Papkuilsfontein Mountain Bike Trails

In 2020, the EWT’s Drylands Conservation Programme launched over 100 km of brand-new mountain bike trails on Papkuilsfontein Guest Farm in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. Papkuilsfontein is famous for its abundant displays of Namaqualand flowers in spring.

The conservation value of Papkuilsfontein stems from its location on the Bokkeveld Plateau in Nieuwoudtville, also known as the bulb capital of the world, home to more than 1,350 species of flowering bulbs. Four main vegetation types can be found on Papkuilsfontein; Bokkeveld Sandstone Fynbos, Nieuwoudtville Shale Renosterveld, Hantam Karoo, and a small area of Vanrhynsdorp Shale Renosterveld. Each of these vegetation types contains a myriad of unique species.

The area is home to more than 80 endemic plant species, 30% of which are Red Data species threatened with extinction. Aside from the incredible botanical biodiversity, Papkuilsfontein is home to 36 mammal species recorded so far, including Leopard, Black-backed Jackal, Silver Fox, Bat-eared Fox, Smith’s Red Rock Rabbit, porcupines, duiker, Cape Clawless Otter, pole cat, baboon, Rock Hyrax, Klipspringer and Kudu.

Most dryland farms rely solely on agricultural income, making them particularly vulnerable to adverse climatic conditions, such as droughts. The Van Wyk family, who owns the farm, is collaborating with the EWT to improve nature-based tourism in the area and declare their property a Protected Environment. Papkuilfontein’s biking trails showcase some of the country’s most unique and spectacular biodiversity and will bring much-needed income and job creation opportunities to this remote area. Innovative approaches to protecting areas like this will become more critical for sustaining farming, tourism, and conservation activities.

We are proud to work with conservation champions such as the Van Wyks. The success of this project will hopefully encourage other farmers to diversify their activities, reduce their risk, and conserve the biodiversity on their farms. Papkuilsfontein is an excellent destination all year round, offering beautiful accommodation, hiking, mountain biking, delicious food, incredible plant biodiversity, and breathtaking scenery. We encourage everyone to add the destination to their holiday plans. For more information, visit the Papkuilsfontein website: www.papkuilsfontein.com

Papkuilsfontein Mountain Bike Trails is a flagship project of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) 5 Sustainable Land Management (SLM) initiative implemented by the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Dryland Conservation Programme through the United Nations Development Programme and the Department of Environment, Forestry, and Fisheries. The GEF 5 project facilitates innovative approaches to protecting the vulnerable ecosystems in the dryland areas by diversifying activities and income streams that are not climate-dependent, thereby building economic resilience in the face of adverse environmental and economic conditions

Other Dryland attractions

Anysberg Nature Reserve near Ladismith

Managed by CapeNature, this is a relatively unknown destination. Camping and cottages are available. Mountain biking and hiking are allowed. The EWT and CapeNature are working on several farms surrounding the Anysberg Nature Reserve to secure habitat for the Critically Endangered Riverine Rabbit. Click here for more info

Loxton, a small authentic Karoo Town

Visit the heart of Riverine Rabbit territory and the EWT’s Northern Cape office. Stay for a couple of days, walk around the town dam, and soak up the authenticity of this small, clean, and safe town. When you leave, take the gravel road to Fraserburg and experience the vast openness of the Karoo. Click here for more info