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MTB Races across Provinces: A Guide to the best races in SA

MTB Races across Provinces: A Guide to the best races in SA

MTB (Mountain biking) Races is soaring in popularity as a part-time sport for nature-loving adventure enthusiasts. There are so many great events to choose from in a country with as diverse a landscape as South Africa.

We tried to mention as many as we could for each province, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. We chose to focus on the provinces with established events and included a few smaller races as well.

It’s exciting and inspiring to see how many great races there are to choose from and how passionate the organizers are – there really is no better time to be an MTBer!


First up is the province synonymous with lush scenes of rolling hills and exhilarating single tracks.

Illovo Wartburg Classic

An MTB and Trail Run event through sugar cane, gravel roads and woodlands at the Wartburg Kirchdorf School. Distances range from 10km – 65km, riders can also enter for the multi-sport option and complete a run of either 7 or 14km with a cycle of 25km.


joberg2c is a 900km, 9-day, 110% mountain bike adventure across four provinces of South Africa. It is 99.5% off-road, passing through 220 private farms with more than 280km of single-track trails.”

This popular race is now in its 11th year and keeps getting better. Ride from Johannesburg to Scottburgh in KZN and enjoy an experience of South Africa like no other.

New Hanover MTB & Trail

Another well-organised MTB and Trail Run event with German-style food and markets at New Hanover Preparatory School. Distances from 10km to 65km, with multi-event options as well.


The event begins on a small sheep farm near…the Sani Pass in the southern Drakensberg…across a section of the KZN Midlands mist belt, riders traverse scenic dairy and timber farms, glide through indigenous forests and…down a breath-taking pass into the Umkomaas Valley…criss-crossing a nature reserve and sugar cane farms…onto the shores of the Indian Ocean.”

The event covers 265 kilometers over three days, with different race options to suit your fitness and experience level. Sani2c is a spectacular way to see the beauty of the province and the well-organized event has an emphasis on giving back to the community to the benefit of local charities, schools, and small businesses all along the route. 

Sappi Karkloof Classic

Another MTB and Trail Run event including Enduro and two untimed races of 20km and 45km. Riders also enjoy the option of a 9km or 21km trail run through gorgeous KZN landscape.

Grindrod Bank Berg & Bush

Three consecutive racing events consisting of:

Tour & Trail Run – a three-day 166km trail ride over three days, through natural bush and a climb up Drakensberg passes and descents down to the banks of the Tugela River.

2-Day – a relaxed and sociable trail ride with easy distances of 50km and 60km spread over two days.

The Descent – a challenging endurance race set over three days and 214kms of exhilarating and free-flowing tracks.

Kamberg Classic

An MTB and Trail Run in Kamberg, cycling distances range from 25km to 60km for the whole family to enjoy. Entry includes a burger, beer, and Saturday night movie screening.


Ah, The Place of the Rising Sun. Ours is a province abundant with trails and beautiful single tracks to satisfy even the most experienced rider. We have everything you could want when it comes to great weather, challenging trails, friendly communities, and lush landscapes.

The Sabie Classic

A well-known, long-running one day event with distances of 10km, 19km, 40km, and 65km. The Sabie Classic is an exceptionally well-organized event that has been around for years.

MTB Races

The Sabie Xperience

Another gem in the list of Sabie stage races. This is a three-day event that promises a weekend of family fun and entertainment with craft stalls, beer and gin tasting, short kids’ rides, and live entertainment. Each entrant gets a discount voucher booklet to encourage riders and their families to explore the picturesque landscape and small-town hospitality that Sabie and the surrounding towns offer.

The Barberton XCM Mountain Bike Challenge

Become a #daisywarrior by completing one of the many distances to choose from, starting at 20km all the way up to a 110km ultra marathon.


The Herald Cycle Tour

A renowned cycle race that beckons professionals and beginners alike. Distance options include 30km, 60km, and 80km, as well as short rides for juniors and toddlers. Enjoy scenic views from gravel roads through orchards and single-track climbs up the Zuurberg Mountains.

