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The Steenbras River Gorge and Crystal Pools Hiking Trail in Gordon’s Bay, Western Cape, was closed in May 2011 due to fire damage, soil erosion, vegetation degradation, uncontrolled access and visitor safety issues. The good news is that it will reopen on 1 November 2012.



The area has been given an opportunity to recover and the reserve management will introduce a new management system to ensure the area is not negatively impacted by those visiting it.

A new set of rules according to the new management system will come into effect with the reopening. A maximum capacity of 50 people will be allowed to enter the area each day and visitors must be in possession of a pre-booked and paid permit in order to enter the area. Permits, at a cost of R 60 a person, are currently available from Steenbras Nature Reserve (see below).


Important things to note

  • A minimum of three and maximum of 10 persons per group will be allowed.
  • No children under the age of 12 will be allowed to walk in this area.
  • Hikers need to be fit to complete this trail.
  • Steenbras River Gorge is only open from November 1 until the end of April and will be closed during the winter period.

Crystal Pools Hike, Gordon’s Bay

The hike to Crystal Pools on Steenbras River outside Gordon’s Bay offers large doses of natural beauty at a splendid spot with a series of five deep natural pools in a rocky gorge fed by waterfalls. It’s about a one-hour walk up a rocky path to the first deep pool, fed by a waterfall tumbling over the surrounding rocky cliffs. This hike is popular with students from the University of Stellenbosch at weekends. Follow the red markers as it’s easy to get confused by the many side paths – one gentleman I met had lost his wife on the way. As you scramble up the gorge, each pool seems more stunning than the last, and a refreshing swim is all but mandatory. The last pool is difficult to reach as the path peters out among large boulders. After the return hike, cool off in the Steenbras River estuary if the tide is high enough.


Read a blog about doing the Crystal Pools hike here.


Steenbras Nature Reserve issues permits for hikes to Crystal Pools and Steenbras River Gorge – more info here




Photos by Fatima Jakoet

3 Responses to “Crystal Pools Hiking Trail reopens soon”

  1. robyn thorn

    hi my name is robyn and i was just wondering if one has to pay to go on the hiking trail. An what the price will be?


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