Assegaaibosch is a nice spot away from the busyness of the Winelands to have a picnic and go for a short hike through the fynbos.
Assegaaibosch Nature Reserve is here, roughly 1 hour from central Cape Town, either via the N1 or N2. It’s only 10 minutes from Stellenbosch. The turnoff to the reserve is on Jonkershoek Road, down a paved track. The car park is past the entrance gate to the reserve where you can buy a permit if you don’t already have one.
Tips for Assegaaibosch Hike
- Significant fire damage in 2020 resulted in the closure of some trails though the picnic site is still open. See the official website for updates.
- Reserve open 08h00 – 18h00, Free with a WildCard or R50/30 for adults/children
- Reserve Tel.: 087 087 4118, Permit Tel.: 087 087 8250
- There is a limit on 60 picnickers per day – get there early on the weekends to secure your spot.
- You can swim in the Eerste River at the start of the resreve if the water levels are high enough.
- There is also a longer 6 km hike here which follows the river before looping up and around the reserve, overlapping slightly with the trail shown here.
We stopped here to go for a short hike and a picnic lunch. Assegaaibosch Nature Reserve borders the more famous and much larger Jonkershoek Nature Reserve. Cape Nature manages both reserves. Bring your Wildcard to get in or pay R50/R30 fee for adults and children.
You can park your car under the trees near the picnic area. This picnic area can get really busy, especially on the weekends, and therefore a limited number of people (60 only) are let in per day. When we were there, just a handful of people were in the park.
Assegaaibosch Picnic and Braai Spot
Assegaaibosch picnic site is just next to the car park. You’re welcome to bring portable gas braais to the picnic area at Assegaaibosch, but not your dog. There are tables with benches and ablutions. Shade is provided by gorgeous trees. Watch out for the cheeky baboons!
We went on a short and straightforward hike. It goes a bit up the mountainside via a jeep track, and then you take a small path back down the mountainside. Halfway, we stopped for lunch in a nice grassy area with a rundown building, an ideal spot to build the perfect holiday cabin we thought.
History of Assegaaibosch
Around 1792 the Assegaaibosch homestead was built by Dirk Coetsee. The house has traditional Dutch Cape style architecture. It changed owner a number of times, and one time with the request of planting oak trees in the area, hence the large number of these that can still be seen today. The house got into a state of disrepair before it was bought by the Cape Government in 1960, was renovated and is now used as a conservation station. Despite the beautiful oak trees, the reserve gets its name from the abundance of Assegaai trees in the area.
The path on the way down is nicer than the jeep track. Fynbos surrounds you and you have to cross a little stream. There are a lot of birds in the area so keep your eyes peeled! On the way back to the car we saw a large troop of baboons crossing the fence into the old homestead. Although they can be a bit scary, it was fascinating to see how they managed to cross the fence swiftly, one by one. After about an hour including lunch, we were back at the car and drove off to nearby Stellenbosch.