Jonkershoek Panorama Hike

jonkershoek panorama

By Vicky · Published Sep. 29th, 2021 · Updated Nov. 24th, 2022

Jonkershoek Panorama hiking trail is a beautiful circuit through the nature reserve with splendid mountain views near Stellenbosch. The last part of the Panorama Trail follows the same route as the Jonkershoek Waterfall Hike.


gravel road in jonkershoek

The entrance gate to Jonkershoek Nature Reserve is 10 minutes from Stellenbosch and 1hr from Cape Town via either the N1 or N2. It’s another 5 km on a slightly rough dirt road to get to the start of this hike where parking is along the side of the road. If you don’t have a car, check out the options for car hire* from Cape Town.

Panorama Hiking Trail Route Map

Get the route by downloading the .gpx or .kml file below. For navigation with on your mobile phone, simply download the .kml file and open to add it to the bookmarks.

Tips for Jonkershoek Hiking

  • This walk is in Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, managed by Cape Nature. Permits R50/30 or free with a WildCard, available at the entrance gate.
  • See the Cape Nature Jonkershoek Brochure here.
  • A large fire swept through this area in 2020. Check with Cape Nature to see if the reserve has reopened.
  • The entrance gate hours are 08:00 to 18:00. Office closes 16:00.
  • Getting to the start involves driving on a slightly rough dirt road. One time we got a puncture. Drive carefully.
  • Sunhat, sunscreen and water are advised in sunny weather.
  • It can be cold in winter with snow dusting the high mountains.
  • Why not also try a shorter hike in the small Assegaaibosch Nature Reserve just next door?

The Panorama Hiking Trail is signed from the road, just around the corner of the bend. The route is well-marked and clear all the way around.

Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, Western Cape, South Africa

To start with the trail heads gradually up the gentle slopes beneath the surrounding mountains. There are nice views straight away. You reach the base of a steeper section and hike along the contour line before zigzagging steeply up to a wonderful viewpoint.

Bergrivier Nek Panorama

Jonkershoek Panorama and a hiker

From the Jonkershoek Panorama viewpoint at Bergrivier Nek, you see down Assegaaiboskloof, a gorgeous valley stretching far into the distance. Make sure you stop here to take many photos of this gorgeous view.

Jonkershoek Hiking Trails

There are several hiking trails in Jonkershoek Nature Reserve. The two most popular are the Jonkershoek Waterfall Hike which is fairly easy, and the Panorama Circuit described here which has some amazing views.

The Panorama Circuit (14 km, 1050 m climb) is described here. It includes the much-photographed Assegaaiboskloof Valley view and comes back down passing the two waterfalls. It starts at the tight bend in the road at the far end of the valley.

The popular Jonkershoek Waterfall Hike, or Tweede Waterval Trail (5 km, 200 m climb), is an easy hike taking in two waterfalls. You can swim/submerge yourself in the rock pools at the base of both these waterfalls. There’s more water in winter or after it has rained. It starts at the same place as the Panorama Trail described here, which passes these two waterfalls on the way back down.

The Swartboskloof Route (15.5 km, 950 m climb) starts closer to the entrance of the reserve from a small car park at the side of the road. After a steep climb, the path beings to flatten out and you pass Guardian Peak to descend back down past the two waterfalls, following the same route as the Panorama Trail. This trail ends with a flat 2 km hike along the dirt road.

The Swartboskloof-Sosyskloof Trail (1.7-6.5 km, 85-280 m climb) is an easy route through lovely indigenous forest that can be extended to include a viewpoint and longer route back down. It starts from the same car park as the Swartboskloof Route above.

Assegaaibosch is just next door to Jonkershoek Nature Reserve and there are two fairly short hikes there (2 and 6 km). You can also have a picnic, braai, and go swimming there if there is enough water in the river.

Onwards from Bergrivier Nek Panorama

From this viewpoint, the hiking trail continues along the edge of the mountains with spectacular views all around. The trail is slightly narrow but it’s not close to any steep drop and there is minimal technical difficulty.

Epic views on the Jonkershoek Panorama Hiking Trail
Epic views on the Jonkershoek Panorama Hiking Trail

You eventually climb the little last bit to a flat plateau area, which is the highest point on the Panorama trail.

At the top of the jonkershoek panorama circuit

The path continues along before heading slightly down to reach a saddle with great views over Jonkershoek Nature Reserve Valley below. You have a choice here and can head up the nearby Guardian’s Peak (Sterrekykerskop – Star Gazers Peak). This adds an extra 100 m climb and 1.5 km to the hike. It’s worth it for the great views. We found the top itself was slightly unclear, but there were definitely good views from anywhere up here.

Views from the Panorama Hiking Trail in Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, Western Cape, South Africa
Guardians Peak and Jonkershoek Valley
Views of Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, Western Cape
Jonkershoek Valley

Hiking back down to Jonkershoek Valley

Whether you reach the top of Guardians Peak or not, it’s now time to head down. The way down is very steep so watch your step while hiking.

Tweede Waterval, western cape

You pass close Tweede Waterval (Second Waterfall) on the way down. You can see the waterfall from the trail but to get to the small pool near its base you have to follow the small path to the left through the trees. There is a shallow rock pool at the base of this waterfall where you can paddle, or submerge yourself to cool off. It’s not deep enough to swim properly. In mid-summer, the water levels might be quite low but at least you can splash yourself and cool your feet.

Continuing onward, you’ll find Eerste Waterval (First Waterfall) on your left, about 1.5 km past Tweede Waterval. There is a short, 200 m trail to reach the base of the waterfall where there is also a pool for submerging yourself.

After this waterfall, it’s not far back to your car along a gently descending trail. The Waterfall Hike is a popular hike in its own right, so if you don’t want to walk so far, it’s a great option (5 km, with 200 metres climb).

Gorgeous flowers
Gorgeous flowers in Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

If you want to try a shorter hike nearby, check out the adjacent Assegaaibosch Nature Reserve, where there’s also a great picnic and braai spot. For another great mountain hike in the Winelands, try hiking up Simonsberg from Tokara. Check out our Cape Winelands Highlights for other things to do, or find more hikes in South Africa.

FAQS – Jonkershoek Hiking

How long is Jonkershoek Hiking Trail?

There are several trails at Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, varying in length from a few kilometres to more than 10 km. The trail to the two waterfalls is 5 km with 200 m of climb. The Panorama Hiking Circuit is 12.5 km long with roughly 1000 m of climb.

Can you swim at Jonkershoek Nature Reserve?

There are several rivers, rock pools and waterfalls in Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, perfect for swimming to cool down on warm summer days. Eerste and Tweede Waterfalls both have rock pools at their base where you can submerge yourself, though they aren’t really deep enough for full swimming. There is a river by the Assegaaibosch Picnic area where you can swim if the water levels are high enough.

Are dogs allowed in Jonkershoek Nature Reserve?

Dogs are not allowed into Jonkershoek Nature Reserve.

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