For Parys cycling and mountain bike trails, please click on the image below. ink provided by Map My Ride:
Dampoort MTB Trails:
CLOSEST TOWN > Parys TRAIL DESTINATION > Dwarsberg, Vredefort DISTANCE > 10km or 20km GRADING > Intermediate to difficult
All around the towns of Parys and Vredefort lies the Vredefort Dome, centre of the largest visible blast crater on earth. Controversy remains about whether this was caused by an asteroid impact or by a blast from within the Earth’s crust. Whatever the cause, this explosion, some 2.02 billion years ago, gave South Africa its ring of goldfields, and also created the enchanting concentric rings of the Bergland Mountains flanking the Vaal River. In October the Crater Cruise race takes place in the Vredefort area between the Vaal River and the Dome Bergland Mountains.
Dampoort Farm is a convenient off-road getaway for harassed Gautengers who don’t wish to travel miles for a quality ride. The homestead is a genuine Boer Way farmhouse, nestled just outside the ring of mountains which form the Dome Conservancy.
On your bike
Dwarsberg Trail (20km circuit route) : The trail on offer is not ‘soft’ MTB riding. You will get scratched by thorns, have to dodge cow pats in some sections and call upon your MTB skills and fitness. Riding is through indigenous African bush and cultivated lands via cattle tracks, jeep tracks or good secondary roads. Do not bother to come and ride here unless you have puncture proofing and are committed to closing the farm gates you open. For gentler or long rides, ramble along the nearby undulating, interlinking farm roads with panoramic Free State views and wide open spaces. Avoid the ‘Commando Nek’ road – the corrugations are horrific and you encounter motor vehicle traffic with associated dust.
Luiperd Route (10km return route): this route goes up to the top of Dwarsberg, passing by the cave which has been known to be the den of an elusive leopard.
- Phone: 056-931-0001
- Website: www.mtbroutes.co.za
The following recommended MTB trails in and around the Vredefort Dome have taken years to pioneer and are always being added to and changed. A lot of mtbiking goes on around here. Few of the trails are marked so you need to come to Otters’ Haunt for a briefing.
We have a few well used but maintained bikes for hire
You can hire us to guide or go it alone
Stay over at Otters’ Haunt and ride several trails
Trails range from an hour to most of the day
We have GPS for some routes and maps for several.
Always call before coming
Your bike wheels should have inner liners and latex for punctures
You will need plenty of water in this dry climate
Carry a cellphone
Get our briefing – you can easily get lost!
Trails vary from a lazy ride around the shady town of Parys with its riverside paths and quiet streets to hectic descents and dropoffs in the Dome Bergland. Many of our recommended hikes are also bikable. We ourselves are recreational bikers, not serious competitors, and we love it when groups invite us to show them the trails. We’re happy to ride with families, oldies and newcomers, but can also take you where only made dogs and mountainbikers would go!
dirtmax competitorPopular rides include:
Dirtmax: A route beside the river and though open veld. The river track is challenging, with bridges, dips and tight turns. The open country can be fast, with some testing hills. The Dirtmax is the name of a race for all comers – beginner to advanced – that happens on the first Saturday of each month. But you can ride parts of the trail anytime. The designated routes are between 5km and 60km long so there is plenty of choice. The start is located on the farm Shiloh, on the left about 1km after the bridge across the Vaal from Parys into the North West Province. Contact email@example.com or phone 083 595 8439 to make sure the venue is open for a casual ride. Of course, it’s best to ride on race day when the trails are fully open. See our Otters’ Haunt video of amateurs riding parts of Dirtmax here.
Tweezer Rocks: The trail on the Free State side of the Vaal gets its name from the amazing silhouette of rocks atop a koppie where two upstanding boulders hold a third between them. The trail goes around the koppie containing the “tweezers”. Apart from one moderate gradient up a pathway, most of the riding is easy, following tar, tracks and good paths, and the trail suits adventurous beginners. You can take in a circuit of Parys airport with grand views of the Dome and its collar of mountains. Distance starting from Otters’ Haunt: 18-25km depending on route. Good for a breakfast ride or evening tour. No permission required for the koppie ride on common land but around the airport stay well clear of the runway.
Inlandsee: A longish ride of 70km on very easy, quiet gravel roads and wonderfully scenic tarred backroads. The Inlandsee is a SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAsalt pan that marks Ground Zero of the Dome meteorite impact (although it has nothing to do with the event and just happens to be there). In summer the pan sometimes boasts flocks of flamingos. The ride takes about 3-4 hours and follows a large circuit from Parys to the pan, then via Vredefort back to Parys. A good autumn, winter or spring ride. In late summer the cosmos flowers and sunflowers turn the platteland into a gorgeous display of colour. The route is mainly on public roads. You will need to get permission to enter the land around the Inlandsee, shared by several farmers. Organise through us in advance.
Berakah: If you are looking for a sporting challenge this is the one for you. Rugged, stony, steep tracks attack the ridges and kloofs of the inner Dome Bergland. There are routes of varying difficulty and length across open fields and exposed mountainsides, culminating in a maniacal climb and terrifying descent from the plateau topped by Rhino Top. Some 16km from Otters’ Haunt, the trail can be included in a longer circuit from our place on gravel roads through the Dome, returning on the tarred Potch road. Allow half a day at least. There is an entrace fee for Berakah, payable at the entry kiosk where a map is also obtainable.
Parys Museum Parys town & around: This is for those who want a relaxing ride on roads in and around the town, including the Vaal River promenades and one long ascent to the water reservoir overlooking the town and township. Total distance from Otters’ Haunt and back again, if you do the complete circuit, is about 24km. Parys is a historic Free State town, established in the 1870′s, with many old buildings. It is also full of artists, writers and designers; antique shops, coffee bars and restaurants. The town gets its name from Paris, France, apparently because the original surveyors were reminded of the Seine River. You can ride fast 0r slow, stop for refreshments and wander into curiousity shops. The museum is well worth a stop.
ASK about the kind of thing that would suit you. People come riding in the Dome for all kinds of reasons:!mtb splash berakah
Train for the Cape Epic and other majors
Try out mountain biking as a recreational option
Bring the family for a variety of trails including very short outings on our property
Get in some fitness training as a ‘weekend warrior’
Explore the history of the area
Learn about the Vredefort Dome from the ground up
You name it, we can advise you what to do and send you in the right direction.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 082-475-8767
- Website: www.otters.co.za
Challenging mountainous terrain, in near-pristine bush- and grassveld. The route includes dirt road, farm tracks and single track sections. The grading varies from easy to highly technical.
On the farm Deelfontein, situated in the Vredefort Dome Heritage Site, a network of picturesque farm roads and challenging single track trails offer the mountain biker unforgettable cycling experiences in the safety of this beautiful nature area 140km from Johannesburg. Deelfontein lies 20km from Parys, 14km from Vredefort, and 45km from Potchefstroom in the Free State. The MTB trails lie in challenging mountainous terrain, in near-pristine bush- and grassveld. The route includes dirt road, farm tracks and single track sections. The grading varies from easy to highly technical.
Cyclists are very welcome to use the trail at any time. Booking telephonically or by email is essential. .
Phone: 083 280 9784