The Sneeuberg trail : we have a number of new options on this route: cycling on the east side of Compassberg via Nieu Bethesda, or cycling the western route via The Poplars. Both routes end in the celebrated town of Graaff-Reinet.
Co-ordinates for Mt Melsetter (the start point for the Sneeuberg Trail) are: 31.27.19 S and 126.96.36.199 E
Day 1 : Arrive at Mt Melsetter (www.greatkaroo.co.za) in Middelburg EC district in time for dinner.
Day 2 : This is your warm-up cycling day of about between 45-64km, traversing the farm roads of Melsetter and neighbouring farms, including a picnic breakfast en route. There is the option to cycle 25km to the start of the river-rafting venue and do a 2-3 hour jaunt down the rapids of the Brak River.
Day 3 : Cyclists, with bikes and luggage, are transported to Middelburg for the start of the Sneeuberg trail.
- Take the road to Richmond, running due west out of Middelburg. After approx. 3kms the tar ends and the road becomes dirt.
- You travel for about 15km along the dirt until you come to a turn-off to the left (the Grootvlei turn - may also be marked Nieu Bethesda). The bus will drop off cyclists and bikes. At this point you commence cycling, with the trailing vehicle always in attendance.
- You cycle for 21.4km along this road, mainly flat but with one or two engaging uphills, passing a number of well-known farms in the district. At the 21.4km mark there is a road off to the left (east) marked Sneeuberg. Take this road left. Had you not turned left and continued straight on you would come to The Poplars a couple of kms on.
- From the point at which you turned left on the Sneeuberg route, you cycle 8.9km to the Gordonville House on the left. To the right is the famed shearing shed which has been turned into an indoor entertainment hall with a big swimming pool. Cycle on another 4.7km, mainly uphill, until you come to the Bergplaas turn-off on your left. From this turn-off to the Bergplaas Guesthouse is 4.3km, all downhill! Enjoy your lunch!
Day 4 : Cycling out of Bergplaas the next morning, you will have the same 4.3km climb up to the T-junction before turning left on your way to Nieu Bethesda. The uphill climb is less onerous than it looks because you climb it in a series of "steps" over dwarswalle.
- From Bergplaas Guesthouse to the T-junction at the bottom of the pass is 8.9km. This is a spectacular cycle down the pass, so enjoy every minute of freewheeling!
- At the T-junction turn right towards Nieu Bethesda, passing through a couple of farms populated with various species of antelope. You will cycle past the imposing pinnacle of Compassberg off to your right. A few kms on you will arrive at a T-junction with an Electric Gate. Turn right, taking the main dirt road to Nieu Bethesda, about 6km away. If you were to turn left at the T-junction you would come to Ganora Guest Farm about 2km down the road.
- Cycle into Nieu Bethesda and ask for directions to The Lamb Chop restaurant, which is situated diagonally opposite to the Owl House. After a leisurely coffee-&-rusk break, maybe exploring the quirky Owl House and a couple of art galleries in town, brace yourself for the toughest climb of the trail!
- You will be directed on the westward route out of town to your overnight stop, Weltevreden Guest Lodge, which lies about 18km to the south west.
Day 5 : From Weltevreden the next morning, cyclists turn right onto the undulating dirt road to Graaff-Reinet, eventually emerging at the T-junction on the tar road between Murraysburg-Graaff-Reinet.This is a 16km ride (mainly downhill) into G-R - the total distance between Weltevreden and G-R is 62km.
- Cyclists will be directed to the refurbished 5-star Drostdy Boutique Hotel. Spa treatments and guided tours of the town's historical venues have to be pre-arranged.
Day 6 : After breakfast on the final morning, guests plus luggage and bikes, are collected from the hotel by Karoo Connections' Quantum bus. All are transported back to Middelburg in order to re-connect with vehicles for the homeward journey. We will make special arrangements for guests travelling from the Cape and Eastern Cape to connect with their vehicles parked in Graaff-Reinet.