The Groot Winterhoek Wilderness area lies about 120km North of Cape Town.
It features extraordinary rock formations and popular hiking routes and is situated in the Groot Winterhoek mountain range, north of Tulbagh and east of Porterville.
The greater Groot Winterhoek conservation area comprises over 30 000 ha. and is particularly important for the conservation of mountain fynbos and wildlife, as well as a source of clean water to the Cape metropole.
The landscape is rugged and mountainous, with altitudes of 1 000 to 2 077 m above sea-level. The rock formations consists mainly of Table Mountain sandstone.
Various Bushman paintings indicate that San and Khoi peoples were once present here.
The early farmers in this area used pack animals to transport their produce and supplies to and from Porterville and Saron. The tracks are still visible above Driebosch and Weltevrede.
In 1909 a group of Portuguese speaking herders known as the Makatese, stayed at De Tronk. They all died, apparently of flu, and their stone graves can be seen at De Tronk and near the present-day office complex.
As the name Groot Winterhoek suggests, winters are cold and wet, while summers are moderate. The average annual rainfall is 1 450 mm and the heaviest rains are between April and September. Winter nights are very cold, with temperatures below freezing, and heavy frost. It snows frequently. The weather at Groot Winterhoek is unpredictable, and hikers should always be prepared for sudden cold and mist.