The two circular trails consist of the Riviersonderend Canyon Trail of 17 km that will take some 8,5 hours to complete, and the Suicide Gorge Trail of 18 km, that will take 9 hours to complete. You can book in advance with Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve at Nuweberg. There are change rooms, toilets and a carpark at the reserve.

The main attractions include spectacular canyon scenery and lovely waterfalls. The trails are open only from November to the end of April, because the river level is dangerously high in winter. There is a limit of 30 people per day (a minimum of 4 at all times, and a maximum of 6 per group over weekends and public holidays and 12 per group on weekdays). Each group must include someone who knows the route.

Any hiker who is afraid of heights, unfit or not a strong swimmer should not attempt this trip, as it entails jumping off high rockfaces into inky black pools and swimming. Take with you: lightweight hiking boots, a wetsuit, a change of clothes in a sealed plastic bag, valuables in sealed containers, basic first aid items, lunch and high energy snacks in sealed bags.

Fires and braais are strictly forbidden because of the high risk of veld fires. Follow religiously the guidelines that are issued to you with your permit. Hikers must complete the full circuit and exit at Nuweberg.

There are many lovely rivers in the Cape, but few offer the opportunity for such action-packed adventure as a trip down the Riviersonderend. Overhangs and cave-like formations, compulsory leaps into long, dark rockpools as well as swims, all contribute to the challenge and popularity of this trip.

Access to both the canyon and to Suicide Gorge is from the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve at Nuweberg.

The Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve lies in the Hottentots Holland mountains, some 90km south east of Cape Town. The 70 000ha reserve stretches from Elgin in the south to beyond Villiersdorp in the north, and from the Stellenbosch mountains in the west, eastwards to the Groenland mountains. The entrance to the reserve is at Nuweberg, high in Viljoen's Pass between Grabouw and Villiersdorp.

Cape Nature
Tel: +27 21 659 3500
Fax: +27 21 659 3409
  • Riviersonderend Kloofing Trips

Riviersonderend Kloofing Trips Map: