The Helderberg Mountain is found in the Western Cape of South Africa in the town of Somerset West. The mountain stands alone with 3 distinct peaks. There are some wonderful hiking trails with breathtaking 360 views over Somerset West, Strand, Stellenbosch, and the Cape Peninsula.

Somerset West is found an hours drive from Cape Town along the N2. Once in Somerset West the best place to begin hiking is in the Helderberg Nature Reserve. The reserve is found on the slopes of the mountain and has a sort of botanical gardens feel to it. Lots of picnic places, ponds and birds. There is a myriad of pretty little trails at the start which join up to a winding jeep track leading you up into Disa Gorge where the hikes to The Dome (1137m above sea level) and West Peak (1003m above sea level) really start.

We ascended Porcupine Ridge above Disa Gorge and took the usual route for West Peak to the saddle. Here we branched right and followed the undulating contour path heading north, to reach a long, steep rocky incline. After powering our way up the gorge, we rested a while at the small saddle next to The Dome, with magnificent views across the Helderberg valley to the mountain range beyond. Then came another steep trek to finally reach the rocky summit. At the top you may well be fooled into thinking you are at the top of The Dome, however you still need to spend another half an hour hiking along the spine of The Dome to the highest point. This is where the path is the least well marked due to large boulders littered all over the area. There are cairns so if you keep your eyes open you should be fine.

We descended carefully by the same route. It is very easy to get lost among the huge boulders and very difficult to be found if you stray off the path. Once we reached the saddle between The Dome and West Peak we decided to summit West Peak and descend from the opposite side to the ascent.

It took the two of us 3hrs to summit The Dome and 2hrs to descend via West Peak summit and back to the start/end. Short breaks were had at regular intervals. We decided to do a power walk up and jog carefully back down to the end. Generally this hike should take the average, fit hiker about 7hrs and its advisable to start early.
It is not difficult although you definitely do need to be prepared to scramble in a couple of places. If visibility is not good make sure you keep an eye on where you have come from so you can find your way back.
Do not attempt on a cloudy day.
If you’re wanting to do this hike with a guide then please apply within for rates.