Hike Garden Route Dam to Pepsi Pools

The hike to Pepsi Pools from the Garden Route Dam is an easy and relatively flat 12km there and back hiking trail.

View of the Garden Route Dam

One week-day in January 2024, Bryan and I had some errands to run in George, so we decided to do what we needed to and then head to the Garden Route Dam and hike one of the trails there.  We had been talking about doing it for quite some time and recently a friend of mine had been to the dam and walked to Pepsi Pools, so we decided on that route.

Hike to Pepsi Pools from the Garden Route Dam   Hike to Pepsi Pools from the Garden Route Dam

We bought a picnic and headed to the dam, arriving around 11.45am. It was a pretty warm day, but we had sensibly packed some swim wear, so we set off on the trail.

We hadn’t managed to find the exact route, but by using All Trails, we were able to see where we were and where Pepsi Pools was, so we navigated our way round part of the dam and basically kept left at any fork, regularly checking we were on the right path to Pepsi Pools.

The dam is huge ( size ) and the backdrop of the Outeniqua Mountains is spectacular. It was hard to believe that we were only about 7kms from the City Centre of George. 

Hike to Pepsi Pools from the Garden Route Dam

There was no road noise and you couldn’t see any homes, factories or shops. It would have been blissfully quiet, however, there must have been a bush fire somewhere as there were two helicopters, that kept circling the dam, filling up buckets with water and flying off to where ever they were need. It was quite a sight to see how these pilots managed to manoeuvre the bucket into the dam to collect the water. As the helicopters departed, droplets of water were blown off the top of the buckets and gently showered us, which was extremely refreshing, as by mid-day the heat was pretty intense.

Anyway, back to the trail. It starts off on a gravel road way across the dam wall and then leads onto a gravel pathway round part of the dam. This section does not have much shade, so make sure you have a hat and plenty of sunscreen to protect you. The flora and scenery are incredible, so make sure you stop and take in the views as you wind your way round the dam.

After approximately 3.5kms, the trail heads into the forest, which provided some gratefully received shade and different scenes for your eyes to feast upon.

Gorgeous flora at Garden Route Dam We saw many different butterflies fluttering around and we heard several different bird calls as we meandered along the forest trail.

The hike is an easy route and is basically flat, with the exception of a couple of short inclines and descents in the forest section. The distance is just under 6kms each way (it is a there and back route), and it took us about 1 hour 15mins each way, which included stopping for photos, watching the helicopters and soaking in the scenery.

Just before you actually arrive at Pepsi Pools, there is a fork in the hiking route and a sign off to the left. The pathway is a short descent to the pools and the enticing sound of running water reaches you well before you see it.

Pepsi Pools was given its name as a result of the colour of the water and the bubbles bouncing along its surface from the waterfalls. It really does look like someone just opened a can of Pepsi and poured it out (an extremely large can, that is).

By now it was about 13h00, and Bryan and I were extremely hot and sweaty, so we changed into our swim wear and entered the water. Do not attempt to jump into the pools, it is not very deep and there are plenty of rocks around, so be sensible and submerge yourself.

Hike to Pepsi Pools from the Garden Route Dam

The water was unsurprisingly pretty cool, but since we were so hot, it was incredibly refreshing. We splashed around, cooled off and then dried off beside the pools.

Whilst we dried off in our swim wear, our hiking clothes also dried off in the sun and after our delicious picnic lunch from Food Lovers Market in George, we changed back into our hiking gear and headed back to the parking area.

The walk back seemed to go much faster, probably because we knew our way now, but the scenery and views still amazed us and it was so peaceful.

Hike to Pepsi Pools from the Garden Route Dam   Hike to Pepsi Pools from the Garden Route Dam

In summary, the Garden Route Dam hike to Pepsi Pools, is easy, but it is in total just under 12kms, so don’t rush it, definitely make sure you swim in the pools and I highly recommend taking a picnic lunch with you.

We had a fantastic day, and rounded it off with a smoothie and a delicious carrot cake slice at the New Wave Village on the Victoria Bay road, just outside of George.


Article & photographs by Garden Route Unearthed.

Location: https://maps.app.goo.gl/HbLptMvaBiAqMcwB6

Previous page
 Visual Map Search

Find pet-friendly accommodation
 Alphabetical Quick List
 Visual Map Search
 Tourism Information
Email-Address / Username: