Mont Rochelle Loop Hike

View from Perdekop peak in Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve.

This is a beautiful mountain circuit at Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve near Franschhoek. The hike takes you first to Du Toitskop, and then via Uitkyk viewpoint to Perdekop, the highest peak in the reserve.

Location

This hike starts at the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve Gate on a gravel road off the Franschhoek Pass. It is a 1 hour 10 minute and 83 km drive from the centre of Cape Town. There is an entry fee of R50 per person. There is enough space for parking just outside the gate.

We left on a Thursday morning in February 2021 from Cape Town and started hiking at 10:30 am. It was a pleasant day for a hike with some low clouds that disappeared while we ascended.

Tips on Mont Rochelle

  • Check out the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve website for the latest information on the area.
  • The gate to the reserve is always open.
  • Entrance to the reserve is ZAR 50 p.p. by card or Snapscan from 9 am to 5 pm at the gate or buy your ticket online.
  • If you start early, you can pay on your way out.
  • Free entry for children under 12 years when accompanied by a paying adult.
  • Your Wild Card is not valid here as Mont Rochelle is not affiliated with SANParks.
  • We combined the Du Toitskop and Perdekop trail.
  • Bring a sunhat, sunscreen and plenty of water. It can be very hot in summer.
  • The route is quite well marked with signs, but pay attention to take the right turns in the beginning towards Du Toitskop.
  • Offline maps app Maps.me may help with navigation.
  • After the hike, enjoy a stroll and tasting at one of the nearby wineries. Check out our Cape Winelands Highlights for tips.

Mont Rochelle Gate

We paid for our tickets at the Mont Rochelle entrance gate and were quickly away on our hike. As we were first heading to Du Toitskop, we went straight on the main track for about 500 meters until a clear turnoff to the left up the mountainside.

Track in Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve.
The main track from the gate and turnoff to the left.
View towards Franschhoek from Mont Rochelle.
Beautiful views of the Franschhoek valley started to appear.

Soon we took another left turn to follow the vista trail. This trail takes you in no time to a great viewpoint of Franschhoek valley. From there the vista trail heads back to the main trail and we turned left again in the direction of Du Toitskop. While we made our way up, the occasional cloud obscured the splendid views of the higher mountains ahead.

Views of Franschhoek from the Vista trail in Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve.
Franschhoek from the Vista Trail.
View up the valley towards Uitkyk viewpoint in Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve.
View up the valley towards Uitkyk viewpoint.

Du Toitskop

After some 670 meter ascent from the entrance gate we reached the first summit of today. Du Toitskop is a relatively broad, 1419 meter high peak. There are not only great views towards the Franschhoek valley, but a new vista opens up on the other side towards a hidden valley called Wemmershoek.

Simonsberg and tafelberg in the distance as seen from Du Toitskop.
View towards Simonsberg and Tafelberg.
Du Toitskop peak in Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve.
The beacon at Du Toitskop.
View from Du Toitskop towards Wemmershoek valley.
The hidden valley of Wemmershoek.

After Du Toitskop it is unfortunately downhill for a bit. The path heads towards a saddle that is about 300 meters lower. The height loss on this stretch is made up by the incredible views of a mountain range we called ‘The Wall’.

Uitkyk Viewpoint

Uitkyk Viewpoint is on the saddle between Du Toitskop and Perdekop. The views of ‘The Wall’ and the valley below are absolutely incredible when you walk towards this viewpoint. ‘The Wall’ turned out to be Wemmershoek peak and its adjacent peaks.

Wemmershoek peak as seen from the Mont Rochelle Loop Hike.
‘The Wall’ or Wemmershoek Peak is quite spectacular.

After a lunch break on a rock near Uitkyk, we ascended the other side of the saddle. The views towards Wemmershoek remain spectacular from the ridgeback that you follow. We saw some klipspringer and birds of prey on this stretch.

On the ridge from Du Toitskop to Perdekop.
Rocky mountain face in Mont Rochelle.

After some climb, the path levels out onto a bit of a plateau. There is a wonderfully remote feeling here, despite being so close to the hustle and bustle of Franschhoek.

Leopards at Mont Rochelle

The leopard is a top predator in the Fynbos mountain ranges like Mont Rochelle.

They are quite a bit smaller than the leopards found in the savanna of Africa. While leopards in the savanna weigh on average 61kg for male and 37kg for female, their counterparts in the fynbos only weigh 35kg and 20kg. The fynbos leopards patrol up to ten times larger areas to get enough food.

Leopards are an important part of the ecosystem as they control the number of herbivores in the area and influence the behaviour of the smaller predators like caracal. They eat mainly dassies, klipspringer, cape grysbok and porcupine. Try and find their tracks on your hike at Mont Rochelle. They are about 6.5 to 8.5 cm long without nail imprints due to their retractable claws.

Camera traps, like the one we found on the trail, help to study these leopards. The Cape Leopard Thrust is also actively compiling observations of leopards and their signs as well as threats to their survival across the Western Cape. So you can help out if you spot a sign of a leopard.

Klipspringer at Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve spotted during our loop hike.
Klipspringer at Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve.
A camera trap at Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve near Franschhoek
A camera trap.

Perdekop

Before the final ascent to Perdekop, you descend towards a stream with plently water if you are thirsty. Here you meet the turn-off for the way back. Perdekop is not much further from here. When we arrived on the 1575 meter high peak, low clouds were partially obscuring the views.

View towards the Stettynskloof dam from Perdekop.
The cairn on top of Perdekop in Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve, South Africa.
The cairn of Perdekop at Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve.
Clouds partially obscured the view from Perdekop in Mont Rochelle.

After a little while, the clouds started to dissolve and the surrounding mountains and valleys became visible. A priceless view! From here you can see the Stettynskloof valley and dam.

After a well deserved break we retraced our steps to the stream and took the signed way down to the main gate. It is a steep way down in places but the path is relatively well maintained with few loose rocks. This side of the mountain was covered in pretty heather-like purple flowers.

The way down from Perdekop.
Purple flowers at Mont Rochelle.
Waterfall seen from the Mont Rochelle Loop Hike.

After some time you pass a waterfall on your left. This and other streams eventually reach the Du Toits river. This river has carved a small valley which you descend into and climb out again near the end. After that it is a short hike on a track back to the gate.

Bridge over Du Toits river in Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve.
Crossing Du Toits river near the end.

After this hike at Mont Rochelle, we went for a well deserved dinner at Tokara Winery. Why not find other activities nearby in our highlights of the Cape Winelands, like the hike up Simonsberg at Tokara Winery.


FAQs about Mont Rochelle

Where can I buy a ticket for Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve?

You can buy a ticket at the entrance gate from 9am to 5pm, online or at the Franschhoek Information Bureau.

Are Wild Cards accepted at Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve?

Wild Cards are not accepted at Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve as it is not affiliated with SANParks.

How much is a ticket for Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve?

It costs 50 p.p. for a day ticket and 300 p.p. for year long access to the reserve. Free entry for children under 12 years when accompanied by a paying adult.

How high is Perdekop?

Perdekop peak reaches 1575 meters above sea level.

How high is Du Toitskop?

Du Toitskop peak is 1419 meters high.

Are Du Toitskop and Du Toits Peak the same mountain?

No, Du Toitskop is a peak of 1419 meters in Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve and Du Toits Peak is the highest point of the nearby Du Toitskloof Mountains and reaches 1995 meters.

Are dogs allowed in Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve?

No dogs are allowed in the reserve.

Are you allowed to camp in Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve?

No camping is allowed in the reserve.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *