Review Date: September 2011 Updated on:
Waterval Boven (Dutch for “Above the waterfall”) is a venue better known as a premier climbing destination in South Africa. It attracts many an international climber wanting to take on some of the best South Africa has to offer. After spending a weekend riding there it is obvious that there is a bit more on offer than just climbing. That being said the venue can’t be considered a bike park by definition and after chatting to the trail builder, Glenn Harrison, it is obvious this is not his intention. The low volume of riders on the trails does not make it economically viable to turn the venue into a commercial riding venue which in my opinion adds to the charm and feel of the trails. Riding here is an intimate affair with very few if any other riders on the trails. So in that vein the venue did not score very highly overall on the bike parks score card but if you are more concerned with the quality of trails and the grin factor a venue can deliver, you won’t be disappointed.
Waterval Boven is an old railway town situated on the edge of the Escarpment on the banks of the Elands River in Mpumalanga, roughly 260km form Johannesburg. The majority of the traveling is done on the N4 highway making it an easy, relatively fast trip. It is always a treat driving through to Mpumalanga and watching how the landscape changes from flat openness to mountainous valleys and mountain biking utopia.
For basic medical care, in case you need it, there is a government clinic at the beginning of the dirt road to Tranquilitas from Boven. For more severe medical attention the nearest Hospital is Nelspruit roughly 80km away. Take enough spares and tools along because the nearest bike shop will be in Nelspruit. Run tyre pressures a bit lower than usual if you have tubeless kits on, it really adds to the grip for the forest trails, 4X track and technical single track (But be aware of the rocks on the Rim Trail). It can get seriously hot in the valleys as in many places you are sheltered from the wind. So go prepared for this and stay hydrated.