My hiking group was long overdue for another adventure but I had been working and travelling so much that I hadn’t had time to plan one. Suddenly a free Saturday came up and I suggested that we try the Krom River Trail that had been on our bucket list for a while. The Krom River Trail is part of the Limitberg Nature Reserve, near Paarl, and is known for its waterfalls. And as miraculous as a 100% RSVP for a party in Cape Town, everyone was actually able to come.
Early on a Saturday morning we made our way on the N1 through to the Huguenot Tunnel, stopping off at the Du Kloof Lodge to buy our permits (R45 each). We then drove back towards the tunnel and pulled off to the small parking space on the right-hand side. The Cape Nature officials were there to check out permits before we hit the trail.
The trail is about 7Km one way in and out along the Krom River marked by yellow/white feet and cairns. It is a relatively flat trail but there is a lot of crossing back and forth over the river. We pushed harder on our way up to try to make the main pool at the back before it got too overcrowded. But we definitely noticed the abundance of lush vegetation around us and mountains vistas which made this one of our most beautiful and scenic hikes.
There is a large bottom pool with a waterfall when many people end their trail. However, undeterred by the series of chains over wet rocks we made our way to the larger top pool with another waterfall. The rock scramblers in our group were very happy with the chains to give them that adrenalin high they always look for on a hike. I was more motivated by the promise of a swim.
We were rewarded by being the second group at the top pool and the first people in the water. The water was cool (for some) but absolutely beautiful and refreshing with a waterfall to sit under and a classic pool “jumping spot”. We then made our way down to the bottom pool with the chains being less fun for some of us going down than up. It was especially challenging for those of us who chose to wear our bikini knowing that we would soon be swimming again with lots of people now on the trail. After an early lunch and a splish and splash in that bottom pool we started the hike back to the car. There are so many beautiful rock pools along the river that our group couldn’t resist another final swim in a rock pool before hiking back.
There was something for everyone on the Krom River Trail. Beautiful scenery for the photography enthusiasts. A solid hike and some rock scrambling for our hiking enthusiasts. Plenty of swimming spots for our swimming fans. But without the element of high risk or possible death some in our group may have felt it was too tame.
- Go early to avoid the crowds on the trail.
- It took us about 5 hours but we took plenty of breaks for swimming. It could take you as little as 3 hours.
- This is a highly recommended hike for beginners or families because you can just stop off at the bottom pool. We saw groups of all ages on the trail.
- We bought our permits on the day at the Du Kloof Lodge which is just past the Huguenot tunnel on the left. You can also buy them in advance through Cape Nature but they sell out quickly. There is a cap on how many people are allowed to hike the trail each day.
- There is a tollgate fee for the Huguenot tunnel (about R40 per car).
- Bring your swimming costume, sunscreen, food and water.