event details

The Descent

Set a race pace on three days of flowing trails with a challenging endurance test on day 1. Enter in teams of two or solo.

All you need to know for the descent is in our handy,

printable race guide.

THIS EVENT IS FULLY BOOKED. BUT YOU CAN STILL JOIN OUR WAITING LIST.

Descent logistics banner

GRINDROD BANK BERG & BUSH Descent 2022

Price

R7000 

Dates

24 - 26 June

Difficulty

Exhilarating & Freeflowing

Duration

3 days

Distance

214km

About the Descent

  • This iconic event takes riders on Day 1 from the top of the Drakensberg mountains down beautiful meandering single track via Solly’s Folly to our camp on the
    banks of the Tugela River
  • Day 2 and 3 trails include hand built single track following the Tugela River
    and up and over the infamous Spioenkop Mountain
  • Spend 2 nights at our Race Village selecting from camping options or self-camp or stay in a nearby B&B or hotel
  • Shuttles to and from OR Tambo airport available
  • Solo entries available

Route & GPS

Day 1: 79km

What a start! High up in the Drakensberg mountains at approx. 1,800m above sea level the cyclists will begin their descent through parts of the Free State before dropping down into KwaZulu-Natal and ending their journey at Emseni Camp on the banks of the Tugela River at 900m above sea level.

 

After crossing the start line the cyclists will follow an old disused canal for about 12km before climbing higher up the escarpment via a specially made single track route. We then follow the route high above the cliffs passing iconic places like Great Wall My China and Sollys Folly with great views over KZN before arriving at the top of Bezuidenhout Pass. An exhilarating purpose-made single track takes cyclists all the way down ending up at Qwaggashoek Game Farm. You will be welcomed here by the people at Water Point 1. We then cycle along farm roads passing maize and soya bean fields before arriving at the base of the final major climb of the day. On reaching the top we have 24 km to ride along fun single track down Bone Rattler, B Line, and Giraffe Ridge. On reaching the Tugela River we cycle amongst the trees along Garden of Eden before entering the Race village at Emseni Camp 80km later.

Day 2: 70km

This is a day of bushveld riding and single track. It starts with an early morning climb up “Ox Wagon Hill” to enjoy the views of the majestic Drakensberg mountains. You’ll then follow tracks made by cattle and game farmers in the area and along dry river beds. The challenge awaits going up “Mike’s Pass” with the mind-blowing descent down “Puff Adder Pass” back towards the Tugela River. From here the route follows cattle tracks along the river before the final crossing over the Tugela River to the finish.

Day 3: 50km

Early morning will take the riders to the base of Spioenkop on the southern side of the mountain where we ascend the Zig Zigs. Here riders follow a mellow gradient up and around 13 corners to where the real fun begins. We traverse the side of the mountain for a while before descending down the Fanagalo single track, a section of route which was used in The World Single Speed Champs a few years ago. Riding along the banks of the Tugela River, we pass through Tugela River Lodge before the next climb of the day, which is up and over Brakfontein Hill. Boer fortifications can be seen where they waited for the British to cross the river in 1899. Riders then descend down into The Kloof, a fun flowing section through beautiful African bushveld. At the bottom of The Kloof we ride along the dry river bed, passing Blue Cliffs before climbing out the other side on a section built by well-known trail builder, Glen Harrison. A fast descent, and along sections following cattle tracks, we eventually arrive at Spioenkop mountain climb. This 1.5km climb tests everyone’s fitness before summiting. The 13km descent back to the race village remains a highlight for many mountain bikers.

 

NEW ROUTE FOR 2022!

Entries

Your entry fee includes:

  • 3 days of pure Berg & Bush trails. From the Drakensberg down into KZN bushveld, this is why you ride!
  • 1 beautiful Race Village – your new home!
  • A goodie bag per person
  • 3 meals a day plus access to our famous chill zone
  • 24-hour coffee, tea, juice and crunchie station
  • Race facilities like hot showers, bike wash, chill zones, bar and more.
  • Medical support on the route.
  • Charity-run water points along the route with the most incredible local treats and people manning them!

It does not include:

  • Accommodation the night before the start – please book a B&B nearby – look under ‘accommodation’ info for our list of places.
  • You can add the below tent options on your entry:
    • Standard Tent (Canvas tent with mattresses)
    • Kudu Tent (Canvas tent with bed and event mattress)
    • Weaver Tent (Large canvas tent with bed, event mattress and linen)
    • Kingfisher Tent (Large canvas tent with bed, linen and electricity)
  • Self-camping option
  • Shuttles – you can book these separately.
  • Massages, physio, car shuttles, bike transport and bike mechanic service – book these separately.
  • Drinks from our race village pub

Refund Policy

Refunds processed up to 1 May 2022 will be refunded at 90% of entry fee. No Refunds after 1 May 2022.

