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Helderberg 4x4 Trail

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7km from Somerset West

-34.0328, 18.8343

12km, 1-2hrs, Grade 2-4

+27 21 855 4308 www.helderbergfarm.co.za

Configuration: An easy circular route with tricky and technical detours as options.

Terrain: Gravel, mud, sand and clay with steep ascents and water crossings.

This is a self-drive route; no guiding is needed. This is a year-round destination, although the route is trickier when wet and some interesting sections may be closed. There is an overnight hiking hut on site, and lots of accommodation in the area, e.g. in Somerset West. On-site you'll find a tea garden, kiosk and nursery as well as an indoor reception area. There are also picnic and braai facilities. There is only one 4x4 route on Helderberg Farm, but there are several routes in the area, e.g. Glen Oakes or Atlantis. There are lovely hiking and mountain biking trails as well as the possibility to go strawberry picking.

About

At the Helderberg Farm, at the very foot of the Helderberg Mountain olde worlde charm and atmosphere reign. The interesting fact about the mountain's name is that the mountain actually indicates the expected weather pattern of the oncoming days. A cloud mass gathering around the head of the mountain indicates rain, while clear skies evidently result in beautiful sunny days. African fauna and flora are well represented by the fish eagle cry that is heard almost daily, the Cape clawless Otters leaving their footprints in the mud, hundreds of bird species and one of the biggest klipkershout trees in SA.

The 12km trail is well marked and colour-coded, offering variations in grading and escape routes should you prefer to bypass some of the more hectic obstacles. The route is graded 3-4, but if you stay on the Blue loop and avoid the Boomslang and Suikerbossie routes it is a grade 2. The Boomslang route has very steep gradients while the Suikerbossie needs 4x4 for the climb up on the sandy/clay surface. If you make your way to the lookout point and then on to the highest point on the farm you will be overwhelmed by the scenery. The stunning views of the Winelands unfolding towards the distant Table Mountain and Peninsula are sure to take your breath away. A few narrow passages between trees in the Blue Gum forest and muddy ruts will keep things interesting and the drive worthwhile. 

This might not be the trail that's going to test your driving skills to the maximum, but if you live in the area this is a perfect weekend afternoon outing. There are a few challenging sections on the trail and it can get seriously tricky in winter due to the extremely slippery surfaces when wet. The location of the farm renders it free of most of the prevailing winds of summer and even winter. That makes this a very sheltered spot to enjoy when the howling south-easterly wind chases most people indoors.

Stay over in the rustic, overnight hut that was built in 1840. It is on the hiking trail situated next to the dam in Granny's Forest. You might even be lucky enough to spot the rare Cape leopard rumoured to live in the high crags.

Helderberg Farm also features a kiddies’ playground, tea garden, a network of hiking and mountain biking trails, braai facilities and picnic spots. Other outdoor activities that can be organised are gravel karts, combat games (paintball, laser) and drumming.

Head 4km along the R44 from Somerset West and then turn right onto the Klein Helderberg Road. Continue for a kilometre along this gravel road and get your permit at the tea garden.

Cape Town & Surrounds

Western Cape

About

Cape Town is without doubt one of the most beautiful cities in the world. With dramatic mountains, a long stretch of Atlantic coastline and a picturesque working harbour, there are few cities in the world to rival “The Fairest Cape”, as explorer Sir Francis Drake described the place in 1580.

The city of Cape Town is regularly voted as one of the best tourist destinations (and cities to live in) in the world – and its Mediterranean climate, superb natural attractions, historic landmarks, fabulous restaurants and fun places to hang out offer all the ingredients for a top holiday destination.

Table Mountain dominates the city’s landscape and Table Mountain National Park is a national treasure and World Heritage Site.

The Cape Floristic Kingdom is known for its incredible botanical heritage and the Table Mountain National Park has more floral species than the British Isles. Stopping to smell the fynbos has an altogether new meaning in this part of the world.

Robben Island is another World Heritage Site worth visiting. Struggle heroes such as Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada and many others were incarcerated here during apartheid and taking the Robben Island Tour is a must on any trip to Cape Town.

The city is loosely divided by Table Mountain into four sections: Cape Town Central, Cape Town South, Cape Town North and Cape Town East.

