A Little Background

We will give you a little bit of a disclaimer: when travelling to this beautiful spot in Hekpoort, PLEASE make sure you take a bakkie or a car that's not low suspension or low on ground clearance, as the dirt road to the property is exceptionally rocky, bumpy and treacherous (trust us, this is from our own personal experience!) But once you get there, it's all worth it.

Rustig is a beautiful, well-established family farm that's run by the Oosthuizen family. This plot was a tobacco farm way back in the 1930s and now specialises in cattle and game, and of course, providing us city slickers with an idyllic country escape from the city. This location offers accommodation, amazing hiking trails, an upmarket wedding venue overlooking the lush gardens, and just a serene place to getaway from everyday life and just unwind.

Rustig

Want To Stay A Weekend?

Now, if you're looking to stay the weekend to chill out and reconnect with Mother Nature, there are many accommodation options available - the Heritage House, the Farmhouse, the Stone House, the four-sleeper tent, the six-sleeper tent or the Backpackers. Each one has it's own unique charm, feel and budget. We stayed in the lovely Farmhouse which can sleep 10 people in its five spacious rooms. Another thing we really loved about this Farmhouse was its LARGE kitchen with heated floors (the weekend we chose to getaway on was FREEZING!) and the big veranda complete with comfy couches and braai area. But as for the other options, here's a few details:

Heritage House

The Heritage House features a Victorian-style bathroom, a rustic farm-style kitchen ( equipped with a fridge, microwave, kettle, and limited cutlery and crockery, however no stove or oven). There's a beautiful formal lounge that opens onto a veranda which overlooks the formal rose garden.

The Stone House

The Stone House is rustic and is one of the oldest buildings on the farm. It sleeps 4 in its 2 bedrooms. The main bedroom features a double bed while the second room a bunk bed. There is a small kitchenette and access to the ablution block is only a 5-7 meters away

Rustig

The Farmhouse. Source: Rusting

Backpackers

The name of this one says it all - it's a backpacker spot. It's literally just a place to sleep for the night. There is a communal kitchenette and easy access to the nearby ablution block. This venue also features a big braai area, a pack of braai wood, camping chairs and three bunk beds per room.

The Tents

As for the tents, you can take your pick from the four- and six-sleeper on the property. They're both charming and are completely self-contained and self-catering, each with it’s own en-suite bathroom.

There's Activities To Get You Active!

There best part about being at Rustig is exploring the property, and what better way to do this than by doing a hiking, going on a game drive or testing out the off road biking trails (just remember to BYOB - bring your own bike!).

Since we didn't have bikes, we decided to try out one of the hiking trails on the farm. There are three trails varying in difficulty available for farm guests and day visitors:

Olivenhout Hiking Trail – 3km - The Yellow Trail

Witstinkhout Hiking Trail – 5km - The Red Trail

Karee Hiking Trail – 13km - The Green Trail

The Witstinkhout Hiking Trail was lovely, offering amazing views of the property and the Magaliesberg Mountains. Once we got to the "top" of the trail, there was a massive and oh-so beautiful "cave" (for a lack of a better word). We took a long rest there before descending back down to the Farmhouse. Just don't forget to take a cap, sunscreen, comfortable hiking shoes and a couple of litres of water with you.

Rustig

Source: Kim Brown

There's a 13km overnight hiking trail for those brave and adventurous at heart. It's perfect if you're interested in an off-the-grid experience. There's no hot water and no electricity. Only what you've packed in your rucksack and the equipment you bring. Click here for more information about this.

They also offers a Book-a-Braai package for all of their all staying guests, hikers and day visitors.  If you completed the 13km hike and want to enjoy a scenic braai afterwards, there may not be enough time for this before Rustig's closing time. But, the Book-a-Braai offering ensures that your braai is ready and waiting when you complete your hike at about 15:00. It’s also the perfect for outdoor relaxation without worrying about the task of preparing and braaing, as it’s all done for you.

