The Outeniqua Nature Reserve and the Nature Conservation offices at Witfontein just to the north of George in the Western Cape, is a protected area encompassing about 38 000 ha of mountain habitat between the coastal areas and the Little Karoo.
And the mountains are not insignificant – George Peak rises some 1337m above sea level, just 13km away, and Cradock Peak, the highest in the Outeniqua range, eclipses that at 1578m. Snow occurs sometimes on the high peaks in winter so it can get pretty cold but, in the warm summers, temperatures average out at a lovely 25°C. In spring, (September and October) the landscapes are transformed into flower gardens as the proteas and ericas start to flower, the sugarbirds and sunbirds feasting on their nectar, and above, black eagles keep an eye on proceedings.
But it’s the lower slopes that are of more interest to mountain bikers and ebikers. In amongst the Witfontein pine plantations, the Hillbillies Mountain Bike Club has played out a myriad of single track paths and the forestry roads and tracks are suitable for those preferring a less technical ride. We often ride to the Nature Conservation offices (there is plenty of safe parking) and then onwards up into the plantations and occasionally, when we are looking for a more substantial climb, onwards to the FM Radio mast. It’s a fairly benign ride, the only challenges being a couple of reasonable climbs and a few rock sections although nothing to really be concerned about.
The GPX track below is a basic 10km loop that can be extended, crossed on single track and done in reverse to double the length. It’s a very convenient place to ride but one does need to consider other trail users – runners, hikers and those just out for an evening stroll with the dogs.
Check out more of our mountain biking photographs.
Route Distance: 10Km but there are lots of options to add distance – both single track and forestry roads.
Route Conditions: The forestry roads are pretty good on the whole – there are a few puddles to cross from time to time and a few gravel/rough climbs but nothing to worry about. The Hillbillies do an excellent job of looking after the single tracks.
Witfontein Nature Conservation Office: S33° 56.133′ E22° 25.636′
Variation of Witfontein GPX Track. This ride starts at the local Engen Garage/Wimpy (great for a burger and coffee afterwards) and comprises of a figure 8 loop.