Hiking in the Stellenbosch area

The Swartboskloof hiking trail

The Jonkershoek Nature Reserve offers some of the best hiking in the Stellenbosch area.  The Jonkershoek mountains form part of the larger Boland range and consist of several high peaks and deep kloofs with many interesting and beautiful hiking trails throughout.

The Swartboskloof hiking trail is one of the tougher trails but certainly one of the most rewarding. It covers a distance of 18km. With a steep 4.5km climb initially followed by a relatively flat hike across the the top of the mountains it ends with a steep hike down the steep Kruktrekkers Nek.

Jonkershoek nature reserve

The steep kurktrekkers nek

The initial climb is up the Southern side of the reserve and only has one small shady area on the way up. It is best therefore to start the hike as early as possible. There is also very little water available so taking plenty of water is a must. At the top of the climb the path leads you Westerly across the ridge. It is well worth taking a small detour to a lookout point that overlooks the Helderberg valley. After the steep climb this is a great place to take a long snack break and just enjoy the panorama below you.

Swartboskloof hike

A wonderful view point overlooking the Helderberg valley

Returning to the path you continue your traverse across the mountains. The veld here is pristine and whilst you are unlikely to see any wildlife it is certainly here. Cell phone reception is patchy in this region and from the top here the only way down is back the way you came, or press on to Kurktreekers Nek. It is important therefore that you are properly equipped and have someone with you who knows the trail. There are smaller paths leading off the trail, and the clouds can come down extremely quickly making navigation difficult.


Jonkershoek nature reserve

Hiking on the Swartboskloof trail

A further 2 hours along the top and you come to the top of Kurktrekkers Nek. Here is a 4 way junction which is the meeting point of several trails. Straight on is the Panorama hike which also ends in Jonkershoek whilst to the right is the beautiful Boegoekloof which will take you in totally the opposite direction and joins the Boland trail in the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve.

Do not be fooled into thinking that you are over the hard part of the hike. The steep kurktrekkers nek is loose underfoot and a nasty fall is very possible. Take extreme care going down here. You need to concentrate on every step, so regular stops to admire the views are a must as they are quite spectacular.

After a good hour heading downhill you come to a patch of shade beside a large Rooiels tree. Take a well earned break here. From here although you still continue down for another half an hour the path is much better so you can begin to relax a little.The last hour of the hike is along the tweewaterfall trail. The path is good and relatively flat. In the winter the waterfalls are spectacular.

The waterfalls on the trail

The waterfalls in the Jonkershoek Nature reserve are wonderful

 Join Ridgway Ramblers for a hike off the beaten track. We know all the best hikes and will ensure that you see the best the Western Cape can offer.