Jonkershoek Nature Reserve lies in the Jonkershoek Valley, just outside Stellenbosch. The reserve actually includes a second, smaller reserve, Assegaaibosch Nature Reserve.
Hours: 07h30 — 19h00 from 1 November to 31 March, 07h30 —18h00 from 01 April to 31 October
Cost: R40 adults, R20 children (CapeNature), R25 MTB (MTO)
Getting there: about 10km from Stellenbosch at the end of Jonkershoek Road
The Eerste River flows through a deep valley reaching back into the mountains, and you will be constantly aware of the massive mountains surrounding you.
MTO Forestry manages:
- the 10km Circle drive
- cycling on plantation roads and single-track
- walks on plantation roads and footpaths
- horse riding on plantation roads
- fishing on the Kleinplaas Dam
Despite the seemingly dominant commercial pine plantations adjacent to the reserve, there is a wealth of fynbos to be enjoyed: I was there a month or so after a fire and was treated to a magnificent display of watsonias high up on the hillside.
The reserve features 4 hiking routes managed by CapeNature:
- Swartboskloof: 18km
- Panorama: 17km
- Tweede Waterval: 6km
- Swartboskloof—Sosyskloof: 53km or 7km
Ultimately Jonkershoek is to the west of the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve, and you can hike one-way from Nuweberg via Landdroskop as an overnight option.
The valley is also popular with mountain bikers, offering many kilometers of jeep track and plenty of single-track gems as well. The single-track is well maintained and signposted by Amarider.
There is a trout hatchery in the main dam in the reserve. The valley became home to South Africa’s principal fresh-water fish hatchery as early as 1893.
There is a tea-room offering a light menu at the gate.
You must purchase a permit at the gate: R25 per adult for mountain bikers.