Petrus se Brand Trail can be done as a one-way from Diepwalle to the Garden of Eden, because the opposite way is not marked and you could easily get lost. Or, if you’re fighting fit, go the whole hog for the entire 48 km return ride.
Start from Diepwalle Forest Station before descending for a few kilometres, then turn sharp left to follow the old narrow-gauge forest railway line before a winding, 2.5 km downhill dash to Petrus-se-Brand River. Take in the views across the Tsitsikamma Mountains before the manic descent (and subsequent, severe 4 km climb). From the top, pedal on speedy single-track to the Garden of Eden.
Homtini does not quite boast the full range of mountain biking experiences that the Harkerville trails do, but it nonetheless offers an awesome 19 km circular ride through the tranquil Homtini Forest. The trail traverses the steep mountain slopes overlooking the town of Knysna, so you can be certain of panoramic views of both the forested slopes and dramatic river gorge.
Kick-off from the Krisjan-se-Nek picnic site to climb along Millwood Road before hitting a sharp right about 400 m from the start. This bangs you off the gravel road and straight onto 3 km of single-track traversing dense, indigenous woodland. Zigzag to your heart’s content while you bomb the tight berms and turns for a true taste of what mountain biking should be all about.
Once you’re back out into open space, head left along a network of forestry service roads and bottom out into the valley below. The time has come to kick up the work rate, so slip onto the small ring to labour your way up a steep and testing 3.5 km climb. The terrain along the jeep-tracks may be a bit gnarly in places, but you should win the war against gravity to summit along Portland Heights.
Continue on your anti-clockwise circuit along the juddery gravel road until it eventually levels out as you approach the Jubilee section. Pass both this and the Millwood turn-offs as you bang along this speedy contour road, then hit a hard left to huck into a final section of warp-speed single-track to blast the downhill into the finish.
All in all, this is an exceptional ride, but be aware of the brutal climb and a few tight, technical sections along the descent. If Harkerville is the King of Knysna rides, Homtini competes with Petrus-se-Brand in pretending to the throne.