Rustig

The Venue Is Perfect For Weddings And Functions

Rustig is Gauteng’s best kept secret when it comes to the perfect countryside wedding venue. They have everything you need to pull off the wedding of your dreams without a hitch. The location offers magnificent views, a five-star wedding hall with an expansive veranda overlooking a beautiful terrace garden as well as fine dining catering on offer. Rustig provides couples with affordable sophistication in the countryside. The idyllic grounds are perfect for beautiful photos. There are wonderful packages available to make your experience as easy and enjoyable as possible. Weddings at Rustig offers:

Rustig is also ideal for conferences, corporate functions and team builds. The hall transforms into an ideal work environment including cinema style seating and conference equipment. You can arrange any function imaginable, including:

Corporate:

Private Functions: 

Rustig

For More Information

For more information about this stunning countryside escape, visit their website at www.rustig.co.za.

You can contact them on 079 490 2690 or [email protected].

Don't forget to give them a follow on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news, updates, reviews and more.

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!

Klipsrivierberg Nature Reserve

Johannesburg's Jewel of the South is a 700 hectare nature reserve in the southern suburbs of Johannesburg. This park has an array of wild life and flora, which are available to view on any one of the 10 trails. Trails include the Bloubos, Dassie, Beacon, Sunbird, Ruins, Kiepersol, Legae, Bakwena, Gifbol and Wildebeest. The reserve is open daily from sunrise to sunset and the entry is free.

Contact details: 011 9433578 / 4 4th St, Johannesburg South / [email protected] / klipriviersberg.org.za

Rietfontein Nature Reserve

Located in Sandton, this 24 hectare rocky ridge reserve offers short and easy hiking trails. This is perfect for kids and families, as well as those wanting a quick hike but who are short on time. The hike trails over ridges, where there are spectacular views of Sandton and surrounds. The reserve is open daily from 06:00 - 18:00 and the entrance is free.

Contact details: 011 943 3578 / 138 Holkam Street, Rietfontein Ridge, Paulshof / [email protected] / www.friendsofrietfontein.org

Melville Koppies Nature Reserve

This nature reserve and heritage site is tucked away in Randburg. It holds the last conserved remains of the Johannesburg Ridges, the remaining kraal wall from the Iron Age and indigenous highveld grasses, flowers and trees. The reserve is divided into three sections: East, West and Central. Melville Koppies East and West are open daily for hikes and walks but they advise going on scheduled walks in the West section.

Contact details: 011 482 4797 / 4 Judith Rd, Emmarentia, Randburg / [email protected] / www.mk.org.za

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Kloofendal Municipal Nature Reserve

Once a gold mine, this 128 hectarre nature reserve now offers concerts, organised walks and hikes. This is a great place to go experience nature as it is a transition zone of Bankenveld, Drakensberg and Savana ecosystems. Spend the day exploring one of the many hiking trails and maybe catch a glimpse of a jackal, duiker, reedbuck, dassie, mongoose or gerbil.

Contact details: 011 760 9143 / Veronica St, Roodepoort / www.jhbcityparks.com

Golden Harvest

Although not a hiking trail or nature reserve, this 55 hectare park is still big enough for a quick hike in the city. The indigenous bushveld and pristine dam make for lovely hiking scenery. The park features a foot path to the dam, as well as a koppie with ancient smelting remains. This is a great spot for hiking with the family and dogs. And afterwards, have a delicious picnic while the kids run around and play.

Contact details: 011 712 6600 / 1st Rd, Northgate, Randburg / www.jhbcityparks.com

Sugarbush Day Trail

Located in Krugersdorp, this 8km hiking trail covers rocky paths, wooded grasslands and old mine shafts. The starting point is a stone's throw from the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens and covers land protected by the Cradle of Human Kind World Heritage Site. And the hike ends with picturesque views of Magaliesberg. The draw to this trail is the abundant sugarbush shrubs, which flower pink-red blossoms throughout summer.

Contact details: 071 951-3667 / Robert Broom Drive, Krugersdorp

hiking trails

What Is It?

This weekend get out of the city and say hello to the great outdoors at the Sable Ranch Hiking Trail, just 20km outside of Krugersdorp on your way to Magaliesburg you will get to experience this breath-taking scenery. This is the perfect activity for the whole family to come and enjoy and to get some exercise in. This is also the perfect trail to do if you are a serious runner and need to train hard. This 8km also gives you the opportunity to see a various type of animals and wild bucks.

