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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
This reserve is the second largest privately owned reserve in Gauteng. The aim of the reserve is to preserve the local plant and wildlife of the area. Animals here include buck, jackals and eagles. The grassland and hills surrounding various dams, including the Modderfontein Spruit, make this the perfect place for leisurely strolls and picnics. But if you prefer ready-made food, they have a café on site. The reserve also offers functions, cycling, Parkruns and guided walks. Access to the reserve is R30 per adult and R15 per child.
This reserve is also known as Johannesburg's Jewel Of The South and is the largest nature reserve in Johannesburg. They have a large variety of game including zebra, red hartebeest, black wildebeest, dassie, hare, gennet, fox, civet, otter and various buck. They also boast about 230 species of birds including heron, barbet, eagle and even owl. This is a great spot for nature lovers and hikers. The reserve is open daily, sunrise to sunset and entrance is free.
This reserve and heritage site is the last remaining site of the Johannesburg ridges from before gold was discovered. The reserve is made up of highveld grasses, trees and flowers, which include gladiolus, orchid and proteas. Animals here include gennet, civet, mongoose, hedgehog, rat, shrew, hare, rabbit, mouse and many bird species. The reserve is divided into Central, East and West. Access to Central is limited to organised tours and hikes, East is open daily for walks and West is open daily for scheduled walks. Strictly no braais, camping, picnicking, radios, mountain bikes or vehicles.
Based in Paulshof, this nature reserve is a 24-hectare bushveld and rocky ridge reserve. The reserve is open from 6am - 6pm. It offers walking trails, picnics and day outs. The reserve mainly features flora and bird life, but a lucky few may be privileged enough to spot some buck. This is a perfect spot for those who want to spend a relaxed day surrounded by nature, without travelling too far.
Contact details: 011 943 3578 / 138 Holkam Road, Paulshof / http://www.friendsofrietfontein.org
This 16-hectare reserve is tucked away in Douglasdale. They are home to a multitude of flora species and a few fauna like blesbok and duiker. This reserve is only open twice a month, usually in the beginning and again towards the end of the month. Norscot Koppies has a clearly marked self-guided walking trail, where you can learn all about the vegetation of this park.
Contact details: 011 704 5428 / 15 Alexander Ave, Douglasdale, Randburg / https://www.norscotkoppies.co.za/
This 4000-hectare reserve came to be in effort to increase the drinking water supply to Pretoria. Entrance to the reserve costs R59 per adult, R32 per pensioner and R11 - R32 for children. The reserve is open at 05:30 - 17:00, September to March and 06:00 - 18:00, May to August. They offer environmental education, tours, guided hikes, night drives, horse trails and camp tours.
This reserve holds the title of oldest nature reserve in Africa. If that isn't reason enough to visit, they also offer hiking, mountain biking, game drives, horse riding and 4 x 4 routes, as well as game and bird viewing. Entrance to the reserve is R43 per adult, R27 per pensioner, R13 - R27 per child and R120 per vehicle. The reserve is open from 06:00 - 19:00 in summer (September to April) and 06:00 - 18:00 in winter (May to August).
Faerie Glen Nature Reserve, which used to be a part of Farm Hartbeespoort, protects the critically endangered Bronberg ecosystem. The reserve consists of Gold Reef Mountain Bushveld and Marikana Thornveld and has various species of bird, impala, red hartebeest and zebra. They have an easy (2.3 km), medium (3.2 km) and hard (4.2 km) hiking trail and two lookout points. They offer guided hikes and allow picnicking (no braaing permitted). Entrance is R12 per adult and R6 per pensioner or child.