A stunning two-day hike in a beautiful wilderness three hours from Cape Town. Climb up into the mountains of Boosmansbos and overnight in a basic hut in the middle of the wilderness before heading back down into the forests of Grootvadersbosch the next day.

Hiking and mountains in Boosmansbos Wilderness Area, South Africa

Location

This walk starts from Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve Office. The last 15 km of the road are gravel. The final section is uphill and if it has rained very heavily a normal sedan car may struggle. This trail is a convenient stopover on the way to the Garden Route from Cape Town. You hike through Groovadersbosch to reach the Boosmansbos Wilderness area.

Trail Route

32 km | 1.5 days | 1370 m up | 1370 m down | 1260 m high | 280 m low

We checked in with the office at Grootvadersbosch before repacking our hiking rucksacks and setting off along the main track towards the mountains.

Tips

  • Take: sunhat and sunscreen, plenty of water and food.
  • A stream near the two overnight huts can be used for water – we used a UV water purifier* to clean it before drinking.
  • On the way back down you can swim in a stram.
  • A permit is needed for this hike (email reservation.alert@capenature.co.za), R70 per night per person
  • The two huts provide shelter but nothing more – take your own mats, sleeping bags etc. We set up our small tent inside the hut.

Day 1

The route is initially on a wide concrete path and heads through the forested valley of Grootvadersbosch. As soon as you reach the middle of the valley the long climb upwards begins.

Hiking and mountains in Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve, South Africa
On the main trail from the car park
Forested Valley in Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve, South Africa
Looking back on the forested Grootvadersbosch valley

You soon leave the forest behind and continue upwards on a good trail through fynbos full of birds.

Hiking and mountains in Boosmansbos Wilderness Area, South Africa
Trail and mountains in Boosmansbos Wilderness Area, South Africa
Blue flower in Boosmansbos Wilderness Area, South Africa
Red protea in Boosmansbos Wilderness Area, South Africa
Protea and mountains in Boosmansbos Wilderness Area, South Africa
Valley in the mountains in Boosmansbos Wilderness Area, South Africa

The trail continues up and slightly over the ridgeline, revealing many more mountainous ridges stretching into the distance.

Misty mountains in Boosmansbos Wilderness Area, South Africa

After continuing fairly flat for a few kilometres, the path descends slightly and the two little stone huts of Helderfontein will come into view.

At the Helderfontein Huts

Helderfontein Huts in Boosmansbos Wilderness Area, South Africa
The smaller of the two little huts
Camping in Helderfontein Huts in Boosmansbos Wilderness Area, South Africa
We set up our tent inside for extra warmth

We stayed in the smaller of the two huts at Helderfontein. There would be room for at least 4-6 to sleep on camping mats in this hut. The larger hut could accommodate 6-8 adults easily. It was surprisingly cosy in the hut.

Day 2

Grootberg mountain in Boosmansbos Wilderness Area, South Africa

The weather was better on our second day and we woke to beautiful sunshine. After a quick breakfast of instant porridge and a cup of tea, we set off along the path and down the mountainside.

Mountains in Boosmansbos Wilderness Area, South Africa
Mountains in Boosmansbos Wilderness Area, South Africa

It was easy walking on a nice path, all downhill until we reached a deep kloof not far from the end. To cross this the path heads a long way down before climbing diagonally up the other side. Since it was sunny we cooled off with a lovely swim in the stream flowing through the kloof.

Kloof in Boosmansbos Wilderness Area, South Africa
Looking across the large kloof
Stream in kloof in Boosmansbos Wilderness Area, South Africa
Swimming stream in the kloof

After climbing out of the kloof it wasn’t far back to the forest and small valley of Grootvadersbosch. We extended our hike by 1 km on a short loop through the forest to see the tall redwood trees. We then hiked the final little uphill back to the car park.

Forest trail in Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve, South Africa
Loop through the forest of Grootvadersbosch

Chasing Ostriches

This two day hike in Grootvadersbosch and Boosmansbos Wilderness area was the second stop on our two-month road trip around South Africa. Read more about it and see more photos here.

Countryside near Boosmansbos Wilderness Area, South Africa
Looking back on where we hiked

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