Cape Town Central incorporates the city centre, the V&A Waterfront, Green Point, Mouille Point, Sea Point, Camps Bay and Hout Bay. There are loads of things on offer in this part of the world, so it’s a good idea to focus on the field of interest/activities that excite you and take it from there.

A trip to the top of Table Mountain is an absolute must (especially if you’ve never done it before). The views on a clear day will give you a clear perspective of the gorgeous city below and you can see as far as Robben Island and beyond.

If history is your thing, there are numerous museums and attractions close to the city centre. The Castle of Good Hope was built between 1666 and 1679 and is the oldest building in South Africa. It is a good place to start your tour of the city, which incorporates historic attractions such as the Bo-Kaap Museum, the District Six Museum, The Company’s Garden, City Hall and the Grand Parade, among many other notable historic attractions.

For shopping and entertainment, the V&A Waterfront is the epicentre of Cape Town and attracts high numbers of international tourists daily. Long Street is a good place to hang out for restaurants, bars and nightlife and Camps Bay is the place to see and be seen around cocktail hour.

The drive along Chapman’s Peak is one of the most scenic drives in the world but you need to do your homework as the route is periodically closed. Mariner’s Wharf in Hout Bay is another great place to visit, with its fun restaurants, great beaches and perfect views.

Cape Town South stretches from Noordhoek to Observatory and incorporates some of Cape Town’s most popular suburbs, including Constantia, Fish Hoek, Rondebosch, Simon’s Town and Muizenberg, to mention just a few.

Constantia is popular for its wonderful restaurants and wine estates and the Constantia Wine Route is a big attraction for foodies and wine-lovers. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens offers hectares of greenery and regular concerts in the warm summer months. There are also various hiking trails on offer.

Take a day trip to Simon’s Town and make sure you visit the statue of Just Nuisance, as well as the scenic Boulders Beach. Noordhoek is a great place for riding horses on the beach and the restaurants are very family friendly. For fresh fish and laid-back vibes, Kalk Bay and Muizenberg are the business. Fish Hoek is popular for seaside activities and antique shops and is a real favourite.

Cape Town North incorporates the Cape Town International Airport, Parow, Milnerton, Durbanville, Table View, as well as Bloubergstrand and Melkbosstrand. The north is a developed business centre that continues to grow rapidly. For chill-out time, Bloubergstrand and Melkbosstrand are popular for walks on the beach and outdoor sports.  Shoppers will enjoy Century City and Canal Walk, and for those who love a tipple or two, The Durbanville Wine Route also falls into the northern region.

Cape Town East is made up of Gordon’s Bay, Somerset West, Strand, Sir Lowry’s Pass, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Eersterivier, Macassar and Strandfontein. The region is pretty spectacular as the small coastal towns sit below the imposing Hottentots Holland Mountains and there are fantastic beaches such as Bikini Beach, Strand Beach and Kogel Bay. Here you’ll also find the Helderberg Nature Reserve, Wolfgat Nature Reserve and Edith Stephens Wetland Park.

Look out for

Scenic Cape Point with its sheer cliffs, rugged landscapes, fauna, flora and bold ocean views.

A cable-car trip up Table Mountain to get the view of the incredible landscape of the city. If you’ve done the touristy cable-car thing then take one of the many mountain trails.

V&A Waterfront – spend time enjoying all the facilities at the V&A Waterfront, including the abundance of shopping and restaurant venues. For children, The Two Oceans Aquarium is a winner.

The magnificent beaches of Clifton, Muizenberg, Hout Bay, Bloubergstrand. You are spoilt for choice in and around the Mother City.

Historical sites are a must – including Robben Island, the Castle of Good Hope, the District Six Museum and Bo-Kaap.

Long Street by night. Enjoy the friendly fun vibes of this stretch of tarmac as it comes to life when the sun goes down.

While away the hours at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, the green lung of the city. Look out for the schedule of summer concerts.

Visit the Constantia Wine Route for a touch of history and some of the country’s finest wines and restaurants that continually make it onto the best-of lists.

Drive along the southern coastline and visit places such as Noordhoek, Scarborough, Simon’s Town, Kalk Bay and Muizenberg. Stop off at Kalk Bay for fresh fish at the harbour.

When to go

To Do

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