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INTRODUCING THE NEW ORANGE MTB ROUTE

There’s a new route at Summerplace Game Reserve that’s instantly broadened the riding options to a greater range of mountain bikers. The 22km Orange Route is ideal for lesser skilled recreational riders, but it also adds great value to experienced riders and wild-life lovers.

Already a premier mountain biking destination, Summerplace now offers even more to mountain bikers. During the summer, trailmaster, David Baber and his team added more than 25km of new mountain bike routes to the reserve’s trail network. Most of these additional kilometres went into the new Orange Route, which explores a fresh section of the reserve.

As you drive into the main gate at Summerplace, the land to your right, which includes a decent sized hill, now has many kilometers of engaging mountain bike trails. You need at least -4% gradient to create good flow and this slope ranges from -4 to -25%, which means plenty of flow.

We’ll get back to that hill in a bit though. It’s important to know that the Orange Route is a route that’s ideal for most mountain bikers. It’s got a couple of steep bits that might be a bit intimidating for some, but these are quite easy to dismount and portage. Ninety percent of the route is unintimidating and ideal for most mountain bikers.

The Orange Route starts near the Bike Village on the road that heads to the main gate. It hugs the side of the hill on a trail called Spook Huis, where many rocks have been cleared to ensure as smooth a ride as possible before it joins onto Drop to Gulley trail.

This piece of trail rolls gently down the slope in the direction of the main reserve road for a few hundred metres before it takes a left onto a trail called Old School. This is a completely new trail that winds its ways gradually in a northerly direction down to the low ground and then up the opposite slope, which is very slight in terms of gradient. It then turns east and takes you on an engaging path before turning north to join a gravel road.

You follow the gravel road for a while until you reach a boundary fence, turn right and then right again to begin the first of three ascents of the large hill that dominates this section of the reserve. David has masterfully crafted trail to make the most of this elevation, which delivers a moderate climbing challenge and stunning views.

The first descent is on a trail called Mountain Oak, which starts off steep, but which eases as you reach the gravel road where you can take a drink, chat excitedly to your mates about that cool descent before turning onto a long singletrack trail called Easy Going, which lives up to its name and allows you some freedom to enjoy more game-spotting.

The second ascent is more direct and on a jeep track road, which has some steep pitches but is superbly rewarding once you begin the second descent, which takes you about halfway down the slope before tackling the final ascent. This ascent brings you to the top of the hill again where you can appreciate some superb vistas to the south and west before dropping down the final descent on a trail called Ball Itch.

The name may be uncomfortable, but the trail is a delight! It drops 100 metres in 2km, has an average of -4.6 percent gradient and delivers some classic David Baber flow! This is sure to become one of the new favourite trails at Summerplace because no matter what your skill level, it’s so much fun.

The fun does end though, right in the dip, but you do get to take a steady pedal back to the end of the Orange Route on the gravel road, where you can process what you have just ridden or contemplate a second lap!

The Orange Route is mostly rideable for newer mountain bikers, but expect a couple of short portage bits. It’s all part of the adventure and it does allow you to pause and take in the natural beauty around you. For Intermediate and Experienced mountain bikers, the Orange Route is an absolute gem! The balance of climbing, descending and singletrack is just right and, like a small slab of your favourite chocolate, leaves you feeling both satisfied and craving more…

The Orange Route can also be considered a Mountain Biking Safari. A wide range of game can be encountered on this route, including Giraffe, Zebra, Roan Antelope, Impala, Kudu, Sable Antelope, Eland, Tsessebe, Warthog and Reedbuck, partly because the route covers a large area and partly because the vegetation isn’t too dense, which makes it easier to spot wild animals from your saddle.

For experienced/fit riders, the Orange Route is a great start or end loop as either a long warm-up or cool-down to a longer ride. It’s a highly engaging way to add another 20-odd kilometres of distance without too much toil.

To experience the new Orange Route – and all of the other mountain bike routes and trails at Summerplace Game Reserve, book your accommodation here. https://summerplacegamereserve.com/accommodation/

SUMMERPLACE MTB TEAM SETS SIGHTS ON 2024 GOALS

Following a successful launch year in 2023, Summerplace Game Reserve is pleased to confirm the continuation of its mountain bike racing team for 2024. There will still be a firm XCO racing focus, but the team members will also add some stage racing for variety and to gain experience.

The team members are Inus du Preez, Lilian Baber and Respect Ramashia, all of whom raced for Summerplace Game Reserve last year. They’re all employed by the reserve but are supplied with bikes, gear and the appropriate support required to train and race in pursuit of their goals.

Respect Ramashia

Respect will once again focus on the regional marathon races including those in Limpopo, North West and Gauteng. He secured a few podium positions at Limpopo events last year and will be looking for improved performances at the larger events this year, particularly the Ford Trailseeker Marathons.

Lilian had a very successful final year as a Junior last year, where she focused primarily on XCO racing. She was dominant in local events, including winning the South African Championship, the African Continental Championship and South African Cup Series. She also contested several international races in Europe and the World Championships in Scotland.

