To Our Email Newsletter - Click Here.










Sappi Mankele MTB Challenge


21 March 2015

We will be hosting the Sappi Mankele MTB Challenge, on the 21st March 2015.

The 65km race will be jam packed with bush tunnels, single track and of course a couple typical Mpumalanga climbs.

Sappi has given us the go ahead to use last years course again. This is my favourite course, the climb is a real dog but the single track is really amazing.

The 65km race will be jam packed with bush tunnels, single track and of course a couple typical Mpumalanga climbs. After conquering the first climb, you will be rewarded with some fast flowing single track.  A nice rhythm section will get the legs back and ready for the next climb. The single track at the top of the mountain is flippen amazing, it makes you feel like a DownHill pro (just better looking). It’s a long section that spits you out into the next valley. 2km Bushtunnel followed by river crossings will keep you busy and then the climb to Mount Carmel. This is a steady climb with some lekker single track sections to break the long climb. From the Tower down is just absolute mountain biking, you can “KLAP IT” as fast as you can all the way home. This route makes you love and understand your bike.

35km’s of trail riding at its best. One monster climb and the party starts!!! Plenty Single track and Bushtunnels are on top of the menu. The first climb will make you think WHY ME?

But this only goes on for 4.5km’s then some lekker single track to wake you up, followed by a rhythm section around the sawmill and up to the drop in of the super cool Bushtunnel. Another small climb and you are at the Chicken farm and this where you can do your back flips, toe grabs & superman tricks. “Snakes and ladders” is fast and just mountain biking perfection.

12km Fun Ride. A well balanced ride for the youngsters and for the not so young. Who just wants to have, a fun time on their bikes. This is not a “sissy ride” you will be challenged with a couple of climbs and some nice single track sections.

2.5km Kiddies Race. The Burry Stander’s of the future. Its flat, its fast and the little maniacs love it. Parents can run with (if you can keep up) or you can watch them, from the four cross start.

Queries: 082 338 9532 Mark

Accommodation: / 078 801 0453


14km of single track, as well as boardwalks, bush tunnels,
river crossings and as always big climbs are some of the
things to look forward to. The Marathon is 60km of absolute
adrenaline pumping trails and if you get the chance to look
around, the views are breathtaking.


It’s going to be fast! One killer of a climb and then all the fun starts... Forest single track, bush tunnels, bridges, river crossings and some disc burning descents. After 9km of single track you will feel like the single track king!


This is where you will learn what MTBiking is all about.
Endless single track, board walks & some fun twisty stuff.
You will want to do another lap when you are done.


For the little ones

Sappi makes major commitment to
mountain biking in Mpumalanga

Sappi confirmed that they are increasing their support for mountain bike racing which uses Sappi land. To this end Sappi have agreed to take up the naming rights of the popular Mankele Mountain Bike Challenge, which will now be called the Sappi Mankele Mountain Bike Challenge. “Sappi’s plantations not only provide a critical renewable resource to help grow South Africa’s economy, but together with our conservation areas our land provides a fantastic resource for planned recreational activities. We therefore support non-motorised activities such as mountain biking and bird watching on Sappi land, also as part of our commitment to promoting a healthy life style and nurturing an appreciation for nature and the sustainable use of renewable resources” says Regional Forestry Manager, Duane Roothman.

The Sappi Mankele MTB Challenge will be taking place on Saturday, 02 April 2011 on Sappi’s land near the Sudwala Caves, about 30km from Nelspruit. The event offers a number of races, which includes a 2.4km, 12km, 35km and a 65km race.

Over the years the organising body, Mankele Mountain Biking, has developed unique trails running through Sappi’s bush tunnels and endless single tracks, which enables riders to have the best possible mountain biking experience. Sappi’s property also boasts one of the longest bush tunnels in the country, which makes for an exhilarating ride.  The route will also take riders through beautiful grasslands where, if lucky, the riders may spot red data species such as the Oribi buck and Humilis cycads. 

Mountain biking is one of the fastest growing sports in South Africa and the Sappi Mankele MTB Challenge is fast becoming a national event with riders from across the country participating. The race has seen a 30% growth rate increase per year since the event first started in 2008, and the Mankele trails are rated amongst the best mountain biking trails in South Africa by many professional riders.

  Sappi MTB

Route Profiles (click on a profile to enlarge)


To tackle a mountain bike marathon is not for the faint-hearted or unprepared. It takes great inspiration to train for and compete in such a race. Sappi has recognised that this fits in with their own ethos “inspired by life”, and are once again the title sponsor of the 2013 Sappi Mankele Mountain Bike Challenge.

