RAVE RUN: Garden Route Trail Park, Sedgefield
Photographs and words by…
Robyn Butcher and Wessel Pieterse
Best Time To Run
It’s humid during the warmer months. That said, there’s plenty of shade, and protective patches of forest, so it’s easy to stay relatively cool. As always, early mornings and late afternoons are best – not only will you beat the heat, you’ll experience the amazing surroundings in the best light, which accentuates the Park’s colours and textures to their true potential. The operating hours for the GRTP are between dawn and dusk – time your training session so you’re out on the trails when it’s still light.
Beginner – intermediate.
Between 20 and 60 minutes, depending on your level of fitness and the route you choose to follow.
GRTP started out as a mountain-biking destination, and it still is. A pump track and four trails, ranging between 10km and 16km in length, are more than enough to keep cyclists entertained. Alternatively, slow down and enjoy a picnic on the lawn close to the café.
The GRTP café (gardenroutetrailpark.com) serves coffees, drinks and light meals. Alternatively, drive back to Sedgefield for a variety of options, including the highly recommended PiliPili Beach Bar (pilipili.co.za).
A hard-packed gravel road leads from the parking lot to where the singletrack begins. Narrow dirt trails flow through tall-grass fields, fynbos, and lush sections of indigenous forest. The trail is consistently hard-packed, meaning there’s little in the form of technical terrain.
Punchy climbs will raise your heart rate and keep things interesting. Then the trail meanders along the upper reaches of the Karatara River, and passes rock pools and waterfalls. The majestic Outeniqua mountain range can be seen in the distance, and lush green rolling hills surround you. If it’s your first time, you’ll probably stop to admire the scenery in awe.
From Cape Town, take the N2 towards Sedgefield. At the Ruigtevlei/Karatara sign, turn left. Go over the railway line and along the road for 18km. Follow the sign to Barrington; and at the T-junction, turn right and then immediately left.
GRTP is home to a few Great Danes and a territorial Jack Russell. It’s not a good idea to bring your pets along, because they could end up in a fight! For this reason, (other) dogs are not allowed in the Park.