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Sappi Mankele MTB Challenge


18 March 2017

Hi all you eager 2017 MTB riders!

The year has pulled away with a bang!! I am sure your training is going as well as mine.

A couple new big things happening this year. The Sappi Mankele will also be part of the Mpumalanga Marathon Series brought to you by MALALANE TOYOTA.

The Mpumalanga Marathon Series is open to all mountain bikers from all provinces. There will be 5 races in the series with the best of 4 counting. Series & overall series prizes are up for grabs. We have also started a Mpumalanga Marathon School Series. Points will be added for school participation. The School with the most points (best participation throughout the series) will win a Cash prize. In addition to this SAPPI sponsored a standalone competition for the Sappi Mankele MTB Challenge. Sappi will be giving R5000 for 1st, R3000 for 2nd & R2000 for 3rd place. This will purely be based on number of school children participating at the Sappi Mankele race. Kids remember to put your School name on your entry form. May the best school Win!

I have listed the dates below so book the dates now!

In other news, the Sappi Mankele's 60km has got hold of some serious muscle enhancing pills and is now a 70km race.  What a ride we have set up for you machines. Sappi's plantations are looking amazing with all the rain we've had. It was so much fun putting together this stage. You name the bush tunnel and it is included in this ride. The most rewarding ride ever!! If the 70km is a little too much then check out the 34km, 22 km, 15km & 2.4km races.

So what is installed for the 2017 Sappi Mankele MTB Challenge?

Choose your battle…….

70km – Up the kicker at Mankele and through Mikon Chicken Farm. Legs will be crying, but there will be some flats to get your legs back….I hope. "Gums” single track, followed by a little climbing and then it is the first massive reward. BEEES will make you feel as fresh as ever. Down past Mayo Estates and off to Barry’s bush tunnel, then straight into Simon’s bush tunnel. Enough playing for now! Up up up to Mankelele ridge. This climb is a bit of a dog but the reward is well worth it. Fast jeep track all the way to River wild. After crossing the river on our new bridge, the work will start. Up down till you hit or get hit by “That &%^$#@ climb”. SORRYJ. When you can see again, you will be going into Sappi Bush tunnel and then down to the cattle trail. Awesome single track which leads you to a couple bush tunnels and some fun all the way home. This is a big 70km’s with plenty rewards.

34km (900m ascent) – A rude awakening up the Old Sabie road, will have you doubting your fitness levels. Once at the top of the sting, you will be rewarded with some beautiful pine single track. Flowing jeep track, rocky climbs and stunning views to talk about. Then it’s down all the way into the Sudwala Valley. On 25km you’ll get your second breath, at the water point. From here on, is the reason why we ride: Steep descents, bushveld trails, bushtunnels, Pecan orchards & single track all the way home!

22km (380m ascent) – A gradual climb up the district road, past Sudwala lodge & up into the pine forests. Just when you think you can’t climb any more, there’s a water point waiting for you @ 9.2km, followed by undulating recovery time. Then bang into the mind blowing descent through African bushveld, with a roller coaster style bush tunnel. The 2nd water point is @ 18km with a fast finish along district road, one more steep descent & fun single track at the end.

 15km (170m ascent) – Nice flat start on district road, to get the legs warmed up. A slight climb up to Thulani Depot, which is followed by flowing single track. This will take you all the way to the mines. You’ll then veer off on to Msilezi farm with lovely rolling jeep track. Single track next to the river, will lead you all the way home……

2.4km – Fun fast flat track with only 22m climbing. The trail stays in Mankele, which makes it safe for the little ankle bitters. Flat out fun!

Food Stalls & Family Vibe

NG Kerk Alkmaar will be selling all sorts of food and there will be jumping castles to joll on. Bring the family and come camp for the weekend.


Entries at: www.entrytime.co.za

Queries: 082 338 9532 Mark
Accommodation: ride@mankele.co.za / 078 801 0453

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, 15km, 34km and a 70km 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 Mankele Challenge


70km     R320
34km     R280
22km     R145
15km     R110
2.4km    R55


70 km - 08H00
34km - 08H20
22km - 08H30
15km - 08H50
2.4km - 09H00

Route Profiles

(click on a profile to enlarge)

Sappi 15km


Sappi 22km


Sappi 34km


Sappi 70km


Mpumalanga MTB

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 www.sappi.com.