However you can also sell your entry to another rider and do an online substitution.

The same refund policy applies to the cost of a tent, if it cannot be sold to another rider.

No refunds will be made on partial payments. You need to be fully paid up to qualify for refund policy above.

I undertake to participate entirely at my own risk. I agree that I shall have no claims whatsoever against the organizing body, any individuals, organiser or official, marshal, assistant, helper or agent, the sponsors, any local authority or land owners, in respect of any loss or damage whatsoever I may suffer arising from any injury to my person or loss or damage to property as a result of, or arising out of, whether directly or indirectly, my participation in this event, including my arrival and departure there from and attendance of any ceremony and function thereof, however such loss or damage may arise and regardless of whether or not same shall have been caused directly or indirectly by negligence, of one or more or all of the aforementioned parties. In the event of my approval of this form as a guardian of a minor, I hereby consent to such minor being bound by the foregoing and further I indemnify the aforementioned parties to the extent, if any, to which such minor is not capable of waiving his rights as stipulated within. I agree to participate subject to rules including any drug tests and penalties provided for therein. By entering, I agree to email and SMS communications from EntryNinja and possibly LiveTime depending on the timing provider, regarding event details. I have read the above indemnity and the rules understand them and shall abide by them.

 

Cancellation due to Force Majeure and Severe Weather. If Berg and Bush is forced to cancel a stage (or stages) due to severe weather conditions or fires that puts riders’ safety at risk, the riders will not have any claim against the organisers or any of their sponsors of whatsoever nature in these circumstances. Berg and Bush reserves the right to change the route for inter alia, safety and security reasons without notice. If Berg and Bush is cancelled in total as a last resort due to events beyond our control (force majeure) – relating to, inter alia, political turmoil, natural disasters, strikes, protest action or any other major disturbance beyond our control, riders will have no claim whatsoever including but not limited to a refund against the organisers or any of their sponsors. This will include entry fees and or flights and other expenses. Berg and Bush will do everything in our power to reroute and to run the event in a safe and secure manner should any event of force majeure arise.

Accommodation

Find accommodation in the Race Village here.

Find accommodation for the night before the Descent here.

Find accommodation near the Race Village here.

Find accommodation +20km from the Race Village here.

Fly-in Packages

Thursday 23 June 2022:

  • Shuttles from OR Tambo Airport (Johannesburg) to Race Village
  • Meet & greet at Airport
  • Departure: 12h00
  • Freshly made snack packs on arrival
  • Mechanic to assist with assembling your bike at registration
  • Secure over-night bike park
  • Accommodation in a nearby establishment near Windmill Farm (Start)

  • Shuttles to the start on Friday morning

  • Transport for rider bags and bike boxes to Race Village

Sunday 26 June 2022:

  • Boxing of your bike after you finish on Day 3
  • Return shuttle to OR Tambo Airport from Race Village
  • Packed lunches available to all riders
  • Departure: 12h30 (ETA at airport approximately 17:30)

Total = R2300 per person return

For bookings email: jani@bergandbush.co.za 

Directions

DIRECTIONS TO REGISTRATION & START OF THE DESCENT AT WINDMILL FARM

  • “Windmill Farm” in Google Maps
  • Their website is http://windmillfarm.co.za
  • GPS: co-ordinates  28° 33′ 09.94 S    29° 04′ 36.05 E

Directions from Johannesburg

  • Take the N3 to Durban / Harrismith. 5km after the Bergview Complex on your left, take the off ramp for N5 Bethlehem / Bergville / Qwa Qwa.
  • Turn right at Stop. Follow road and drive towards the Spur Steak Ranch on your left.
  • Cross over robot and second 4-way Stop.
  • Travel straight on for another 4.5 km and turn left at the first T-Junction – Alternative Durban / R712 / Qwa – Qwa / Phuthaditjhaba / Bergville.
  • Travel on that road for another 8.5 km; once again turn left at the T-Junction onto the Bergville R74.
  • We are 23.1 km further on, on the crest of the Oliviershoek Pass.
  • The old sandstone house on the right.

Directions from Bloemfontein

  • Take the N1 from Bloemfontein to Winburg.
  • At Winburg take the Senekal / Bethlehem / Harrismith turnoff.
  • Just before Harrismith take the R712 Alternative road to Durban / Bergville.
  • Travel for another 8.5km, and turn left onto the Bergville R74.
  • We are 23.1km further on, on the crest of the Oliviershoek Pass.
  • The old sandstone house on the right.

