Kogin Naicker of Champagne Sports Resort told BizNews about their adventurous mountain biking programme. Bikes can be hired at multiple places in the valley, with different courses to suit your biking experience. For more info on the BizNews Investment Conference taking place in the Drakensberg next week, click here. – Jarryd Neves
Kogin Naicker on the mountain biking programme:
The forum that we’ve created is a valley project. All the resorts and hotels in the area have come together with this project. But yes, it was initiated by Champagne Sports Resort in the first cycle event that we hosted. That allowed the community to jump on board, because trails were already cut and then the platform was created. We just progressed as a community with it, to bring more tourism into the area – especially the cyclist community. Mountain biking in the mountains, you don’t get better than that.
On bike availability:
You can hire bikes. There are multiple areas in the valley that can hire out bikes, including Champagne Sports Resort. There are also areas for the cyclists that’s maybe haven’t cycled for a while and don’t know if you can make it through the entire course. There are different types of courses. There’s a novice course, a beginner course and an expert course – all different lengths. There are also companies in the valley that can assist you with electric bikes. When you get tired along your cycle, then it just takes over for you and gets you to the endpoint.
On heli biking:
There’s also heli-biking, which is available in the area on those tracks. They fly up to the top of the mountain with your bike, they get you up there and you make your way down. These are with guys that have been trained on our tracks that can certainly assist you – whether you’re a beginner, novice or an expert. They get you in a helicopter, take you to the top of the Drakensberg and then you descend as though you would be skiing down.
On the different routes and emergency assistance:
Everything has been labeled and signposted. Everything has a colour attached to it. So what happens is, at certain resorts and certain hotels around the central Drakensberg area, if you walk into Champagne Sports Resort and say, ‘I want to go cycling’, the receptionist will speak to you about the different types of routes that are available.
10km, 20km, 30km – or up to the 50km – you purchase your armband to show that you’ve supported the initiative of the community project and off you go to cycle. On those boards along the entire trail – if you’re doing the 30km track – there are signboards and at the bottom of the signboard is an emergency contact number. So should you fall off and have an injury, you can contact emergency services. They’ll be there immediately to assist you.
On the Ultra X:
We created something called the Ultra X. So it is a three-day ultramarathon. There’s nothing like it in the country. We’re the first to do it in Drakensberg. To give you an idea, the first day is a four km swim and a 100 km cycle. The second day is a five km run and 125 km cycle. The last days is a 25 km run. We’ve incorporated the trails into it. We incorporate the running. as well as the mountain biking on it. So we’ve tried to be unique. But in saying that, we have hosted mountain bike events, with up to 730 participants.