High on the list of spectacular cycling routes is Giba Gorge. The gorge, which runs through forests and waterfalls, offers everything from quiet hikes to horse riding trails but its main attraction is its mountain bike park. It features everything from beginner to out-of-your-mind trails and there’s even an obstacle course if you need to show off. If you ride all the trails without deviating, you can cover as much as 35 kilometres. Beside the obvious space and quiet the park provides, it also contains some of the most beautiful natural scenery to ride through.
Since the Fifa World Cup in 2010, Durban’s beachfront promenade has become a star attraction for the city’s fitness enthusiasts. Joggers, skaters and of course, cyclists dot the promenade, especially during sunrise and sunset hours. The ride from South Beach to Blue Lagoon, or Umgeni River Bird Park if you’re up for it, offers spectacular scenery of the Indian Ocean on Durban’s Golden Mile. You will also find a bike hire spot right next to the Skate Park in North Beach where you can hire bikes for both children and adults. You can also book a guided bicycle tour of the promenade here.
Shongweni Dam and Game Reserve is just 30 minutes out of Durban. While there are hikes and canoeing, there is also a mountain bike path trail where you will have the perfect opportunity to break out a sweat and also spot some local wildlife like kudu, buffalo, waterbuck, giraffe, ostriches and warthogs. The reserve offers lodges and camping sites for those who wish to stay over. You can also do a guided bicycle tour spotting game in the reserve though here.
Stainbank Nature Reserve
The Stainbank Nature Reserve is nestled in the residential suburb of Yellowwood Park approximately 14 kilometres from Durban’s city centre and has trails for walking, hiking as well as cycling. The trails consist of gravel and sand which is great for cycling. This cycling route makes a loop from the main gate, takes a left soon after a gate and goes for about four kilometres up past a picnic area and then past a castle back down to the main gate. There are well-maintained grassy paths branching off from the road which allow for a closer experience of the amazing flora and fauna in the reserve. The reserve also has four sections of single track for the more adventurous mountain biker. The Idube Trail is the least technical section of single track and makes for great cycling or hiking under the canopy, right in the heart of the trees, bush and shrubs.
If you’re feeling up to the challenge you can also make your way up the Dolphin Coast toward Ballito. This holiday town, 40 kilometres north of Durban, has a number of cycling routes. For cycle tourists, there’s a scenic 35-kilometre cruise to Ballito, and riders will enjoy the downhill sections for a large portion of the way. The quiet, tarred road at the end of the ride leads to a refreshing dip in the sea. For off-road riders, there’s a 7km jeep track down the valley, which is sandwiched between cane fields and gum-tree plantations. This road eventually joins up with the dirt road to Umhlali. You can find out more about the trails here.