atmosphere of the Cape Winelands.

Distance: 14.5km

Difficulty: Easy