George seems to be a sleepy city populated mostly by retirees. It is a bit of the forgotten city along the Garden Route not posh enough for wealthy tourists to really stop, not popular enough for backpackers to consider it. However, George is becoming the outdoorsy capital of South Africa, plebiscited by avid mountain bikers, canyoning enthusiasts, fit hikers, skilled surfers, and passionate birdwatchers. Don’t miss out and make sure to stay for a few days to enjoy its fantastic activities.
There is a reason why professional mountain biker Marthinus Esmeyer chose George as his home. It is the perfect training ground! Whether flat trails around the artificial lake created by the Garden Route dam or insanely technical and steep single tracks of the Witfontein Forest, there is enough here to vary and make progress in a beautiful landscape! Follow well indicated mountain biking trails for all levels and have fun crossing rivers, jumping tree roots and boulders, picking up speed on wooden man-made structures through forests…
South Africa is a kloofing paradise, and George is its capital! There are plenty of options around for all levels. To take the plunge, read this article dedicated to canyoning in George.
The trail going up to George Peak and even better, Cradock Peak is scenic, varied and challenging. Start from the Witfontein Forest and hike your way up amongst the delicate fynbos and past protea trees before summiting the 1,560-metre high Cradock Peak (or the slightly lower 1336-metre high George Peak). The reward is a stupefyingly stunning view on George and its coastal area.
A short drive from George, the quiet village of Victoria Bay is an off the beaten path surfer’s spot. You may want to bring your own board as renting there is not always a given.
Around Wilderness, several hiking trails have been set up for birdwatchers. Only a few kilometres long and with hardly any elevation, they are easily accessible and will maximize your chances to spot kingfishers, Knysna Turaco, common waxbills, Cape white-eye and other cute birds. Our favorite is the Brown Hooded Kingfisher Trail along the Duiwe River leading to a waterfall.
To take it in from the sky, drive up north east of Wilderness to the paragliding take off spot overlooking the coast. You will pass by the Map of Africa, a canyon that is supposed to have the shape of the continent.
Marcella & Claire
- To explore the George area or any other area of South Africa canyoning, mountain biking or mountaineering, get in touch with Marthinus at Paradise Adventures.
- Marthinus customizes all of his trips to your level of technicity and fitness, and provides top of the line gear for the specific adventure. Canyoning for instance can range from a 3-hour adventure to multiple-day expeditions that include cooking and sleeping in the wild.
- To rent a mountain bike please reach out to Willy Marx cycles. This family-run business will do all to get you on the best bike for a great day of fun!
- To be rested and fully ejoy the South African hospitality stay at the Fairview Homestead.
- Check out this interactive map for the specific details to help you plan your trip and more articles and photos (zoom out) about the area! Here is a short tutorial to download it.
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