Review: Wolwespruit Mountain Bike and Trail Park

 

Fitness, family and fur ball friendly trail park in the heart of Pretoria.  Wolwespruit Mountain Bike and Trail Park, where hares are one up on all kinds of adrenaline junkies.

If you’re not interested in my mumbling, visit their website at www.wolwespruit.com

For all the others, here’s a short video and review of how I see it;

 

 

Where to find it?

 

As accessible as an ice cube in the arctic, this park is close to the N1 highway in the heart of Erasmuskloof, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa, Africa, the World.  Yes, depending on where you hibernate you can either walk, run or cycle there.  No need for hooking the 4×4, it’s smooth surfaced roads all the way to the park.  Get of the N1 at Rigel, follow the Delmas road, make a left turn into Nossob street and another left turn into Jochemus street. Pass the Kloof Mediclinic on your left and drive straight into Wolwespruit Mountain Bike and Trail Park.  On second thought, use your GPS.

Map

Image Credit: Google

 

What are the costs?

  • R 40.00 for mountain biking
  • R 25.00 for trail running, hiking and kids under 12
  • Yearly passes and other options available at discounted rates

 

Trading hours

MONDAYS:                         5:30 am to 6:30 pm

TUESDAYS:                         5:30 am to 9:00 pm

WEDNESDAYS:                  5:30 am to 6:30 pm

THURSDAYS:                      5:30 am to 6:30 pm

FRIDAYS:                             5:30 am to 6:30 pm

SATURDAYS:                       6:00 am to 6:00 pm

SUNDAYS:                           6:00 am to 6:00 pm

 

Mountain Bike Trails

The park boasts quite a few mountain bike routes.  From easy flowing, twisty trails through forest sections to rocky climbs with steeper gradients on the other side of the fence (read river).  Lots of purposely built wooden bridges to take care of the water crossings, so no need to get your ass wet.

Depending on your skill level you can either do some daredevil descending or choose the easy ways around.  Most technical sections provide more than one option and looping around won’t take you a day so you can practice it perfect.  The park caters for people of most skill levels, has a pump track, a jump line, the odd rock garden, quite a few rabbits and an ambiance.

Photo Credit: Louis le Grange

 

You’re not in the French Alps which means, unfortunately, you won’t find a climb as long as Alpe d’Huez, but all is not lost.  You can get quite a good feeling of how cross-country events are meant to feel like, not that I’ve done one, so don’t take my word for it.  Short, steep and punchy climbs.  Loop around, do them double and you can create your own little training heaven.  Lots of berms available on the corners to speed up your trip back to the bottom.  Climbing is approximately 250 vertical meters gained for every 10 kilometers completed, give or take.

Photo Credit: Louis le Grange

 

On a mountain bike my guesstimate is that it’ll take a relatively fit guy, or girl, about 2 to 3 hours to ride all the trails at least once.  I’ve tried, but I’ve never had it in me to complete the entire route without looping, doubling up or getting confused on some of the sections.  Nevertheless, I’ve never felt bored by looping around as the various sections can be vastly different and concentration needs to remain right up there.  Apart from a little road next to the river you won’t find any service roads or boredom around, everything has purpose.  The routes are well marked and should you read the sign boards you probably won’t get confused.  Average speeds are usually way down as there’s no district roads, the climbs are punchy and the tree lines twisty.  Don’t let your mates from the Free State give you grieve about “only 30 kilos” or “average speed below 20?”, invite them over.

Photo Credit: Jo-Andri Raubenheimer

 

Very helpful and handy interactive route maps available at www.wolwespruit.co.za

 

Trail Running

 

 

Trail runners rest assure, you are not forgotten.  Purposely built running trails can be found all over and in all likelihood you won’t be confronted with a mountain biker screaming his lungs out from behind, thank goodness.

