The Dome from the Stellenbosch Road, West Peak to the right

Link to detailed route page and map click on route title. Please note I have also included a link to the West peak that we hiked previously

The Dome - Helderberg

  • Distance 9.93 km
  • Time 2 h 28 min
  • Speed 4.0 km/h
  • Min altitude 128 m
  • Peak 1032 m
  • Climb 1150 m
  • Descent 0 m
December 1, 2019

West Peak - Helderberg Reserve

  • Distance 10.16 km
  • Time 2 h 32 min
  • Speed 4.0 km/h
  • Min altitude 128 m
  • Peak 964 m
  • Climb 905 m
  • Descent 0 m
December 14, 2019
Time taken: 3 hours 40 min, with stops 4 hours 20 min. QR codes Scan to access the route in the ViewRanger App. This can be downloaded as a .GPX file.

Helderberg Dome is an impressive looking mountain and looks very much like a perfect dome from the road to Somerset West from Stellenbosch. An iconic peak which calls out to be bagged.

Mike and I heading up to the trail junction with West Peak

Saturday was very windy and although the forecast for Sunday was very good we were on tenterhooks as to whether the forecasters had got it right or not as I did not fancy being up there in a gale. As it was we had nothing to worry about. Sherri, Mike and I got down there for about 8 and took the Protea trail (clockwise) up to Disa Gorge(540m) where the trail to the Dome really starts. We hiked down Disa Gorge when we did Woody’s Walk earlier in the week so we were not far from the trail junction for the Dome where we crossed a bridge over the stream, left the shade of the trees and headed out onto Porcupine Ridge where the trail starts to steepen and becomes less travelled.  The way up to the saddle afforded great views and excuse to pause for breath but it was not too long before we reached the saddle (890m) where the trail divides.  The left fork heads for West Peak (which we climbed a few years back) and the right fork headed for the Dome.

On our way up we saw a beautiful King Protea close to the path with several others still in bud. The morning sun on the way up gave us lovely views across Erinvale, Somerset West and Gordons Bay. Ahead of us loomed the Dome, however it was not until we were on our way back down that we could clearly see the summit trig point as from this angle you can see that the true peak is along a spine, with several false summits of a similar height.

From the saddle we followed an undulating contour path, which was easy to follow and gave us great views of the mountains east of Stellenbosch bordering Jonkershoek. The high peak above Stellenbosch university is Haelkop, which we climbed a couple of years back. We could also see Simonsberg in the (now hazy) distance and to our South West Table Mountain and the Cape. It was a shame that despite the recent rains and strong winds of yesterday that it was hazy, however the views from the path of all the mountains we love to hike over was something special.

The contour path circumvents 3 jagged peaks which I was happy not to have to climb, they remind me of sharp teeth! However, soon we did have to go up again. The trail went up a steep rocky gully to another small saddle  (which is very evident in the pictures) before we had a last steep push to the spine of the Dome. This bit was fun, scrambling round and over boulders, wondering when we would see the summit, before finally it was there ahead of us. 

Great spot for lunch below an overhanging rock slab under the trig point. We then descended via the same route and got back in good time for tea and a slice of the excellent apple crumble cake at the Oak Cafe.

Our first big hike since May and we were both pleased that we managed this and enjoyed ourselves, although the were a few aching legs and backs the following day. See below for a slideshow of our photos