Directions from Durban

  • Take the N3 to Johannesburg. Take the Bergville / Colenso / Winterton / R74 off ramp, 5km after the Escort Ultra City.
  • Follow the sign to Bergville / Winterton (22km).
  • Bypass Winterton to Bergville (22km). Bypass Bergville and carry on straight for another 40km.
  • We are on the top of the Oliviershoek Pass.
  • The old sandstone house on the left.

DIRECTIONS TO REGISTRATION & START OF THE DESCENT AT WINDMILL FARM

  • “Berg & Bush” in Google Maps
  • GPS: co-ordinates S 28° 40’ 50.1″ E 29° 32’ 40.9″

 

Turn right out of the Border Post  and go down  Oliviershoek pass (Stop for coffee at Coyote Cafe and fresh Petrol at BP on your right). Go straight through Bergville and proceed towards Winterton. Before Winterton turn LEFT on the R600 to Spioenkop Dam/Ladysmith. Proceed 18kms. Em’seni is on your right below the dam wall.

Bike & Car Shuttles

CAR SHUTTLES

About car shuttles

As part of their annual fundraiser, cars will be driven from the Windmill start to Em’seni race village by local church groups. 

 

Riders utilising this service must collect their car tag at registration the night before the ride.

 

Cars must be parked in the allocated shuttle service area – either at registration or on the morning of Day 1.

 

Cars and keys will be available for collection from lunchtime onwards at Em’seni.

 

If you intend riding like the wind from Windmill, pack a small bag with clean clothes and cash for the bar so you don’t lounge around in your smelly kit.

 

The togbag truck will arrive at Em’seni before your car.

BIKE SHUTTLES

Cape Cycle Transporters

 

CAPE CYCLE TRANSPORTERS
Transporting from Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Somerset West and Overberg.
R1250 per bicycle return

Please click on link below to Book your spot

https://hermanuscycles.co.za/berg-bush/

Chris Niehaus – 084 605 2708

Leon Prak – 082 932 3938
capecycletransporters@gmail.com

 

All In Events

  • Transporting from Tokai, Constantia, Claremont, Somerset West, Cape Town and Paarl.
  • Johannesburg and Pretoria Areas
  • Simply drop your bike off race ready, no boxing, no disassembling required.
  • It’s not just transportation. Our customers enjoy service at a personal level, because it’s not our job – it’s our passion!
  • Dean – 082 729 7955bookings@allinevents.co.za
  • Book online at www.allinevents.co.za

Itinerary

Thursday, 23th June 2022
  • Registration at Windmill Farm: 12:00 – 20:00
  • Dinner: 16:00 – 19:00
  • Race Briefing: 15:00 and 18:00
  • Bike Park open: 12:00 to Friday Morning

Friday, 24th June 2022
  • Breakfast: 6:30 – 8:30
  • Windmill Farm before the Start: Riders book cars into the shuttle to be returned to Em’seni. Bags are loaded into Trucks to be delivered to Emseni camp. (Bags will arrive at Em’seni Camp before the shuttled cars)
  • Start: 8:00 (7 minutes between batches)
  • Lunch at Em’seni Camp: 13:00 – 16:00
  • Dinner: 18:00 – 20:00
  • Race Briefing: 19:00

Saturday, 25th June 2022
  • Breakfast: 6:30
  • Start: 8:00
  • Lunch: 12:00 – 15:00
  • Registration for Race up Spioenkop: 11:00 – 14:00
  • Race up Spioenkop followed by History talk: 15:00
  • Dinner: 18:00 – 20:00
  • Race briefing and Race up Spioenkop Prize giving: 19:00

Sunday, 26th June 2022
  • Breakfast: 6:30
  • Start: 8:00
  • Lunch: 11:00 – 14:00
  • Prize Giving: 11:00

Physio & Massage

To book Sports Massage, Chiro or Physio, please contact Gill for the booking form: bergandbushmassage@gmail.com

  • Sports Massage @ R350.00 per 30 minute session
  • Chiro @ R450 per 30 minute session
  • Physio @ R450 per 30 minute session

 

Sports Massage can help maintain the body in better condition, prevent injuries and loss of mobility, restore mobility to inured muscles and tissues, boost performance and extend the overall life of your sporting career.

 

Recovery Zone – Foam Rollers, stretching mats, calf & foot stretchers, resistance bands and Ice Bath Bins.

 

SPORTS EVENT THERAPISTS are a team of qualified and experienced Sports Massage Therapists, Chiropractors & Physiotherapists who have a passion and love for what we do.

 

Whilst maintaining a professional approach to our work we like to get to know our clients and share a few jokes inside the Massage Tent to create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

 

Please note that strict Covid-19 Hygiene Protocols will be in place for the Massage Team and riders.

