The PwC Great Zuurberg Trek is a boutique mountain bike stage race that explores the
heart of the world-renowned Addo region of the Eastern Cape.
Traversing five of the province’s seven biomes, the three-day 200km
ride epitomises true mountain biking with a unashamedly luxurious twist.
This is where the soul finds freedom, wild elephants roam
and the scent of citrus blossoms fills the air.
Brothers Rob and Trevor Hayter, whose family have farmed
in the Zuurberg Mountains since the 1950s, realised the diverse terrain offered
pure riding bliss and decided to share South Africa’s best kept mountain biking secret.
After establishing 45km of single-track heaven on their
farm Hayterdale, which annually hosts national cross-country racing, they set
about exploring the surrounding area for trail-building opportunities.
Their search led them over the southern and northern ridges of the Zuurberg
Mountains and into a symbiotic partnership with South African National Parks.
On day one, riders enter the remote northern section of the Addo Elephant
National Park, which is traditionally only accessible on horseback or foot.
Descending into the Sundays River Valley, they pass Slagboom Dam
and the aptly named Orchard of Oranges as they loop back to Zuurberg Pass
and the finish at Zuurberg Mountain Village.
One of the standout features of the race is during the queen stage on day two.
After cresting the northern ridge towards the Karoo Koppies section, they are greeted
by panoramic views of the Indian Ocean to the south and
the vast expanse of the Karoo to the north.
On this day, sections known as the Three Stepsisters and For Pete’s Sake
provide clues as to why this is regarded as the toughest of the three stages. But the welcome
they get at the finish from the Unity in Africa volunteers, the event’s
official development partner, reminds riders that they did it for a cause.
Day three is a celebration of all the region has to offer and
once the riders have circuited Henri’s Loop at the hotel, they fly
through some world-class single-track, test their technical skills
at Hayterdale and make a final push up the pass to earn
their medals as Zuurberg trekkers.