View back down the Jonkershoek Valley when climbing up to the Panorama trail
This beautiful Reserve of about 10,000 hectares is centred on the Jonkershoek Valley close to Stellenbosch also incorporating the origins of the Berg and Eerste rivers. Surrounded by magnificent mountains that form part of the Boland mountain range, this is a place for wonderful hikes. There are a wide range of options, ranging from a gentle amble to the ‘big daddy hikes,’. The Reserve has also established a number of MTB trails.
Note that I have also included trails in the Stellenbosch area, that might not be in the formal Reserve boundaries, for ease of grouping.
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’ file 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 There is parking by the entrance gate, where there is also a cafe. Alternatively you can drive into the reserve and park at the relevant trail head (one way loop road going anti-clockwise) but be aware of the times that the security gate closes as after that you can’t get your car out of the Reserve.
Note road is rough with potholes and care needs to be taken of cyclists.
Permits This link Jonkershoek site provides background information on Reserve, the permit system in operation and other useful information.
The Jonkershoek Nature Reserve has a large number of day hikes and mountain bike trails. A permit is required to enter which can be bought at the entrance gate. You can also get an annual permit. Wild Card users do not have to pay a fee but need to register.
Water Availability depends on the hike and season.
Trail types The trails are well maintained and are easy to follow. Some trails are more rugged than others. There are also off trail options for the adventurous to many of the surrounding peaks.
Maps I have usually included a GPX and a KML file for any given hike in the associated Route section. Please feel free to use this.
List of hikes we have done
- Panorama Trail (second section) – Hike link length 14km, total ascent 1188m, max elevation 1277m (note this is not the full Panorama trail but one section of it) Rating difficult. We hike this trail in an anti-clockwise direction, although it can be done either way
- Botmaskop Ridge – Hike Link length 17km, total ascent 1054m, max elevation 930m. Rating moderately difficult due to the trail being difficult to follow once reaching the saddle. Note that we did not hike along the full length of the ridge to Botmaskop Peak but turned round at the high point on the ridge. Separately we hiked up to just below Botmaskop Peak from African Valley (length 6km, total ascent 565m, max elevation 810m) and I have also included this trail map in the post.
- Stellenbosch Peak – Hike link length 18km, total ascent 1152m, max elevation 1157m. Rating difficult due to the trail terrain. We did a circular hike but one could do a hike to the Peak and then retrace your footsteps back the way you came.
- Simonsberg Peak
Maps of Hikes
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.