Join the Wild Riders at the iSimangaliso MTB 4Day



iSimangaliso Wetland Park world heritage site is gearing up to host its second mammoth 4 day MTB from 21-24 August 2014 - the iSimangaliso MTB 4Day powered by Nashua, and the good news is that here are still a few spots open!

Following on the massive success of the inaugural event in 2013, organiser Shane Webster and his team of experienced riders have been hard at work to fine tune an even better ride for the 400 riders expected this year. “The new ride options are more exciting, bringing in lots of single track and stunning trails sections,” says Shane. “For example, the second day’s improved route through Phinda takes riders on a much more exciting track, and in the False Bay section, some of the tar has been replaced by part of the Ingwe Trail through the forest – the single track specialists will be frothing at the mouth!,” says Shane. “Heading into Bonamanzi, changes include bridges, waterholes and single track again – an awesome ending to day 2.”

The route encompasses some 270 km of some of the most pristine parts of seven of this world heritage site’s eight eco-systems, allowing riders to experience the 332,000 hectare park and adjoining conservation areas such as Phinda Private Game Reserve, Hluhluwe River Lodge and Bonamanzi Game Reserve. Participants are promised a unique and unbeatable experience in big game country, including encounters with wildlife such as elephant, rhino, lion or hippo in some of the country’s wildest landscapes, pristine scenery, and breathtaking natural beauty. From the heights of the stunning Lebombo Mountains, the route drops off onto a downhill section with views across to iSimangaliso’s False Bay and coastline.

Four of iSimangaliso’s main sections are covered, being uMkhuze, False Bay, Western Shores, and Eastern Shores, as well as spectacular parts of Phinda, the floodplain areas of Hluhluwe River Lodge alongside False Bay, and the Bonamanzi bushveld. Riders traverse some really off-the-grid areas, using game paths, management tracks and as little actual road as possible. You don’t need to be superman to conquer the challenge but proven experience in long distance rides (>75km) is essential.

“For serious mountain bikers, there is everything you could possibly wish for,” says iSimangaliso CEO, Andrew Zaloumis. But he adds that “this is not a race to see who can finish first; it’s a ride experience for those who understand the privilege of exploring this unique area in an extraordinary way.” In fact, he recommends taking it easy and slowing down now and then to absorb the surroundings. “Those who did so last year were rewarded with amazing sightings including elephant, white and black rhino and a couple of pythons. This year, the possibility of encountering lions in uMkhuze (as well as Phinda) may add a little power to the pedals however we can assure riders that thorough scouting immediately before and during the ride is a priority – riders are routed away from known herds or prides, and marshals are in contact with race organisers to communicate any potentially dangerous spots.

With the last two days (Saturday and Sunday) using St Lucia as a base, it also offers spectators and families the opportunity to make a weekend of it in this resort village – beach, bush and bikes, it’s a winning combination”, he says.

As much as the ride is tons of fun and exposes riders to the wonderful natural heritage, it also fulfills a hugely important role in raising funds for iSimangaliso’s Rare and Endangered Species Fund through the ‘conservation contribution’ portion of the fee. Last year’s event resulted in over R102 000 being raised which was spent on the purchase of satellite collars for introduced oribi and lion, and horn transmitters for rhino in iSimangaliso, and this year’s goal is an ambitious R400,000!

For more information or to enter, visit