The first guest post, hopefully of many. Thank you to Andre Venter for taking the time to do this.
Getting there was pretty easy, on the Garsfontein Road, with only about 300m of gravel road before turning into Ingaadi. The security dude was very friendly and showed us to the able parking lot.
We were welcomed by Adriaan Kroon, in the office, where we had to go and pay our trail fees, of R35, and in my opinion, priced just right.
Adriaan gave the group a quick run-down of the route and the musts and musts nots of the park.
They do not have trail maps available, which would have been handy for first timers.
One of the first things I noticed is that there seem to be one trail only, no official shorter trails for beginners and families with young children, that said, I think it can easily be catered for.
The trail runs across 3 farms, of which 2 are working farms. Ingaadi also has some wildlife on their farm, but these animals are not used to so much activity yet, and it causes them quite a bit of stress.
Due to above mentioned reasons, our ride was cut short with about 3 km, we only did about 22km, as we were redirected just after the start of the ride.
As this is a newly built trail, there is still a bit off “Riding in” to be done. I think after a few bouts of rain and some more riding everything will settle.
The route itself is rather fun with some nice technical sections thrown in, fortunately for the faint hearted like myself there are “A and B” Routes. A for the riders with big kahunas, B for the riders that prefers to keep to level ground. That said, you will need to focus, as the all the route markings are relatively small, as well as the route selection boards.
A very stunning piece is going through the dam, most of us mere mortals will have to get off there, and push the bike through, but do so, it is stunning inside.
There are no real climbs to contend with, there are however one or two nice drags, just to keep the legs warm.
I would say that about 90% of the trails are single track, allot of winding between trees, with some hairpin turns.
A few of the other riders commented that they got a “Red Barn-ish” feeling, few small ups and downs, winding trails, rocks (Choose your line!!) and you even get to go through tunnels twice, don’t think it will be ridable the tunnels, just seem too low. There are also quite a few cattle grids to cross, with pvc pipes on the sides, go through ‘em, they don’t hurt.
After the ride we went to sit at the restaurant to have something to eat. We were greeted by very friendly waiters. They have a very limited menu:
Classic Breakfast – R35
Brekkie Bun – R22
Omelette – R35
A few toasted sarmies
Cuppachino – R22
Cans / Soft drinks – R14
Beer – R22
Limited as the menu is, it was not an issue for any of the mountain bikers. I think if you bring you family along and mamma likes fancy stuff or a large selection, you might just be in the doghouse.
The quality of the food was good and the service great. The only place the wheels seems to have come off, is with the “Billing”. They seem to not have some form of a POS system, so everything is written down on a piece of paper, but when you have a few eager waiters, this seems to fall through the cracks. The fixed it very quickly afterwards, the just went to everyone and asked them what they had. There were also 2 people’s meals that only arrived after the rest have eaten.
I chatted to Adriaan about this, and I understood why there was a slight mishap, as a SPA they are used to a Set Menu, buffet style. So this traditional restaurant way of doing things is new to everyone.
That said, and to re-iterate, the little oops with billing was nothing major, and was dealt with properly, the service and willingness was outstanding!
An awesome new venue has hit the east of Pretoria. Go check it out!
Rating Scale 1 – 5
Accessibility – 5
Family Friendliness – 3
Trail – Technicality – 3
Trail – Climbing – 2
Restaurant Value – 2.5
Value for Money – 4