Lilian Baber

“This is my first year in Under-23 so I don’t have any significant goals. I will do a variety races, but XCO is still my main discipline. I will use this year to find my feet and see where I am in relation to the other Under-23 and Elite racers. I plan to gain more experience at international races in Europe and it’s also a chance for me to get more settled in marathon races, which I haven’t done many of,” said Lilian.

“I feel my base training in the off season has been good and has helped improve my strength and stamina. I’m so fortunate to live at Summerplace, which is the perfect place for mountain bike training. Not only is there more than 100km of singletrack ranging from tame to technical, but there also surrounding gravel roads,” added Lilian.

Lilian Baber and Inus du Preez

Among the races planned for Inus and Lillian in 2024 are: The Tankwa Trek, Cape Pioneer and Wines2Whales stage races, the South African XCO Champs, the African XCO Champs, the World XCO Champs (based on qualification) and four UCI XCO World Cups in Europe.

“Being supported by Summerplace to be able to travel around South Africa to race as well as compete in Europe has given me so much and I’m looking forward to making the most of that in 2024. Last year was my first full year of racing and I improved so much. I learned to race smart and my power improved significantly over the course of the year,” said Inus.

Inus du Preez

“My main focus for this year it so see how well I can do at the four UCI World Cup races in Europe and also to qualify for the South African Under-23 team to compete at the UCI World Champs in Spain. I have other races on my schedule, but those and the relevant South African qualifying races will be priority,” added Inus.

The Summerplace MTB Team do all their training at Summerplace Game Reserve. With an established trails network that includes more than 100km of singletrack, an altitude of 1400m above sea level, a wide range of trail types, several measured routes and beautiful bushveld scenery with wildlife, it’s the ideal destination for mountain bikers.

It’s easy to book your own mountain biking stay at Summerplace Game Reserve. Check out the various accommodation options here.

10 REASONS SUMMERPLACE IS THE IDEAL EASTER ESCAPE!

You may think that Easter Weekend is a long way away, but it isn’t! Easter Weekend this year is from 29 March until 1 April. It’s worth noting that Thursday, 21 March, is also a public holiday, essentially lining up two successive long weekends at a traditionally good-weather time of year. A good time to visit Summerplace Game Reserve. Here are 10 reasons why…

IT’S NOT TOO FAR

Summerplace Game Reserve is located in the Waterberg region of Limpopo province. It’s a 2h15m drive from Pretoria and less than 3 hours from Johannesburg. Most of the route is good quality N1 toll road. It’s not that far away from the big cities, but its far enough away to feel like another world!

IT’S A COUPLE’S RETREAT

Because our lodges are spaced to ensure privacy, Summerplace Game Reserve is perfect for a couple’s escape. You can either self-cater or book your meals in advance. We deliver meals to your lodge so that you can focus on relaxing and being present for your significant other. Walks in the bush, sundowner game drives and stargazing from the hot tub are all sure to elevate the romantic getaway to be a memorable one.

IT’S TRANQUIL

No matter what New Year’s Resolutions you made, it doesn’t take long to build up post-Festive Season stress. The city buzz gradually sucks you into chaotic routine that involves meetings, deadlines, school runs, traffic and loadshedding. There’s complete tranquility at Summerplace Game Reserve where the only delays are caused by wild animals crossing the road or trail…

IT’S FAMILY FRIENDLY

Summerplace Game Reserve is ideal for families. We love to see kids enjoying the outdoors and ensure that that there’s loads of space for them explore the freedom of the bush. They can ride their bicycles on fun trails right in front of The Bike Village, they can swim in our pool or play on the jungle gym. Whether you book a camping site, or one of our lodges (some of which have outdoor wood-fired hot tubs), you can be assured that kids will love their time at Summerplace!

WORLD CLASS TRAILS

If you are a mountain biker, then you’ll love our network of world-class mountain bike trails. We have trails to suit all levels of skill and fitness and because we don’t have Big Five animals on the reserve, the riding is safe – although you are likely to encounter wildlife on your rides as we have more than 40 species of large mammals at Summerplace Game Reserve. Find out why mountain bikers love Summerplace here.

MOUNTAIN BIKE HIRE

We have a fleet of high-quality mountain bikes for hire. These include regular bikes and eBikes, making it possible for anyone, even non-mountain bikers, to enjoy the freedom of a bushveld ride. Find out more about our rental bikes here.

ACCOMMODATION TO SUIT ALL BUDGETS

Whether you’re on a tight budget or have no budget limit, there’s top-quality accommodation to suit everyone at Summerplace Game Reserve. From our beautifully maintained campsite under the shady trees to our high-end luxury villa and everything in between, you’ll get the very best Bushveld escape experience. Find out more about our accommodation options here.

