When we go away as a family our goal is to find a place to spend time in nature, so when my husband found 22 Waterfalls online and asked me to book I was on it so fast! Judging by the photos online it looked incredible – read my 22 Waterfalls review to see if it lived up to my expectations.
About 22 Waterfalls
22 Waterfalls is in a private nature reserve in Porterville. The Waterval farm is at the foot of the Olifantsrivier Mountain in Porterville only an hour and a half drive from Cape Town, and for us in Saldanha it is the same distance.
It is called 22 Waterfalls because as you hike up the mountain there are 22 waterfalls that are fed by a spring all year round. The trail is surrounded by indigenous trees and you may spot some wildlife including Ribbok, Cape Leopard, Klipspringer and plenty of birds.
Accommodation includes campsites (some with electricity and some without), camp houses and chalets. You can also go as a day visitor but make sure to book for that as thy limit the amount of day visitors. You can also do fresh water bass fishing.
Staying In The Camp Houses
We chose to stay in the camp houses. Each camp house sleeps 2 people with bedding and basics supplied including 2 plastic chairs, crockery, cutlery, a pot and pan, kettle, induction plate and a fan. There is also a braai area for each camp house. There is no bathroom in the one roomed camp house – you need to use the communal ablutions.
You need to bring your own dishcloths, dishwashing liquid, towels, braai grid and toilet paper. While it doesn’t say so on their website I highly recommend you bring your own camping table as there is limited space for food preparation. This is the one thing we didn’t bring that I would have liked.
The 22 Waterfalls Hiking Trail
When we arrived Joey at reception gave me a run down of everything and told me that we should not go past waterfall 3 if it is wet.
It was raining when we arrived on the Friday evening as well as on Saturday morning. When the rain stopped on Saturday I packed a backpack and headed up the trail on my own while my husband stayed at the camp house with the kids. Unfortunately I was too eager to get out and went too soon. I got caught in the downpour when I got to waterfall 4 and quickly turned around. I got completely soaked but the experience was incredible.
The first waterfall is at the back of the campsite and you get there via a short trail. There is no climbing involved so if you have small children that is perfect. There is a steep wooden ladder to climb to get to the second waterfall. From the second waterfall to the third and then to the fourth is a good climb. Some of the parts are quite hair raising but it is loads of fun and oh so beautiful.
On Saturday afternoon my husband headed out on the hiking trail while I stayed behind with the kids and he made it to the eleventh waterfall.
Later in the afternoon we took the kids to the second waterfall. My daughter found it very scary while my son absolutely loved it and wanted to go further but we were a bit nervous.
On Sunday morning (after my son had begged continuously) I took him up to the third waterfall. He was itching to go up higher but since he is only 7 years old with short legs I told him we can come back once he has grown a bit. Better safe than sorry!
My 22 Waterfalls Review
We loved everything about 22 Waterfalls from the accommodation to the hiking trail. It is an absolute gem of a place. I found it interesting that there were a number of negative Google reviews on the place saying that the hiking trails are treacherous and that the staff were rude. That was not our experience at all and I have added my own Google review.
While you do need to treat that hiking trail with caution if you are an outdoors lover like me and you love adventure this is going to be the ultimate hike for you. If you are looking for an easy stroll while looking at the waterfalls you will only get to the first one because to get to any of the other ones you are going to be climbing and scrambling over rocks.
If you have young kids you will need to take it very carefully and I advise one adult per child. I went behind my son on the way up and in front of my son on the way down so if he did slip I would be able to block his fall.
Regarding the staff, they were fantastic. Joey at reception is warm, helpful and friendly. There are however strict rules in place that need to be followed, including no music and no taking food on the hiking trails which is something that was complained about in the Google reviews. This is a place of such exquisite natural beauty and the rules are there to prevent this beauty being ruined with litter. I’m all for those rules. I’m not a fan of litter and there is nothing worse than going away with your young kids for a quiet family holiday and having someone else blasting music till the early hours of the morning.
We spent a lot of time exploring 22 Waterfalls and every area is incredible, the campsites are in between the trees with the river running right behind them. If you love camping as a family this will be ideal for you.
Next time we go (and we are most definitely going to be returning there) we want to stay in one of the chalets. I also want to do the entire hiking trail and see all the waterfalls.
I could not fit all the photos I took on this blog post, however you can check out my story highlight for 22 Waterfalls on my Instagram account for more.
22 Waterfalls offers the perfect combination of being active and a peaceful place to rest while my kids played. In my opinion this is an absolute gem of a place.
Just the image of the waterfall alone makes me want to go there. I absolutely love camping, hiking, the outdoors altogether. Definitely put this on our camping list.
Then this must be on your list of places to go Jill, we loved every minute!
Agree look at it is so amazing , this will be so new for us as a fam trip one day we never went to waterfalls .each one is stunning and lots to explore love it so much
Wow, your choice of words definitely enhances the beauty of 22 Waterfalls. Sounds like a getaway not to be missed?
really love how you described this place, its so sad that i live in KZN and you have such nice places that side. i love waterfalls too, in KZN there are many waterfalls too, i think that when you do a hike even if it strenuous, at the end when you see the waterfall it makes it all worth it, i love nature and it just brings a sense of calmness and joy each time, i have to visit all these places that you speak of, it sounds so fun.
Wow, sounds like an amazing experience for you adventureists, if there’s even such a word LOL.
I hate water and hiking so I would absolutely not manage!!! The camp houses look cool, although I’d prefer something more glamorous lol ?
Your son is so brave!!!
We want to stay in the bigger cabin next time, so that we can be together under one roof plus there are more luxuries available that will make life easier and not so rustic LOL