Hiking Trails in the Franschhoek Pass and Valley
The Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve, which is accessed from a gate at the top of the Franschhoek Pass, offers beautiful fynbos, mountains and magnificent views of the Franschhoek Valley, Wemmershoek Dam parts of Theewaterskloof Dam and on a clear day, you may even see Table Mountain. The paths are beautifully maintained and very clearly marked.
There are some small buck, the (very) occasional leopard, quite a few birds. Decent walking shoes, water and a camera are a must. The weather can be fickle so go prepared with some warm clothes, sunblock and insect repellent. A few snacks are always welcome.
The three trails range from short and easy to a strenuous day trail. Youngsters under 18 must be accompanied by adults.
1. The walk to the viewpoint is a gentle, moderate, 6km walk of about 3 hours rewarding the hiker with stunning views.
2. The walk to Du Toitskop makes for a hilly and challenging walk in places, with access to a small number of rivers and rock pools that are glorious in summer but a little chilly and swollen in winter. It is 14km return and should take about 5 hours, and is rated as moderate to fairly strenuous. The views from Du Toitskop are spectacular, and if you are into bird watching, look out for the endemic Cape Rockjumper.
3. There is also an enjoyable 15km walk to Perdekop that should take about 8 hours and requires a high level of fitness.
Maps and permits required to access the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve (about R20pp) are available from the Tourism Office on the main road, opposite the NG Church (open at weekends as well as the week), Tel: 021 876 3603, or the Protea Hotel or the Huguenot Museum. The Tourism Office also has maps of the Historic Village Walk, a self-guided stroll into Franschhoek’s past.
Take a stroll up old ‘Cat se Pad’ walking trail which starts on your left just under 1km from the Huguenot Memorial Museum as you head out of town up the Franschhoek Pass. The walk leads into fynbos with proteas, and gives instant access to the mountains surrounding the valley, with good views. The first two-kilometre section gets you to the top of the pass, and you can keep going for another 10km in the direction of Villiersdorp (though you don’t actually reach it).
The beautiful La Motte Wine Estate, on the left after the Wemmershoek/Berg River dam crossroads, has opened a 5.6 km, 2 hour, circular hiking trail through the fynbos along a scenic mountain route with stunning views over the valley. This wine farm works hard on biodiversity and if the kids are interested in indigenous flowers, you can do a disa tour in season through the greenhouses. The hike is quite strenuous in parts so wear good hiking shoes and a stick would be useful. The hike, which starts and ends at La Motte’s farmyard, with convenient parking and on the doorstep of other interesting La Motte attractions such as the Tasting Room, Pierneef á La Motte Restaurant, Museum and Farm Shop. Hikes have to be pre-booked at the La Motte Tasting Room – Tel. +27 (0)21 876 8820 or e-mail. Mondays to Sundays: 09:00 – 14:00.Cost is R50 per person.
Guided walks are also available from Koringberg Toere, operated by retired professor Izak Rust who is a registered field guide with a lifetime’s experience of nature guiding; a wonderful raconteur with a deep knowledge of the valley, its geology, flora, fauna, history and secret places, he takes groups of up to 12 on village and vineyard walks and up to 8 on mountain walks and hikes in the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve, charging for the walk rather than per person. This option is also highly recommended for older kids and teens with a passion for nature and mountains. For prices and details, email or Tel: 021 876 2659 or 072 712 7784.
Walk through the orchards and vineyards behind Mont Rochelle Winery, past two dams, to reach the beacon, giving you a fantastic view of the valley.
|More info on the town of Franschhoek||More info on the Cape Winelands|