Baakens River

CLOSEST TOWN > Port Elizabeth

TRAIL DESTINATION > Baakens River Valley



GRADING > Intermediate to difficult

VIDEOSCheck out some video shots of the trail.....



The Baakens Valley is a long and narrow green-space running through the heart of the Port Elizabeth metropolitan area. It stretches in a general east-west direction from just above the harbour to the western outskirts of Port Elizabeth, on the Cape Town side of the city.

Local MTB riders rate the contour paths and jeep tracks as one of the best urban rides in South Africa. Expect sharp climbs, rutted downhills and heaps of obstacles to test your technical skills to the max. For personal safety reasons, it is always recommended that you cycle the route with a friend or two. 

On your bike

Lower Gunea Fowl Trail:Although the full Guinea-fowl Trail begins at Hawthorne Avenue, Sunridge Park, the 7,5km Lower Trail starts at the Third Avenue Dip in Newton Park, leading down river to Settlers Park and Brickmakers Kloof. The trail is not difficult for reasonably fit persons. However, the river is crossed on numerous occasions by steppingstones and these may become hazardous or impassable after rain.

The trail runs alongside the Baakens River, which is about 23 km long and has its source in the Hunters Retreat area, entering the sea through the harbour. The Guinea-fowl trail passes through a steep-sided valley below the city suburbs for its full length.

Keep a look out for varied indigenous bird and animal life. A high, sheer, knife-edge spur protruding into the valley from Linkside is crossed by a boardwalk of steps which descends to the boundary of Dodds Farm. This is at present being redeveloped as a picnic area / arboretum. Access to the Guinea-fowl trail can be gained through Dodds Farm from Ninth Avenue Walmer.

Crossing the river near Bat's cave, the trail leads to the left and traverses open veld through the old Trollips Farm. It passes through a wooded section of valley bushveld and crosses the river twice, before leading on to Target Kloof. The trail goes under the road bridge and crosses the river again to follow the flood-plain below the Alsatian Club. A steep path leads up to Wellington Park, crosses a hillside of thick fynbos with a wonderful panoramic view of the Baakens Valley and descends into the Essexvale section of Settlers Park. The trail then follows the main route through Settlers Park, but, before going further, look up to the high Lovers Rock, the home of the rare peregrine falcon. The next river crossing, mostly dry, brings hiker to a choice of two route - turn left up the tarred Jan Smuts Walk to reach the main car-park or carry on through Settlers Park to eventually reach Barnes Quarry and the Brickmakers Kloof entrance.

While in Settlers Park, you may see guinea-fowl, peacock, mountain tortoise, leopard tortoise, dassies and mongooses and, if you are lucky, also see grysbok and the beautiful Knysna Lourie.

Off the bike

PE lies at the centre of the Eastern Cape’s aquatic sports scene, with heaps of marine action. One of the city’s greatest assets is its clean and beautiful beaches, ideal for swimming, surfing, surfskiing, snorkelling, yachting, windsurfing, scuba diving and fishing. Quad-biking, 4X4 and hiking trails are also available. Port Elizabeth is the only city that boasts the Big 7 (elephant, buffalo, rhino, lion, leopard, humpback whale and great white shark), so do visit Addo Elephant National Park.


Route information: Johan Gerryts (Fat Tracks)

Telephone: +27 82 331 3688


GPS: 33°58’22.1”S   25°33’18.3”E




Intermediate to difficult


3–4 hours


Return ride, 24km+


Elliot Centre parking lot


Sandy contour paths and gravel jeep tracks

VIDEOS: Click here...


Trails not formally marked; pop in at Cyclo Pro for advice



Public access


No ablution facilities


Hikers, dogs, river crossings and guinea fowl








From Cape Road, turn onto William Moffett Expressway at 7th Avenue, Newton Park. Continue past the Pick n Pay Hyper until you get to the Elliot Centre on the left where there is ample parking.


Great, moderate weather all year round.


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