Cape Town’s nearest 4x4 trail is on the Welgelegen Wine farm. Welgelegen has been in the Bonthuys family for many years and is a working farm nestled in the valleys of the Bottelary Hills between Brackenfell and Stellenbosch. With its abundant offering of vineyards, proteas and fynbos, it’s the perfect place to spend a day off-roading.
In terms of facilities, there’s a beautiful grassed picnic / camping area at the start / end of the trail. This area is open to visitors who have driven the trail. The picnic / camping site includes braai areas, ample shade, and a 12-metre "afdak" for rainy weather; it’s also the meeting point for the start of the trail, and the place to complete the necessary formalities and deflate your tyres.
NOTE: Bookings are essential, and a minimum number of four vehicles is required.
Between Brackenfell and Stellenbosch on the Steneveldpad (off Bottelary road) in the Stellenbosch farm area of the Western Cape
As mentioned before, Welgelegen is ideal if you’re looking for a quick break from suburbia, or any excuse to select low-range and be behind the wheel of your 4x4. It is also a good option when you are looking for a trail to take your novice mate and his recently acquired 4x4 for a first outing.
The trail is open all year round, 7 days a week (weather dependent), and by booking only.
In summer it’s hot, dry and dusty, but in the winter months it can be wet and slippery after any rain.
There’s one 9km trail, with a halfway stop and amazing views from one of the highest koppies along the Bottelary range. The time estimated to complete the loop is 2-3 hours, depending on how many vehicles there are in the group.
The trail is suitable for most standard 4x4s (with low range), as there are bypass routes for the more challenging sections. The only caveat is that low-profile HT tyres are not recommended because of the rocky section.
The well-signposted trail meanders up and around the side of Bottelary Berg, treating you to one stunning view after another. In the dry season, some of the climbs / off-cambers are loose enough for you to be able to tackle the obstacles while still appreciating the views. However, in the winter months (when things are slippery), you dare not look away from the track, because there’s a strong possibility that your vehicle will slide off the trail the moment you stop paying attention.
The obstacles themselves vary from rocky sections and tricky climbs to off-camber cross axles. There’s also the option of enjoying one of the mountain-bike trails or hiking trails, and even paintball, to be found in the area.
Brackenfell, Cape Town in one direction; and Stellenbosch in the other.
Mountainside, compact / dusty soil (slippery when wet,) & rocky sections. Tweespoor tracks leading up and around the hill.
GUIDED / SELF-DRIVE
All year round
R150 per vehicle with a four-vehicle minimum booking required.
SUMMER: Grade 2, but a good spotter is required for novices on the rocky sections.
WINTER: Grade 3 / 4, as the surfaces can be very slippery after rain, and there are some washed away sections and the odd side slope.
Basic Camp sites are available, but only for those who have done the trail.
Jean Bonthuys, Welgelegen Wine Farm, Steneveldpad, Stellenbosch, Western Cape 072 368-7602