  • Masks will be worn by my team and riders along with hand sanitizing
  • Each massage bed/station will be provided with their own disposable equipment towels, wipes, oil bottles and sanitizers etc…so no sharing of anything

  • Disposable face hole covers will be used and changed after each session.

  • Beds cleaned and sanitized

  • A separate entry & exit into the massage tent to stop congestion at change over

Prizes, Batching and Results

CATEGORIES FOR 2022:

*Teams can only compete in one category 

*Each rider is classified according to his or her age on December 31st of the current year. The age class and category to which a rider belongs is identified on the Cyling SA license.

MAIN RACE (ELITE):

  • Men: 1st, 2nd and 3rd
  • Mixed: 1st, 2nd and 3rd
  • Ladies: 1st, 2nd and 3rd

SOLO:

  • Men: 1st, 2nd and 3rd
  • Ladies: 1st, 2nd and 3rd

VETS (40 – 49):

  • Men: 1st, 2nd and 3rd
  • Ladies: 1st, 2nd and 3rd

MASTERS (50 – 59):

  • Men: 1st, 2nd and 3rd
  • Ladies: 1st, 2nd and 3rd

GRANDMASTERS (60+):

  • Men: 1st, 2nd and 3rd

BIG BUGGERS (teams over 200kg): 1st, 2nd and 3rd

Training Programme

Our world-class Berg & Bush training programmes, developed by Dr. Mike Posthumus of Science to Sport are up and running. Mike is a passionate mountain biker who has taken part in our events a number of times. He loves nothing more than helping riders achieve their fitness goals, so we can’t wait to see all of you flying up the Berg & Bush trails in June.

Rules

  1. All CSA rules apply.
  2. All our local farm rules apply too. Be nice. Be gracious and remember how privileged we are to be able to ride mountain bikes.
  3. Those convicted of doping may not enter!
  4. If you want your prize money, you have to attend prize giving.
  5. Anybody overheard swearing at staff, other riders or race organisers will be blacklisted from all future Berg and Bush events. If you couldn’t get in this year, now you know why.
  6. Anybody starting ahead of their allocated batch will also be blacklisted from any future event. The same rule applies to littering. 
  7. One hour time penalties will be incurred with:
    Riders not being within 2 minutes of each other at any time.
    Riders who give sweets, biscuits or chocolates to the kids on the route.
  8. Begging children are becoming a problem at races. Please don’t encourage them. They are given soccer balls and other incentives to entertain them if they don’t ask for sweets.
  9. The decision of the race director is final. And his wife’s decisions are even more final. 
  10. And the most important rule: make sure you smell the cow dung and look at the views. Before you know it, it will be all over. Enjoy your event.

 

TAKE NOTE:

USING AN ILLEGITIMATE ID NUMBER WILL RESULT IN YOU LOSING YOUR ENTRY AND FORFEITING YOUR PAYMENT. FURTHERMORE, AN EMAIL ADDRESS CANNOT BE USED MORE THAN ONCE – ONE EMAIL ADDRESS MUST BE USED COMBINED WITH ONE ID NUMBER

 

Grindrod Bank Berg & Bush e-bike rules

  • There will be no e-bike racing categories or prizes at the event.
  • Due to the remote nature of our refreshment stations, Berg & Bush is a one battery event and no extra battery will be allowed.
  • For the Descent and 2 Day, any rider wishing to ride an e-bike must partner with someone riding a normal mountain bike.
  • E-bikes will be batched from D batch or lower each day.
  • Teams of e-bikers and solo e-bike riders are welcome to ride the Tour.

What to Bring

FOR THE DESCENT PACK EVERYTHING IN ONE BIG BAG. THIS WILL BE DELIVERED TO EM’SENI BY VANS FROM THE START. PLEASE DON’T PUT IT IN YOUR CAR SHUTTLE AS THIS ARRIVES VERY LATE!

 

Download your packing list here

Meals

Supper is included at registration (Windmill Farm).

We will be serving breakfast at The Start (Windmill Farm) on Day 1.

All meals provided from lunch on day 1 up to lunch on day 3 at Em’seni Race Village.

Tea / Coffee and 24-hour snack station available in the Race Village.

We have vegetarian and gluten-free options available – please choose your option on the entry form.

Mechanics

Sponsors

Have any questions?

If there’s anything else you’d like to know or you’re unsure of, reach out to us and we’ll be sure to fill you in.

Jani Maritz

Galleries Of Our Past Races

Memories

Not convinced to enter just yet? Take a look at some of our favourite memories from past events to whett your appetite!

Videos

Videos

2021

2021

2019

2019

2018

2018