Riding the Dragon's Spine

Spine of the Dragon trail, is the country’s ultimate mountain bike riding tour, covering a distance of 4000 km from Beit Bridge to Cape Town.
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Title: Riding the Dragon's Spine
Subtitle: Beit Bridge to Cape Town
Authors: David Bristow; Steve Thomas
Publisher: Randomhouse Struik
Imprint: Travel and Heritage
Cape Town, South Africa 2012
ISBN 9781431700301 / ISBN 978-1-4317-0030-1
Softcover, 13 x 20 cm, 240 pages, numerous photos and map scetches, Text: English


The Spine of the Dragon Trail and this guide to riding it are not an exact science: the riding was designed to be fun, and the route was designed to be flexible. The book provides just about everything you need to do the trail: route descriptions and distances, trail gradings, maps, contact information and even our own home-baked philosophies about life and riding. In between all this you'll find bits of history, geography, philosophy and other nonsense that came into our heads as we were riding. We have divided the trail - and the book - into nine discrete sections, each one of which could be ridden as a shorter mountain bike touring holiday. Each section is further broken down into stages, amounting to a total of 58 day stages, each equivalent to a day's riding.

Each stage is described in detail. It is introduced by a brief summary of what you can expect along the route and is followed by an overview of the experience, offering insights into the day's journey. The overview is followed by a full description of the day's route. Where possible we have given alternative routes on the maps as well as in the narrative, but not always; this is because we cannot anticipate exactly what you want to do, and we'd like to give you some leeway to make your own adventure. To remove some of your stress, we have included recommendations about where to stay at the end of each day's ride as well as the contact details for the various establishments. The maps you'll find in this guide are pretty good approximations of the route as you ride it.

Content: Riding the Dragon's Spine

About this guide
Overview: Spine of the Dragon trail
Preparing for the trail
Baobab Trail
Beit Bridge to Sunland farm (Modjadjiskloof)
Bushveld and Berg Trail
Sunland farm (Modjadjiskloof) to Pilgrim's Rest
Timberlands Trail
Pilgrim's Rest to Natal Spa (Paulpietersburg)
Battlefields Trail
Natal Spa (Paulpietersburg) to Phuthaditjhaba
Roof of Africa Trail
Phuthaditjhaba to Holy Cross Mission
War Trail
Holy Cross Mission to Middelburg
Great Karoo Trail
Middelburg to Prince Albert
Folded Mountains Trail
Prince Albert to Tulbagh
Fairest Cape Trail
Tulbagh to Cape Point
Useful contacts