With spring around the corner, it’s time to shake off the cobwebs and start connecting with nature again. Stellenbosch is surrounded by a variety of world-class nature reserves; each offering hiking trails to suit all ages and fitness levels. We explore the most popular routes in the Jonkerhoek and Assegaaibos nature reserves.
The Jonkershoek Mountains just south of town, is a serene environment offering beautiful vistas, birding, picnicking and rewarding walks and cycling trails.
From the popular First Waterfall hike in the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, to its more demanding neighbour: the 17km Panorama trail that rewards hikers richly with its stunning views, these trails let you experience the best mountain peaks and fynbos of the region.
Swartboskloof to Sosyskloof
This easy-going, scenic trail ascends the western slopes of Swartboskloof for about 2km, passing through a patch of beautiful indigenous forest. Hikers follow a contour to Sosyskloof, before winding back to the start of the route. Please note the path is slippery when wet.
Jonkershoek Waterfalls is a 9.8km back trail located near Stellenbosch that features a lake and is considered to be a challenging hike, but it always proves well worth the effort. The trail offers several activity options like picnics and birdwatching and is accessible year-round. Overhangs of foliage next to the Eerste River banks provide excellent picnic spots along the way.
If you are feeling a little more adventurous another popular option is the Jonkershoek Panorama Loop – a 13.4 km, moderately trafficked loop used for hiking and birding. This trail also features a waterfall that makes a beautiful place to stop for a break.
Swartbos Trail Loop
Swartboskloof Trail Loop is a 5.1 kilometer moderately trafficked loop trail located near Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa that features beautiful wildflowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips.
Assegaaibos Route B
Route B starts at the picnic site by way of the junction signs before returning to the start. Don’t miss visiting the freshwater aquarium at the Assegaaibosch conservation station. Visitors can also fish for rainbow trout; the best season for this is during the winter months.
Stellenbosch Trail Fund
Many of the trails in and around town are built and maintained by the Stellenbosch Trail Fund, a community organisation that also facilitates skills development and creation of economic opportunities in outdoor recreation and tourism for our local communities. As an NGO they are reliant on private donations. Please click here to learn more and see what you can contribute to making a difference.