Gauteng Hiking Trails
Escaping the JHB humdrum for some fresh air
October 1st, 2012
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Gauteng Hiking Trails
The landscapes in and around the business hub of Gauteng are often perceived as desolate and unattractive without much opportunity for any real respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Well, the truth is that although Gauteng may not offer hiking trails as scenic as those you might find elsewhere in the country such as in the Drakensberg or within Table Mountain National Park, you most certainly can get out and enjoy wildlife, indigenous vegetation, spectacular botanical gardens, bird sanctuaries and nature reserves as well as an authentic treasure trove of archaeological and geological sites.
Hennops Trail. Magaliesberg
The Hennops Trail has two-day self-guided trails which meander along the Hennops river before heading into the surrounding mountains and into the nearby game reserve. The Crocodile Trail is 11km long and the Zebra Trail is 6km, both starting with an exciting river crossing on a suspension bridge. The trails appeal to both experienced hikers and those just keen for a gentle stroll through a picturesque game reserve.
Suikerbosrand Trail, Heidelberg
The Suikerbosrand Reserve, located southeast of Johannesburg, close to Heidelberg, boasts a network of 66km of backpacking hiking trails, including a short 4km interpretive trail (Cheetah Trail) and a 17km (11km shorter option, Bokmakierie Trail) day visitor trail. The overnight hiking route spans most of the reserve. Hikers start their chosen trek from the information centre where permits are issued and a key is provided for the overnight huts. It should be remembered that there is about a 5km to walk to the closest hut so daylight hours need to be taken into account in order to arrive at your first hut before nightfall.
Klipkraal Trail, Heidelberg
The Klipkraal Hiking Trail is one of the closest weekend trails to the towns of Johannesburg and Pretoria. The scenery is typical of that found on the highveld and similar to nearby Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve. There is a good chance of seeing game such as zebra and wildebeest on this trail and the birdlife is quite prolific. The accommodation is well kept and there are a number of different stayover options available for up to 30 people. There are three trails available: Panorama -13 km; Kraal -10 km; Noko Loop - 3 km.
Melville Koppies, Johannesburg
A nature reserve and a Johannesburg City Heritage Site, Melville Koppies is the last conserved remnant of Johannesburg's ridges as they were before the discovery of gold in 1886. On Sundays there is a guided walk through the reserve, where you will see the remains of Iron Age smelters and an array of indigenous flora. The vegetation of the Koppies is entirely indigenous and is a good example of the richness of highveld grasses, flowers, and trees so close to the city centre. Walks for birders and dog owners are also available.
Vredefort Meteorite Trail, Vredefort Dome Deelfontein Camp
There are four overnight camps on this trail through the Vredefort Dome, a popular spot for adventure enthusiasts. The trail, which can start from any of these camps, takes you along the banks of the Vaal River at Baskop Camp to the highest point in the Dome at Twane Camp.
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