This unique 3-day-stage, 210 km event, starting in the uMkhuze section of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and ending in the seaside resort of Lake St Lucia Estuary.
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 to Bonamanzi
From the eMshophi Camp in the ' Big Five' uMkhuze section of the iSimangaliso, the route heads south to the Dakela management gate on jeep and single tracks. Heading out of the gate and into the Lebombo Mountains, riders then track back into the Reserve and up the uMkhumbi plateau, a rocky climb of 200m. From here, on a clear day, the view stretches to the sea and Lake St Lucia Estuary. We hop the over the fence into &Beyond's 'Big Five' Phinda Private Game Reserve where they have become masters at a building single track heaven using a mix of natural game paths and jeep track. This 26 km section of track, all through wild 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, riding along the lake shore and onto the Mphophomeni hiking trail. Exiting the False Bay section route enters Hluhluwe River Lodge, where well know local, Gavin Dickson, will be waiting with a “high tea”. After sustenance, riders cross the Hluhluwe River and begin the climb to the finish in Bonamanzi Game Reserve.
DAY 2 Bonamanzi to Lucia
Exit from Bonamanzi across the Hluhluwe River onto the Nyalazi Flood plain with its 25 km 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. The first 10 km is a section of gum forest (the only plantation on the route, showing riders what the terrain was before the transformation to a World Heritage Site), and then marvel at the change as you ride past the recharged wetlands pans, take in the uMthomaaerial boardwalk and see the views of open grasslands back-dropped by forested coastal dunes. Possible sightings of elephant, rhino, hippo, buffalo, giraffe and numerous others add excitement to this section!
Exit the Western Shores through the uDukuDuku Gate onto a short section of tar and into the tourist town of St Lucia. Enjoy the ride through the single track of the iGwalagwala Forest and finish at the Sugarloaf Campsite on the edge of the Lake St Lucia Estuary.
DAY 3 St Lucia, Mission Rocks, St Lucia
From Sugarloaf 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 Road before climbing to Mission Rocks. Back through coastal dunes and forest and a short section in the Lake St Lucia Estuary, then into the iGwalaGwala hiking trail to finish at the St Lucia Sugar Loaf campsite.