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2022 Newsletter #2

Updated: Apr 19, 2023


The Dullstroom – Kaapsehoop area promises to be packed with adventure for mountain bikers and trail runners over the weekend of 12 – 14 May 2022. From the hardcore extreme endurance athletes to the not-so-fit weekend warriors and youngsters, the Recce Raid is for everyone.

Water Points & Supporter Points

To assist participants in planning their race, we have prepared adventure maps that contain all the necessary info for each event. Every map has been carefully constructed to assist participants across all the events, from the 6 km Trail run to the unthinkable 430 km|10K Everesting MTB race.

The ultra-endurance events include the 100 km and 100-mile Trail Raid, and the 200 km and the 400|10K MTB Raid. As one would expect, these events will have a more detailed race booklet indicating waterpoints and refuelling points to assist with planning. These race booklets will be share soon.

As most of the events are taking place on private property that isn’t open to the general public, supporters will only have access at dedicated locations. We have directed the routes to converge at various lodges along the way. These lodges will be crucial refuelling points, and allow contestants to receive some much-needed TLC from loved ones. Most of these lodges offer accommodation and meal options to supporters, and we recommend that you enquire directly with them if you wish to stay their until your athlete arrives at these points.

The supporter points include the following lodges and facilities:

Kaapsehoop Horse Trails

Events: MTB 200 | MTB 400 | Trail 160

Tranquilitas Adventure Farm

Events: Trail 100

King Fisher Lodge

Events: MTB 200 | MTB 400 | Trail 100 | Trail 160

Verlorenkloof Estate

Events: Trail 100 | Trail 160

Elandskloof Trout Farm

Events: MTB 200 | MTB 400

Highland Gate Golf & Trout Estate

Events: MTB 80 | MTB 200 | MTB 400 | Trail 55 | Trail 100 | Trail 160


Events: All events

Trail Raid route maps

The adventure maps with a short description of the Trail Raid events are listed below:

Trail 6 – Family Fun, or Racing?

This is a scenic and enjoyable marked route that takes place on the outskirts of Dullstroom. The route goes through the bush tunnels of Robsons farm and meanders along the Crocodile River. With trout ponds all around this run is the ideal event for the speedsters that want to break records, while also being accommodating for the strollers. Even gran and mom with a pram will enjoy this trail!

Trail 12 – A true test for the fast runners, fun for the back markers…

This race offers everything that is on the Trail 6, but it raises the bar quite a few notches… This is a serious route with more dams, more river, more bush trails and more elevation. This is a fun event, however, runners should expect some (mmmm… three) river crossings on the marked trails, while running through the beautiful bush tunnels on Robsons Farm.

Trail 35 – The iconic route…

Follow the Crocodile River downstream for almost 15 km on a marked route, turn around on the edge of the Eastern Escarpment and make your way back to the Dullstroom Highlands. You will pass through 4 game farms and as many trout farms. Apart from the short section on the Kruisfontein tar road and the challenging ‘Dentist’ road in Valleyspruit, the majority of this event takes place on private property.

The ascent to Holingsberg at 2100 meters ASL on the notorious cement Jeep track will again test all runners as it winds through the rolling hills. This is followed by a 10 kay stretch with Dullstroom on the horizon, passing through Robsons Farm.

Trail 55 – Something of everything

The ultra-marathon trail will be a mixture of forest, savannah and river tracks, a short tar section in the beginning, as well as the Amberley cement Jeep Track towards Dullstroom.

The Trail 35 section of this route will be marked, the Trail 100|160 section will be unmarked and require a bit of self-navigation via GPS or GPX viewer. The route will split off the Trail 35 at the half-marathon mark and head all the way down to World’s End.

After the Kareekraal Kloof trail at Highland Gate, and some more, you will head back to Dullstroom on the scenic escarpment trails. It will again join the Trail 35 with roughly 15 kays to go.

Trail 100 – The Beauty and the Beast!

This promises to be one of the most exhilarating trail ultras you will ever do. From the start, at Tranquilitas, runners will literally dive into the Joubertspruit Valley until they reach the bottom at Rocky Drift Nature Reserve. When you get to the N4 you will feel like you are going back in time as you make your way through the old railway tunnel and onto the ancient steel bridge that crosses the Elands River.

The Zongororo river and mountain trails will take you into the railway ‘horseshoe’ loop, and you will exit the loop via another tunnel. From here you will traverse up the old Coach Road that was used by settlers to deliver post between Barberton and Lydenburg.

From the top of the escarpment, you will follow an isolated cement Jeep track into the Swartkoppies gorge. ‘Cement’ implies very steep. Once you’ve reached the bottom, you will cross the river into Sappi forestry areas. You will cross the river again below the waterfall, knowing that King Fisher Lodge with food and supporters is a mere 100 (vertical) meters away!

This leg will take longer than the average 25 km run... not only because of the scenery! The Trail 100 route merges with the Trail 160 below the Swartkoppies waterfall – for the remaining 80 kays to Dullstroom these runners share the route.

Trail 160 - Into the void…

An easy and idyllic start in Kaapsehoop before the epic kicks in. You will make use of the escarpment to guide you with faraway views in all directions.

