Die Hel rock pool, situated high in the Groot Winterhoek Mountains near Porterville, is one of South Africa’s best kept secrets. Accessible only on foot down a deep ravine, or by kloofing along the riverbed, it’s not easy to find. But once there, you’ll never want to leave.

Did you know?

Residents in the area generally refer to themselves as 'Kloovers'.

Die Hel rock pool (translated as The Hell), which is 15 metres wide, is the biggest rock pool in the Western Cape. Swimming in its pristine mountain water is an unforgettable experience.

This fabulous rock pool in the Groot Winterhoek Mountains near Porterville is only accessed through the wilderness area surrounding it, a reserve controlled by CapeNature.

Overshadowed by the rugged cliffs of a deep gorge, it is fed by a sparkling 5-metre waterfall.

The Groot Winterhoek mountains, which rise up to 2 000 metres above sea level boast many rock pools. Over millennia, the elements have carved exceptional rock formations in the Table Mountain sandstone that characterises the area.

It's a place of outstanding natural beauty, not just for the rock formations and pools, mountains and wonderful views, but for the flora too. Rare examples of mountain fynbos abound, with ericas, proteas and the famous red disas growing abundantly.

Most people hike to Die Hel, an easy 5km hike from the overnight huts at De Tronk. The descent down the gorge, however, is dangerous and very steep, and shouldn't be attempted by the elderly, the unfit or by young children.

An overhang on the left as you climb down the gorge is the site of some ancient rock art, executed hundreds, perhaps thousands of years ago by the San people who lived in the area until the European settlers arrived.

The adventurous might like to try kloofing into Die Hel, a spectacular trip that ends with a 5m jump into the pool. The route begins just before De Tronk, and requires boulder climbing, wading and swimming through tunnels between the rocks.

The biggest rock pool in the Western Cape is also one of its best-kept secrets. Where else in the world can you still swim in a river and safely drink its water too?

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Tel: +27 (0)861 227 362 or +27 (0)21 483 0190
Email: reservation.alert@capenature.co.za

How to get here

Access is through the CapeNature Groot Winterhoek reserve. Hike to Die Hel from the overnight huts at De Tronk.

Best time to visit

The summer months between October and March are the best time to visit.

Get around

Hiking is the only way to access the rock pool.

Length of stay

You will need an overnight stay to hike in and out and enjoy the rock pool

What to pack

Sunscreen, a warm rain jacket, water, snacks, a basic first aid kit

Where to stay

The Groot Winterhoek reserve has simple huts at De Tronk, and some more basic shelters at Perdevlei but because it's a wilderness areas, hikers are allowed to sleep anywhere as long as they keep to the rules of not leaving any traces of their presence behind. Roughing it is part of the fun.

What to eat

You will need to carry your own food with you.