RT Week 2013: Steenbras River Gorge and Crystal Pools Hiking Trail

The Steenbras River Gorge and Crystal Pools Hiking Trail reopened on 1 November 2012. In an attempt to promote better responsible tourism, a new permitting system, and rules and regulations for the area will ensure better visitor safety and improved management of the area.

The Steenbras River Gorge and Crystal Pools Hiking Trail, which forms part of the Steenbras Nature Reserve and is also part of the greater Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, was closed in May 2011. Fire damage, soil erosion, vegetation degradation, uncontrolled access and visitor safety issues were all reasons which contributed towards the area being closed for this period.

The closing of this area to the public has given it an opportunity to rest. During this time reserve management have worked on introducing a new management system which is based on similar areas managed by other conservation authorities; for example Suicide Gorge (Cape Nature). The new system will introduce a carrying capacity of 50 people per day. Permits have to be pre-booked and paid for before visitors arrive to walk in the area.

The following information is imperative to visitors planning a hike in the Steenbras Nature Reserve to ensure safety and responsible tourism:

[unordered_list style=”green-dot”]

  • A maximum A maximum carrying capacity of 50 persons per day will be permitted to enter the area.
  • All permits will be issued on a pre-booked system. Until an electronic booking system is in place, bookings can be made at the Helderberg Nature Reserve main gate.
  • Visitors have to be in possession of a pre-booked and paid permit in order to enter the area. No permits will be issued at the entrance to the gorge.
  • In the interest of visitor safety a minimum of three and maximum of ten persons per group will be allowed.
  • No children under 12 will be allowed to walk in this area.
  • Hikers need to be fit to complete this trail.


For more information on and queries of Steenbras Nature Reserve please e-mail: steenbras.naturereserve@capetown.gov.za. For more information on the City’s Nature Reserves, please visit the City’s reserve website.

Enquiries: Hayley Wittridge, Area Manager: Gordon’s Bay, Biodiversity Management Branch, Environmental Resource Management Department, Cell: 078 392 1337