Hiking is permitted under level 3 lockdown, so long as you keep a good distance from others and avoid trekking in large groups. You must also wear a face mask at all times and may only hike between the stipulated exercising hours, which are 06:00 - 18:00. Most public parks are not open to the public yet, but there are a couple of top hiking spots that you can visit in level 3 lockdown. Many of these spots are free to enter, as well, so you can save those precious pennies for more outdoor adventures after lockdown has fully ended.
Modderfontein Nature Reserve is open to runners, cyclists and hikers in level 3 lockdown. Come and enjoy the tranquility of the outdoors and get in a good dose of sunshine on one of their many meandering trails. The reserve is open between 06:00 - 18:00 all days of the week, so you can get as much exercise in as possible. Stop along the way to do a little bird watching and take in the beauty that this city park has to offer.
The Hennops Hiking Trail is 45 minutes outside of Johannesburg, but it's well worth the drive. This untainted family farm offers three hiking trails of different lengths and difficulty levels. Put on your hiking boots and come out for a one-of-a-kind adventure. You do not have to pre-book to visit the farm, but you must comply with COVID-19 regulations at all times. The farm closes daily at 17:00. Happy hiking!
Grab your tackle, because it's time to go fishing! While there aren't many fishing spots within the city, the nearby Vaal Triangle offers ample space to cast your rod and reel in a few big catches. Just remember that you cannot leave the Gauteng province to go fishing or hunting, so keep within home ground.
Suikerwater Fishing is a public camp area and top fishing spot located near Suikerbosrand River. Bring your own gear and set up for a day of peace and serenity on the banks of the water. Of course, you will not be able to stay over for the night so be sure to pack up early.
Ezemvelo Nature Reserve is situated near Bronkhorstspruit. Take a trip with the family to this expansive reserve to enjoy a day of mountain biking, hiking, game drives, bird watching and fishing. Bookings are required and there will be a cap of 50 vehicles per day over weekends. You may not have more than five people in one vehicle and you must wear face masks at all times. The reserve is open on weekends between 08:00 - 17:00. To make your booking, please email [email protected]
Did you know that there are quite a number of game farms and nature reserves situated in and around Johannesburg? So while we may not be able to travel across the country to explore the great outdoors, we can still enjoy the abundance of nature that lives just outside our front doors. Don't forget to bring your camera along to snap all those picture-perfect wildlife moments from the safety of your car.
This Pretoria nature reserve covers over 4000 hectares and has survived as a conservation area since 1929 despite its urban locale. Take a slow drive around the reserve, trying to spot all its vast wildlife. Rietvlei is open to the public between 06:00 - 18:00, so you really can make this an all-day trip. Reserve your booking by emailing [email protected]
If you prefer not to drive long distances to experience nature, book a day trip to Cradle Moon Lakeside Game Lodge. It's only 30 minutes from Sandton, so you can be there and back home in a jiffy. In level 3 lockdown, the lodge is fully back up and running. Their full list of activities include running, mountain biking, swimming, canoe and bicycle rentals, hiking, paddling, fly fishing, self game drives and boat cruises. Limited food and drinks will also be for sale to keep you refreshed on your journey around the farm. Contact them on [email protected] to make a booking.
Do you know of any other hiking trails, fishing spots or game reserves open in level 3 lockdown? Let us know about them!
If you would like to learn a bit more about these majestic creatures, Adventures with Elephants is just the thing – they offer a hands-on session where you will get to learn all about these animals. You will also have the option to swim with the elephants, ride on their backs during the day or even enjoy a starlight elephant-back safari!
This cheetah sanctuary was established in 1971 and is all about preserving cheetahs and wild dogs. There are knowledgeable guides who will be able to tell you everything you want to know about cheetahs and wild dogs, so why not take a tour of this fantastic property?
These natural hot water springs are what originally made the Warmbaths area popular and are definitely worth a visit. With plenty water activities and sports available, any adrenaline junkies out there will be able to get their hearts pumping. The water from these springs contains sodium chloride, calcium carbonate and other salts, all of which are beneficial to people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Re-enact the Amazing Race as you know and love it from TV! You will need a minimum of 10 people (or cost equivalent) to take part in this activity. There will be a challenge at each stop off point and it’s bound to be a mentally and physically challenging experience!
Indulge in some cheesy goodness at the Geluksfontein Goat Cheese Farm! They produce cheese daily here in a very traditional manner so you know you’re getting good quality products! There is a restaurant on-site where you can indulge in a tasty meal. The farm also offers cheese tasting where you will be able to choose from a wide selection, including feta, cheddar, halloumi and so much more.
If you love the outdoors, you’ll definitely want to go on a hike through the Diepdrift Hiking Trails in Bela Bela. There are various trails to choose from, including overnight stays and one-day walks. Animals you are likely to see on the trials include sable, antelope, hippo and giraffe so keep your eyes peeled and be sure to bring a fully-charged phone or camera along with you so that you can take some photos!
Mabalingwe means 'the place of the spotted leopard' and is a game reserve definitely worth visiting for all wildlife lovers. From the Big Five, to hippo, giraffes, sable and hyena, you’re bound to see your fair share of animals. Game-viewing can be done from open-top cars or, for something a bit different, on horseback!
Located just 12kms outside Bela Bela, this reptile park is for those who aren’t freaked out by scaly creatures! They have reptiles from Australia, South and North America and many other exotic places. If you want to watch the reptiles in action, you can request a demonstration! There is also a tea garden and curio shop on site, should you feel peckish.
If you want to get some adrenaline rushing through you, paintball is certainly the way to go! Round up a crew and get involved in a game – it’ll be fun. Plus, you’re also welcome to have a braai on the property (just call ahead first to organise), so why not make a day out of it?
Zebula Gold Estate and Spa is located 40kms west of Bela Bela and is the perfect place to kick back and relax – whether relaxation to you means a round of golf or an indulgent massage, take your pick at Zebula Golf Estate and Spa.
By Nikki Samakosky
Remember that our “Top Picks” are not paid for and are compiled at the discretion of the journalist. We only write about what we love.