Stellenbosch, South Africa

AssegaiBosch & Jonkershoek Nature Reserves

Creative Commons: Michaelphillipr

There’s some fantastic trail running in the adjacent AssegaiBosch and Jonkershoek Nature Reserves, located about 10 km east of Stellenbosch. Both are World Heritage Sites. NOTE: The reserves limit the number of people who can use the trails daily. See their websites for permits & info. Fees required.

AssegaiBosch Nature Reserve. Scenic 204 hectare reserve lies next to the Eerste River, which forms the northern boundary and extends up the north-eastern slope of Stellenbosch Mountain. There are two hiking trails that are we would rate as easy to moderate trail running: a 3 km loop and a 5.5 km loop. Both are along the river.

Jonkershoek Nature Reserve. This 9,800 hectare reserve is home to the majestic Jonkershoek Mountains and parts of the Jonkershoek valley. There’s  a popular 10 km gravel loop through a forest circling the valley in an anti-clockwise direction that’s used by both mountain bikers and runners.

For trail running, the easier trail run, which is mainly along a wide dirt road, is the Tweede Waterval route, which follows the Eerste River to a waterfall. It’s 6.4 km out and back. The 6 km SWARTBOSKLOOF TO SOSYSKLOOF loop is a more moderate trail run. The other two hikes in the area, the Panorama Circuit and the SWARTBOSKLOOF TRAIL, are serious hikes/trail runs. 

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