ABUNDANCE OF TREES & BIRDS

If you’re dendrophile or an ornithophile, you’ll love the variety of tree and bird species at Summerplace Game Reserve. While it’s situated in the Bushveld, Summerplace Game Reserve also enjoys some elevation, which see a wider range of vegetation and birdlife than most of the region. Find out more about our tree and bird species here.

WIDE VARIETY OF GAME

With over 40 species of large mammals, Summerplace Game Reserve is home to a variety of wildlife. Expect to see many species of antelope, including Kudu, Eland, Sable Antelope, Tsessebe, Roan Antelope, Waterbuck, Impala, Bushbuck, Mountain Reedbuck, Common Reedbuck and more! There are also the visually impactful Giraffe and Zebra as well as elusive creatures, including Pangolin, Aardvark and Leopard. Find out more about our wildlife here.

WE ARE PET-FRIENDLY

Several of our lodges are fenced, making them perfect for pets. It’s not always possible to take your pets away with you, but Summerplace Game Reserve is a fast becoming a favourite pet-friendly game reserve. The pet-friendly lodges are popular, so ensure you secure you Easter Weekend booking soon!

To be honest, there are a lot more than 10 reasons Summerplace Game Reserve is the best place to spend the Easter Weekend, but these are personal and developed by the hundreds and hundreds of guests that keep returning to invest their time in a place where peace is a priority.

To book your accommodation, check out the various options here.

SUMMERPLACE LEADS THE WAY WITH MOUNTAIN BIKE HIRE

Mountain bike hire is a relatively new concept in South Africa, and Summerplace Game Reserve is leading the way. Whether you’re a non-mountain biker just keen to enjoy the experience of riding casually in the bush, a committed rider eager to shred some quality singletrack, or have kids that love being active outdoors, Summerplace has a bike in its rental fleet for you.

If you’re a seasoned mountain biker, hiring a mountain bike is something you generally don’t consider. Firstly, most rental mountain bikes are relatively low-quality hardtails. Secondly, a hire bike feels different to your own bike. And mountain biking confidence requires a reasonably high level of familiarity. All of this was carefully considered when investing in a fleet of rental mountain bikes for Summerplace.

We have a wide range of eBikes, trail bikes and kids bikes for hire at Summerplace.

The other consideration is that Summerplace Game Reserve has a trails network that includes a high volume of challenging climbs. A few hours of riding in the morning can leave you spent for the remainder of the day. And then of course there are those that don’t mountain bike at all, but would like to experience it while visiting one of South Africa’s premier mountain biking destinations…

As a result, the Summerplace Game Reserve mountain bike rental fleet comprises both regular bikes and eBikes. All the bikes are from Specialized, one of the world’s leading performance mountain bike brands and the pacesetter when it comes to eBikes.

We ensure you get the right bike for your ability and fitness level, even if you’re not a mountain biker. We also hire out helmets.

In terms of eBikes, there’s a size curve of Turbo Levos, which are full eBikes. They have a large motor and generous battery range. These are ideal for those who are not conditioned to mountain biking as they offer ample pedalling assistance up steep and long climbs. Then there’s a size curve of Turbo Levo Super Light (SL) eBikes, which are lighter with a small motor, but which ride with the same agility as a regular trail bike.

And then there are Stumpjumper trail bikes. These aren’t eBikes, but regular mountain bikes that are designed to climb smoothly, corner with stability and descend with fervour. The Stumpjumper was chosen because it’s a superb allrounder and easy for anyone to find a good ride feel on the Summerplace Game Reserve trails.

We recently added several youth bikes to our mountain bike rental fleet.

For those who aren’t mountain bikers, but are active and would like to experience our world-class trails network with a good chance of wildlife encounters, you can either choose to self-guide or book one of our local guides for your mountain bike ride. We have marked routes of varying distance that are ideal for self-guided rides and which can deliver a wonderful feeling of adventure in the Waterberg bush. If you’re more into controlled experiences, a guide will ensure you have all the support you may need, allowing you to simply pedal the bike and absorb the experience.

We recently added several youth bikes to our rental fleet. We now offer Specialized Riprock hardtail mountain bikes for hire. Available in 24-inch and 20-inch wheel sizes they’re ideal for kids aged 6-12 years. The Specialized Riprock bikes are designed to give kids confidence and feature a relaxed headtube angle, short stem, Plus-sized tyres, hydraulic disc brakes and single-chainring drivetrain with a wide gear range. Made from A1 Premium Butted Aluminium, the frames are both durable and light, making it an ideal bike for kids to enjoy hours of fun.

Our fleet of rental mountain bikes are kept in excellent condition.

Our rental fees are based on a half-day or full-day system and are reasonable for both local and international guests. Our bikes are kept in exceptional condition with regular servicing and maintenance and our experienced staff will ensure you are set up correctly as well as educate you on the controls, brakes and gearing of your rental bike before you begin your ride.

Our rental bikes all have flat pedals, but you can bring your own pedals and swap should you be intending to hire a bike while visiting.

For more details on our mountain bike rental options, click here.

We have an expansive trails network that is suited to all levels of mountain biker. You can examine the details on our Trailforks Profile Page here.

