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The Route

2024 Route: The Original

200km | 4500m Climbing

In 2024, the race returns to its origins with a journey from the historic Lourensford Wine Estate to the coastal town of Hermanus via Oak Valley Estate. Anticipate a blend of thrilling and challenging sections, offering stunning views of the Overberg, fresh trails, and the revival of beloved classics.

The Cape Trails team, supported by local assistance, has commenced efforts to repair the trails damaged by the 2023 floods, ensuring they're prepared for action by November.

The route boasts numerous berms and bridges, a historic portage up Gantouw Pass, an abundance of singletracks, and three Toyota Cruise sections. It guarantees an exhilarating race experience across various categories and thrilling rides for those simply out to enjoy the trails.

The 2024 route will be revealed at a later stage

Below you will find the route of the 2023 route, which will give you an idea of what to expect in 2024.


192km | 4500m Climbing

At the FNB W2W, we pride ourselves that the route is king and should always deliver maximum gees and smiles for miles. This is why we introduced the Switchback edition in 2021 and why race founder Johann Kriegler and the Cape Trails route team have been working tirelessly to improve and innovate on the inaugural events’ route.

The Switchback is more than just a simple route reversal; it is a completely different experience, and having taken on board the 2021 riders' feedback, this route will no doubt be a smash hit

2023 is set to be magic and we want you to be a part of the Serious GEES. Entries are open!

More dramatic scenery, easier climbs, SeriousGEES!

Stage 1

Lourensford Wine Estate 
Distance: 56km
Climbing: 1 300m

The best Plan B you will ever see. Stage 1 of the 2023 FNB Wines2Whales is a Lourensford adventure, packed with singletracks. Never before has the race had the opportunity to explore the vast estate, visiting the far northern reaches high on the slopes of the mountain separating the farm from the famed Jonkershoek Valley beyond. The stage starts with a familiar climb, cranking uphill along the old forestry roads to Saaltjie. After 20 kilometres of steady climbing a quick descent provides the first taste of the fun to come before the climbing recommences to the highest point of the stage near the 24 kilometre mark. Then the trails begin in earnest. Dropping into Endless 1 and Wolf teams descend to Lourens Crossing before climbing once more past Sneeukop to Uitkyk. A long singletrack leads thrillingly downhill to Water Point 2, at 39 kilometres, where the route turns west and heads into more familiar territory – but only for the real experienced FNB W2W campaigners. Looping above and around Blue Gum Dam the course takes in the Trout, Blue Gum, Old Graveyard and Magic Forest trails as well as the Toyota Cruise section, Eagle’s View. A final water point, inside 10 kilometres to go, provides the opportunity to refuel for the last kicker and the downhill blast along Witboom and Canarie to the start/finish line. 

After Stage 1 teams will be shuttled to Oak Valley, with bikes being taken to the race village by the same trucks which ferried riders’ bags to Elgin during the stage. 

Stage 2

Oak Valley Estate
Distance: 55km
Climbing: 1 250m 

Please take note of this important update: Due to overnight rainfall route has been adjusted to ensure rider safety. Tierkop and Boomslang have been removed.

Play Day has never been so much fun! Stage 2 of the 2023 FNB Wines2Whales route measures 55 kilometres in length and includes 1 250 metres of climbing with every centimetre of elevation gain earning teams the right to descend, twisting through trails in fynbos, forests, and fields. 


Stage 3

Oak Valley Estate to Lourensford Wine Estate
Distance: 64km
Climbing: 1 250m

Stage 3 of the 2023 FNB Wines2Whales Switchback begins with a farm road loop behind the Elgin Railway Market, into the surrounding farms and towards the Eikenhof Dam where singletracks galore await on the northern shores. Once circumnavigated, Grabouw Country Club’s famous A-Z trails lie in wait, not to mention a surprise or two from Cape Trails. These trails are major league fun, and we’ve done the hard work to get you to the downhill portage of the Gantouw Pass via a shorter, easier climb which will ensure that your GEES levels remain high. No matter your bike portage strategy, be it bike-on-back, side-by-side slide, or a handful of brake shuffle, be sure to soak in the views of False Bay as you make your way down the World Heritage Site and one obstacle closer to your medal. Once safely down the portage, trails of Idiom, Knorhoek and Wedderville will lead riders across the Helderberg Basin onto the extensive Vergelegen farm. From Vergelegen, it is fun galore with a combination of virgin trails and new approaches to existing singletracks and magic, flowing downhill sections on Lourensford Wine Estate. And for those of you who were not stoked with the final climb of the 2021 FNB W2W Switchback… we’ve taken the sting out of the tail and replaced it with the brand new Channel Trail, the Toyota Cruise section, that encounters  bridges, spectacular views and interesting twists and turns that will bring huge smiles to the 2023 FNB W2W Switchback finish line at Lourensford.

Noteworthy changes:
Based on rider feedback, we have replaced the three significant climbs on Stage 3; Grabouw Country Club to Gantouw Pass, Journey’s End to Vergelegen, and the Lourensford killer climb towards the finish. From Grabouw Country Club to Gantouw Pass, we have replaced a long section of the climb with a shorter and more mellow climb to allow a gentle warm up to the day. The route from Journey’s End to Vergelegen is the stage's most dramatic improvement to maximise enjoyment and GEES. With permission from the landowners of Idiom, Wedderwill and Vergelegen Nature Reserves to cycle via their properties, we have eliminated the infamous Journey’s End Climb and route, resulting in a magic new route that is more scenic and offers the possibility of game viewing. In Vergelegen, we have extended the last long gradual climb by 2km to a new Lourens river crossing which delivers magic flowing downhill singe tracks on the Lourensford side of the river. The replacement of the Lourensford Killer climb towards the finish is the most smile-inducing route improvement of the 2023 FNB W2W Switchback. With Lourensford Wine Estate’s permission, we have built the 8km Channel Trail, mainly along a downward running water channel, offering a unique and most interesting MTB experience. It’s a fast and exciting singletrack, with intermittent gravel roads offering sufficient passing zones to maximise your singletrack enjoyment. The Channel Trail experience closes off by crossing the 40m Fair Cape floating bridge to wrap up the magic of the 2023 FNB W2W Switchback experience.