More networks. More Trails. More Awesome!
In years gone by the Cape Winelands was primarily known for its heritage wine farms, spectacular vistas, snow-covered peaks and agricultural industry. Fast forward a few years and the area is now known for a variety of craft produce, exceptional restaurants and a bustling adventure industry.
Artisans lovingly produce a variety of fare including cheeses, breads, spices, ice-cream, chocolates, gins, brandies and many other produces while restaurants not only offer exceptional menus, but also incredible views. Cape Winelands distilleries and wine farms compete with the best in the world not only in terms of product, but also experience. The adventure industry has grown in leaps in bounds with many premier (and internationally acclaimed) mountain biking, road cycling and trail running events hosted across some of the toughest, yet incredibly beautiful terrain where high mountain peaks, colourful vineyards and blue skies form an incredible backdrop against which to explore the area (or try reach a new pb). With such a variety of world-class trails and routes, established infrastructure and off-the-trails experiences – combined with a mild climate – it is no wonder that the region attracts vast numbers of local and international visitors (often as competitors) to the adventure sports offering and that this in turn has developed into a key economic growth pillar.
For visitors looking to explore the area by public road, the options are many. For those who choose the solitude of the mountains to compete (or escape), the offering is world-class with a vast number of trail options across many picturesque farms and establishments accessed through a number of trail network permits. Prior to 2022, access to trail networks was generally based on a permit system issued by a single trail network, often organised around a town or city. That changed after a number of visionaries spent many hours negotiating and collaborating to develop a single permit that provides access to all partner networks. A number of trail networks, landowners, venues and establishments came together to form the Winelands Regional trail permit or, simply, the Wine Lands Permit.
This annual permit represented a first for the industry with access to all partner trail networks for a single annual fee represented by a single, handlebar mounted board. Not only is the distance of trails covered unparalleled, so is the variety of terrain and disciplines made possible by the networks.
The inaugural 2022 Winelands Regional trail permit included 9 trail networks (viz-viz A-Z Grabouw, Banhoek Conservancy, Franschhoek trails, Helderberg trails, MTO Jonkershoek trails, Paarl Trails, Stellenbosch Trail Fund trails, Wellington trails (Wild Boar & Scouts), Wine Lands Cycling Club trails) spanning nearly 1000 kilometres of trails from Wellington in the North to Helderberg trails in the South and Stellenbosch in the West to Grabouw in the East.
With the objective of creating something that is not only sustainable but also beneficial to the entire region, the
following was considered and agreed upon:
- Top-quality trails that offer variety not only in disciplines, but also in ability, skill and experience levels are built and maintained.
- Access to, and finding information regarding the trails, is simple and ensured.
- Land owners are supported with security on their properties through more eyes promoting a safer environment along with an effective emergency activation process to assist users as fast as possible in the event of an emergency.
- Partner establishments, venues and attractions to offer a variety of “off the trail“ experiences that further enhance members’ experience are promoted. These include offerings such as food and wine, craft produce and various other attractions.
- Position and grow the region as a world-class adventure destination therefore benefiting many sectors beyond the trails and related partners.
The 2022 permit uptake exceeded expectations by some margin and it quickly became evident that the demand for cross-network access presented a need for many cyclists. The benefits realised for members, partners, landowners and regions were significant. Not only did the cross-network access encourage users to explore new trails, but it also exposed members to new areas, attractions and riding groups which were often visited during rides but also over weekends with family and friends.
As the Winelands Regional permit is an annual permit, we are now at the time of the year where we launch the permit for the next year. We couldn’t be more excited to share it with the public as the team has worked hard to ensure that the 2023 permit gives permit holders even more access and variety.
We are thankful to announce that three additional trail networks join the Winelands Regional permit truly making this the Ultimate Adventure Permit! As from 1 December 2022, members that purchase the Winelands Regional permit will not only have access to all the networks that formed part of the offering in 2022, but also have access to Bottelary Hills Conservancy trails, Van Loveren trails as well as Elgin Valley trails thereby growing the network to over 1 300 kilometres of trails access under 1 permit. The full offering for 2023 now includes:
- A-Z Grabouw
- Banhoek Conservancy
- Boschendal trails
- Bottelary Hills Conservancy trails
- Elgin Valley trails
- Franschhoek trails
- Fruitways Farms trails
- Grabouw trails
- Helderberg trails
- MTO Jonkershoek trails
- Oak Valley trails
- Paarl Trails
- Plaisir trails
- Stellenbosch Trail Fund trails
- Van Loveren trails
- Wellington trails (Wild Boar & Scouts)
- Wine Lands Cycling Club trails.
More for 2023 is the WineLandsTrails.com platform that will consolidate all routes, attractions, partner network information, contact details and much more in a single place. The platform will also host information about events, outrides and special promotions.
Members will be able to create member profiles, upload photos, find and connect with other members, join outride and trails groups and reach out to the organising committee. However, that’s not where it stops. As from December users will be able to interact with Winelands Trails through our Whatsapp BOT which will allow them to find routes, request gate codes, report emergencies, request trail maintenance, chat to a representative and much more. All that is needed is simply sending “hi” to +27 76 694 2 694 to join and receive news on outrides, events, promotions (amongst others) or request information from the website delivered directly to Whatsapp. An overview of the Winelands Regional trail permit is presented below:
Keen cyclists that believe they will not benefit from the Winelands Regional permit can choose from a number of local permit options that provide access to specific trail networks only.
|Winelands Regional||Access to all networks listed below|
|Winelands North||Wellington, Paarl, Franschhoek and Banhoek Conservancy|
|Winelands South||Wine Lands Cycling Club trails, Spier and Helderberg Farm|
|MTO Jonkershoek||Jonkershoek, Stellenbosch|
|Bottelary Hills Conservancy||Bottelary Hills incl. Polkadraai Bike Park|
|Elgin Valley Trails||Elgin & Grabouw incl. Oak Valley & Fruitways Farms|
Local trails networks will still offer day passes, but if one is looking for the ultimate permit to keep exploring in 2023, the Winelands Regional Permit is hands down the way to go.
New memberships are available from 1 December 2022 and are valid till 31 December 2023. Follow the hashtags #theultimatepermit and #WineLandsTrails2023 on social media and join our communities at @winelandstrails on Instagram and Winelands Trails on Facebook. Visit www.WineLandsTrails.com for all the details.