Arguably the premiere riding destination in South Africa, Karkloof has developed a reputation for beautifully crafted single track, largely due to the efforts of one Hylton Turvey, but it has a much longer history than you realize.
Trail: 9/10 Facilities: 7/10
“I think I got my first bike in 1984, purely by mistake. I went into the bike shop Hattons, which is still there. The guys where looking at this bike in the shop and before I knew it, I had put my money on the counter"- Derek Turvey, Karkloof pioneer.
Karkloof is one of those places that most mountain bikers have heard of, and generally it is spoken of in a “must ride there” kind of way. I suppose its sort of like our version of Whistler. If you ride mountain bikes, you know you should make the effort to go there one day, and you know what, you should, because it may just be the best trails in SA.
Races like the hugely popular Sappi Karkloof Classic have obviously done a great job to promote the area, building awesome trails for the event, and the result is that you can now ride there any time you like.
We arrived at the Karkloof Clubhouse to meet up with Karkloof legend Derek Turvey, his son and trail building guru Hylton (or Hylly if you know him well enough), and SA DH champion Tim Bentley who just returned from campaigning at the World Champs in Hafjell.
Since our last review here about 18 months back, a lot has changed. The trail are very well marked, there is a map that shows you various trail options, the clubhouse has a restaurant (great vege and meat burgers) and the whole place just feels more professional.
The real genius of the place remains its world class trails, and we can’t help but feel that Karkloof has the best concentration of awesome trails in SA, making a true pilgrimage location.