Rhodes Mountain Biking Routes

Carlisleshoek vs Naude's

Crank out of Rhodes along a gently undulating road, but don't be fooled - after a moderate 10 km warm-up ascent, all kinds of mind and body alarms will kick in as you hit the lower reaches of Naude’s Nek, the highest and meanest pass in the country.

©Jacques Marais
Mountain biking in Rhodes and the surrounding areas.

Grind your way to the mythical summit, 22 km away. At Naude’s Nek apex, turn north off the main road to follow a rocky track along the escarpment towards the Cairntoul Police Station passing the Tenahead Lodge en route. 

Pass the Cairntoul Police Station and follow the Lesotho border in a westerly direction. If you thought the hard slog up Naude’s Nek was tough, wait until you start grinding up the hellish jeep track to Lesotho View, the highest point on the route at 2 732 m. Dead legs, hallucinations of ice-cold beers and panoramic vistas across Lesotho will keep you company as you summit and then drop down onto the undulating Ben MacDhui Flats (muddy as hell after winter rain) and approach the Tiffindell Ski Resort.

Bear left onto the Carlisleshoek Road as the downhill begins to flex its gradient. Follow this road towards Rhodes, traversing the plateau before blasting down the infamous Carlisleshoek Pass where everything suddenly goes into free-fall mode. This dual-track, concrete strip careens along impossible hairpins to drop more than 300 m in less than 3 km and can be extremely sketchy in wet weather. The gradient hits 1:3 in places. At speed, this rates as one of the hairiest mountain bike experiences in Africa.

If you survive the corresponding adrenaline rush, keep on bombing the gravel road contouring down into the valley. Another steep section, incorporating two more hairpin bends, awaits but then you’re home and dry as you cross the Bell River and cruise back into the village.

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