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New Table Mountain Environmental Management Plan and routes

New Table Mountain Environmental Management Plan and routes

The 2016 Environmental Management Programme (EMP) provides an overarching framework for the management and regulation of all cycling (road and mountain biking) in the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP). The primary aim of this EMP is the sustainable utilisation of a natural asset with an emphasis on biodiversity management and diverse recreational opportunities in the TMNP.

The EMP specifically aims to:

  • review the approved MTB EMP of 2002, taking into account the draft EMP review of 2008;
  • sustain and strengthen a constructive partnership between cyclists in the Park and Park management;
  • identify and mitigate the impacts of cyclists on biodiversity and heritage resources within the Park;
  • identify and mitigate the impacts of cyclists with other recreational users and Park visitors;
  • describe procedures for designating appropriate routes within the TMNP which can be used for recreational cycling and mountain biking;
  • develop guidelines and an associated code of conduct for cyclists / cycling in the Park;
  • develop a coordinated uniform approach to, and activities required for, the implementation, monitoring and enforcement of this EMP;
  • identify the roles and responsibilities of SANParks and other stakeholders in the implementation and enforcement of the EMP; and,
  • manage future growth and diversity in road cycling and mountain biking in the Park.

With the establishment of the Park in 1998, it was agreed between Park stakeholders and Park Management to formally recognize appropriate recreational activities that should occur within the TMNP as the number of recreational activities and the number of users undertaking these activities, had the potential to negatively impact on both the environment and other recreational users, if not managed appropriately.

Currently the Park receives approximately 4 million tourist and recreational visits per year and the recreational EMPs seek to provide a structured and consistent approach to address a range of environmental issues and impacts relating to recreational activities in the Park. As such, a code of conduct, regulations, permits and Environmental Management Programmes apply to a number of activities in order to minimize the impacts on the environment and other users of the Park. Through public processes, EMP’s have been developed and implemented for walking with dogs, hang and paragliding; sport/rock climbing; horse riding; and mountain biking.

The objectives to achieve the vision and principles of the EMP:

  • Objective one: to identify cycling routes in the Park;
  • Objective two: to ensure adherence to the code of conduct that governs behaviour of mountain bikers and road cyclists between themselves and other Park users;
  • Objective three: to implement an effective monitoring and maintenance programme of the MTB route network including gravel roads, trails, management tracks and single tracks;
  • Objective four: to ensure effective and ongoing communication and provision of relevant and useful information between Park management and user groups;
  • Objective five: strive for the sustainable and equitable provision of resources to mitigate the impacts of cycling activities while supporting wider biodiversity conservation initiatives programmes to ensure the integrity of the Park.

A number of routes are to be opened for cycling in terms of this EMP revision. These routes focus on linking currently designated routes thus creating options for longer rides, or alleviating congestion on well used routes by allowing alternative entry/exit options (mainly in the City Bowl). These additional routes will only be available for cycling once the required signage and any required trail interventions has been implemented.

The first of the new shared usage routes which has been signposted and will open on 1 December, is:

Newlands Forest: from Groote Schuur Estate entrance gate, using the existing cycle lane alongside the M3, to the new designated MTB gate near Upper Cannon Street and then along the designated tracks to Skelmkop at the Kirstenbosch boundary. There is a short portage section at this point to link to the new upper Kirstenbosch designated cycle track.

There are two routes through Cecilia:
* Cecilia Level 5 to Constantia Nek: This route links with the new upper Kirstenbosch designated cycle track, in the vicinity of the Kirstenbosch irrigation dam, on the Cecilia level 5 management track to the Constantia Nek parking area.
* Constantia Nek to Cecilia Car Park link: From Constantia Nek car park, this route follows the lower management track to Southern Cross Drive, and then the single track adjacent to the cork oaks alongside Rhodes Avenue to the Cecilia Car Park.

The code of conduct will guide activities of cyclists in the TMNP is as follows:

  • All cyclists must carry a valid permit to cycle in the TMNP in the form of a ‘My Activity Permit’ or other approved permit, or a day permit.
  • Cyclists must remain on approved, designated routes (see accompanying maps) at all times, except in the event of an emergency.
  • Cycling on designated routes is subject to any special management conditions that may apply.
  • Routes that have been temporarily or permanently closed must not be used.
  • There shall be no widening of routes or taking shortcuts.
  • Cyclists must not develop new routes.
  • All Park regulations must be adhered to.
  • All Park notices and Park signage and any instruction from a SANParks official must be complied with.
  • Cyclists travelling downhill must yield to cyclists headed uphill, unless the trail is clearly signposted for one-way or downhill only traffic.
  • Cyclists must not disturb animals.
  • Cyclists must yield / give way to all vehicles.
  • Cyclists must ride in single file on all tar roads.
  • Cyclists need to use appropriate safety equipment as required by law e.g. wear helmets.


  • Cyclists should yield / give way appropriately to other route users and give them appropriate warning by greeting / signal or using a bike bell.
  • Use special care when passing horses or dogs.
  • Cyclists should ensure that they have the relevant emergency telephone numbers on their mobile phones.
  • Cyclists must retain control of their cycles at all times.
  • Cyclists should avoid unnecessary braking and skidding.
  • Cyclists must try to anticipate other trail users especially when riding around corners.
  •  Cyclists should make each interaction with other trail users a courteous one.
  • Cyclists should strive to be self-sufficient, keeping their equipment in good repair and carrying the necessary tools and clothing for changes in the weather or other conditions.
  • Cyclists should ride in single file when approaching or being approached by vehicles on management tracks.
  • Cyclists should inform others of their proposed routes and ride timing for reference in the event of emergencies.

SANParks’ rangers are responsible for correction and enforcement for cyclists and other Park users. Enforcement options that may be used include:

  • Issuing fines or arrest;
  • Confiscating or revoking My Activity Permits, other permits or daily permits;
  • Confiscating cycles; and,
  • In appropriate cases, blacklisting cyclists from using TMNP cycle routes.

PLEASE CLICK HERE to read the full 2016 EMP


A4 Map 1


Map 3.1