The Krom Rivier Hike has been on my bucket list for the longest time! I’d seen pictures all over Instagram of this lush green hike with a beautiful waterfall. The tricky thing was finding a time to go, trying to avoid the crowds of summer, while avoiding the winter months when the river is full and the trail is closed. The stars finally aligned and I was able to organise this hike on a sunny weekend in May. Hiking the Krom Rivier Hike was everything I had dreamed of and more and the waterfall was one of the most beautiful I’ve seen! I highly recommend hiking the Krom Rivier Hike as a lovely escape from the city and an adventure in nature.
The Krom Rivier hike is best done in the shoulder seasons of September/October and April/May. The summer season features overcrowded trails and the trail is often closed in the winter season as the river is full and the path is inaccessible. This hike requires a permit at the cost of R50 pp. The purpose of the permits is to control the number of people on the trails so that visitors can enjoy the tranquility of nature. There is a daily limit of 24 people allowed on the trail. Please be respectful of and make use of the permit system so that overcrowded trails can be avoided. You’ll also be contributing to the upkeep and maintenance of this beautiful hike.
Start Location: From Cape Town side- just after the exit of the Hugenout Tunnel in Paarl (detailed description below).
Duration: 4 hours
Difficulty: Moderate. The trail is mostly flat and easy with a very tricky chain section at the top to get to the second waterfall.
Conservation fee: R50 pp. This can be booked through Cape Nature. Call them on 087 087 8250 and enquire about permit availability for your hiking dates. They will then email you an invoice and banking details. You can EFT them the total conservation fee for your group and once payment has reflected on their side they will email you your permits.
*Note: if you are coming from Cape Town side you will need to go through the Hugenout Tunnel on the way there and back to get to the start of the hiking trail and return. The cost is R44.50 each way so for one car you will need a ticket there and back: R44.50 x 2 = R89 to go through the tunnel.
To get to the start of the Krom River Hike you need to drive along the N1 from Cape Town until you reach the Hugenout Tunnel. Pay for your toll fee and drive through the tunnel. About 50m after you exit the tunnel there is a concealed service road to the right. It has signs with 3 big black lines on them and says access restricted- your permit gives you access to go through. You will then drive along this road and arrive at a little parking lot nestled between the N1 outbound and inbound roads. Park here to start the hike. If, like us, you miss the first right turn completely- do not panic (as I did)! You will continue driving along the N1 outbound for a few hundred metres until you see a break in the island seperating the outbound and inbound roads and there is an option to turn right and do a U turn from the outbound road onto the inbound road. This intersection is directly across from the Trout Farm. At this intersection turn right and drive along the road back towards the tunnel (keep in the right hand lane). Right next to the truck stop before the tunnel you can turn right into the hiking parking lot. It is a little confusing so make sure you know your whereabouts before! Hopefully this detailed description will help.
Once you have parked you will see a gate with many signs- this is the start of the trail. You will walk along a jeep track for a few hundred metres before seeing a sign to the left indicating the path to the Elands Rivier trail. You do not go up this path but rather cross the bridge over the river where you will then see a second sign to the left indicating the Krom Rivier Trail. Turn left here and follow the path. The path from here is fairly straight forward taking you through the valley and along a river.
There are some points in the trail where you may not be too sure where to go. You just need to follow the yellow footprints and when they stop follow the orange ribbons in the trees. After hiking along the flat path for a while you will start to go upwards into a beautiful mossy and green section of the valley.
Continue up here until you get to the first waterfall. There a few chains as you near the first waterfall to assist you, but the path to the first waterfall is easily accessible. Enjoy the view here for a while. Those who are afraid of heights or are not confident on chains may want to end their hike here and turn around. If you are confident and keen for a bit of adventure you can climb the chains to the second waterfall.
The chains to the second waterfall can be found to the left of the first waterfall. The chains are up a steep section of rocks and can be very slippery when wet. Exercise great caution when climbing up and down this section. After you have climbed the chains you will need to hop over a few boulders to get to the final destination- the second waterfall. The second waterfall is absolutely breathtaking. It is a tall and narrow stream that plunges dramatically into an emerald pool below.
I reccommend spending plenty of time here. Enjoy your well-deserved packed lunch, have a swim in the icy water and just admire the beauty of the waterfall. Upon your return you can just go back the same way you came. The Krom Rivier Hike is a must-do and needs to be on every Capetonian’s adventure bucket list!
For more exciting and adventurous hikes outside Cape Town why not check out my blog posts on the Crystal Pools Hike in the Steenbras Nature Reserve, the Panorama hike in Jonkershoek or the Bainskloof Waterfall Hike. Chasing waterfalls? Read my blog post on Waterfalls in Cape Town for a complete list of all the waterfalls in and around Cape Town.