There are numerous options for hiking in the wilderness. Hikes have varying lengths and many provide welcome swimming opportunities. Parts of the greater conservation area, like Sneeugatrivier and the mountain peaks, are true wilderness – showing no traces of human intervention. It is advisable to book in advance as capacity is limited.
As Groot Winterhoek is a wilderness area, hikers do not have to stick to trails. You can explore the area’s rock formations and caves, and overnight in the veld. Hikers must leave their vehicles at the parking area at the office complex.
To lessen the environmental impact of numerous visitors, the area is divided into two user-zones: Kliphuis and Perdevlei in the east, and De Tronk and Die Hel in the south. The trails do not have route markers, but small cairns show directions where trails lead over plate rock.
There is a primitive shelter at Perdevlei that cannot be booked. The huts at De Tronk need to be booked in advance. Open fires are not allowed.
Help us protect nature
No pets/no firearms/no fires/no picking of flowers or collecting of seeds/no rubbish bins – all refuse must be carried out of the wilderness area/no toilets – all waste and toilet paper must be buried with a spade or trowel/do not use soap or shampoo in the rivers and streams.
Buy your permits through CapeNature Central Reservations. Permits must be carried at all times. Book early to avoid disappointment!
Please note that the jeep track to De Tronk is closed for vehicles until further notice.
Parking area to De Tronk via jeep track
- Wear comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat.
- Do not hike alone.
- Carry enough food and water with you.
- Make sure you know what the weather conditions are before you depart.
- Take a warm jacket/raincoat in winter.
- Make sure you have a relevant map of the area.
- Take a field medical kit with you for emergencies.
- Obey all signage.
- Stay in a group and on the trails.
Trail distance: 14km
Estimated time: 3.5 hours
This route is fairly easy, but water is not available for the first 11km, until Weltevrede. Enjoy the beautiful vegetation on this hike, including tolbos, erica and exceptionally large waboom trees. Hikers should not use this route if making their way back to the parking area.
Parking area to De Tronk via river
Trail distance: 13km
Estimated time: 3 hours
This route follows the Kliphuis River to the low-water bridge. From there it follows the jeep track to De Tronk. Plenty of water is available and there are lots of swimming pools to cool off in along the way, so bring a swimming costume with you. This trail is surrounded by beautiful patches of ericas.
The Groot Kliphuis River is difficult and dangerous to cross in winter.
Parking area to Protea Pool
Trail distance: 1.5km
Estimated time: 40 minutes
This route is easy, taking you through a flat trail before stopping at the small, refreshing Protea Pool. Remember to bring a swimming costume with you. From there you can explore the Groot Kliphuis River.
Keep an eye open for the disas that flower between December and February.
Parking area to Groot Kliphuis via river
Trail distance: 16km
Estimated time: 4 hours
This easy route follows the Kliphuis River for a short distance before shifting east. The trail winds through exceptional rock formations and passes a wonderful swimming pool as it enters the koppies. Remember your swimming costume. Many ericas and disas grow along this route. Water is plentiful, but in winter the streams can be difficult to cross.
De Tronk to Die Hel
Trail distance: 5km
Estimated time: 1.5 hours
From De Tronk, the path leads south under oak trees and over a small footbridge towards Die Hel. The route is easy until you reach the gorge. The descent to the swimming pool is very steep and difficult. Look out for the rock art on an overhang on the left of the footpath as it begins to drop steeply. The pool is very deep and one of the largest in the Western Cape. Remember to bring a swimming costume with you.
Groot Kliphuis to Perdevlei via jeep track
Trail distance: 7km
Estimated time: 2 hours
This route is fairly demanding but offers magnificent views. Enjoy the stunning fynbos along the trail, particularly the protea, which grows in abundance in this area.
Groot Kliphuis to Perdevlei via river
Trail distance: 6km
Estimated time: 1.5 hours
This route leads south, from Kliphuis to the Klein Kliphuis River. From there, hikers turn east (left) to reach Perdevlei. The river usually has water.
Perdevlei to De Tronk
Trail distance: 12km
Estimated time: 2.5 hours
This beautiful route follows the Klein Kliphuis River, joining the jeep track leading to De Tronk. Remember to bring a swimming costume with you so that you can plunge into the many swimming pools along the way.