When Is It?

Saturday, 21 April 2018 from 19:00.

Where Is It?

Sable Ranch Hiking Trail, Krugersdorp, Johannesburg.

How Much Is It?

Ticket price not communicated, contact 079 896 7374 for any price details.

For More Information

Visit their Facebook page.

 

Where To Eat

Clarens Brewery

Hanging out with great company, sipping on ice-cold draughts and tucking into some delicious grub – what more do you need to make a great outing with your loved ones? And if this is just the thing you’re looking for after a long day hiking and being adventurous in and around Clarens, then Clarens Brewery is just the place to refuel, refresh and simply have a good time. This is one of the country’s first brew-pubs, cideries and distilleries, so you can expect to sample and enjoy great beers, ciders and distillate (request for the tasting board to sample a few options before placing your drink order), all while being part of the fantastic craft revolution that is sweeping our country. It is an absolute must-visit when you’re in the area.

Clementine’s

We all love a fabulous meal, which is why you need to visit one of the best dining options Clarens has to offer. Clementine’s is one of the most exclusive restaurants in Clarens, where you can expect excellent food, a great atmosphere and friendly service. The pork belly, oxtail and steaks are all highly recommended. With such great food, you can expect this place to be busy and packed over the weekends and holiday season. To avoid disappointment on your next visit to Clarens (and Clementine’s), make sure you book your table at this popular gem well in advance.

Sugar & Cinnamon

Whether you’re after a delightful breakfast or something to satisfy your sweet tooth, Sugar & Cinnamon offers all things delicious from pancakes and glorious chocolate cake to home-style meals and good coffee, all with a stunning view of the mountains in the distance. Just a short distance away from Clarens, this is a hidden gem that gives travellers and even locals a great place to relax and enjoy the fresh air out on the countryside. Talk about a great way to start the day.

Where To Shop

The Purple Onion Deli

The Purple Onion Deli is hard to miss – it’s situated around the town square (in the Clarens Windmill Centre) with a little windmill spinning away right next to it and the majestic mountains in the background. This quaint shop gives guests an exceptional country deli experience, unlike anything you’d find in the city. They source unique, handmade and special products that are made with yesteryear’s recipe, including jams, fudge, coffee, marmalades, cherry items (seasonal), chocolates, pasta, preserves, biltong and much more. And best of all, it’s all absolutely delicious.

The Cherry Company

Love everything that smells, tastes and even looks like cherries? Then The Cherry Company will be your cherry heaven! From the moment you walk into the shop, you smell cherries, as the shelves are stocked with all things cherry. And to delight your taste buds (one of my absolute favourites): the cherry liquor. Trust me, if you’re nuts about cherries, this is one spot you cannot miss while visiting Clarens.

The Ugly Duckling

Who doesn’t love quirky and interesting gifts? If you’re looking to shop for something unique for family and friends or want to take something home with you to remind you of your visit to Clarens, then make sure you check out The Ugly Duckling. As their slogan says, it’s “the shop that’s worth a stop”. This store will have everything from unusual gifts and furniture to carpets, mirrors, one-off items, toys, indigenous instruments and souvenirs.

Tobias Art

If you have a flair for all things artistic and creative, then Tobias Art is a must-visit. This spot is a landmark destination for discerning shoppers who are looking for that something ‘out of the box’. They have everything from paintings, pottery and pillows to T-shirts, handbags, handmade soap, incense and jewellery. They even have interesting vintage toys in store.

Where To Play

Ficksburg Cherry Festival

If you are frequent visitors to Clarens, then you know all about the Ficksburg Cherry Festival. But if not, then you’re in for a treat. Ficksburg is the cherry capital of the world and every year in November, they host the Ficksburg Cherry Festival that attracts many travellers and cherry lovers from across the country. A must during this festival is the Constantia Cherry Farm tour with a picnic and the McKinley Chocolate Tour. This year the festival will take place from 16 to 18 November 2017.

