Category Archives: Sappi

Book the date for the Sappi Mankele MTB challenge

It’s time for riders to get out their bikes and start preparing for Mpumalanga’s not-to-be-missed annual Sappi Mankele MTB challenge, which takes place at Mankele on Saturday, 17 March 2018.

Mountain biking is one of the fastest growing sports in South Africa and the Sappi Mankele MTB Challenge is fast becoming a national event with riders participating from across the country. In addition, the challenge has also been incorporated into the Mpumalanga Marathon Series, which is open to all mountain bikers from all provinces.

“Sappi’s plantations not only provide a critical renewable resource to help grow South Africa’s economy, but together with our conservation areas our land provides a fantastic resource for planned recreational activities,” says Sappi’s General Manager Forestry in Mpumalanga, Dietmar Schroeder.

“We therefore support non-motorised activities, such as mountain biking and bird watching on Sappi land. This also forms part of our commitment to promoting a healthy lifestyle and nurturing an appreciation of nature and the sustainable use of renewable resources” he adds.

Over the years the Sappi Mankele MTB Challenge organising body has developed unique trails running through Sappi’s bush tunnels and endless single tracks, which enables riders to have the best possible mountain biking experience. In fact, Mankele trails are rated amongst the best mountain biking trails in South Africa by many professional riders. In addition to a thrilling ride, riders can look forward to race medals and cash prizes.

Riders and spectators can also look forward to a free spa, which is set up annually to ease tired and aching muscles and treat visitors to complimentary spa treatments.

Sappi is planning a fun day for the entire family, from food stalls to a jumping castle for the kids. So why not bring the family and camp out at Mankele for the weekend?

All proceeds from the Sappi Mankele MTB Challenge will be donated to local charitable organisations, for the betterment of the community.

To enter the Sappi Mankele MTB Challenge, visit For more information, contact Mark at 082 338 9532. For more information about Mankele or to book accommodation, email or call 078 801 0453.

Sappi MTB schools’ challenge

This year Sappi is again challenging schools to enter their MTB teams into the race. The winning school – which is the one with the most entries – will win R5,500. There’s also R3,500 up for grabs for second place and R2,500 for third.

There were wide smiles at Uplands College last year when the school took first place in the schools’ challenge and was rewarded for its pedal power. Curro Nelspruit took second place and Penryn College came third.

Do you have what it takes to beat them this year?

Choose your battle for 2018

The 65km and all of its rewards: The 65 km race takes the rider up the kicker at Mankele and through Mikon Chicken Farm. Whilst your legs may start to protest, there are some flat areas that offer a bit of recuperation. Then there’s ‘Gums’ single track, followed by a bit of climbing and the first massive reward… BEEES will make you feel as fresh as ever. Ride down past Mayo Estates to Barry’s bush tunnel, then into Simon’s bush tunnel before you head higher and higher up Mankele ridge. The climb’s a bit of a dog, but the reward is well worth it. Enjoy the fast jeep track all the way to River Wild, cross the river on a new bridge and head up and down before you’re hit by a climb you’ll never forget. When you recover, you’ll head into Sappi’s bush tunnel and down to the cattle trail. This is an awesome single track that leads you to a few bush tunnels andfun all the way home.

The 34km (900m ascent): This ride, a rude awakening up the Old Sabie Road, will have you soon doubting your fitness levels. But once at the top, you will be rewarded with a beautiful pine, single track. Follow jeep track, rocky climbs and stunning views while you ride down into Sudwala Valley. When you reach the 25km mark you’ll get your second wind at the water point. From here is the reason we ride… Steep descents, bushveld trails, bush tunnels, Pecan orchards and single track all the way home!

The 22km (380m ascent):This ride offers a gradual climb up the district road, past Sudwala Lodge and into pine forests. Just when you think you can’t climb any more, there’s a water point at 9.2km, followed by undulating recovery time. From here there’s a mind-blowing descent through African bushveld, with a rollercoaster-style bush tunnel. After the second water point, at 18km, enjoy a fast finish along district road, one more steep descent and a fun single track to the end.

The 15km (170m ascent): Enjoy a flat start on district road, while your legs warm up, and head for the slight climb up to Thulani Depot. Then its single track which takes you all the way to the mines. Veer off onto Msilezi Farm, with a lovely rolling jeep track. The single track next to the river leads you home.

Colour your Mother’s Day blue with Sappi

With an average of 133 live performances a year, three platinum albums and one gold album and a long list of top-10 hits to his credit, Elvis Blue is set to make this year’s Sappi Mother’s Concert memorable!

The concert will again be held at the Lowveld National Botanical Garden on Sunday, 13 May, with Elvis Blue – reckoned to be one of the most successful artists in South Africa – as the headline act.

Elvis remains a rare breed in his ability to straddle both English and Afrikaans music genres with ease and his unique blend of charisma and authenticity. His shows are known for not only the perfect blend of well-known original hits and new music, but also for his comical and often whimsical story-telling that sweeps audiences along in a personal and entertaining journey.

Performing the opening act of the Sappi Mother’s Day concert is 20-year-old Refentse Morake, a former busker turned star. He brings an African flavour of sorts to the event. His warm voice, strains of the harmonica, some pop-hooks and the guitar are just some of the sounds that make the wonderful sound of his music.

Refentse first caught our attention when he appeared in a string of viral music videos. Now he’s a fully-fledged Afrikaans/Zulu singer, with a real following, and he believes that music can heal the nation. “We have so many problems in South Africa and so many things that have the potential to divide us. I believe that the one thing that can unite us is music. It’s the one thing that can heal our wounds. No matter our race or gender, we can all unite behind music,” he says.

The concert, with Jacaranda FM as a media partner, starts at 12 noon and the gates open at 9am.

Gourmet food market

Apart from a stunning, soothing setting with music for the soul, a gourmet food market will be selling artisan food and drinks to ensure that not only moms, but the entire family have a delicious choice of items to nibble on whilst enjoying the show.

Remember to bring your picnic blanket and/or chairs!

Tickets will be on sale from 01 March from Computicket. Entry is free for pre-schoolers, while primary school learners and pensioners pay R45. All other tickets cost R85. The day’s proceeds will be donated to the Lowveld National Botanical Garden for conservation development projects.

Visitors to the concert will also be able to have a professional family portrait taken on the day – for free – at the Sappi photo booth.

Apart from the wonderful music line-up, there will be guided garden walks and a full programme of fun has been organised for the little ones at the kiddies’ entertainment area.

Major stakeholders include the South African National Biodiversity Institute, the Lowveld National Botanical Garden, Jacaranda FM, J&M Security, Lowveld Link and Total Signs.

For more information, go to or email Those who have a physical disability are welcome to apply for an access permit from Rejoice at the Lowveld Botanical Garden at 013 755 1494.

Visit the delicious food market at the Sappi Mother’s Day Concert this Sunday

Attendees of this year’s Sappi Mother’s Day Concertat the Lowveld Botanical Garden on 14 May are in for a treat! Apart from soul-pleasing music in a beautiful setting, a diverse food market will be serving gourmet food and drinks. Continue reading Visit the delicious food market at the Sappi Mother’s Day Concert this Sunday