You can take leisurely walks through the vineyards, using the farm roads, or roam free along the river’s edge. If you feel more inclined towards further exertion, there are a variety of hikes which take you into the pristine fynbos of the area. Obtain a map from the Farm Shop.
There are three hiking trails off the Bainskloof Pass, between Ceres and Wellington. Beautiful Fynbos and clear rock pools on the Witte River make these hikes very popular and booking is essential.
Bobbejaans River Trail:
Trail distance: 9km (6 hours): This is a moderate out-and-back trail that runs along the Bobbejaans River (a tributary of the Witte River) in Bainskloof and finally leads to a waterfall.
It starts at Eerste Tol parking area where vehicles can be left. About 50m from the parking area there is a wooden style over a wire fence. From here, the trail leads down into the kloof to cross the Witte River. A short climb out of the kloof leads to a contour high above the Bobbejaans River. From here it is an easy walk to the waterfall at the top end of the kloof. About 3,5km along the trail, a turn-off leads down to swimming spots on the river. Just before the three-tiered Bobbejaans waterfall, the last 750m of the footpath cuts into the steep slopes on the right of the kloof.
This Limietberg trail is very popular in summer when the disas and giant proteas are in bloom. In winter the Witte River may be very full, making it dangerous to cross. The trail may be closed in winter.
Rock Hopper Trail:
Trail distance: 8km (6 hours): This linear trail in Bainskloof is moderate to difficult, depending on your level of fitness. The strenuous sections involve rock hopping, swimming and lots of adventure. Find your own way down the boulder-strewn riverbed surrounded by riverine bush. Although most of the water obstacles can be sidestepped, there’s no getting around a pool near Tweede Tol through which you will have to wade.
The trail starts at Eerste Tol in the Bainskloof Pass and follows the Witte River to the finish at the Tweede Tol picnic site. Because it is a linear trail, you will need a vehicle at the start and another at the finish.
The route is not open when the river is too high. Hazards include volatile weather, flooding rivers after rain, slippery rocks, wind and ticks!
Happy Valley Trail:
Trail distance: 9km (6 hours): This easy out-and-back walk starts in Bainskloof and is the ideal walk for families and beginners. Because it follows a section of the Limietberg Trail to Junction Pool, the trail is limited to 12 people per day.
It begins at Eerste Tol, where vehicles may be parked, and leads up a jeep track past the ruins of an old house and a monument commemorating the 1895 Witte River disaster. The trail features a number of beautiful and accessible rock pools. The secluded Junction Pools, where the two rivers meet, is the most popular destination and also the end of the route. Return via the same path.
Permits are required for all these hikes and must be purchased from Cape Nature before embarking on the hike. Tel: (021) 483 0190. The permit will be e-mailed to you on payment.