As a South African and an avid mountain biker, I can attest to the love we share for mountain bike stage races. Why is it that we are drawn to these endurance-testing, adrenaline fuelled, yet incredibly fulfilling adventures on two wheels? Allow me to take you on a ride as we explore why South Africans are smitten with the challenging, beautiful, and exhilarating world of mountain bike stage races.


Mountain Biking: A Love Affair with Adventure


South Africans have an inherent love for adventure and the great outdoors. With our country’s diverse terrains, abundant natural beauty, and exhilarating trails, mountain biking stage races have become a favourite pastime for many of us.


The popularity of MTB stage races in South Africa lies not just in the physical challenge they offer. It is about the spirit of camaraderie, the joy of experiencing breathtaking scenery, the thrill of navigating diverse trails, and the rich hospitality that makes these races such unique experiences.

The Lure of Mountain Bike Stage Races


So, what exactly makes a mountain bike stage race so alluring? Firstly, the routes and trail variety. We get to ride through diverse landscapes – the rugged Karoo, verdant vineyards, pristine coastal paths, or the challenging mountain passes. Each stage offers unique terrain and difficulty level, which adds to the anticipation and excitement.


And then there’s the riding experience. Stage races aren’t just about speed; they are about endurance, taking in the scenery, and most important the fun. It’s the kind of experience that tests your mettle, makes you appreciate the outdoors, and keeps you coming back for more.


The hospitality at these races is incomparable. The race villages are buzzing with energy, camaraderie, and the spirit of togetherness. The organisers leave no stone unturned to ensure riders have the best experience, be it comfortable accommodation options, or the vibrant race village atmosphere.

Five Must-Experience Mountain Bike Stage Races in South Africa


Wines 2 Whales: The race offers riders a unique opportunity to ride through the picturesque vineyards and coastal trails of the Western Cape over 3 days.


  • Chardonnay 20 – 22 October 2023
  • Pinotage 23 25 October 2023
  • Shiraz 27 – 29 October 2023

More information can be found on the Wines 2 Whales website. 

Sani 2 C: Known for its trails, community support and beautiful scenery, Sani 2 C is a 3-day race from the mountains of Sani Pass to the coast of Scottburgh.


  • Trail 23 April – 25 April 2024
  • Adventure 24 – 26 April 2024
  • Race 25 – 27 April 2024

Check out their website for more details.

Tankwa Trek: Taking place in the challenging terrain of the Karoo, the Tankwa Trek is a 3-day race that tests your endurance like no other. The 2024 race is scheduled for 8-11 February.

Visit their website for more details.

Berg and Bush: This 2 or 3-day race offers a scenic ride through the Drakensberg Mountains and Bushveld of KwaZulu-Natal.

The 2024 race is scheduled for 31 May – 2 June.

Visit their website for updates and more info.

Great Zuurberg Trek: This 3-day race and e-mtb tour takes place in the beautiful Addo Mountains, offering riders a unique blend of challenging terrain, spectacular scenery, and top-class hospitality.

The race in 2024 will take place from the 24 – 26 May.

Visit the website for more details.

The Great Zuurberg Trek: An Unforgettable Experience


Why consider entering the Great Zuurberg Trek? The race offers an incredibly diverse and exciting route that takes riders through spectacular landscapes – from the fynbos-covered mountain trails to the thick forests of the Addo Elephant National Park. The hospitality is top-notch, with first class accommodation, all-inclusive delicious food and drinks and a vibrant race village atmosphere that truly sets it apart.


But don’t just take my word for it.


“The riding was spectacular, the single track down into the valley was one on the most beautiful places we've ever ridden and the pass coming back is testing but all together a pretty tough day, but a beautiful day.”

Joel Stransky at the Great Zuurberg Trek

The trails are fantastic, and the organisation is brilliant. The GZT delivered today, it's like a day in the old Epic.”

Kevin Evans at the Great Zuurberg Trek

Concluding Thoughts


Mountain bike stage races in South Africa offer an experience like no other. From the diverse trails and incredible landscapes to the camaraderie and hospitality, each race is a unique journey that offers much more than just a physical challenge. So, why do we South Africans love our mountain bike stage races? The answer is simple – they embody the spirit of adventure, camaraderie, and love for nature that runs deep in our veins.