At MTO we harvest and maintain wood as a natural resource. This puts us in the role of custodian over some of South Africa’s most incredible forest landscapes. It is a part of our duty to protect these areas and keep the country’s natural heritage safe for future generations.
But we are not alone. South Africans and other people from across the world are just as passionate about these forests and they frequently visit them to experience the amazing beauty and mystery. MTO Ecotourism has been helping develop these, such as the magnificent world-class Tsitsikamma mountain trail. But there is so much more our forests can offer, as the mountain bikers of the White River area in Mpumalanga have revealed.
Intrepid MTB enthusiasts have been entering the forests around White River for years, exploring trails and discovering new exciting areas in this diverse landscape of rolling hills and deep, green flora. They have been doing so unofficially, but instead of barring them from the area, we at MTO have gone the other route. We worked closely together to formalise the trails and create a world-class mountain biking experience.
“Forestry companies are the custodians of many of South Africa’s forests,” said Lawrence Polkinghorne, MTO Group CEO. “But these places really belong to the people of South Africa and they should be able to see magnificent natural scenes that rival anything else in the world. When you meet guys like Guy, who are really passionate about these natural wonders, you don’t shut them down. You support them and find a way to introduce others that passion.”
Today the White River trails are open for riders of all ages and experience. From taking a calm ride around the main route to tackling the many side-routes, it’s a unique adventure. Riders can challenge the rolling hills, soak in stunning view points and feel their adrenaline pumping along the unbelievable tracks. The White River trails have already hosted several events and continue to experience a regular influx of riders from near and far, even abroad.
“MTO’s White River trail is different to many other tracks,” said Guy Turner, one of the trail designers and an avid local MTB enthusiast. “It’s rolling valleys, where you probably will climb for 10 to 15 minutes, go down and then go up again. You have a lot of fun going down the hills!”
We’d like to thank the MTB community of White River and Nelspruit for their cooperation and passion. It’s a reminder that MTO is just the guardian of natural splendor that everyone should have a chance to enjoy and appreciate.