After the lockdown was lifted, we couldn’t wait to get out and enjoy life beyond the confines of our four walls. Although budget and time constraints, unfortunately, meant, just like many others, that we couldn’t travel far. And so it came to be that we booked a weekend escape to the Elgin valley.
Located just under an hour from our home in Cape Town, Elgin held promises of lots of wine, good food, and plenty of adventure. Our overnight accommodation of choice – Trail’s End.
A property built specifically with trail runners and mountain bikers in mind, Trail’s End immediately reminded us of an Alpine ski resort. Having recently travelled to the snowy mountains of Switzerland, arriving at Trail’s End we were immediately transported back to some alpine village where light woods cocooned our room and the smell of adventure beckoned. However, there would be no skiing here.
As Africa’s first bike hotel, Trail’s End takes the ski resort concept and flips it around for outdoor enthusiasts of a different kind, with an on-site secure bike storage facility, a bike rental and repair shop, a bike wash station, and a mini-pump track. In fact, mountain bikers will love this spot for its Declan O’Malley Flow Trail offering some epic switchbacks and bridges to keep entertained while a number of well-marked bike trails start just outside the door.
However, as a less than adept mountain biker, more of a sand-eater if I do say, I was thrilled to discover that there was more to the property than just biking. A climbing wall is there to keep kiddies entertained, while a pool looked the perfect place to cool down on hot days, and a wellness centre offers regular pilates and yoga classes. Unfortunately, the weekend we were booked to visit, Cape Town experienced severe weather warnings with a massive storm sweeping over and into the valley. However, that wasn’t enough to deter these intrepid explorers and we set out to explore anyway.
We discovered some easy walking trails, also right outside the front door, and with a Park Run trail just over the road, we loved meandering in the fresh open air past horses, cows, lakes, vineyards, and fruit orchards.
We also tasted some wines at the local vineyards and stocked up on goodies at some of the farm stalls before heading through to the vibrant Elgin Railway market for live music and even more heavenly fare. A trip to the Cape Canopy Tour was also a highlight of our visit, offering spectacular views of the mountains as we glided down eleven spectacular ziplines.
And while the pool would have to be put off for another day, the property’s aptly named “Handle Bar” became the meeting hub at the end of the day. Here bikers and runners alike mingled with fellow compatriots, catching up on the days adventures, before sitting down to a hearty meal. The homecooked lasagne served with locally made cider was the perfect way to end the day. The only negative – we’d only booked in for one night! Next time we’d have to linger longer…