South Africa
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Steenbras Nature Reserve is home to the well-known Crystal Pools Hiking Trail, located just past Gordons Bay, about 65 km from Cape Town. The Reserve is also a popular destination for abseiling and kloof jumping as well as tow more hiking trails, the Danie Miller Trail and the Klipspringer Trail.

This beautiful trail starts on the R44, just as you have crossed over the mouth of the Steenbras River. Permits need to be booked prior and once you are in, you can follow the little yellow footprints through indigenous fynbos and huge boulders. The trail is in full sun so bring along your sun hat, sun block and refreshments – another tip is to start early!

The Crystal Pools Hike is rated as fairly easy however, do not be fooled as it starts out this way, but the climb can get tough so flip flops are a no-no and hiking shoes are a must! The first pool is about a 45-minute hike and here you can stop for a snack or break in the shade – for serious swimming and kloofing, for experienced jumpers or hikers accompanied by a professional guide only, its best to wait out for the second pool. At the second pool there is also a waterfall where you can enjoy a refreshing open-air cold shower.

If after this you are still up for more fun, and if you started out early enough, you can keep going to the third pool which offers more swimming and superb views of the area.

Things to see and do

  • Rock Pools
  • Waterfalls
  • Swimming
  • Kloofing, only permitted with a registered guide
  • Bird-watching
  • Picnics


Entry Fee into the Reserve is currently R65 per person

Pre-paid permits are required, for permit applications & tariffs please contact the Reserve directly

Minimum of 2 persons per group, children U12 must be accompanied by an adult

Hiking is only permitted between 1 November and 30 April

Entry times are from sunrise to sunset

Find Us

Drive along the N2 to Gordon’s Bay, at Sir Lowry’s Pass Village take the turn off to Gordon’s Bay

As you arrive in Gordon’s Bay you will reach a T-junction, turn left onto the R44 – the coastal road which leads to Pringle Bay, Betty’s Bay and finally Hermanus

Parking is about 6.6 km further along the R44, just over the bridge on the right-hand side

Cross the road and walk along the fence to the entrance where you can present your permit

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