There has been a great initiative in Franschhoek to develop MTB trails in the area around the Berg River Dam. However there is a lack of advertising given to the excellent hiking trails which co-exist here. To help raise the profile for hikers Mike and I have mapped a number of trails to help you and other hikers enjoy this area.
For each of the following hikes I have provided a small amount of relevant information in this web page with more information (including a ‘. gpx’ and a ‘kml’ file which in layman’s language gives a track) in an associated Route Page (see below). I have also written a post for each trail along the lines of a personal narrative with photos. Finally I hope that you enjoy exploring this area as much as we have.
Parking is available on the access road to the conservation area at the security gate. Note this now appears to be left unlocked which is helpful if you want to avoid the 2.5km hike up to the trailheads on a flat gravel road to get to the start of most hikes. There is a further parking area by a concrete bridge over the Berg River
Permits The permit system for this area which was operated by the Tourism Office seems to have been abandoned for the moment.
Water On all the hikes we have done here we have been able to top up our water bottles, even in summer months. There are also some great swimming opportunities in the Berg River.
Trail types The trails shown below either follow disused (forestry) vehicle tracks or single track (hiking / mtb) paths. They are easy to follow and I think largely in good condition (ie not overgrown).
Maps I have usually included a GPX and KML file for any given hike in the associated Route section. Please feel free to use this.
List of hikes we have done
- Berg Dam loop – South shore – Clockwise Hike link length 16km, total ascent about 250m, max elevation 370m. The trail is a clockwise circuit around part of the south shore of the Berg Dam. There are swimming opportunities in the rivers leading into the Dam.
- Scherpenheuwel Circuit – Clockwise Hike link length 22km, total ascent 754m, max elevation 619m. The trail is a clockwise circuit of a large outcrop overlooking the Berg River Dam, including a swim in a large pool in the Berg River
- Scherpenheuwel Circuit – Anti-clockwise Hike link length 18km, total ascent 1028m, max elevation 640m. The trail is an anti-clockwise circuit of a large outcrop overlooking the Berg River Dam, including a detour to a stunning narrow ridge
- ‘Rabbit Ears’ Hike – Rabbit Ears Hike link length 20km, total ascent 865m, max elevation 925m. This trail takes you up to a col separating the Berg and Theeswaterkloof drainage systems
- Berg River Hike – Berg River Hike link length 21km, total ascent 528m, max elevation 465m. The trail, can be done in either direction. It follows a higher contour path to the Berg River and then returns by the river. At the apex of the trail one can continue further up towards the watershed with the Jonkershoek Park. See Assegaaiboskloof hike below.
- MTB loop – MTB Loop Hike link length 13km, total ascent 368m, max elevation 393m. The trail goes in the opposite direction to the MTB trail. It is the easiest hike of the trails we have shown.
- Assegaaiboskloof Hike Hike link This trail links up with the Jonkershoek Watershed and the Panorama trail. Total length about 19km and 1,700m of elevation from the trailhead. We did it as a there and back wilderness camping trip but it can be done an an A to B trip if you have 2 cars
Map of trails
Please click on each trail-path to take you to the associated route page where you can obtain more information on the trail, including an elevation profile, and a download of the map.