Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area

Swimming and cliff-jumping at Die Hel, Groot Winterhoek

This small CapeNature reserve is a Wilderness Area. It is possibly best known for Die Hel: potentially the most spectacular mountain pool in the country.

Getting there: Take the N7 from Cape Town to Piketberg. Take a right at the petrol stop and head to Porterville. At the T-junction turn left to Cardouw — you are now on a good dirt road. Take a right up Dasklip Pass at the sign reading Groot Winterhoek, the pass is tarred on the way up. Just after you have crested the pass you will see the large sign for Beaverlac on the left. Pass this and continue south for 12km on the dirt road, following the sign boards to the office and parking area.

The area is very much Cederberg in terms of the haunting landscape which is dominated by crazy rock outcrops, but the vegetation is far more dense with masses of ericas, restios and proteas.

We saw some Klipspringers alongside the road when we arrived, and a troop of baboons when we departed.

We were blown away by how much water there was even in February, which is listed as the hottest month. Winter must be quite amazing in terms of rivers and streams, and of course snowfall.

Where to stay

  • De Tronk
  • camp out anywhere under the stars (excepting at Die Hel)

What to do

  1. Hike the well-maintained trails
  2. Spend a morning swimming at Die Hel
  3. Picnic under the ancient oaks at Groot Kliphuis

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