Some 20 months after being closed after devastating fires destroyed most of Tokai, the popular Tokai mountain bike trails network is set to re-open at 07h00 on Saturday 10 December 2016. Initially Tokai will re-open on a trial basis on weekends only while the last burnt pine and gum trees are being removed.
In March 2015, some 5000 hectares of land was destroyed when fires raged in the Cape Peninsula. The blaze broke out in the mountains above Boyes Drive and, fuelled by a strong south easterly wind, spread rapidly to Noordhoek, Tokai and Hout Bay areas, destroying much of Silvermine and Tokai in the process. Most of the trails were destroyed. Following an appeal from TokaiMTB for financial assistance to rebuild the trails, the Pedal Power Association paid for two professional contractors for 62 trail-build days, as well as additional labour and materials. “In total we this year spent some R145 000 on Tokai, but it is such an important part of the off-road trails network that we had to assist where we could to get the trails to reopen soonest,” said PPA CEO, Robert Vogel.
The limited access opening will be reassessed on a week-by-week basis in consultation with Amarider, underwriters of the indemnity.
Information signage including maps, indemnities and conditions of entry have been installed at pay points and trail heads. Marshals will be stationed at strategic points to assist riders and monitor compliance.
“We recommend that you get there early on Saturday morning as parking is limited,” said PPA CEO Robert Vogel. “An alternative is to park in the southern suburbs and ride to Tokai, using the Green belt trails to get to and from Tokai. Remember not to leave valuables in your car, and rather ride in small groups.”
While some 80% of the original trails have been rebuilt, the environment has changed. As most of the pine trees have either been burnt or felled, there will be very little shade. Remember the sun block and take enough water with you.
RHODES MEMORIAL TO CONSTANTIA NEK TRIALS
On 1 December, it for the first time became legal for cyclists to pedal off-road from Rhodes Memorial to Constantia Nek. While not technically challenging, riders need to be reasonably bike fit to ride these trails, or be equipped and prepared to spend a few hours out on the trails. The trail includes a few compulsory portage sections.
A Sanparks ‘My Activity MTB’ (Level 3) permit is needed and users are reminded that the trails are shared with other trail users (runners, walkers, dog walkers). The trails are clearly marked, as are the no-go areas.
WHERE DOES IT START? From Rhodes Memorial (going towards Constantia Nek), follow the footpath below Newlands forest until some 200m past the entrance to the Fire Station. From there, follow the signs – the gate key number is 1234 (please keep the gate closed). From Constantia Nek side, you access the trails via the short tar section directly across the restaurant. There is no connection from Newlands to the single track near Mount Pleasant – you can only access Newlands from the cycle path below the forest.
Permits can be bought at the San Parks office in Tokai or at any Cape Town Tourism kiosk. The annual permit costs R500 and you need to bring along 2 passport photos and proof of ID. NOTE: If you take along 2 or more friends when purchasing a permit, you will receive a discount for the second and subsequent permits.