Expect some forestry roads, horse trails and tarred sections before and after you crossed the N4 at Ngodwana. From here the route navigates the Sappi forests on forestry roads. A waterpoint at Houtboshoek will be a crucial recharge point for the next 15 km | 1000m stretch until you reach the food station at Excalibur Lodge.

The next 25 kays will be easy on your legs, but the focus will be on navigating the hypnotic forestry roads with nightfall approaching quickly. There will be no room for error. You will join the 100 kays route at the halfway mark. Shortly thereafter you will cross the Swartkoppies River below the waterfall, knowing that King Fisher Lodge with food and supporters is a mere 100 (vertical) meters away!

Navigation shouldn’t be too difficult during the night shift. You will stick to the farm, forestry and district roads all the way to the Dullies turn-off at 2000 meters ASL. From Dullies there is only one way down using the old oxen wagon transport trail into the isolated Donkerhoek valley. Once in the valley, you will follow the Crocodile River downstream for about 10 kays until you get to Verlorenkloof Lodge where some much-needed food, your cache and possibly a couple of supporters will await you.

You need to recharge before you start the final leg of this epic journey. Robins Kloof is the 'Barkley Marathon' of the Trail Raid – it spelled the end for many Raid Runners that underestimated this monstrous climb in the past.

Those that make it to the top might enjoy the early morning sunrise (or mist) hanging over the Kwena Basin as you make your way to World's End. Another tough descend awaits trail runners into Kareekraal Kloof at Highland Gate. From here it will be uphill through the kloof, all the way to the Highland Gate feeding station.

The home stretch will take the last bit of energy as you make your way to Holingsberg at 2100 meters ASL - the highest point on the race. From here it will be you and the undulating Highlands until you turn into Robsons and its labyrinth bush tunnels and Bush Chapel, knowing that the finish line is less than a kay away.

MTB Raid maps

The adventure maps with a short description of the MTB Raid events are listed below:

MTB 40 Half Marathon

Riders can look forward to an enjoyable ride that is not too easy or too technical. With an elevation gain of only 700 meters this will be an enjoyable ride for everybody. If you are a racing snake you can really push the limits on this one.

MTB 80 Marathon

This ‘Old School’ MTB Classic comprises a mixture of just about everything – a bit of tar, some district and farm road, a lot of cement and paved Jeep track, river tracks and crossings, and forestry roads. The total distance is 78 kays and the elevation will touch 1600 meters.

Note: BEWARE of the thin air at 2000 meters ASL.

MTB 200 24-hour – The authentic endurance ride

Our quest is to present the ultimate 200 km 24-hour MTB race that all mountain bikers mark on their calendars as one of their ‘Must Do’ events. The avid endurance riders will love this, and the climbers will cream this! The route is perfect for a very quick 200, if your legs will make it to the end.

We constructed a route that will be fun to ride, passing through some of the most spectacular and breath-taking scenery Mpumalanga has to offer. The first leg will take riders through the iconic Kaapsehoop before descending to the Ngodwana River and crossing the N4. The next 50 km will be one the most epic MTB sections riders will ever do. It will start with riders climbing roughly one third of the tarred Clivia pass before descending into the Houtboshoek valley – 15 kays of ‘free’ riding at a blistering speed to the bottom of the basin.

From here riders share the route with the 400 km|10K riders. They must prepare to climb well in excess of 2000 meter by the time they reach End-of-the-World at 2000 meters ASL. After having refuelled at Excalibur, riders will follow the Elandshoogte contour roads until their route merge again with the MTB 400 event. From here on it will be a gradual ascent to the faraway Highlands and Dullstroom.

MTB 400 – The Everesting 10K race

The guidelines for an Everesting 10K route are clear: It must have a distance of more than 400 km and a total elevation gain of 10K (barometric), on any surface. There are some limitations on the bike, and how this can be achieved.

Stitching this route together for a MTB race proved to be very challenging, especially if you try to offer participants the best possible riding surface. This implies literally ascending every peak and descending to every valley between Kaapsehoop and Dullstroom!

During the inaugural MTB Raid 400 we had an astonishing finish rate of more than 80%. For 2022 we have tried to build on this success and improve the route where possible, to ensure the finish rate remains high. This is only possible with the support of foresters Sappi and Safcol, and many private landowners and lodges along the route. Almost 75% of the 430 km route is on private property that is not accessible to the general public. For 2022 we have managed to even put a better route together.

There are a few flat sections to give riders a breather. Riders must, however, prepare for 10 brutal climbs, also referred to as ‘Raid’ sections. Each one will be a major physical challenge, with Raid 8 promising to be the toughest – the ascent to End-of-the-World.

Previously the End-of-the-World section was inaccessible, but Sappi is about to complete major refurbishments all the way to the top. Riders can expect a near perfect MTB road surface for one of the most scenic climbs in South Africa.

The Recce Raid journey will be memorable and special, something that will stay with you forever! We will share more info on our sponsors and partners, the logistics and the schedule for our on-line pre-race briefing sessions in the next newsletter.

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