The Great Kei Trek Overview
Oh Dear…. Another 3-day MTB stage race sleeping in tents….
Don’t these guys ever get the message? Give us something new and different. Please…
Well, we may just have something to get your attention.
In keeping with the tradition of creating top class and high quality events, The Leverage Corporation
is proud to announce the launch of a brand new 3-day mountain bike stage race taking place in April 2018, known as The Great Kei Trek.
The scheduled dates are 28, 29 & 30 April.
The Great Kei Trek
, is a 3-day, 260km race/ ride that will be something new and exciting on the MTB calendar.
This will definitely appeal to those who traditionally use the months of April or May for their “away-game”. So if you are tired of doing the “same old-same-old”, or are still stuck on a waiting list, and you are looking for something new, this is definitely something for you.
A 2-rider team race, fully catered for, with different tented accommodation options – read more later - and some new and exciting tracks, and of course some stunning Eastern Cape Hospitality – something that will get you wanting to do this ride. (Warning – the Eastern Cape okes, especially the farmers, know how to look after you)
The race is scheduled to start in Queenstown
, also known as the “Rose Capital of South Africa”
in the Eastern Cape, a town founded in 1853.
Day 1 will see riders travel from Queenstown via the beautiful village of Cathcart
some 60km away. Cathcart
was originally a small military post, but is now a peaceful farming town with a hospitable community.
you say! “Where the hell is that and how do I get there?” Don’t worry read on. We have the logistics side sorted – read on.. )
, riders will push on to the quaint historical village of the Old Thomas River
where they will enjoy their first night of Eastern Cape hospitality. (Google Old Thomas River – it’s like a trip to another century)
Day 1 will be approximately 97km.
Day 2 will see riders leave The Old Thomas River
, destination Komga
Old Thomas River
is on the sunny northern slopes of the Amatola mountain range.
19 farmers have made over 31 000 hectares of beautiful farmland available for conservation and recreation. With sustainable Conservation as their main aim, they are blending agriculture and conservation into a homogeneous mixture that will benefit both the farmer and nature.
The village is named after a British deserter, Thomas Bently who was killed by a poisonous bushman arrow.
The old town train station sits between old forts and dates back to the late 1870’s. The station was remodeled in 1926 and was last used in 1948. The village is brimming with history and was restored to its former glory in 2003.
Once having left Old Thomas River
, they will ride on through the beautiful forests of Stutterheim
before the final push of the day to Komga
is the home of many picturesque hiking trails, as well as mountain streams that are well-stocked with trout – not that you will have time for fishing, but we thought you might like to know. The iconic Amatola Hiking Trail
goes past Stutterheim, it was hailed as the best 7-day hike in the country, but unfortunately the facilities have become a bit run down.
After bypassing Stutterheim
, riders will cycle through the Qacu Forest Reserve, home to a small group of Cape Parrots, one of the most endangered animals in SA. Look out for them. There are less than 1 000 left.
Riders will cycle along some of the old cattle and sheep passages that farmers used in the first half of the 1900’s to trek their animals to the sea. They usually had a country farm and a sea farm, and would trek the animals down for the winter, and back in the summer. From what I have heard, is that from when it was time to go to the various farms, the stock would be waiting at the gates, keen to get to the fresh grass.
is a town in Amatole District Municipality in the Eastern Cape and is situated 64 km north of East London and 55 km east of Stutterheim
. It was founded as a farming centre in 1877 on the site of a military camp established in 1854. Komga
also boasts the oldest primary school in the whole of South Africa. (Some of you may be lucky enough to stay in the boarding house)
Day 2 will be in the region of 92km.
And then the final push, Day 3…. From Komga
, through the Chaba Wind Farm
, boasting seven massive Vestas
wind turbines, then through the Great Kei River Valley
then on to the beautiful and stunning and peaceful seaside holiday village of Morgan Bay
which will be the finish of a rewarding three days of an unbelievable experience. Morgan Bay is located less than an hour from East London on South Africa's stunning Wild Coast.
, as it is affectionately known and is blessed with a mile-long beach, safe swimming lagoon and picturesque sea cliffs. And this is a picturesque venue for what will be a wonderful finish to some awesome three days of riding.
The owner, Richard Warren-Smith boasts that in all the years of the hotel being in operation, it’s never ever served a warm beer….. ever. (And to share a personal note, it also boasts the first pub I was ever kicked out of)
Day 3 will be in the region of 70km.
IN CLOSING: If the route is not to your liking you can shoot down the route manager, Deanbean, on The Bikehub.co.za’s Great Kei Trek thread. He’ll be wearing his fireproof suit and bullet proof vest for the week after the GKT.