This unique 4-day-stage, 273 km event, starting in the uMkhuze section of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and ending in the seaside resort of St Lucia.
Riders get to experience the values and Big Five wildlife iSimangaliso Wetland Park has to offer, far off the normal tourist routes. All the riding is on real trails made by rural life in Africa and mother nature.
DAY 1 uMkhuze, Lebombo's, uMkhuze
Starting in the Big Five uMkhuze section of the iSimangalis Wetland Park at Mantuma, riders warm their legs on a tar section before heading out the park through the eMshophi Gate and climb into the Lebombo mountains where the most exhilarating single track wind through this remote mountainous area. The strenuous climb is rewarded with a fast flowing easy single track descent to re-enter uMkhuze via the Dakela game management gate. Back in the reserve riders experience a mix of elephant and rhino track plus jeep track to the finish in Mantuma.
DAY 2 uMkhuze to Bonamanzi
From the Mantuma camp the route heads south on jeep and single tracks before a longish 12km section of flat bush rd., turning up and onto the UMkhumbi plateau, a rocky climb of 200m, from here the views to the sea and St Lucia come just before the over the fence and into &Beyond's Big Five reserve of Phinda. They have become masters at a building single track heaven using a mix of natural game paths and jeep track. This is 26 km section of track all through Big Five game country is possibly the favourite section for most riders. Crossing the Msinene floodplain, riders exit Phinda and enter the False bay section of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and ride along the lake shore and onto the Mphophomeni hiking trail exiting the False Bay reserve, entering Hluhluwe River Lodge, where well know local, Gavin Dickson, will be waiting with a “high tea”. Riders cross the Hluhluwe river and begin the climb to the finish in Bonamanzi Game Reserve.
DAY 3 Bonamanzi to St Lucia
Exit from Bonamanzi across the Hluhluwe River onto the Nyalazi Flood plain with its 25km of single track criss-crossing the flat floodplains, here you will see the most incredible bird life as you head north to cross the Nyalazi River and into the Western Shores section of the iSimangaliso Wetlands. The first 10 km is a section of gum forest the only plantation riding throughout the route, this is what the terrain was before the transformation, and then marvel at the change as you ride past the pans, take in the Ntumu areal boardwalk and see the views of open grasslands back-dropped by forested coastal dunes with possible sightings of elephant, rhino, hippo, buffalo, giraffe and numerous others.
Exit the Western Shores through the uDukuDuku gate onto tar and into the tourist town of St Lucia. Enjoy the ride through the single track of the iGwalgwala Forest and finish at the Sugar Loaf Campsite.
DAY 4 St Lucia, Mission Rocks, St Lucia
From Sugar Loaf campsite the ride heads out towards the beach along the Estuary boardwalk taking the beach route to the iPhiva pans and into the Eastern Shores section of the iSimangaliso. The route heads through marshes, grasslands and onto the remains of the old Cape Vidal Rd before climbing to Mission Rocks. Back through coastal dunes and forest and a short section in the St Lucia town, then into the iGwalaGwala hiking trail to finish at the St Lucia Sugar Loaf campsite.