About Suicide Gorge and Riviersonderend

Start: Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve
Finish: Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve
Duration: a 17 km circular route, which easily takes 9 hours; start early so that you return before dark
Fitness: let's just say you need to be an adventurer
Our tip: you'll need a permit to go on this hike, go with an experienced kloofer, and wear lightweight hiking shoes

Regarded as one of South Africa's most thrilling hikes, Suicide Gorge re-opened in late 2014 amidst much excitement. Aptly named for its death-defying jumps from cliffs that range between 3 and 20 metres, the walk is for the brave.

If this sounds too difficult for you, start with the Riviersonderend kloofing trail - gorgeous scenery, along which you can still experience the excitement of kloofing, including a number of jumps off the cliffs into rocky pools below, but without the element of danger.

Kloofing fundis sometimes do both kloofs in a day visit, moving from one into the other with ease. But if you're not extremely fit, or a confident kloofer, stick to one and make it the Riviersondered kloof, even though it appears longer (24 km round trip).

Now with clearer signage, compulsory waterproof maps (you can get these on sale at the gate), and various safety upgrades and improvements, the Suicide Gorge trail is for experienced hikers who get a kick out of overcoming their fear of heights.

To reach the kloof entails a good 8.4 km hike into the mountains, before the kloofing starts. Even though this part of the hike is only 1.3 km in length, it's extremely steep and entails a number of high jumps, the highest of which is 14 metres. Be prepared to spend about 80% of this leg in the water - you'll do a lot of swimming and you will stay wet for much of the time (you may want a wetsuit for the cooler months).

The scenery is jaw-dropping.

More Information

For a first hand review of this hike see "Suicide Gorge – the ultimate kloofing experience".

Need to Know

WhereStart and finish at Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve.

WhenThe route is only open between 1 November and 30 April (note: there is little to no shade, and on a scorching hot day, things can get seriously uncomfortable!

How muchPrices on request.

TelephoneCapeNature on +27 (0)21 483-0190

OvernightThe closest town is Grabouw, in Western Cape

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