Mountain Bike Magazine SANI - Autumn 2018 - Page 124

TRAVEL | namaqua snaking onto the plains amidst scratchy renosterveld kopjes. The terrain is gnarly to say the least, with gritty erosion ruts, loose gravel and loads of wash- outs. As the route crosses private land, permission and indemnities come into play. Total ride distance Various, 10km – 150km Fitness/skills level Easy to advanced Duration 1hr – 6hrs Start point Naries Namaqua Retreat Naries THE SPOT: One of my top Northern Cape discoveries has to be Naries, a tiny resort tucked away along the Springbok / Kleinzee road. This delightful little destination is situated around 27km along the R55, and is surrounded by renosterbos ridges up on the inland escarpment. Naries is much more than just another guest farm, mainly targeting an outdoor crowd keen on combining a unique fresh-air escape with a high level of comfort. Excellent accommodation in everything from luxurious Nama Mountain Suite reed huts – set into rugged rock outcrops – to sublime self- catering cottages and a Manor House will blow you away. A well-marked trail network is perfect for trail running and hiking, but also works on the bike if you have intermediate level skills. Characters, culture and adventure make the Northern Cape a special place, but the beauty of this area is that it is pretty much still undiscovered. 124 | MTB | rugged riding THE RIDES: The good news is that you have a veritable pick- n-mix of routes to choose from in the Naries area. Everything goes, from challenging enduro-style downhills, to winding tarmac passes, and endless gravel-grinder roads. Cruise the tarmac westwards to Kleinzee on your road bike, and you’ll blast onto Spektakel Pass within a couple of kays. Here, you plummet off the edge of the escarpment onto the coastal plains waiting below for a total return ride topping out at approximately 150km. Otherwise, saddle up your MTB and crank onto the combo of Naries hiking trails and dirt roads, directly accessible from any of the accommodation options at the resort. As mentioned, there is a good map available, and the colour-coded markings make it easy enough to follow. All in all, you have in the region of 20-25km of footpaths and roads to explore. Skilled riders (preferably with a long-travel bike), can blast onto the gritty Eskom maintenance track