Nope, Knysna does not lie at the heart of the Cape’s ‘Tourism Garden’, my friend. Here’s the deal: there’s an uncharted section of glorious Garden Route Goodness stretching all the way from the streets of Heidelberg to Mossel Bay, and the hide-away villages beyond. This makes for a stunning swathe of below-the-radar space, unfolding inland from the coast all the way to the Sonderend ranges. And yes, it brims with off-grid routes just waiting to be explored. So now it is up to you to saddle crank gravel road, jeep track and single-track.

It is as simple as klapping a sho’t left (or right) off the N2 anywhere east of Heidelberg if you want that Vitamin G(ravel) Fix to kick in. And once you’re off the main drag, you’ll be meandering via indigenous forests, over craggy mountain passes, or along a tempestuous ocean shoreline. This specific ride starts in George, and the mountains means you’ll be a bit closer to the ‘weather’, if you know what I mean. Never fear, though: despite the city’s year-round rainfall, you are in for a mainly moderate climate, making it ideal for an outdoor biking adventure.

That’s good news, because it means quality riding for much of all the four seasons. George originally has its roots in the forestry industry, but an on-going eco-tourism boom means it has now become a mountain biking mecca of note. This gifts riders with endless roads and tracks – often linked to the famed Outeniqua Hiking Trail – with easy access to much of the surrounding slopes. Purpose-built singletrack now traverses much of the indigenous forests and plantations, largely thanks to a dedicated crew, mostly members of the local Hillbillies MTB Club. The Outeniqua Double is a just one example of an intermediate route in the area – climbing 2063 m, the physical rating of “hard” tracks. Find more detailed information about it here, on the Trail Forks website.

Historically, this beautiful part of the Cape was only settled around 1688, two centuries after the Portuguese seafarer, Bartholomew Dias, first landed in Mossel Bay. The local Khoi tribes referred to this rich valley as the ‘Outeniqua’, or ‘land of milk and honey’. (Not to be confused with Camps Bay in Cape Town, which is the land of MILFS and Money). The early settlement was known as ‘George Town’, named in 1811 in honour of the then reigning monarch, King George III of England. These days, an efficient airport, breathtaking nature spaces, great trails, a thriving foodie scene, craft breweries, proper old-skool values and bucket loads of history make it as much fun off the bike as in the saddle – check out

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Graveling Circus

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  • Distance Instructions
  • Distance 75 km
  • Time 7 h 27 min
  • Speed 10.1 km/h
  • Min altitude 1 m
  • Peak 276 m
  • Climb 1112 m
  • Descent 1113 m

Garden Route Graveling Circus

Nope, Knysna does not lie at the heart of the Cape’s ‘Tourism Garden’, my friend. Here’s the deal: there’s an uncharted section of glorious Garden Route Goodness stretching all the way from the streets of Heidelberg to Mossel Bay, and the hide-away villages beyond. This makes for a stunning swathe […]

Ultimate Southern Pass Trail, Stanford Valley Guest Farm

This great trail network (and incredible outdoor playground) awaits just beyond the tranquil and tiny village of Stanford. Set alongside the winding water course of the Klein River and at the foot of the rugged Akkedisberg range, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more scenic riding destination.

Arniston to Cape Agulhas

Gravel and Tar Baby – and lots of it. Explore the southernmost tip of Africa via scenic-tour-by-bike. Arniston embodies the South African “sleepy dorp” image – with no hustle-and-bustle, no night-clubs, very few restaurants… And we love it. It lies East of the Cape Agulhas National Park: the site of […]

De Hoop Nature Reserve MTB Routes

The De Hoop Nature Reserve sustains part of the world’s smallest and most threatened plant kingdom – the Cape Floral Kingdom. Close-up encounters with bontebok, Cape mountain zebra, eland, baboons and ostrich are a highlight of any ride.

Porcupine Hills MTB

OVERVIEW A stunning little getaway, secreted within the undulating landscape between Bot River and Villiersdorp. Porcupine Hills aims to become completely off-the-grid, with wind- and solar power, and producing organic olives and other crops. Predominantly, the farm is being developed as a regenerating retreat, with yoga, meditation and such-like courses […]

Salmonsdam Nature Reserve MTB Route

OVERVIEW Salmonsdam Nature Reserve lies 20 km east of Stanford, at the foot of the Perdeberg mountains. Stanford is a small village 17 km east of Hermanus on the south-western Cape coast. On your bike Although there is currently no designated MTB Route, plenty of riding opportunities exist on the […]

Marloth Nature Reserve

OVERVIEW A steep route with various permutations set within the Marloth Nature Reserve adjoining the town of Swellendam. Much of the riding is along gravel forestry roads traversing the pine plantations along the slopes of the Langeberg range. Short singletrack sections link these jeep tracks, and here and there erosion […]

Kogelberg MTB Route

OVERVIEW There used to be a super 39km one-way ride all the way down the valley from Grabouw, but land access became an issue. Guided rides along sections of this route may still be arranged, but most riders who crank Kogelberg these days do so along the lower valley MTB […]

Hottentots Holland Reserve MTB Route

OVERVIEW The Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve lies in the Hottentots Holland mountains, some 90km south east of Cape Town. The 70 000ha reserve stretches from Elgin in the south to beyond Villiersdorp in the north, and from the Stellenbosch mountains in the west, eastwards to the Groenland mountains. The entrance […]