Its’ cool out as we set off along !Khwa ttu’s new 30km mountain bike trail on the Cape West Coast.
We follow a single track past several water holes, startling busy birds and a herd of zebra finishing their morning drink. Amazingly they run along with us. We pass a replica San village where I see San guides showing visitors how to make fire in a traditional manner. I wander what it must have been like to hunt with bow and arrow and gather plants for medicine. I’m brought sharply back to the present as the trail drops some 20 metres down a granite rock face to a water hole below. My adventurous companions kick up their heels with glee and drop down the boulder. I opt for the gentler option, mindful of the safety brief not to go beyond our capability.
After 10km we reach the end of the circular green route and decide to continue along the 20km red route. We cross the ramp over the 2.5 metre high game fence onto a neighbouring farm, and follow the red arrows uphill and down dale, across bridges, past wheat fields and up into the Ormonde vineyards above Darling. The views grow ever more spectacular as we climb. Table Mountain, Dassen Island, Langebaan Lagoon and the rolling hills of Darling reveal themselves as the morning mist lifts. All together we climb about 800 metres to the turning point at “Miena se Klip”. I take a well-earned breather, while my companions try out the more technical loops for advanced riders. Break over, I set off down the hill at a fast lick, circling back to !Khwa ttu. We head straight to the restaurant for lunch, eager to sample some of the Ormonde wine and !Khwa ttu’s signature Eland burger. All I need after this is a sleep – perhaps next time we’ll come for the weekend and try out the luxury tented camp or one of the lovely guesthouses.
By Michael Daiber