This is the third consecutive year that Sappi has naming rights for the event.
More than 600 mountain bikers will again converge on Mankele, located in the Sudwala district close to Nelspruit, on the weekend of 23 March to tackle the awesome single track, bush tunnels and MTB trails on Sappi’s Mooifontein, Pine Valley and Rhemay plantations.

Mankele’s trails have been described by the late Olympian, Burry Stander, as “superb” and the race was rated the best mountain bike park in South Africa by Cycling South Africa in October 2012. 
The 2013 Sappi Mankele Mountain Bike Challenge will see riders tackling the awesome 2010 course, described by those who are regulars at this annual race as their favourite. Mankele’s Mark Meyer says, “The climb is a real dog but the single track is amazing.” The ever-popular 4-in-one event includes a 65km marathon, a challenging 35km marathon, a twist-filled 12km fun ride and a 2.4km kiddies’ race.

 “At Sappi we are inspired by your love of the outdoors, and your desire to lead a healthy, active lifestyle. There are a lot of really cool places on Sappi’s land, including some of the best mountain biking terrain available in South Africa” says Sappi Forests Regional Manager, Duane Roothman.

Mankele is supported by Cycling South Africa and are well respected nationally as one of the leading Mountain biking destinations in South Africa. They have developed various trails running through Sappi land. These include one of the longest bush tunnels in South Africa and almost-endless single track. The routes bring riders up close with nature, traversing grasslands and other natural areas where riders can spot oribi and other local species that inhabit the land.

Roothman says it is important for Sappi to plough back into the community that lives in the vicinity of the company’s plantations.
“Ten per cent of all earnings from the event will go to the local Elandshoek Elandshoek community, to put towards the building of their church which was started last year. These beneficiaries neighbour Sappi plantations,” says Roothman.

Local service organisations will join hands with the organisers in a fund-raiser for the Nelspruit Community Forum, a non-profit organisation that Sappi supports as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility programme.

There will be lots to eat and drink at the NG Kerk Alkmaar’s food stall. Other entertainment includes jumping castles and games to keep children entertained. Prizes include a weekend at Sappi’s White Elephant self-catering guest accommodation unit at the Sappi Twello Plantation near Barberton, for the next MTN Barberton Classic in January 2014.

One lucky rider will win themselves a brand new mountain bike valued at R10,000 – sponsored by Valencia Wholesalers. Valencia will also be setting up a bike shop at the event, to undertake bike repairs and maintenance.

If, like Sappi, you are inspired by life and have the apetite for one of the most challenging yet beautiful mountain bike routes in South Africa, go to and enter the Sappi Mountain Bike Challenge 2013.

For more information:

Race information: 082 338 9532/3
Accommodation: 078 801 0453

Sappi Southern Africa:

  • Sappi Southern Africa, an integrated forest products company, meets the needs of local and international customers through a wide range of products from three divisions:
    • Dissolving wood pulp, is sold to converters for use in such products as fashion clothing, mobile phone screens, cellophane wrap, pharmaceutical, beauty and household products. Sappi is a leading manufacturer of dissolving wood pulp.
    • The Paper and Paper Packaging division provides products including, paper pulp, newsprint, coated and uncoated fine papers, office and business papers, security and speciality papers, tissue wadding, containerboard (used to manufacture cardboard boxes) and packaging papers (for the cement, pet food, agriculture and FMCG industries). Leading local brands includes Typek, Triple Green, Masuga, Reviva and Enigma print papers; Sentinel security paper; Stackraft, Kraftpride and Superflute packaging papers.
    • Sappi Forests supplies 70 per cent of the woodfibre needs of Sappi Southern Africa from 380 000 hectares of both our own and managed commercial plantations; currently with more than 35 million tons of standing timber. All our own-grown wood is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and ISO 9000 certified. A further 150 000 hectares of land is managed for biodiversity conservation, including wetlands, riparian zones and indigenous forests. Sappi’s land is available (with certain provisos) to the public for non-motorised recreational use eg mountain biking and trail running.
Sappi Southern Africa is a division of Sappi Limited (JSE: SAP; NYSE:SPP); a global company headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa with over 14 000 employees, and manufacturing operations on three continents in seven countries and customers in over 100 countries around the world. Learn more about Sappi at