The Garden Route Dam on the outskirts of George, South Africa, must be one of the most picturesque water bodies in the country. It's situated at the base of the glorious Outeniqua Mountains and the surrounding slopes are covered in stands of fynbos, indigenous forests and commercial gum and pine plantations - an ebiker's (or indeed a mountain biker's) paradise.

Garden Route Dam on the edge of George in the Western Cape, South Africa. In the background are the Outeniqua Mountains. What a wonderful place to ride.

Garden Route Dam on the edge of George in the Western Cape, South Africa. In the background are the Outeniqua Mountains. What a wonderful place to ride.

Bruce tries to get airborne on the dam wall after a fabulous ride with Pat and Sharon to Pepsi Pools at Garden Route Dam.

Bruce tries to get airborne on the dam wall after a fabulous ride with Pat and Sharon to Pepsi Pools at Garden Route Dam.

Pepsi Pools can be found at the headwaters of the lake on the Swart River and it's a delightful spot for a swim and perhaps a small picnic on the rocks. The brown, tannin stained waters (so typical in this area) tumble over large boulders into a lovely pool, ideal for swimming. The water can be decidedly chilly, which is great after a hot ride and we are hoping that the pools will remain after the increase in the level of the dam wall.

We suggest that the ride starts at Ground Zero Bike Park, as it's a nice place to park the car, gives some distance to the ride (it can be quite a short one if you park at the dam) and it's a great spot for a pizza or burger afterwards (Saturdays and Sundays only). The route takes you on quiet roads through the suburbs of the town, some with bike lanes, which is great.

The area to the east of the dam, the Saasveld area, is full of forestry roads and single tracks. It's difficult to get lost, so go mad and enjoy.

Pepsi pools - a great place to cool off on a hot day. No diving though. There are lots of rocks in the pools.

Pepsi pools - a great place to cool off on a hot day. No diving though. There are lots of rocks in the pools.

Route Distance: 25km

Route conditions: There are good paved roads through the suburbs that can get a little busy at rush hour. Once you hit the dam though, the forestry roads and tracks are great. Watch out for pools and mud spots in the wet, but even then it's still very rideable. There are one or two steepish sections but take it easy and you will be fine. Do keep and eye open for walkers, trail runners and others enjoying this wonderful area, and slow down as you pass.

Ground Zero Bike Park: Google Maps

Ground Zero Bike Park GPS: S33° 56.808' E22° 27.442'

Garden Route Dam Parking: Google Maps

Garden Route Dam Parking GPS: S33° 57.898' E22° 30.734'

Download the GPS track to Pepsi Pools here.