We also know that however well that theory sounds, the reality of the matter is that the two egos will probably meet at some point.  Therefore, should you do hear a rumble and a “Track!” scream from behind, it’s not a mating call, it’s a sign that someone’s expensive breaks don’t work and you should probably get out of the way.   In contrary, I’ve seen one or two trail runners being slowed down by mountain bikers, especially on the steeper sections.  Nevertheless, it’s not a fight, or a race, and should you miss your Strava segment you can just loop around and try it again, see, it’s easy.

 

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Photo Credit: Louis le Grange

 

Trail running routes in Wolwespruit comprise of lots of single track, well all of it to be honest.  There’s beautiful sections through the forest consisting of twisty trails, wooden bridges and plenty of tree cover.  Quite a few roots and uneven terrain makes for a true trail running experience and something different from the usual city run.  It’s not that easy though, and I would advise not to compare your running pace on these trails to what you usually do out on the road.

Apart from the roots and rocks, there’s also some stingers that will make a fair share of people sound like wounded wolves.  No, I’m not talking bees or butterflies.  Short punchy climbs have got some sting in their tails.

Route marking is perfect for those who would want to do the enjoyable 4.4 kilometer route.  For those who want to do a bit more, there’s some hidden gems of technical bits scattered around the park and finding a gradient of more than 20% is not out of reach.  To find them you’ll have to explore a bit though, but it’ll be worth it.

 

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Photo Credit: Louis le Grange

 

In terms of distance, there’s more than enough routes available to build up whatever distance you’re looking for.  Just try and stay clear of the fast mountain bike sections (i.e. where they go downhill, fast) as some of their sections have blind corners and even on the open fast sections there’s not a lot of room for error.  Have the decency to step aside if you’re on the mountain bike routes, it only takes a second or two and your feet won’t puncture.

Very helpful and handy interactive route maps available at www.wolwespruit.co.za

 

What else?

Salomon and some fancy pro physio named Carel Viljoen came to the party and started a weekly trail running time trail on Tuesday nights that consists of a 4.4 kilometer route inside the park.  You also have an option to double up and see how you compare with your mates on the 8.8 kilometer time trail option.

The time trail usually starts at 18h00, every Tuesday, which means for a large part of the year you won’t finish before the sun sets.  Best to pack a headlight for this event.

If you want to race, run, walk your dog, or check out the physio, get there and join the fun.  Find them at https://www.facebook.com/viljoenphysio/ 

Photo Credit: Louis le Grange

 

Trailwolf Cycles is located on the premises and will take care of all your cycling related issues.  For any other issues they also produce some top-class coffee.  Find them at http://www.trailwolf.co.za/ and join the Wolfpack.

Photo  Credit: Louis le Grange

 

Pltfrm Restaurant established itself during the latter part of 2017 to take care of the hangry birds that got beaten by the trails.  It’s a restaurant, not a caravan, so expect something more comprehensive than just coffee.  They also cater for kids and their furry friends.  Find them at https://www.facebook.com/pltfrmwolwespruit/

Photo Credit: Louis le Grange

 

I have limited knowledge of camping and camping in a boot sounds a little scary to be honest, which is why you need to muscle up or shake some extra cake to prepare for whatever comes your way.  Visit https://www.facebook.com/Trainingwithstef/ for all your #bootcamping survival tips.

TrainingwithStef is the perfect outdoor alternative to a gym, especially when you don’t like the sweaty smell of corporate hamsters trying to reach their smoothy goals.  The idea is a good one, it’s to make friends and get fit while having fun, to “fun yourself fit“.  They have loads of different fitness options available.  Give them a call or visit their website for more information

Photo Credit: TrainingwithStef

 

Worth a visit?

Absolutely,  the variety of outdoor activities and facilities available really caters for all outdoor minded people.  New trails pop up every now and again while route maintenance and safety seems to be a priority.

Photo Credit: Louis le Grange

 

Rumor has it that further expansions to the facilities are in the pipeline for 2018.  I will keep this post updated on whatever I see.  For now, get out there, give it a try, have some fun and have a beer.

 

Enjoy,

Louis