Cycle the Garden Route & Klein Karoo

Cycling is a popular quest in the Garden Route & Klein Karoo region. It is a serious sport for some and a hobby for others.

With majestic mountains, breathtaking views, forested slopes and challenging mountain passes, the Garden Route & Klein Karoo offers the keen cyclist an array of routes, from relaxing to challenging.

You will see families as well as tourists riding bicycles around the region. It is a fun way to slow down to the speed of nature and get some healthy exercise in the scenic outdoors whilst easing off the treadmill of hectic city life.

It’s safe to say, the Garden Route & Klein Karoo can be considered as “off the beaten track” in much of its entirety.

Various routes to Cycle:

Plettenberg Bay to Knysna: Total 79km

Welcome to the Garden Route. This section begins with a cycle up Wittedrif Road, followed by a good climb as you venture deep into the hills. You’ll be treated to 360 degree views before you plunge into the indigenous sub-tropical Knysna forest, where you’ll be surrounded by lush green ferns and misty treetops. When you reach Gouna Road keep an eye out for elephants which are said to roam freely in the area.
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Knysna to George: Total 79km

As you leave Knysna, you’ll have a spectacular view of the famous ‘Heads’ from the lagoon road. It’s easy to see why this special place was a well-known sanctuary for weary sailors. From there, you’ll climb up Phantom Pass to the small villages of Rheenendal, Karatara and Homtini. Enjoy the view along the Seven Passes Road which showcases the rural side of the Garden Route with a blend of indigenous forests, river beds and dairy farms before you reach George.

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George to Oudtshoorn: Total 83km
We start with a climb over the Outeniqua mountain range via the Montagu Pass, to enter the Klein Karoo. Be sure to carry extra water as this is by no means an easy climb. You’ll be rewarded at the top with an endlessly winding view down the valley. The second part of the ride is more forgiving than the first as you make your way down the pass, and across flatter land towards Oudtshoorn.

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Oudtshoorn to Calitzdorp: Total 77km

This is amongst the more demanding treks along the route as you skirt the foothills of the Swartberg mountain range. Enjoy the flora and wildlife; you may spot a Meerkat or Giraffe along the way. The red stone hills provide a vibrant splash of colour to the left, before you disappear into the cool shadows of the Groenfontein valley. The next town is Calitzdorp, the Port wine capital of South Africa.

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Calitzdorp to Riversdale: Total 115km

Rooiberg Pass awaits. This 11km climb is loose and rough with a dusty film during the descent. Enjoy the ride! This is followed by a long and dusty stretch. Respite comes after you traverse Garcia Pass, named after one of the 1820 settlers of the area, who established a trade route to the interior by forging a route through the mountains. After the summit, you head downhill to re-enter the cool-climate terrain south of the Langeberg Mountain range, and the town of Riversdale.
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Riversdale to Swellendam: Total 93km

There are some testing ‘rollers’ skirting the mountains as you head out of Riversdale. As you near Heidelberg, the valley of Duiwenhoks provides a nice flat river course followed abruptly by the monstrous “Heartbreak Hill,” taking you out of the valley and up to the Grootvadersbosch area. From here it’s an easy ride down and through the old mission station village of Suurbraak, and a last stretch going into the historic town of Swellendam.