VALUE-FOR-MONEY ACCOMMODATION AT SUMMERPLACE

Regardless of our budget we all want value-for-money holiday accommodation in South Africa. That’s why we have three levels of accommodation at Summerplace Game Reserve. Here’s a breakdown of our comfortable bushveld escape accommodation that’s just a short drive from Gauteng.

Budget: R180 per person per night

BRETT’S CAMPSITE

Our recently expanded campsite is located on a largely flat surface beneath a canopy of shady trees. There are electricity points spread throughout the campsite as well as recently added modern ablution blocks, which offer separate male and female toilets and hot showers as well as communal dishwashing space. There are also portable braais. Catering for caravans, trailer tents or regular tents, Brett’s Campsite is near to the Bike Village, where food and beverages can be purchased and where a swimming pool and other amenities for campers are available.

To find out more or book, click here.

Budget: R550-R650 per person per night

THE SHED

The Shed comprises three self-catering units that are separate, but which can also be combined to accommodate a small group. Sheds 1 and 3 are two-bedroom, four-sleepers, while Shed 2 is a one-bedroom two-sleeper. Each unit has its own bathroom. There’s a veranda space for each unit for outdoor relaxation as well as access to a large boma and firepit. The Shed apartments all have uncapped Wi-Fi, power is via solar and hot water is generated by gas. If you are on a budget but need to escape to the bush from the city, The Shed is your sanctuary.

To find out more or book The Shed 1 or 3, click here.

To find out more or book The Shed 2, click here.

NEW WINE

New Wine is a two-bedroom, four-sleeper self-catering home. Although adjacent to The Shed, it faces the bush on the base of Marula Hill and is private with its own veranda, outdoor fire pit and wood-fired hot tub. The open-plan living room and kitchen area is spacious and comfortable for indoor relaxation. New Wine has uncapped Wi-Fi, power is via solar and hot water is generated by gas. New Wine offers incredible bang-for-your-buck bushveld accommodation.

New Wine is fenced and pet friendly.

To find out more or book, click here.

MARULA COTTAGE

This free-standing self-catering two-bedroom, four-sleeper cottage has one of the best vistas at Summerplace Game Reserve. Located about 500 metres from the Bike Village, Marula Cottage has a veranda with a view over the grassy plain that we call ‘Summergeti’, where wild animals regularly gather to graze or rest. Beyond that is the classic bushveld vegetation with the highest peaks of Summerplace’s hills on the skyline. Marula Cottage is private with its own fire pit and boma and a wood-fired hot tub. The open-plan living room and kitchen area is spacious and comfortable for indoor relaxation. It has a bath and a shower. Marula Cottage has uncapped Wi-Fi, power is via solar and hot water is generated by gas. Ideal for a small family getaway.

Marula Cottage is fenced and pet friendly.

To find out more or book, click here.

YORKS VIEW

This six-bedroom, 12-sleeper lodge is located on the north-eastern high ground of Summerplace Gamer Reserve, delivering spectacular views of the reserve and the Waterberg. There are four bathrooms, a large comfortable living room and modern kitchen, making this an ideal group booking lodge. Yorks View is ideal for outdoor relaxation and entertainment with a generous wraparound veranda, swimming pool, boma, fire pit and wood-fired hot tub. There’s uncapped Wi-Fi, solar power and gas-generated hot water. This is the ideal bush escape accommodation for families or groups of friends.

Yorks View is fenced and pet friendly.

To find out more or book, click here.

Budget: R875-R1050 per person per night

ROSEMARY COTTAGE

This spacious three-bedroom, six-sleeper bush lodge has recently been upgraded to offer a tranquil bush escape. Each bedroom has an ensuite bathroom one of which includes a bath. Located close to the Bike Village, this comfortable unit is also right at the start of the mountain biking and running trails and adjacent to the tennis court. There’s a covered veranda and a wood-fired hot tub for outdoor relaxation; and there’s uncapped Wi-Fi, solar power and gas-generated hot water. Rosemary Cottage is the ideal accommodation for active families and friend groups looking to get away from the city.

Rosemary Cottage is fenced and pet friendly.

To find out more or book, click here.

SARINGA

This luxurious couples retreat is one of our new lodges, featuring modern design to capture the natural light and wilderness sounds of the Waterberg. Set against Marula Hill with uninterrupted views of the bush and Waterberg peaks, Saringa is a stunning destination for couples looking for privacy and space. Built as a self-catering lodge, it includes a comfortable open-plan kitchen and living area with fireplace. There’s a covered veranda and wood-fired hot tub as well as uncapped Wi-Fi, solar power and gas geysers. Saringa is the perfect romantic getaway close to Pretoria and Johannesburg.

To find out more or book, click here.

