South Africans love spending time outdoors and cycling is a popular pastime in Pretoria, especially mountain biking. While there are many cycling routes and mountain-bike trails speckled all across the city, below are some of the most spectacular places to cycle in the capital city.
Fort Klapperkop and Johann Rissik Scenic Drive
Johann Rissik Drive is roughly 4km (2.5 miles) long and meanders through the beautiful suburb of Waterkloof towards Fort Klapperkop. It starts out relatively level when coming from this side, but a gradual incline soon leads to the top of the hill with absolutely stunning 360-degree views over the city. The road then winds through the nature reserve with many viewpoints along the way and the opportunity to see zebra, blue wildebeest, smaller mammals such as hares and hedgehogs, and a variety of birds. A steep descent leads to the R21 highway.
A variety of mountain bike and road cycling trails can be found inside the Voortrekker Monument nature reserve. Trails from under 3km (1.8 miles) to over 10km (6.2 miles) cater for both beginners and more advanced cyclists. Panoramic vistas over Pretoria and Johannesburg, along with the chance to encounter game around every corner, make this a stunning place to cycle.
Groenkloof nature reserve
Experienced mountain bikers will love the difficult 20km (12.4 mile) route through the rocky terrain of the Groenkloof nature reserve. Relentless heat and steep ascents and descents make this a tough challenge, but worthwhile when the chance to spot giraffes, kudu, ostriches and many more safari animals are on the cards.
Rigel Avenue towards Florence Ribeiro Avenue
At the top if the hill where Rigel Avenue turns northwards and becomes Florence Ribeiro Avenue in the leafy suburb of Groenkloof, the road descends dramatically to provide the cyclist with a 4km (2.5 mile) downhill that culminates with an amazing view of the Union Buildings. Come in September, when the road is lined with purple jacaranda flowers and the air is heavy with their sweet, heady scent.