Mountain biking at the Gariep Dam MzansiBride

Winona Griggs

Mountain Biking Adventure at the Gariep Dam

Hey there! Have you ever heard of the Gariep Dam? It may not have the same excitement as Table Bay during the Volvo Ocean Race, but let me tell you, it has its own charm. Did you know that Gariep Dam has a yacht club? Pretty cool, huh? Even for us mountain bikers, there’s something awesome to look forward to – there’s a nature reserve nearby where we can have a fantastic ride.

Get Ready for an Amazing Ride

Imagine this – you arrive at the dam, and suddenly it hits you – you’ve discovered a true mountain biking paradise. Around the dam, there are all these empty dirt roads just waiting to be explored. And guess what? The Oviston Nature Reserve is right there too, with its stunning waterfront. Oh, the adventure that awaits us! There’s a mix of gravel roads, jeep tracks, and even game paths to conquer. All you need to do is stay close to the rugged shoreline, and the fun never ends.

When you arrive at Gariep Forever Resort, you’ll find the entrance to the reserve just four kilometers away. Keep in mind that there is an entry fee to pay. Once inside, get ready for an exciting adventure on the gravel roads. With over 150 kilometers of well-maintained dirt roads, there are endless opportunities to explore and have fun on your bike.

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As you ride along the water’s edge, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the expansive plains of the southern Free State. Keep your eyes peeled for herds of springbok, mountain zebra, black wildebeest, kudu, and red hartebeest. Don’t feel restricted to just the gravel roads. If you’re feeling adventurous, there are dual tracks, footpaths, and rocky areas that will entice you to venture off the main path.

How to get there

Gariep Village is located just off the N1, about 200 kilometers south of Bloemfontein. To find it, look for the sign to the nature reserve across from the Shell garage. Follow the road for three kilometers until you reach the entrance.

What Gear to Bring

Don’t get lost on your way there! Invest in a GPS receiver to guide you. One reliable option is the Garmin Edge 705 (R5 500, excluding VAT), which is known for its advanced navigation system. It’s perfect for cyclists and features a heart-rate monitor to help you track your progress and enhance your rides.

What You Need to Know

Keep in mind that the entire area surrounding the dam is a nature reserve. If you’re up for a challenge, you can explore the network of gravel roads that circle around Gariep Dam. The winters can be bitterly cold and dry, while summers bring thunderstorms and scorching daytime temperatures.

Interesting Facts about Gariep Dam Route

  • Level of Difficulty: Easy, with some loose gravel and erosion
  • Time Required: It can take anywhere from one to five hours
  • Route Shape: The route is an out-and-back path that can cover up to 150 kilometers
  • Starting Point: You can begin your journey at Gariep Forever Resort or the Oviston Nature Reserve gate
  • Terrain: The road consists of gravel and jeep tracks
  • Entry Requirements: To access the route, you need to pay a conservation fee of about R30 at the reserve gate
  • Cell Reception: Expect intermittent cell reception along the way
  • GPS Coordinates: The exact location is at S30° 35’ 48”, E25° 30’ 07”
  • Contact Information: For more details, you can contact them at Tel 051-655-0000 or visit their website at
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Enjoyable Activities to Do when Off the Bike at Gariep Dam

When you visit Gariep Dam, you’ll be amazed at the variety of entertainment options available to you. You can explore the inside of the dam wall, go on a relaxing boat cruise at sunset, or enjoy exciting activities like horseback riding and river rafting. If you prefer a more laid-back experience, you can play tennis, bowls, or squash, or simply relax by the swimming pool at Gariep Forever Resort.

For more information about these activities and to make bookings, you can contact Gariep Forever Resort at Tel: 051-754-0045 or email them at [email protected] You can also visit their website at

If you’re looking for accommodation at Gariep Dam, look no further than Getaway Accommodation! They have a wide range of great options for you to choose from.

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