Mountain-biking enthusiasts looking for a race with a wild twist should look no further than the Mokala MTB Classic. Taking place from 1 to 3 June 2018, the ride offers big sky, rugged hills and plenty of wildlife.

Cyclists, the Mokala MTB Classic is no ordinary mountain-biking event. Over the weekend of 1 to 3 June, several routes – ranging between 35km and 80km – will see your bike braving dirt tracks in Mokala National Park. Mokala might be South Africa’s newest national park, but its landscape of camel-thorn trees and dolerite hills is iconic. Not to forget the rare antelope that have found a sanctuary here: sable, roan and tsessebe.

Mokala MTB Classic-2017 (6)-min

Mokala MTB Classic-2017 (3)-min
“There’s an incredible atmosphere during the race. Most people take part to specifically enjoy Mokala’s beauty – the camel-thorn trees and various wildlife species. Water points generally become a pitstop for joyous conversations. The main incentive is not to receive a medal, but to be able to say you have biked through a national park surrounded by wildlife,” says Mathilda Swanepoel, chairperson of SANParks Honorary Rangers: Diamantveld Region, organisers of the event.

With zebra in abundance, you might encounter more than one stripy crossing. “Riders are always fascinated by how each and every zebra’s stripes differ.”

Where to stay

Mokala offers a variety of accommodation types from luxury bungalows to camping. Choose between Mosu Lodge’s 15 self-catering units, Lilydale Rest Camp overlooking the Riet River, Haak-en-Steek Camp’s rustic cottage, Motswedi Camp Site, the gorgeous Kameeldoring Treetop Chalet and Stofdam Bird Hide.

Accommodation can be booked directly with Mathilda (see details below). But hurry, available lodging is filling up fast.

Picture courtesy of SANParks

Picture courtesy of SANParks

The MTB event will take place on Saturday and Sunday, following registration on the Friday afternoon. Saturday evening is set to be one of celebratory proportions. “At each camp, we light big fires for a braai you won’t soon forget. This way new friendships blossom and all participants can get to know the Honorary Rangers and what we do.”

Safety is key

To ensure the safety of all cyclists, rangers will keep an eye from elevated hills to make sure big game like buffaloes stay away from race routes. “Rangers and organisers will be in constant radio contact. Four ER24 vehicles with medical personnel will also be present along the routes.”

And if the distances sound somewhat daunting, think of this MTB race as your commitment to helping protect South Africa’s vulnerable and voiceless wildlife. All funds raised will be used towards the conservation of endangered species.

Mokala MTB Classic-2017 (7)-min

Entry fees

  • 35km: R500
  • 40km: R600
  • 80km: R700

Or take part in two races at a discounted rate:

  • 35km + 40km: R700
  • 35km + 80km: R800

Fees include two meals – one light lunch, and a braai pack including two salads for Saturday evening.

Mokala MTB Classic-2017 (4)-min


Friday, 1 June 2018

14:00-17:30: Arrival and collection of documents at Mosu Lodge

Saturday, 2 June 2018

09:00: 40km and 80km race starting from Mosu Lodge
13:00: Prize-giving and lucky draw
14:00: Collection of meals at Mosu Lodge’s conference room
17:00: Evening braai at various camps

Sunday, 3 June 2018

09:00: 35km tactical race starting from Mosu Lodge
12:00: Prize-giving


For bookings or more information, send an email to Mathilda Swanepoel at [email protected] or contact her on +27 (0)72 211 0538.

Ride the Imvelo MTB Classic in Swaziland

Mountain bikers keen on a similar challenge in the green hills of Swaziland can enter the Imvelo MTB Classic. Held in Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary near Mbabane, this mountain-biking event takes place on 9 June 2018. The race features four distances (64km, 35km, 22km and 12.5km) so that everyone can partake. Entries are limited to 500 and open on 10 April 2018. Diarise now!

Pictures supplied by Mathilda Swanepoel