BUSHWILLOW

This modern two-bedroom four-sleeper lodge is designed to offer ample space and stunning views of Summerplace Game Reserve. The bedrooms each have an en-suite bathroom, one of which also has an outdoor shower. For outdoor relaxation, there’s a large, covered veranda, fire pit and a wood-fired hot tub. The spacious living area includes a modern kitchen and comfortable lounge with fireplace. Bushwillow also offers uncapped Wi-Fi, solar power and gas-heated geysers. Bushwillow offers classy accommodation for a weekend away with friends or a small family.

To find out more or book, click here.

SUMMERHILL

Designed to accommodate large groups OR offer separate mini-lodges, Summerhill is the ultimate modern bush lodge. Set on the south-facing slope of Marula Hill, Summerhill features a large living and dining room with full kitchen and scullery. A generous covered veranda offers ample outdoor relaxation and dining space, while a built-in braai, fire pit, swimming pool, tanning deck and wood-fired hot tub complete the outdoor facilities. There are two two-sleeper units and two four-sleeper units, each with its own kitchenette and bathroom with outdoor shower option. Summerhill is the perfect venue for small business conferences or social group getaways.

To find out more or book, click here.

Located in the Waterberg, Limpopo, Summerplace Game Reserve is a 2-hour 15-minute drive from Pretoria and less than 3 hours from Johannesburg. Although all accommodation is self-catering, tasty meals can be ordered in advance to give you a break from cooking to focus on relaxing! Our activities include game drives, bush walks, hiking, trail-running, mountain biking and tennis. We have more than 40 species of large mammals making for regular, exciting wildlife encounters while exploring our reserve.

BIKE HUB FEATURES SUMMERPLACE

While many Gauteng and Limpopo mountain bikers know about Summerplace Game Reserve, we’re still growing our awareness nationally as a premier mountain biking destination. Coverage in the various South African media helps us grow this awareness. Recently, we hosted Bike Hub, South Africa’s largest cycling media. Here’s how that went…

Bike Hub is a digital media that includes a very popular classified buy-and-sell section, a well-known discussion forum and an articles section that carries current South African cycling industry content. One of Bike Hub’s strong regular features is Trail Daze, a mountain biking destination or trail feature that’s visually weighted to offer superb imagery of mountain bikers riding and enjoying a featured destination.

Started by world-class photographer, Ewald Sadie in 2015, Trail Daze ran for three years until 2017. At the time, mountain biking in South Africa was heavily racing focused and Trail Daze showed the more recreational trail-riding culture, which has become more prevalent these days.

“We used to have a new edition of Trail Daze every two months and then it almost became monthly for a while. But I am a freelancer and my workload changed and I took a break from Trail Daze,” explained Sadie.

The Covid-19 related lockdown by the South African government essentially banned racing but boosted riding and saw the growth of many more trails parks in South Africa. That, along with a partnership from Mercedes Benz and Maxxis Tyres, helped Sadie and Bike Hub revive Trail Daze in 2023.

“We’re calling it Trail Daze 2.0. It’s a great way to shine a light on different places to ride in South Africa as well as pay some homage to the trailbuilders who put in so much time and effort to create trails networks that bring so much joy and satisfaction to mountain bikers,” said Sadie during his visit to Summerplace.

“It was a first for me to ride my bike in a game reserve, and it didn’t disappoint. Riding among wildlife and being on the lookout for animals is a totally different experience of mountain biking. And it’s not just sandy jeep tracks either as most people would assume – Dave and his team have done a stellar job building some proper trails. Then there’s the five-star hospitality and accommodation to round off the entire experience,” said Sadie.

Sadie keeps the Trail Daze human complement lean, usually just himself and two riders. But this trip to Summerplace Game Reserve was slightly different and Kylie Hanekom, Content Manager at Bike Hub, joined him.

“Summerplace Game Reserve is a hidden gem. It offers a complete mountain bike experience, from a range of accommodation options, to bike rentals, and endless kilometres of fun, flowing trails.

“It is some of the best and most diverse riding I have experienced in a long time. It is such a privilege to be able ride amongst free-roaming game and experience the diverse vegetation of the Limpopo province on both raw and beautifully manicured Bushveld trails. Coming from the Western Cape it was an unforgettable experience.

“The Baber family make the Bike Village feel like a home away from home, and Dave is an absolute magician of a trail-builder. He works with the land and existing natural features to build trails that are both safe and technical, so that the fun factor dials up exponentially the faster you go. I haven’t had a smile like that on my face on a mountain bike in a long time, and I will be back to ride everything I missed out on this time around,” said Hanekom.

The two riders selected to feature in this edition of Trail Daze were both from Gauteng. Sam Bull, former Downhill racer and Managing Director of Rush Sports, the South African distributor of brands that include Santa Cruz bikes and Maxxis tyres; and Cade Badenhorst, a 17-year-old junior Enduro racer who is a Specialized ambassador.

With daytime temperatures in the mid-to-high 30s, the Trail Daze shoots were limited to early morning and late afternoon. Sadie’s objective was to showcase the variety of trails as well as feature the Bushveld landscape, which is mostly hilly and covered in small- to medium-sized trees with patches of savannah grassland. One of the main attractions at Summerplace Game Reserve is wildlife encounters and he was able to capture that too.

