New singletrack for Tankwa Trek

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Witzenberg valley stages have been updated with challenging singletrack. (Photo: Marike Pearton/
Witzenberg valley stages have been updated with challenging singletrack. (Photo: Marike Pearton/
  • Terrific winter rain, has bolstered route expansion in the Tankwa and Koue Bokkeveld.
  • Riders can experience some of the new trails, at the Tankwa Trek.
  • And yes, the fearsome Merino Monster climb, remains part of the event.

The Tankwa is an unforgiving place. Its starkness is immense, and shade is but a suggestion.

Since 2013 the Tankwa Trek has been regarded as a true test of mountain biking endurance. A race worthy of its UCI status.

Four days of steep climbs and loose shale descents test fitness, focus and rider skills. And for the 2022 Tankwa Trek, organisers have shaped a new route.

karoo mountain bike
Stages 1 and 4 of the 2022 route are entirely new. (Photo: Zoon Cronje/

Many improved sections of trail

Stages 1 and 4 contain new portions of singletrack, shaped by Kaleo’s Ernst van Dyk, with the generosity of access provided by Koue Bokkeveld farmers.

"We’re also looking forward to welcoming mountain bikers to a greener Koue Bokkeveld than they’ve seen in recent years." This has made Ernst's job a lot more rewarding.

"The 2021 winter was one of particularly good rainfall, which has the veld in fantastic condition but which also helped our trail building. Now that the singletracks have had a chance to bed-in they’re rolling superbly."

Scheduled for the first week of February, the Tankwa Trek ranges for 284km, through some of the country’s most inspiring terrain. Stage 1 acts as a seeding run, for the starting order on day two.

Stages 1 and 4 of the 2022 route are entirely new
The Merino Monster remains a highlight of the queen stage; on day three. (Photo: Carli Smith/

Big climbs remain a theme

The Witzenberg valley will be the singletrack venue for stage 2, where the Hanekom brothers have carved trails through rugged sandstone terrain.

There will be a new approach to the Old Wagon trail climb into the valley. Stage 2 is 86km in length with 1900m of climbing.

By far the most humbling feature of any Tankwa Trek, is the fabled Merino Monster climb on stage 3, which is 99km long and has 2200m of climbing. It is unquestionably the event’s queen stage.

Riders will finish with a playful stage 4, which is 70km in length with 1000m of climbing and a freshly cut 5km singletrack descent, to the finish.

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