The Garden Route National Park, SA’s one of a kind open-access Park is becoming a new haven for mountain biking. In South Africa, mountain biking has become a tremendously popular sport. The Knysna forest is ideal for this activity and has various routes for beginners and advanced bikers.
There are four superb, laid-out circular tracks in the Harkerville Forest, ranging from mellow to an advanced red route. And nearby are two long, quite strenuous linear trails, Homtini and Petrus se Brand. Locals and international visitors alike agree that the last 6km of Petrus se Brand is the most fun single track ever.
‘Four colour-coded routes suited to varying levels of riders range from an easy breeze to fast-flowing single-track that take in the scenic ocean views. All these routes traverse through a combination of indigenous forests, mountain fynbos and plantations. Also in close proximity to Knysna is the Homtini Forest Trail, a circular route which consists of jeep and single-track with a character building climb (about 5 km) and winds through 19 km of tranquil forest’ according to Nico Oosthuizen, Senior Section Ranger for the Knysna forest, Garden Route National Park.
A study conducted on the future state of National Parks identified ‘activity development’ as a priority for the Garden Route National Park. The study included various other tourism attractions relevant for other Parks such as ‘tourism development projects, accommodation’ and others.
Management in the Garden Route National Park identified ‘adventure sports’ to stimulate tourism in the Region. Thus far applications to host activities in the Park go through an ecological evaluation process and techniques such as ‘zoning’, are used for each application. This scientific process helps simplify the complexity associated with managing a Park in the 21st century. Through ‘zoning’ adventure sports can go ahead with ‘low occupancy’ whilst ‘high biodiversity’ is maintained.