Cats se Pad hike, Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve, Franschhoek

Cats se Pad hike, Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve, Franschhoek

Hiking on a misty day in Franschhoek

Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve in Franschhoek offers a few options re hiking. I decided to try Cats se Pad from the Reserve entrance down into Franschhoek. So this is called the lower route. This Reserve is part of the UNESCO declared Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve. It is situated above the Franschhoek Pass and clearly marked by a brown signboard. Spectacular views of the Franschhoek Valley can be enjoyed although it was misty when we started. Diverse plant life especially Proteas and fotos at the entrance hut, show that there are quite a lot of active nocturnal animals about. The only ones we encountered where a troop of Chacma or Cape Baboons.

The Cats path follows the historic 1819 wagon track. Also before Franschhoek was named that, it was know as Elephants Corner. This as the elephants in this region used to follow this path down into the valley to calve. The French Huguenots who settled here in 1688 caused the elephants to cease coming here as farming and elephants do not go hand in hand.

I found the path easy to follow however it was very slippery underfoot because of loose gravel and stones. So not really pleasant. One section was also badly littered and stank like a latrine. As the pass was overhead, constant traffic noise could be heard. So overall not a pleasant hike at all.

It ended in Reservoir Street by the gate leading into the Fransche Hoek Estate, not after a very enthusiastic guard demanded we produce our hiking permit.

As I was still feeling energetic after the 1:45 and 6km hike, I decided to walk past the Huguenot Monument, through La Caronne Winefarm to Sir Richard Brandsons farm Mont Rochelle. From there along the Franschhoek River past the stunning Mullineux and Leeu Family Estate and ending at Grande Provence. This gave me an extra 4km and 50min in time.

Written by:  - 23 Mar, 2017  
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