Hiking 

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 

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.

Hennops Hiking Trail

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!

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Hennops Hiking Trail

Fishing 

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 

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

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]

Arnold Chatz Nogwala Run 2015, Ezemvelo Nature Reserve. Images by www.runtrail.co.za.

Game Drives 

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.

Rietvlei Nature Reserve 

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]

Cradle Moon Lakeside Game Lodge 

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.

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Photo sourced from Cradle Moon Lakeside Game Lodge on Facebook.

Do you know of any other hiking trails, fishing spots or game reserves open in level 3 lockdown? Let us know about them!

The Secret Tea Garden

Set in the tranquil gardens of Norscot Manor in the heart of Fourways, The Secret Tea Garden offers you a lovely quiet escape from the malls. It’s a fabulous, affordable venue for a leisurely family breakfast or an afternoon filled with tea and cake. Relax on the beautiful terrace overlooking the manicured garden and distant views while your little ones amuse themselves in the impressive play park, which is guaranteed to give parents a much-needed break over the busy weekend!

Where: 16A Penguin Drive, Fourways, Johannesburg.

Montecasino Bird Garden

If you haven’t yet visited the incredible Montecasino Bird Garden, why not pay the place a visit over the weekend? There are beautiful walkways past countless exotic birds, an impressive cycad garden, a frog room as well as the longest snake in the world… how cool is that? Plus, you’ll also find other unusual mammals like sloths and lemurs in the bird gardens; it’s an outing that’s sure to thrill the whole family! You can even attend a wonderful Flights of Fantasy show any day at 11:00, 13:00 or 15:00.

Where: Montecasino, 1 Montecasino Boulevard, Fourways, Johannesburg.

Melt Chocolates

Pretty much everyone likes chocolate, right? And you can trust us when we say that there’s no better place to get your chocolate fix than Melt Chocolates! The family-owned chocolatier offers an extensive variety of chocolates for you to taste and shop, as well as a delightful little cafe. At the cafe you can order up some of the very best chocolate milkshakes and cupcakes that we’ve tasted in Joburg… just be prepared for a sugar rush of note following your visit.

Where: Nicolway Shopping Centre, corner of William Nicol & Wedgewood Link, Bryanston, Johannesburg.

Zoo Lake Swimming Pool

Before you stick your nose up at this, hear us out… we know we’re not really in the age of using public pools any more, but Zoo Lake Swimming Pool is beautifully maintained and kept looking fresh at all times. It’s a great place for some family fun or time with your loved one on a warm day; simply grab your costume, pack a picnic basket and you’re ready to go!

Where: Zoo Lake Sports Club, Avonwold Road, Parkwood, Johannesburg.

Roast Café

Situated in the leafy Melrose Arch centre, Roast Cafe offer the most drool-worthy cakes along with top-notch coffees. You’ll be able to choose from divine options including roasted coconut, cashew cream, salted peanut butter, red velvet, red velvet and meringue, Bar One Cheesecake, Smarties and rainbow… tempting, isn’t it?

Where: 10A High Street, Melrose Arch, Melrose, Johannesburg.

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Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens

If you’re looking to spend some time in the great outdoors this weekend, the gorgeous Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens sure is the place to go. One of SA’s eight botanical gardens, you can snack on sarmies beneath the waterfall while watching the Verreaux’s Eagles perched at the top with your binoculars or, you could walk through the breath-taking rocket and fern garden and breathe in some real fresh air. Otherwise, if you prefer, you can organise yourself a guided tour of the gardens.

Where: Malcolm Road, Poortview, Roodepoort, Johannesburg.

The Living Room

If your idea of a great weekend goes hand in hand with a great party, then there’s no place to be seen other than The Living Room. The uber-trendy rooftop venue in Maboneng overlooks the fabulous city skyline and feels as if you’re sitting in a nursery, hence its name. Lounge around snacking on tapas and sipping on cocktails as the sun goes down, and then get ready for a real party which is sure to pick up later in the evening.

Where: 20 Kruger Street, Maboneng, Johannesburg.

The Maboneng Precinct

When it comes to Maboneng, we love going on Sundays because this is when the Market on Main comes alive. However, there’s plenty to do in this renewed and vibrant inner-city area that’s brimming with the trendy on any other day. Take in a movie at The Bioscope, tuck into a meal at Grain Restaurant, sip on a cocktail at The Living Room, or even take a swim at the newly-opened Poolside Café.

Where: Corner of Fox & Kruger Street, Maboneng, Johannesburg.

Hennops Hiking Trail

If nature is your thing, you’ll absolutely love spending your weekend walking in nature on the fantastic Hennops Hiking Trail, which is a short 40 minute drive out of Sandton. There are two main hikes, plus a shorter trail, which is suitable for kids. All trails boast wonderful scenery to soak up, and there’s even a swimming pool to splash in post-hike. The range of landscapes is enough to get the soul stirring... trust us on this!

Where: Hadeda Camp, Pretoria Rural, Pretoria.

Le Sel @ The Cradle

Last on our list, but by no means least, is the relaxed, contemporary eatery that is Le Sel @ The Cradle. Architecturally magnificent with extensive outdoor seating and the most amazing views of the Cradle of Humankind, the restaurant offers diners an experience like no other. Their menu is extensive, offering up everything from wild mushroom risotto and grilled tuna to braised lamb shank and duck confit. And, on Sundays, they have a special set menu for you to indulge in, which also comes highly recommended.

Where: Route T9, Kromdraai Road (R540), Cradle of Humankind.

By Candice May

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.