Plenty of hiking trails

Love the outdoors and spending time trekking along trails and exploring? Then Clarens is just the place for you, as it has plenty of hiking trails no matter your level of experience. If you want something quick and easy, then take the Spruit Walking Trail, but if you’re looking to up the tempo and the time, then why not take the Kloof Hike that’s about 2.5 to 3 hours long!

Outdoor Adventures

If it’s adventure you want, Claren Destinations has it. There are plenty of extreme adventures you can experience in Clarens, all you have to do is book and enjoy. They offer a variety of experiences to get your adrenaline pumping, including river rafting, abseiling, paintball, hiking, rock climbing, enduro trails, zip- lining, quad biking, archery, fly fishing, a variety of day tours and even skiing and snowboarding in the colder months.

Where To Sleep

Kiara Lodge

There’s a little bit of everything at Kiara Lodge. It makes for the perfect family getaway home as it has plenty of facilities to keep the little ones busy. These chalets are all complete with balconies that offer stunning views and are within walking distance to the dam, playground, swimming pool and restaurant. Also, you won’t be too far away from the main street in town, as it’s just down the road.

Protea Hotel by Marriott Clarens

This luxurious four-star retreat is nestled close to the Golden Gate National Park and the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. Protea Hotel by Marriott Clarens exudes sheer style, luxury and design that blends in with the natural beauty of the stunning little town of Clarens. It boasts 70 luxurious rooms perfect for any occasion, whether you’re planning a romantic getaway, team-building endeavor, a business conference or an adventurous weekend escape with the family.

Lake Clarens Guest House 

Apparently, this guest house has even hosted Brad Pitt… If you want 4-star luxury at its finest along, stunning country views and quick and easy access to town, then book a stay at Lake Clarens Guest House. Their luxurious rooms are furnished to make your stay as comfy as possible with queen-sized beds, TVs, fridges, snack basket and a safe, and are all tastefully decorated. And best of all, all bedrooms have an exquisite view of the lake and mountains.

Smilin' Thru Resort

For a chilled hike, head to the Smilin' Thru Resort where you can get lost in the beauty of nature of the Vaal Triangle and the Vredefort Dome World Heritage site. For those who would like to stay overnight, there are fully catered hotels, self-catering chalets as well as camping and caravan sites.

Find more information here.

Kommandonek

This game lodge is lined by the Vaal River and the hills and crates created by the Vredefort meteor. The moderate hike follows a trail left by the meteorite to the kommandonek. This is a very scenic hike, with the many bird species, wild herbivores, trees, meteor site and Vaal river.

Find more information here.

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Suikerbosrand

One of the country's most renowned hiking trails would be the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve. Bring a pair of binocs and compliment your stroll by some bird watching along the way. Trails can be shortened to suit your needs - to as little as 1 km. Be sure to bring an ample amount of drinking water... seeing as we live in Africa, after all.

For more info, contact 011 439 6300.

The Savannah Africa

If you are in the mood for a tranquil hike surrounded by all the beauties of nature, then head on over to The Savannah Africa in Parys. This nature reserve and educational facility boasts many of South Africa's buck such as springbok, impala, kudu, nyala, blesbok and waterbuck. They also have buffalo, giraffe and wildebeest.

Find more information here.

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Klipkraal Hiking Trail

This hiking trail nears the Suikerbosrand and therefore has the same biome of rocky highveld and grass. The hike includes two trails, the panorama and the kraal. The panorama winds through grass lands and a few hills and offers amazing views of the Vaal Dam, surrounding areas and even a bit of wildlife. This is followed by the kraal trail which passes by the old huts, hence the name, where you can learn a bit about the Ghoya Tribe who lived there during the Iron Age.

For more information, contact 016 327 1432.

Vredefort Dome

Whether you are in the mood for an hour's walk, a good 10 km hike or a weekend away, head to the Vredefort Dome. Thanks to a massive meteorite that hit South Africa, we now have one of the most interesting hiking spots in the world. It's so incredible that celebrities come to hang out in its undergrowth to escape the limelight. As with all hikes, be sure to bring a backpack, an emergency first aid kit, sunscreen and lots of water. Cellphone reception bails in and out at the Dome.

Find more information here.

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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.