To check out the Trail Daze Summerplace Game Reserve feature on Bike Hub, click here.

SIX REASONS YOUR KID SHOULD ATTEND OUR MTB TRAINING CAMP

The seventh annual Waterberg Training Camp will take place at Summerplace Game Reserve in January 2024. Based on the popularity of these camps, they have proven to be a great way for families to experience a weekend away and for kids to improve their skills knowledge and confidence on their mountain bikes. Here’s why you should book soon!

In a world where electronic screens are more attractive than ever, the importance of kids finding balance and having fun outdoors away from screens is growing. But how do you get a kid to leave his/her highly engaging screen attraction and spend time outside. By making it fun, that’s how. A kid that’s in control of his/her mountain bike is going to try more things, have more fun and spend more time riding.

We live in a country with a generally temperate climate, ideal for outdoor activities all year round. So, it makes sense to ensure your kids have healthy outdoor time. School sport plays a big part of this, but during school holidays, riding mountain bikes is a great way to keep kids engaged outside. Our Waterberg Training Camp is designed to give your kids an increased level of competence on a mountain bike. Here’s what you can expect:

A fun weekend away

Starting on Friday 12 January and concluding on Sunday 14 January, the Waterberg Training Camp includes two nights and three days, which means a weekend away. This usually sees the whole family embrace the opportunity to have a final summer holiday excursion. We offer a range of self-catering accommodation – from camping to luxury lodges – to suit all budgets and Summerplace Game Reserve is only a 2hr15min drive from Pretoria and less than 3 hours from Joburg.

A structured programme

The Waterberg Training Camp at Summerplace follows a structured programme. This ensures that each rider gets equal amounts of time learning each skill as we rotate the groups between the main skills that are on the roster. While there is a pre-set programme, it does include down time, which allows the kids to ride freely too and implement what they have learned.

Qualified instructors

The Waterberg Training Camp has multiple qualified skills instructors. They have completed one or more of the PMBIA courses to a global industry certification standard and each has experience in skills instruction and ride-guiding, so they are able to quickly identify any poor form and help the riders work on improvement. Our instructors all have experience working with youth.

Meals are included

There are three daily meals included in the fee for the Waterberg Training Camp – breakfast, lunch and dinner. These are simple, but wholesome meals prepared at the Summerplace Game Reserve Bike Village and are available for youth camp participants and their families. A separate meal-only fee is payable for those not doing the skills camp training.

It’s social

Our Waterberg Training Camps attract kids from various provinces. Being placed in small groups helps the kids make new friends and form shared bonds with others. This social interaction is important for kids, especially in a post-Covid world where in-person engagement was restricted. Friendships started through a shared passion such as mountain biking are enduring.

World-class MTB venue

Summerplace Game Reserve is a world-class mountain biking venue. The trails are built, marked and maintained by a full-time crew. There are trails to suit all levels of mountain biker and the skills area in front of the Bike Village has been designed specifically to help develop confidence and progression on popular trail features, such as rocky roll-downs, small drop-offs, small jumps and berms.

To find out more, or to book for the 2024 Waterberg Training Camp at Summerplace Game Reserve, click here.

GREY ROUTE GETS A SPECIAL EXTENSION

There’s been a great deal of work by our trails team under the leadership of master trail-builder, David Baber, at Summerplace recently. More than 10km of new trail have been added to the Grey Route, including the revival of an old trail on one of the most scenic sections of the reserve.

The creation of routes has been a focus of David’s in 2023. While Summerplace has many superb trails, the joining of them to form marked routes satisfies the self-guided riding culture that most South African mountain bikers are accustomed to. There are currently six routes: Green (11km), Orange (15km), Blue (18km), Red (25km), Grey (28km) and Black (32km). Some adjustments will be made to Black in the near future to incorporate a new Purple Route.

The extension to the original Grey Route sees the distance increase from 16.1km to 28km. The new section is made up primarily of The Amber Trail. The Amber Trail was completed in September 2023 and it comprises three sections. It is named in memory of Amber Crouse, a dear friend of Summerplace who passed away earlier this year.

Amber Trail 1 is predominantly a climb over 1.7km. This is followed by Amber Trail 2, a 2.4km section that includes some of the gravel roads, but has a new section of singletrack with great views over the south of the reserve. And then there’s Amber Trail 3, which is a highly engaging 3.1km section near Yorks View that’s almost entirely singletrack.

The Grey Route extension now uses the Sunrise Trail to reach a different conclusion.

The original Grey Route finished either down Summerflow (or the main gravel road), but David has revived a section of the original Fired Earth Trail and called it Sunrise, which is now used to take the Grey Route to a new finish.

“I completed the full route of the new Grey in around 90 minutes recently. It’s got some really good climbs and descents early on and then the gradient eases a bit to make the last half a little less taxing,” said David.

