It cannot be denied – mountain biking is big. In the last decade or so the popularity of this sport has grown like a mushroom cloud over a nuclear explosion. And the trend continues.
We here in the Garden Route have plenty of trails to choose from, and you can have a different adventure every time you hit the tracks. Diverse landscapes, various distances, wide-ranging challenges – the place is a mountain biker’s playground, so come have fun! Here is a handful of suggestions for popular mountain biking routes in the George, Wilderness, Uniondale region to take on.
Featured Image: The Seven Passes Road
The Seven Passes Road is the original connection between George and Knysna. With its many ups and downs through the forest and interspersed with river crossings and various bridges, it is a stunning route. It’s also a favourite scenic drive for motorists, thus cyclists should be alert. Heading out from George, the route provides various options in terms of distances and end destinations. Follow it to Wilderness Heights to visit the Map of Africa lookout point or go a bit further to do the Lakes Loop. You can also visit the hamlet of Hoekwil to refuel with coffee and cake before continuing onwards to Wilderness.
Featured Image: The Montagu Pass
The Montagu Pass provides a whole different challenge. Start at the Engen garage in Heather Park, George, and ride on until you reach the turn off to the pass. Climbing the pass, you’ll get up close with spectacular mountain scenery and fynbos panoramas. The elevation gain is approximately 862 meters. Once you’ve crossed the pass, you’ll find yourself in Herold, a tiny hamlet dating from the 19th century. Rest for a while at the Over the Mountain tea garden before returning to George. The route covers a distance of approximately 33 kilometres.
Featured Image: Garden Route Dam
For a nice quick and easy outing, do not miss the Garden Route Dam Dash route. This is a short loop taking mountain bikers into pine plantations and back to the starting point alongside the dam’s edge. It’s only 5,5 kilometres with not much of an elevation gain, but it’s certainly enjoyable. You’ll get plenty of fresh air, some exercise and the chance to connect with nature.
Featured Image: The Garden Route Botanical Gardens
The Garden Route Botanical Gardens gives access to many hiking and mountain bike trails. One of these, the Plantation Link, is a favourite among cyclists. It alternates between a single and jeep track and takes you to the Pepsi Pools, a lovely little waterfall and swimming hole in the forest. It then circles around the Garden Route Dam before slinking back to the botanical gardens. The total distance is a fairly easy 15 kilometres that won’t tire out pedallers too much.
A popular trail taking mountain bikers through the pastoral farmlands of George is the Dairyland Route. This one start and ends at the famous Redberry Farm, the perfect place to relax and recharge with great food and something to drink after two hours of cycling. The route comprises more or less 27 kilometres of mostly gravel road through dairy farms. Beautiful Outeniqua Mountain views can be enjoyed as the trail is not too taxing with little climbing.
Featured Image: The Kammanassie Road
It’s as if Uniondale and its surrounds were made for mountain biking. Peppered with dirt roads showing off the mountains and famed wide-open spaces of the Klein Karoo to their best, it’s also the training ground for many professional cyclists. The Kammanassie Road is described as a pleasant route requiring a high fitness level and medium skills. Riders have two options: follow this road from Uniondale to De Rust which is 96 kilometres one way. Alternatively, ride from Uniondale to Buffelsdrift and back, which covers 100 kilometres. The last option provides an add-on for expert riders, taking them on a 12-kilometre climb to the King of the Mountain finish.
Featured Image: Karoo to Coast
If you enter the the annual Karoo to Coast Mountain Bike Challenge you will be able to have the opportunity to experience the entire Wagon Trail from Uniondale to De Vlugt. However you can access the Wagon Trail from Avontuur to Knysna. This mountain trail requires high fitness and skills levels.