You don't have to travel very far outside of the city to feel like you've entered a totally new world. Visiting historical Heidelberg is like travelling back in time as well. This quaint town was once the capital of the South African Republic and boasts an impressive collection of famous visitors including Winston Churchill.
Established in 1866, it is one of the oldest towns in Gauteng. But you needn't be a history fanatic to enjoy a visit here. Heidelberg has a ton of entertainment and outdoor activities on offer. Take a short 50km drive out of Joburg to explore this fascinating town as soon as you can. It's a great place to enjoy a slow Sunday out of the city with friends and family. Here are just a couple of activities you can pack into a day trip to Heidelberg:
One of Heidelberg's biggest attractions is the Heritage Museum. Here you will learn about the town's intriguing history and development. The museum offers a variety of tours, taking you on a guided trip through Heidelberg to see important historical sites and landmarks. You can also learn about the history of trains and Heritage Beer at the museum before settling down for a traditional German pub style feast at Adler's Tap & Grill. If you're in a hurry to get exploring, have a quick cup of coffee and bite to eat at the on-site coffee shop. Either way you're sure to leave the museum feeling totally satisfied and ready to go adventuring through the rest of Heidelberg.
To find out more about the Heritage Museum tours and restaurants, visit their website.
Heidelberg lies at the foot of the Suikerbosrand Range which is one of South Africa' most visited ecotourism destinations. If you've been itching to tackle a challenging hike, then this is the place for you to get out and test your legs. The Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve is known for its abundant wildlife and bird species, as well as its meandering hiking trails. If you've got the stamina go on the 11.5km route to see as much flora and fauna as you can. The reserve also offers overnight hikes and accommodation, so you can traipse through all 66km of its trails. For the less energetic of us explorers, the reserve has a wonderful game-viewing route you can drive along. The Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve is an hour's drive from Joburg, so be sure to head out early to avoid getting caught in the blazing midday sun.
Contact the reserve on 011 439 6300 before you visit to confirm opening hours, entrance fees and hiking routes.
Like most small towns, Heidelberg is littered with gift and novelty shops. The difference here is that these shops have been around for decades and are part and parcel of the community spirit of Heidelberg. Diamente en Goud and Die Plaashuiswinkel are two of the town's most beloved souvenir shops. Established in 1980, these businesses are still thriving thanks to their premium jewellery cutting and designing services. You can also find one-of-a-kind antiques and vintage items at these stores, as well as tasty treats to enjoy on the drive back home. Diamente en Goud hosts a regular night market too, attracting visitors from far and wide. Follow their Facebook page to keep up to date with events.
Have you been to Heidelberg? Tell us all about your experience in the comments below!