“It’s an ideal route for those who have good conditioning and intermediate to advanced skill levels. It’s designed in a way that you can leave one or more sections out if you want to modify your ride. But overall, it’s both challenging and rewarding and I really like that it now has a different finish that includes the new Sunrise trail,” he added.

The new full Grey Route will be uploaded to Trailforks soon, but it is marked with arrows and ready to ride.

SUMMERPLACE: A FAVOURITE DESTINATION FOR MTB CLUBS & BRANDS

Word is getting out about Summerplace Game Reserve being a premier mountain biking destination. Several clubs and bike brands have recently spent – or will be spending – a few days enjoying our trails. Here’s why…

Lynnwood Cycling Club has regular Summerplace Game Reserve weekends where club members bring their families to enjoy a weekend in the bush. The mountain bikers in the family get to ride with the planned group rides and the non-riding family members get to also enjoy the escape to the Waterberg.

Most kids spend hours and hours riding on the flowy trails in front of the Bike Village in sight of their parents, pausing occasionally to have a cooldrink or a dip in the swimming pool. The scheduled brunch and dinner at the Bike Village gives all members of the group a chance to socialise and get to know each other better.

Lynnwood Cycling Club has already held two weekends at Summerplace this year and will hold another in early November.

South African mountain bike brand Pyga hosted its annual Trail Daze event at Summerplace Game Reserve in September. The three-night, four-day event included three meals a day and two riding sessions. Those who attended were current Pyga owners and potential Pyga buyers. It was an opportunity for riders to try out different Pyga models and the varied trails and terrain were ideal for this purpose.

“One of the most outstanding riding experiences in the world. Sensational trails meet luxury accommodation, incredible service and wonderful food capped an awesome weekend! Thanks ever so much Summerplace Team,” remarked Richard Crouse of Pyga.

A group from Specialized South Africa also spent a few days at Summerplace in September. It was an all-employee group, most of whom had not ridden at Summerplace Game Reserve before. They thoroughly enjoyed putting their Turbo Levo SL bikes through their paces on our long climbs and stimulating Enduro line descents.

“The venue is amazing, the trails and variation were top notch and the personal touch from Dave, Simone, Jo and team was the icing on the cake. Tim from Specialized in Stellenbosch was sad that he had to go home – and you know how good his local trails are!” remarked Scott McKenzie, owner of Complete Cyclist, a Specialized store in Johannesburg.

In late September Johannesburg Mountain Bicycle Club (JMBC) returned to Summerplace with a large group. With hot and windy conditions, they were wise to start their rides early, but got to enjoy the soft sunrise light on our vegetation, which is showing signs of spring with green leaves on many trees.

Other cycling groups scheduled to spend time at Summerplace soon are Cycle Lab Active Women (CLAW), a women-only group from Johannesburg and Club 100, another Johannesburg-based club that’s returning after previous visits to enjoy our trails, tranquility and hospitality.

“With the addition of new trails and the creation of marked routes over the winter months, Summerplace is now even more appealing to mountain bikers,” said David Baber, landowner and trailbuilder at Summerplace Game Reserve.

“What we are seeing is that clubs and riding groups enjoy being able to do self-guided rides by following one or more of our marked routes to suit their fitness and skill level. Some mountain bike groups split their riders into stronger and weaker groups and set off at the same time. This ensures that all the riders get to do a ride that’s challenging and rewarding but not outside of their ability,” added Baber.

While the mountain bike group guests are spread though the various accommodation options at Summerplace, they use the Bike Village as their base. The Bike Village offers everything you would expect from a mountain bike trailhead, including comfortable indoor and outdoor seating, tables for meal times, high quality coffee, a range of cold beverages, including alcohol, uncapped WiFi and clean ablutions that include hot showers.

Summerplace Game Reserve occupies 3500 hectares of wilderness land in the Waterberg Biosphere. Besides the exceptionally high level of safety for visitors, regular encounters with wildlife on the reserve are hugely appealing. There are more than 40 species of large mammal, including Giraffe, Zebra, Wildebeest, Leopard, Eland, Roan Antelope, Kudu, Sable Antelope, Tsessebe and many more.

To book your mountain bike group getaway at Summerplace Game Reserve, send a message via WhatsApp to 083 3025123 or email bookings@summerplacegamereserve.com

WHY MOUNTAIN BIKERS LOVE SUMMERPLACE GAME RESERVE

More and more South African mountain bikers are discovering the gem that is Summerplace Game Reserve. And they’re returning for more. What is it about this Waterberg mountain bike trails venue, a short drive from Pretoria, that’s made it into one of South Africa’s premier mountain biking destinations? Here’s what…

Beautiful wilderness trails

There are more than 100km of incredible mountain bike trails at Summerplace Game Reserve. The trails network is still expanding and delivers a stimulating experience for all mountain bikers, from Beginner to Advanced. The mountain bike trails climb and descend the slopes of the Waterberg and are both challenging and rewarding, offering mountain bikers an opportunity to experience unspoiled natural beauty with flourishing Bushveld vegetation, indigenous birdlife, a range of wildlife and incredible views.

