Groot Winterhoek Reserve Hike

A great hike at Groot Winterhoek Reserve. Because it is quite a drive from Cape Town and we wanted to start early on the Saturday we chose to stay at Beaverlac Campsite on the Friday afternoon / evening which is about a 15 minute drive from the start of the hike.

We arrived at about 12 on the Friday afternoon, set up our tents and then headed off to the various waterfalls to go swim in the lovely cool pools. We were very grateful there were not many people when we arrived as I am not sure I would like to be there when it is full. That night was already a problem trying to sleep with people setting up tents so late at night right next to us.

Beaverlac Camping Beaverlac Main Pool DSCN4730 ??????????

Groot Winterhoek 045 Groot Winterhoek 014Secret Pool at Beaverlac 

We managed to get up at about 6 am on Saturday and headed to the start of our 2 day hike in the Groot Winterhoek Reserve. We were supposed to take short route to our hut but somehow we ended up on the wrong route and took the long way down, down, down…

Ready to do this long hike
Ready to do this long hike

Start of Groot Winterhoek Hike  DSCN4751

As you can see… no swimming water in sight!

DSCN4819 DSCN4813

Closer look at nature
Just before this I nearly lost my eye. Scrambling up a hill I slipped and had a dried out twig go into my eye. Thank goodness I kept my eye but it was pretty blood shot for the rest of the day. “I had a closer look at nature” LOL

DSCN4806 DSCN4800 DSCN4801  DSCN4798 DSCN4769

We were really amazed at the amount of flowers still around considering it was already November and so hot.

DSCN4781 DSCN4780   DSCN4768 DSCN4767 DSCN4763 DSCN4756 Flowers

So much for swimming on the 1st day. The streams were too small to swim in and 2 of us made the mistake of wearing our costumes under our hike clothes. NOT a mistake I will make again! Then came that downhill without an end…

DSCN4828 DSCN4838 DSCN4836 photographers on hike

It was a very long downhill but beautiful stretch. When it did eventually come to an end we had a great afternoon stop and swim with the little fishes nibbling our toes and the most beautiful white water orchids growing on the rocks. Along the path we found the other orchids. Could hardly believe such a beautiful flower could grown in the middle of nowhere.

wild orchid in the Groot Winterhoek Reserve Water Orchid in the Groot Winterhoek Reserve DSCN4852 DSCN4848

The rest of the way had quite a bit of up and down and we felt like the end was just not in sight.

DSCN4856   DSCN4865  DSCN4397 Tired hiker DSCN4870  almost there…

We made it to our hut after many hours of hiking and  it turned out we had the old farm house. No electricity or hot water but at least we had good beds. We were all so tired we ended up eating our great selection of snacks and then did not bother with dinner. I will not carry so much food again. You really do eat much less when on a hike.

Farm House at Groot Winterhoek DSCN4878 DSCN4872

The day ended with a stunning sunset.


DAY 2: We got up early again, had some porridge and set off for Die Hell. About 10 km from our camp. Not sure you can do that climb down with backpacks as its rather steep and you actually go down on your bottom at some spots. But it really is worth it. The swim at the bottom is very rewarding and cool.

Die Hell  DSCN4896 DSCN4901 Die Hell DSCN4913 Down to Die Hell DSCN4919

Cool and refreshing swim in Die Hell
Cool and refreshing swim in Die Hell

Die Hell Waterfall ??????????

On the way back up we stopped for a quick look at the bushman paintings. They really are well hidden and that is possibly whey they are still in such a great condition.

DSCN4940 DSCN4941 DSCN4944

Just a quick stop on the way back to take a Rock Frame photo. 🙂

DSCN4967 DSCN4963

Got back to the camp and at about 12 we started off on the last part or our hike back to our cars. It was already above 30’C and getting hotter but we had quite a few swim spots on the way. As we walked the blisters got bigger and my spider bites I got during the night got redder and more itchy… In future I will will taking along peppermint essence to keep the spiders away and I will be packing blister plasters. I must also  get better boots as my Hi Tech boots are not working out for me 😦

Day 2 of Groot Winterhoek Hike river crossing river frog DSCN4980 DSCN4998 DSCN4992 DSCN4991 DSCN4990 DSCN4985 DSCN4984 DSCN5001 DSCN5012 DSCN5009  DSCN5002

?????????? Water hole at Groot Winterhoek

After the last swim hole it was quite a stretch to the end and hot as hell. My water was hot and I was so tired I wanted to cry and give up hiking… but we made it to tell the tale.

DSCN5022  DSCN5024 Very tired hiker  DSCN4591 We made it…

The hike was a total of 46 km in very hot weather conditions.Not a difficult hike but the heat made it tough.