Hiking in South Africa’s winelands

Victoria Peak is found in the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve just outside the town of Stellenbosch about an hours drive from Cape Town. The Jonkershoek Nature Reserve contains numerous peaks and wonderful hikes. Victoria Peak at 1589m is one of the highest in area, has some outstanding views and is one of the best hikes in the Westen Cape when we’ve had some snow. (not every year)

The hike itself is 23km in length with quite a bit of climbing so you need a full day to get there and back. The Jonkershoek Nature Reserve opens at 7.30am in the winter. You can buy a permit at the gate and drive to the far end of the reserve. Here park your car and start up the path marked as the Panorama trail.

The first part of the hike is fairly steep. The path is clear and the views spectacular. After an hours climb the path levels out and takes you on a contour deep into the valley.

Admiring the view

After about 2 hours the path takes a left and leads you steeply up onto the Bergrivernek. At +/- 100om the views from here are truly spectacular. On one side Jonkershoek, on the other side The Assegaibos reserve and all around high and impressive peaks.

Some of the peaks seen from Bergrivernek

From here the trail leads still further up. The path is now much smaller and at times there is quite a drop on the right. After 20 minutes climbing the path levels out and leads across the plateau. An hour after leaving the nek look for a cairn and a path leading off the main path to the left.

The trail levels out and leads across the plateau

The path to Victoria Peak is not very clear so if cloud cover is low don’t take this route unless someone is familiar with it. The first 2km are fairly flat and over some quite wet ground with a few stream crossings. The final 500m is steep and straight up. Apart from a few cairns the path is not clear. Once at the top though the views are worth it.

The view of Table Mountain from Victoria peak

For us South Africans part of the attraction is the snow. Not much by some standards but we love it.

Snow on the way to Victoria peak

After a break at the top return to the main path the way you came. Once back at the main path turn left and continue on the Panorama trail. The reason this hike has this name is quite evedent from the panoramic views over the valley below. Keep on this path for an hour until you come to a junction. Take the right fork and head down Kruktreekers Nek. This is a steep and loose descent. Take care. Once at the bottom follow the path for an hour along a relatively flat trail until you rejoin the road in the nature reserve 5 minutes from you car.