Copy: Jacques Marais Photographs: Zane Schmahl
The farm itself boasts a healthy, blissful and rural setting, offering comfortable accommodation options and lots of fun activities for adults and kids.
There are loads to experience at Oakhurst, including 6km of hand-crafted, well-maintained single-track, ideal for both mountain biking or trail running. Those in a more laid-back mood can hike along forest trails to the farm’s waterfall and viewpoint. There’s also fishing or paddling one of the canoes on the farm dam, or just chilling on the grassy banks.
Kids (and young-at-heart adults) can check out the Oakhurst Dairy to watch the cows being milked, or play on the jungle-gym and climbing wall at the cottages. Plus, there’s big swing which is exhilarating fun for the whole family. Each cottage has its own hot tub outside, with awesome braai facilities, both outside the cottages and in the forest.
More info on www.oakhurst.co.za.
Top of your do-list: get ready to crank our 16km of pristine forest singletrack, specifically crafted with mountain bikers, runners and free-range kids in mind. You are spoilt for choice here, whether you are an avid mountain biker looking for a challenge, or just out for a ride with the family.
Saddle up and kick off your best ride along an awesome stretch of flowy pump-track right opposite the Farm Reception, before bombing into the delightful curve-and-swerve of the Forest Narnia Playground. Most of the trails here meander through farmland and stands of indigenous trees, with wooden bridges and berms for an easy flow.
The hub-like layout of the trails means you will never be too far from the Oakhurst Cottages. This is great if the ids get tired, but you will still feel as if you are lost in a magical woodland while cranking beneath ancient yellowwoods, stinkwood and red alder trees. There are multiple natural streams and an abundance of bird life and – best of all – you can rent a bike if you don’t have one.
Oakhurst Farm’s location along the Seven Passes Road (this runs inland to connects George & Knysna) means you can pick and choose between a host of kickass MTB trails in the immediate vicinity. These trails cover both the indigenous forest areas or the foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains.
Most fat-trackers will know the well-established Garden Route Trail Park – just 24km east of Oakhurst along the Seven Passes Road – where challenging trails await – www.gardenroutetrailpark.com If you are in search of somewhere new to ride, definitely check out the Bergplaas Plantation, though!
Get ready for some proper, off-the-beaten track Garden Route R ‘n R! Guests at Oakhurst are perfectly positioned for a headspace crank in Bergplaas, a scenic section of CAPE PINE-operated plantations. These trails also link on to Farleigh Forest and The Trail Park, making for a superb endurance session on the bike.
To get to Bergplaas, head towards the foothills of the Outeniqua ranges north of Karatara, Woodville and Hoekwil. Access to the plantation trails and Bergplaas State Forest section is easy from Oakhurst – in fact, we will arrange your permit if you’re one of our guests). To get there, turn left along the Seven Passes Road and pedal the easy 3km to Bergplaas Plantation (on the left).
From here, continue through a number of dips and climbs which will reward you with wonderful views over the farms in the valley below the forest as you ess-bend towards the summit of your first climb (6km). Forestry gates to the left and right allow you to explore off the main drag, but keep an eye out for access control signs warning you of areas where three-felling may be happening.
The second gate to your right takes you past the fire lookout point, with a nice little downhill blast along a dippy forest track which loops anti-clockwise to return you to the main gravel road (10km). If you keep right, you’ll drop down towards the river past the original Bergplaas homestead, with literally hours of riding pleasure awaiting you across the valley.
Best Time of Year
Year-round riding is great on the Garden Route, but winters could be chilly on the farm (which is why we have those brilliant hot tubs, right)! It is a good idea to check up on any tree-felling and logging that may be happening in the area before you visit, though.
We’re all mountain lovers, and bike lovers, right!? And that means we’re all passionate about the environment, as that comes as an inevitable by-product when one rides in epic places such as this. So how refreshing is it to know that SQUIRT Cycling Products shares that passion …
BY now everyone knows that all their products are biodegradable, but there is still the problem of all those plastic bottles … This is exactly why this forward-thinking company has introduced the “SQUIRT Chain Lube Eco-box”, allowing you to now take your own plastic bottle to be re-filled at your nearest distributor or cycle shop.
This alone can lead to tens of thousands of plastic bottles being re-used worldwide; think of it, every 5-litre box re-purpose a 100 50ml bottles! The box itself is made from recycled paper and is 100% recyclable, which brings us to our TOP TIP for the month – go and refill your Squirt Chain Lube plastic bottle instead of buying a new one! You will save money as well as the environment.
|FAST FACTS – OAKHURST Trails|
|GRADING:||Easy to Intermediate|
|CONFIGURATION:||Circular Options, 18 – 80km|
|START POINT:||Oakhurst Farm|
|GPS COORDS:||S 33’56 8.7 / E 22’39 15.6|
|TERRAIN||Forestry tracks, 4×4 routes, secret single-track|
|ENTRY REQUIREMENTS:||Permits can be arranged by Oakhurst Farm for staying guests|
||None en route. The Oakhurst Shop has eats, treats and essentials.|
|CELL RECEPTION:||Limited reception|
||Steep climbs, logging and forestry trucks|
Directions to Oakhurst: from the N2 between George and Sedgefield, take the Hoekwil turnoff to the north. Follow this road and bypass Hoekwil village, continuing for 7.2km to the farm gate. Turn right off the tar and continue for 2.4km on gravel to reach the signposted junction to the Farm Cottages and The Forge.
The accommodation ranges from the historic Forge (one of the very first buildings on the farm) to a number of beautifully restored and private farm cottages.