Message from Sappi

At Sappi we are inspired…by your love of the outdoors; and your commitment to living a healthy active life by exploring the fantastic trails on Sappi land.

The green hillsides and tranquillity of the Kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands make the area one of the premier tourist destinations in the country for people seeking outdoor experiences. It doesn’t take long to find oneself immersed in nature, noticing unique wild flowers and seeking out the prehistorically beautiful cranes or the elusive Karkloof Blue butterfly. The area is astounding in its diversity and it’s atmosphere. Of course the popularity of trail activities such as mountain biking, trail running and walking have made the trail network one of the key attractions in the area and Sappi are proud to play an active role in facilitating the development of safe and enjoyable trails across our plantations in the Howick area and the Karkloof valley.

The Sappi Trails Programme has brought together many passionate stakeholders and partners. Our involvement in events such as the Sappi Karkloof Classic has provided clear evidence that trail users fill beds, restaurants and support many of the other businesses that have a stake in tourism. Since 2011, Sappi has supported Karkloof Trails in its efforts to formalise year-round access to the trails for recreational trail users. With valuable guidance from the African Mountain Biking Association (Amarider), we’re pleased to say that the trails have been built against the high standards of the International Mountain Biking Association. 

With the trails in good shape, communication channels open and functional recreational access in place, the Sappi Trails Programme is now focussing on the creation of trail related sustainable livelihood opportunities for local community members. Known as the, Adventure Tourism Incubator (ATI), the project kicked off in 2019, with the formation of Nguni Trails, a black-owned trail maintenance and building company. With careful mentoring, training and loads of time on bikes learning the flow of trails, we aim to see the Nguni Trails team grow substantial wings over the next three years, making them an invaluable resource in KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa. The ATI project team includes members of the N3 Gateway Tourism Association and the Industrial Development Corporation. Sappi believes in creating Shared Value, which focusses on understanding socio-economic issues in communities around Sappi forests and then working with communities to take action in creating meaningful change. We have a diverse range of Shared Value projects around South Africa, which you can read about here in the 2018 Sustainability in Southern Africa Report.

As a leading global provider of sustainable woodfibre products and solutions, our trees are our livelihood  and we grow them with pride. Trees are an incredible renewable woodfibre source from which we produce dissolving wood pulp, papers, packaging, biomaterials and bio-energy. If you’re interested in what we produce from the trees you run and ride past while you’re out on the trails, have a look at our website here. Our plantations are also home to a multitude of diverse species, watch out for them when you’re getting in your adrenalin and serotonin release for the day. In fact, if you’re a fan of social media, why not add #SappiSA to your trail posts so we can follow the fun. 

Many of our own team are also runners and mountain bikers who are lucky to live close to trail networks such as those in Howick and the Karkloof. We look forward to meeting you on the trail some time!