|YOUR 50 MILE ROUTE DESCRIPTION
Graskop hut Start to Finish at Merry Pebbles Sabie
Graskop is a small town in Mpumalanga province, South Africa. It was set up in the 1880s as a gold mining camp but it now serves as a tourists destination and the timber industry. The name is Afrikaans for grassy hillock. “Gods Window” , a scenic view from the escarpment of the Lowveld below, is located outside the town.Graskop is 14 km south-east of Pilgrim’s Rest and 28 km north of Sabie. It was laid out between 1880 and 1890 on a farm belonging to Abel Erasmus, Native Commissioner of the Transvaal Republic. Named after a grassy hillock (Afrikaans gras, ‘grass’, kop, ‘hillock’). Originally it was a mining camp. It is the best place to view the “Edge of the Lowveld”, with a sudden drop of 700 m.
Graskop Hut to Mac Mac Pools
The 50 Miler will have an early start at the Graskop hut on the Fanie Botha hiking trail. The first 8km will be a combination of free-flowing jeep and single track, to get the legs warmed up nicely, before a big drop into an amazing indigenous forest. At the bottom of the valley you will cross the Mac Mac river and start your climb back up to the first check point at Mac Mac pool
Yes – Mac Mac Pools
Mac Mac Pools to Mac Mac Hut
After a refreshing stop and seeing your supporters you will make your way down to Mac Mac falls. The 65 m high Mac Mac Falls, in the Mac Mac River, is a declared National Monument. This waterfall was originally a single stream, but gold miners blasted it with dynamite to divert the river in an attempt to work the rich gold-bearing reef over which it plunges. A short 7.5km through plantations and a steep single track forest section will bring you to the next Aid Station at Mac Mac hut.
Yes – Mac Mac Pools
Mac Mac Hut to Stables
If you thought you’re on top and done climbing think again this section has the most ascents on the route. At Mac Mac hut you will continue you’re really nice single-track climb. Weather depending, you should have spectacular views of the Graskop escarpment and Gods Window. Up and over you will descent into the Tweefontein valley with a small river, rock pool and waterfall. The trail ascends up the ridge line overlooking beautiful Sabie valley. Once on the ridge line you will have the amazing view of Mount Moody, at that point you will ask yourself, are we going over that mountain? Once over the mountain you will join an easy rocky runnable jeep track that ends with the Stables checkpoint.
Stables to Mt Anderson
After the party at Stables, up a short jeep track section that sends you down a spectacular single track that leads on to Hartebeesvlakte. This is truly one of the world’s hidden beauties. Here you should keep your eyes open for Hartebees, White-tailed gnus, Burchell’s Zebras, Blesbok and perhaps a Leopard if you are lucky. Once over the Hartebeesvlakte you will then pass close to the summit of Mount Anderson via jeep track that peaks at an altitude of 2284 Meters, then around to the top of the escarpment.
Mt Anderson to Maritzbos
Now we are getting to the business end of things, you should welcome some downhill. Some call it the Towerbos or Magic Forest others call it Pain forest. A super steep slippery wet descent to Maritzbos that never ends. Some will also go down there in the dark. This section is a real gem of 6km indigenous forest, rivers, rockpools and the most spectacular waterfalls. You will cross several streams on slippery wooden bridges. The final stretch flattens out till you get to the Party at Maritzbos aid station
Maritzbos Hut to Ceylon Hut
The first section between Maritzbos and the Ceylon Hut is a runnable 8.7 km jeep track section with one or two climbs to negotiate. At Ceylon hut you can almost see the end, and this is where you are going to start swearing at the RD
Ceylon Hut to Merry Pebbles
This is a real tester for the mind training you have done over the past year. Steady jeep tracks climb to the top of the “The Why the F” koppie. A really spectacular descent on a MTB single track brings you to the bottom were you will follow the Sabie river, one more river crossing and a cold Sabie Brewery beer awaits you at the finish.