Bay By Bike

Ride through mountain bike trails of 10km, 20km, and 40km within Baywest Trails and Norm Hudlin Trails in Port Elizabeth.

Nanagu MTB

A race set in the Cacadu District held in support of the Sunshine Coast Charity Trust. Enjoy varying distances from 5km – 50km.

The Cabbage Patch

A festive, family-oriented MTB and Trail Run event held in Komga with a 20km and 40km race and 15km run/walk.


A three-day Karoo MTB adventure covering a total distance of 210km in the Steynsburg region. Ride solo, in a team of 2, or bring a non-riding partner to enjoy classic Karoo hospitality.

The Investec Great Kei Trek

Three different rides over three days with a total of 180km.

Exciting visits will include the picturesque Bayview FarmOppie Plaas, a charming country restaurant, the Haga Haga HotelTrennerysSeagulls, the now infamous Bushpig, the Shed, and if you are up to it, a shebeen or two on the way. And for good measure, the Kei Mouth Golf Course.”

PWC Great Zuurburg Trek

Three days of “boutique-style” mountain biking in the Addo region of the Eastern Cape.

Traversing five of the province’s seven biomes, the three-day 200km
ride epitomises true mountain biking with an unashamedly luxurious twist.
This is where the soul finds freedom, wild elephants roam
and the scent of citrus blossoms fills the air.”

VCS First Choice Classic

A family fundraising event hosted by Victory Christian School in Jeffrey’s Bay. Events include a 50km, 25km, and 10km MTB ride and 10km/5km trail run.

Trans Elands MTB Marathon

“SA’s TOUGHEST 100-miler”. Cover distances of 160km, 60km, and 25km taking in scenic views of the Gamtoos River Valley farmlands.

The Icons Journey Marathon

Hike, cycle, and run over the former Transkei homelands of some of the freedom fighters while channelling your inner hero.

The only way to finish this race is by tapping into your inner icon.”


The Western Cape is undoubtedly the mecca of mountain biking, with unlimited scenic routes and no shortage of cycling enthusiasts. We’d be remiss if we tried to distil its worthy cycle races to three or four to fit our list, so we’ll leave you with a comprehensive race event list here.


The Northern Cape isn’t the first place you’d think of when you’re looking for MTB events, but it has an alluring beauty of its own. The arid semi-desert with its rocky outcrops, dusty landscapes, and stunning Spring flowers is fast becoming a popular destination for world-class racing events.

The Tanqua Kuru Bicycle Race

A two-day gravel road race through the vast Tankwa Karoo landscape. Riders can expect a lot more on offer than just a race; the itinerary includes art tours, boma dinners, leisurely lunches, farm breakfasts, sundowners, and storytelling.

The Trans-Augrabies MTB

An intense three-day stage race covering a total distance of 260km over gruelling terrain over the Green Kalahari region.

The Namaqua Quest

A three-day mountain bike and trail run event through the breath-taking landscape of Namaqualand. The race accommodates all experience and fitness levels with two distances to choose from every day, as well as giving the option to choose either running or cycling, or both.

The Dorperland MTB Challenge

Another challenging gravel race that promises to put riders to the test in the arid Northern Cape climate. Cover a total of 91kms through Kenhardt, the “…hart van Dorperland.” Bring the whole family to enjoy teen and kiddies’ rides.


Sondela Bela Bela Gravel and MTB Race

Choose from varying distances to suit any fitness and experience level. A family event held in the Sondela Nature Reserve.

The Mooketsi MTB Challenge

A family-friendly race in the Koedoes Valley, with distances of 10km, 40km, and 75km. There is a also a 5km fun run for those who aren’t so keen on the bike thing.

When it comes to mountain biking, South Africa is spoilt for choice. From the rugged trails, to the lush forests, and the vast open spaces, there is something for everyone when it comes to MTB racing in South Africa. So whether you’re looking to test yourself against some of the country’s best riders, or just want to enjoy a weekend ride with friends – Be sure to try them all out.

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