With its wide open spaces, spectacular scenery, meandering single tracks and miles and miles of gravel roads with hardly any traffic, Namibia is an ideal destination for mountain biking. The rugged terrain lends itself to a variety of extreme and physical events that draw competitors from around the world.
The gruelling Nedbank Desert Dash, the world’s longest single stage mountain bike race is held annually in December. It takes riders from Windhoek across the undulating Khomas Hochland and the plains of the Namib to Swakopmund over a distance of over 360 km with a 24-hour cut-off time. The race attracts over a thousand cyclists, including large numbers of international competitors, competing in different categories: solo, two-person teams, four-person teams and tandem cycles.
The Windhoek Light Quest, a gruelling six-day race over 450 km usually takes place in May. Starting in Windhoek and ending in Swakopmund it is regarded as one of the toughest mountain bike races in Africa. The Khomas Challenge, a 200 km stage race over 200 km of undulating terrain is also held in May.
The Desert Knights Mountain Bike Adventure takes place in September. The cycle starts at Hobas near the northern viewpoint overlooking the Fish River Canyon and ends at Sendelingsdrift. Cyclists cover 130 km on the first three days and enjoy some canoeing on the Orange River before crossing into the Richtersveld section of the Ai- Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. About 95 km is covered on the last two legs, ending at Sendelingsdrift.
Mountain biking events are held throughout the year in various parts of the country. Popular events include the Klein-Aus Vista MTB Challenge which is held in February near Aus every second year (even-numbered years). Cyclists can enter for the 132 km race or a 66 km race. The FNB Otjihavera Experience, a 3 day race held at Midgard Lodge, covers 132 km.
Farm Windhoek, on the southern outskirts of the city, has a 70-km network of jeep tracks and single tracks with different gradients and degrees of difficulty. It hosts several mountain bike events throughout the year.
Windhoek hosts a number of very popular mountain biking and road race events that draw in excess of a 1 000 competitors. The Nedbank Cycle Challenge which was launched in 1986 features road races as well as mountain biking races over varying distances. It usually takes place in February. The Namibian Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Classic takes place in October. Cyclists can enter for different distances in the road race as well as the mountain bike race.