So you’re going to be in Johannesburg over Easter? Well, we think you’re lucky. No traffic, no crowds, no huge expense. And, provided the sun is shining, here are a couple of nature reserves that are close to Jozi and rather beautiful.
Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve
This is the largest proclaimed nature reserve in the bigger Johannesburg metropolitan area, just 10 kms out of the city. There are zebra, red and black hartebees, tons of birds, and several hikes to choose from. They’re all fairly easy, the longest is three hours, perfect for families and for kids. Take a picnic with you, water and a blanket, spend the day. Open daily, from sunset to sunrise, and there is no entrance fee.
45 minutes from Jozi, these are stunning. There are many walks and trails, beautiful spots under trees for a picnic, a fantastic waterfall with nesting Black Eagles, a tea garden and delicious ice cream. Take some cash as there is an entrance fee and enjoy a full day wandering, exploring and relaxing too. They often have music over the weekends, so check their website for concert info.
45 minutes out of Johannesburg towards Heidelberg, Suikerbos is divine. There are walking and cycling trails, beautiful wild nature, and you can choose a 2 km hike or a 12 km hike. Take everything with you, water, hats, sunblock and snacks, and maybe – visit Heidelberg afterwards. I know it is an odd place for a visit but Her Majesteas Salon is quite an extraordinary place for tea. No charge but take money for tea afterwards though. And make sure at Suikerbos you are totally self sufficient, you can’t buy anything there.
There are fantastic hikes in the Magaliesburg, an hour out of Johannesburg. The best way to do this is with the Footprint Hiking Club as often you have to book and also you need to know the start and end points.
Mountain Sanctuary Park is our favourite place in this area. There are several walks / hikes varying in length, that are well marked and go through ancient mountains with the most pristine crystal clear mountain pools for swimming. Guests can go for the day or overnight but be sure to book in advance.
Bergheim Holiday Resort is also in Magaliesburg, offering the Bergheim Trail which is 9 kms. Apparently it’s a a little bit tricky, but well worth while. As a day visitor you can use the picnic facilities and pool too, but it’s a good idea, as per Mountain Sanctuary Park, to prebook.
Half an hour out of the city, this is the best surprise ever. There are three routes to choose from The Zebra Trail, Krokodil Trail and Dassie Route, ranging from 6 to 12 kilometres in beautiful nature reserve with rock pools, wildlife, birds, a suspension roof, old ruins, a mine, cableway to get you across the river and a swimming pool at the end. Check their website for info and directions, take R 60 for the entrance fee and enjoy a beautiful picnic afterwards.
And of course you can stay in Johannesburg and walk. Or walk and picnic! The Delta Park is divine. Amanzi Guest House, Liz at Lancaster and Rutland House are within easy walking distance from Delta Park. Your Johannesburg Guesthouse owner will happily direct you.
Get fit. Have fun. Happy Easter.