Hand-built and well-maintained trails

David Baber, the landowner and expert trail-builder has meticulously built all the trails at Summerplace Game Reserve using the existing natural features of the Waterberg to deliver trails that have flow and are fun to ride. As an accomplished mountain biker, David understands how to make the most of the gradient, rocks and gulleys to deliver one of the best mountain bike trails networks in South Africa. There is a full-time trails team that helps David to hand-build the trails and which ensures the trails are maintained all year round.

Range of trails to suit all mountain bikers

The trails at Summerplace have evolved to cater for all skill levels and the various fitness levels of mountain bikers. Beginner mountain bikers can cruise on the various gravel roads, while Novice mountain bikers will enjoy the tame, but stimulating singletrack close to the trailhead. Intermediate mountain bikers have a large range of trails and routes to choose from, while Experienced mountain bikers will love the ample challenging singletrack climbs and descents that Summerplace is well known for.

Ride routes or create your own

Some mountain bikers like to ride set routes and others like to be more spontaneous on their rides. Summerplace is ideal for both in that it offers marked and measured routes, which are denoted by coloured directional arrows. It’s also easy to ride a combination of specific trails using linking trails. For example, Enduro-focussed mountain bikers like to ride the Enduro lines, whereas marathon and stage-race mountain bikers like to cover ample distance on their rides.

It’s a safe place to ride a mountain bike

Mountain bikers at Summerplace often remark on how safe they feel. Besides being far from any main roads or urban settlements, Summerplace Game Reserve has a secure perimeter fence that is monitored by cameras. There are also regular patrols done through the reserve and surrounds by the local security company.

Wildlife encounters

Because Summerplace Game Reserve has more than 40 species of large mammals, your chances of wildlife encounters while on a mountain bike ride are high. Mountain bikers often encounter Roan Antelope, Sable Antelope, Kudu, Zebra and Giraffe. There have also been recent sightings of Leopard by mountain bikers.

The Bike Village is geared for mountain bikers

By nature, mountain biking is highly social. The Bike Village, which is the trailhead at Summerplace, has developed around the mountain biking culture. There’s ample comfortable seating indoors and outdoors as well as plenty of space for mountain bikes. There is a bike wash facility, free uncapped Wi-Fi (for post-ride uploads to Strava and Instagram), a pump to inflate tyres and high-quality coffee and cold beer to purchase. There are also excellent toilet and shower facilities and DSTV where local and international bicycle racing content is prioritised. Mountain bikers enjoy gathering at the Bike Village to watch live UCI World Cup XCO and Downhill racing.

Bikes and helmets to hire

Summerplace Game Reserve invested in a fleet of mountain bikes for rental. There are 10 eBikes, which are a blend of Specialized Turbo Levo (full eBike) and Specialized Turbo Levo SL (light eBike) and three Specialized Stumpjumper regular bikes. All the bikes are full suspension and there is a range of sizes. Specialized helmets are available to hire with the bike.

Trail guides and skills instructors

Many of the Summerplace staff members are mountain bikers. Several have completed the PMBI mountain bike skills-coaching and mountain bike trail-guiding course, so are qualified to offer skills lessons and/or guided rides.

Ideal for family breaks

Many mountain bikers take their family to Summerplace because it’s ideal for family getaways. It’s in the bush, but the large well-kept lawns and fun, flowy bits of trail in front of the Bike Village encourages kids to ride their bikes. For lodges that don’t have a swimming pool or hot/cold tub, there’s a plunge pool at the Bike Village, which also has uncapped Wi-Fi, great coffee, cold soft drinks, cold alcoholic beverages and DSTV.

Hosted top mountain bike events

Summerplace Game Reserve has successfully hosted several high-profile mountain bike racing events. In 2022 and 2023 a round of the South African XCO Cup that carried UCI grading status was hosted at Summerplace, attracting the country’s top XCO racers, including world-class performers, Alan Hatherly and Candice Lill. In 2022 Summerplace hosted a round of the Provincial Enduro Series for Gauteng, North West and Limpopo. And in 2023 it hosted a round of the SA Enduro Series.

Will be hosting more high-profile mountain bike races

In 2024, Summerplace will host the Glacier Waterberg Traverse, a three-day mountain bike stage race, organised by Dryland Event Management. Summerplace will also host a round of the 2024 South African Enduro Series, which will carry UCI grading status. There will also be a round of the South African Downhill Series hosted at Summerplace in 2024. The inaugural Waterberg Biosphere Bundu Bash will also be hosted at Summerplace Game Reserve in 2024. This event includes mountain biking over three different distances.

Range of accommodation to suit all budgets

Although it’s possible, day visits for mountain bikers are rare. Most mountain bikers book accommodation in order to make the most of the Summerplace mountain biking experience. There is a wide range of accommodation at Summerplace Game Reserve, ranging from camping through to luxury bush lodges. The accommodation is suited to the needs of mountain bikers.

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