First and Second waterfall trail in Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

We had been planning to take a friend to Tweede Waterval for quite a while and after all the rain we had the perfect day arrived. We all like to start our hikes early to give us plenty of time to enjoy the day out and hopefully miss the crowds on the busier trails, like this one. Jonkershoek lies just outside of Stellenbosch, surrounded by the imposing Jonkershoek mountains that in turn form part of the larger Boland mountain range. Jonkershoek also includes the smaller Assegaaibosch Nature Reserv, which is also a lovely hike I have done with my kids quite a few years ago.

The entrance fee is R40.00, which you pay at the gate (unless you have a wild card). From here you then drive along a circular drive to the start of the hike. There are boards along the way. The dirt road is in a horrible state so if you go in a normal sedan car you will be driving very slowly.

Most of the hike is on the flat and all along the Eerste River. The 1st waterfall is about 1.2km from the starting point. Reaching the waterfall inside a little kloof is easy and definitely worth the short detour. If you take the kids, then this is a great place for them to splash about in the pools but there isn’t really much space to sit around.

The best part of this trail starts after that 1st waterfall, as you walk all along the river up the valley to the second waterfall, about 2.6km. There are many river pools to stop at along the way where you can swim or picnic. The protea’s were in full bloom along with many other flowers.

There is more of a steep ascent as you get to closer to the turn-off to the 2nd waterfall and we had gushes of wind along this strip. (If you have kids, just watch them as there is a bit of a sheer drop along the way.)

Once you are over this hill you reach a river – do not cross the river! Instead turn to your right and follow the path. You will see if looks like it comes to a dead-end but you climb over the rocks (a helping hand does make it easier) and then follow the river all the way to the waterfall. This is the best part of the entire hike. We started early and were lucky to have the waterfall spot all to ourselves for about 20 minutes, and then many hikes arrived and we moved on.

There is a steep path going further up to another waterfall, but that has been closed as it is very slippery and dangerous. (Sadly some people still take a chance and go up there 😦 )

After your break, swim, snack…you then headed back the same way.

It really is a beautiful, easy +-3 hour return hike . Parking is available along the 10 km circular route in designated areas that allow hikers to set off on the four major hiking routes in the reserve. Or… you can walk from the gate and include the 5 km dirt road.

Hint – Jonkershoek is very popular (especially the waterfall hike) so try and get there when the gate opens at 8.

The Jonkershoek Waterfall Trail is a easy ramble and perfect for kids. The 1st waterfall is really easy for all ages but the 2nd waterfall may require a bit of encouragement if they don’t hike very often but we saw many kids there from as young as 5 and up. 🙂


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