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Our guide to visiting Jonkershoek

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Our guide to visiting Jonkershoek

From hiking routes to permit fees: what you need to know

If you’re looking for an adventure-packed day that’s budget friendly, Jonkershoek Nature Reserve is the perfect spot for you. For R60 you can hike or cycle to gorgeous picnic spots and picturesque waterfalls, where you can swim, too. Here are the activities you can do at this gem just outside of Stellenbosch. 


The second waterfall trail includes a jungle-like setting. Image: Lara van Zyl

HIKE TO A WATERFALL

There are two waterfall trails on the reserve; the Tweede Waterval trail is the most popular. The route takes 2 hours and is roughly around 6.4 kilometres. It's a moderate trail that gets a bit steep near the end. You then start walking through a thick jungle in shallow water. Eventually you’ll emerge at the magnificent waterfall and crisp mountain water pool. It looks like a scene straight out of The Jungle Book!

Good to know: During the summer months, it's best to start hiking as early as possible because it can get hot. Take a towel and bathing suit so you can swim in the waterfall before heading back.


The waterfall is situated in a cove in the mountains. Image: Lara van Zyl

PICNIC ON TOP OF A MOUNTAIN

One hiking trail leads to a picnic table that is set on top of a mountain. The views are unbelievable and it is such a great spot for an early morning picnic. When you walk through the gate (where you pay your permit), you will find a jeep track to the left. Keep following the jeep track to the top of the mountain and you will find the picnic table. 

Good to know: The hike is quite steep and takes about +/- 3 hours to get to the top, but it is so worth it!


The view at the picnic table is best during sunrise or sunset. Image: @james_boets

GO MOUNTAIN BIKING

Jonkershoek offers numerous biking trails around the reserve. The trails range in difficulty, depending on the route you take. Each route is carefully marked and colour-coded so riders can identifywhich is the best route for them. 

Good to know: There is an extra cost involved for mountain biking at the reserve, as this section of the land is owned and managed by MTO Forestry. Day permits for bike riding are R60 (R40 for students or pensioners). 


Jonkershoek is a popular spot for cyclists in Stellenbosch. Image: Jaco Lups (@jacolups)

LOOK OUT FOR FAUNA AND FLORA

The nature reserve is home to over 1 100 plant species and a variety of small mammals, birds and reptiles. Hikers should look out for King Proteas, black eagles and typical fynbos birds like the sugarbird or protea seed-eater. Puff adders, boomslang, Cape cobra and baboons are fairly common, so hikers should be alert!


The King Protea spotted at one of the hiking trails in the nature reserve. Image: Justin Mills (@just90sjunkie87)

WHEN + WHERE TO GO  

Jonkershoek Nature Reserve is open: Monday to Sunday; 7am to 6pm
Find it: The end of Jonkershoek Road in Stellenbosch
Price: Adult - R50; Child - R30; Cycling - R60. Pay for your permit at the gate.
Contact the reserve on: 021 866 1560

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By Lara van Zyl

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FIND MORE OUTDOOR ADVENTURES 

Discover more waterfalls + rock pools in the Western Cape.

Check out this guide to hiking Elephant’s Eye Cave.

Find some of the best and hidden hiking routes.

Enjoy one of these 7+ suggestions to do this weekend.

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