- Western Cape
- Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area
Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area, Western Cape
The Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area consists of 30 608 ha of conservation area and has waterfalls, pristine rivers, mountain wilderness and swimming holes. This area can be found near the town of Portertville in the Western Cape Province about 120 km north of Cape Town. It is one of the areas where Cape Town gets its fresh water and is a custodian of the precious fynbos (distinctive vegetation of the South Western Cape) floral species and also wildlife of the area. It is famous for its waterfalls and crystalline rock pools that are safe enough to swim in. This area is fairly cold as it rains in winter so hikers should make provisions and go prepared in the winter season.The terrain is very rugged and unspoiled and very popular with seasoned hikers. Hiking is by far the most popular activity of this wilderness offering 9 hiking options of different lengths and degree of difficulty, some with waterfalls and natural rock pools for swimming in the summer. Some areas of the wilderness are real untouched wilderness with no traces of humans ever being there. Early booking is advised as there are limits on visitors at any given time.
Visitors can appreciate many rock paintings that tell the story of the San and Khoi people and it is thought that there are still undiscovered paintings waiting to be found so the avid hiker can be on the lookout for that illusive find.
The Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area falls under the protection of the Cape Floral Region (Kingdom) which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This area is a haven for many rare and endangered species. There are many varieties of Disa flowers that form a carpet of colour every year, attracting visitors to the region in January and February. Some of them flower all year round but they are more prolific in the summer.
- Caracal and Wild Cat
- Grey Rhebok and Grysbok
- Klipspringer and Leopard
- Mongoose and Genet
The Groot Winterhoek Wilderness is a bird watcher's paradise with over 100 species of birds such as:
- Cape Sugarbird
- Jackal Buzzards
- Peregrine Falcons
- Protea Canary
- Rock Kestrels
There are several huts and houses that can accommodate 6 to 8 people at a time in different spots in the wilderness. For the hiking tails It is advisable to take your own tent. The surrounding area and towns offer a wide variety of accommodation but for information on the available accommodation in the wilderness please consult their website.
- Cave exploration
- Rock Paintings
- Mountain biking
- Chains are used to mark the path when it goes over rocks
- Fires are not allowed
- Hikers do not have to stay on the official paths and can explore the caves and rock formations in the wilderness area
- No soap or shampoo may be used in the streams and rivers
- Permits must be carried at all times
- Pets and firearms are not permitted
- There are no toilets so a spade must be used to cover up the evidence
- Vehicles are not allowed in the hiking areas and must be left at the office block
Please contact their website.
Monday to Friday, 07h30 - 16h00
Contact detailsCape Nature Conservation
P O Box 26
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