Fernkloof is a lovely quiet nature reserve, with incredible fynbos on the way to the Garden Route. There are several hiking trails to choose from, we picked the Green Trail – an easy but beautiful walk.
Fernkloof Nature Reserve is a 5-10 minute drive to the north of Hermanus, on the side of the mountains. It’s about 1hr45 from Cape Town. If you don’t have a car, check out the options for car hire* from Cape Town. The Fernkloof Nursery and Gardens appear as soon as you enter the reserve. There is a car park here, but this hike starts from the car park 500 m further up the hill at the Visitor Centre.
Fernkloof Nature Reserve Hiking Trails Map
You can pick up a leaflet of the trails at the small Visitor Centre in the car park. Additionally, you can view many examples of plants here.
- Fernkloof Nature Reserve is free to get in, but donations are wlecome.
- Opening hours: Summer 06h00 to 19h00, Winter 07h00 to 19h00
- Maps and toilets are available at the Visitor Centre by the car park.
- On a sunny day you get great views, but when it’s misty the fynbos is beautifully covered by water droplets.
- Watch out for snakes, and spider webs draped across the path.
- Sunhat, sunscreen and water are needed in sunny weather
- The path is fairly easy, well signed and with little climb, so suitable for most people.
Start this hike from the car park, heading behind the little Visitor Centre and follow the signs for the Green Trail. Thick fynbos will soon immerse you.
Keep your eyes peeled for sunbirds and sugarbirds feasting on the fynbos nectar.
Hikes in Fernkloof Nature Reserve
- Blue Route, 2 km, 30 minutes: an easy, short loop taking in the lower slopes of the reserve.
- Green Route, 3.5 km, about 1 hour: a loop up and around Lemoenkop for great views, this is the hike we did.
- Red Route, 3.5 km, 1 hour: visit a waterfall and explore the upper slopes of the reserve. Bear in mind that in mid-summer, the waterfall may barely exist.
- Extended Orange Route, 13.5 km (625 m climb), 3.5-5 hours: the long circular hike around Platberg Mountain.
We hiked the trail on a very misty morning. This meant we didn’t have the wonderful views over the ocean below that we knew were hiding behind the fog. But the superb lighting and dewdrops on the fynbos more than made up for it.
Fynbos and Flowers in Fernkloof
Fernkloof Nature Reserve is a great place to see fynbos. While springtime is official the best time to see the fynbos, different species bloom at different times of the year. We were there in February, and the flowers were lovely. In the small visitor centre in the car park, you can check out examples and names of many different species that you might find.
Apart from flowers, if you’re lucky you will see many birds endemic to fynbos, such as sugarbirds and sunbirds. Small reptiles such as lizards and tortoises are common, with snakes also in the area. Of the larger mammals, you’re most likely to see baboons, klipspringers, and dassies.
The trail winds around the valley before curling its way up to the viewpoint at Lemoenkop. If it’s a clear day, the views from here are amazing.
After the short out-and-back to the peak, the trail continues towards the mountains.
At a cute wooden signpost, turn right to go slightly down and then along and back to the visitor centre and car park.
Why not find more hikes in South Africa?
FAQS – Fernkloof Nature Reserve Hike
Fernkloof Nature Reserve is a 5-10 minute drive to the north of Hermanus, on the Garden Route. It’s about 1hr45 drive from Cape Town.
The Reserve is open 6am-7pm in Summer and 7am-7pm in Winter.