Hike #32: The Panorama Trail in Jonkershoek

When Martin, Karl, Derek and I did the Tweede Waterval Trail in 2016, we looked longingly at the place where the path continued on along the Panorama Trail. However, since the sign said it was a 17 km round trip, and we hadn’t brought any lunch with us, we sensibly decided to come back another day (with a packed lunch) to do it. Almost 9 months later, that day came at last.

Hike details

Distance: Officially, 17km, but, according to Martin’s phone, we did only 14.5km. We’re not sure if we somehow took a shortcut, or if his battery running low affected the tracking.

Duration: 4 hours of moving yo’ ass and around 6 hours in total (which tallies with the official estimate). But I’d allow at least 30 minutes more so that you could spend more than 2.4 minutes swimming in the river on the way back.

Trail directions: Can be found online here.

Parking: You’ll probably want to bring a bakkie or a car that doesn’t mind dirt roads, as it’s a 5km drive from the Jonkershoek Gate along a rather rough jeep track to where you can park at the start of the walking trail.

Remember: To bring your Wild Card or R40 for the entry fee.

Post hike eating place: Gino’s in Stellenbosch for inexpensive craft beer on tap and drool-worthy (also pocket-friendly) pizza

Highlights of this hike

  • The views. It’s called the Panorama Trail for a reason.
  • The gorgeous King proteas still blooming on the eastern slopes.
  • Finding a long-forgotten pair of binoculars at the lookout point. (If they’re yours, contact me and we can work out a way to return them to you.)
  • Ted bringing a bottle of wine all the way to the lookout point again. (Best hiking tradition ever.)
  • Paddling our hot feet in the lovely cool streams.
  • Taking a very quick dip in the river when we got back to the bakkie.
  • Not a highlight: the slithery, slidey, steep and suicidal descent to Tweede Waterval. I can’t believe that’s an official path – but it is.

Photographs from the Panorama Trail in Jonkershoek

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