Review Date: April 2013 Updated on:
The Durban Green Corridor is an initiative of the eThekwini Municipality to create economic development in the Umngeni river valley between Durban and, ultimately, the Drakensdurg, although at the moment it extends to the municipal boundary at Cato Ridge. The idea is to develop adventure sports trails and visitor facilities and thereby create jobs for the locals. As a spin off, young kids in these areas take part in a youth development program that focuses on adventure sports, with a core focus on mountain biking, canoeing and trail running. There is also a strong environmental program to maintain and improve the river systems to be enjoyed for years to come.
We chose to visit two of their trail sites, the first at iSithumba, a small village below Inchanga, and the second being eNanda Adventures, located at Inanda dam on the Kwa-Mashu side, ie, the Durban North side of the dam.
Hitting the trails
iSithumba is a rough gem in that it used to be a tourism facility and conference venue but now lies in relative ruin. The eThekwini municipality has started to fix the place up and you will find safe parking and security guards on site who will welcome you with a smile.
There are three main trails at iSithumba, being 5km, 15km and 28km trails.
We did a bit of mix and match of trails as well as some uplift riding, making use of some of the many out of bounds trails on offer. These turned out to be some of the most exhilarating, and if you phone to book, they will organize a 4×4 to run you up to these trails. Trust us, you don’t want to ride up. This place is full of huge hills.
The trails themselves try their best to take the sting out of the hills, but the 15 and 28 still feature lots of climbing, but with lots of single track reward.
Its not for beginners though and the trails are not marked so download the gps track from the website before you go.
eNanda adventures was a completely different experience, with flowing trails along the waters edge, and much less climbing that iSithumba, making more suited to less hardy riders. The trail center is also more organized, with safe parking, toilets, showers, beautiful lawns on the banks of the dam and the option to hire Canadian style canoes or go hiking as well.
In theory, you could ride around the entire dam on about 80% singe track, which would be about a 50km loop, but that is quite a serious ride for advanced riders only. For more gentle riding, suitable for beginners and kids, there is an easy 5km loop, a very pleasant 12km loop with lots of flowing swoopy single track, and another more difficult 15km route that features some tough downhill switchbacks should you feel up to it.
So many people think that riding in the Umgeni Valley is unsafe. The reality however is that in these more rural areas, people are very friendly, and a big smile and friendly Sawubona will get you a long way, so show some respect when you visit the valley. In our experience, which in Devlin’s case is many years in the valley, the locals have always been really welcoming. Given the fact that so many locals have jobs because of the mountain biking scene, they have become very protective of their source of income.