Explore Nature In And Around Gauteng

Since we’re now allowed to visit game reserves for self-driving expeditions and go on daytime fishing trips, we thought we’d put together a comprehensive list of the best spots to enjoy nature in and around the city. So get out there and breathe in some much-needed fresh air.

Nature Reserves In Pretoria

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.

Hennops Hiking Trail

The Hennops Hiking Trail is 30km from Pretoria, 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!

Groenkloof Nature Reserve

Why not spend a day out and about enjoying the scenery and breathing in the fresh air at the oldest nature reserve in Africa? Not only is Groenkloof Nature Reserve a wonderful area to reconnect with nature, but it also offers a wide range of outdoor activities for both young and old. You can expect to do some hiking, mountain biking, horse riding and even enjoy games drives (lockdown restrictions permiting). You can also opt for a four hour long guided hike at a small tariff fee.

nature 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 Pretoria? 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 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 a short drive from Pretoria, 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!