An hour’s drive from Johannesburg, near the town of Heidelberg, lies one of the most idyllic games reserves in Gauteng, the 11 595-hectare Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve. The flora and fauna in the reserve are extensive which makes it a popular spot for hiking, cycling, picnicking and birdwatching. Open grassland, wooded gorge, acacia woodland, marshland and rare Bankenveld grassland are all part of the reserve’s dense vegetation.
A network of 66km of hiking trails has been established, which include a short, 4km interpretive trail (the Cheetah Trail) and a 17km day visitor trail. There is also a 60km motor vehicle tourist route, which is also suitable for cyclists.The beautiful scenery, quiet roads, challenging climbs and fast winding descents make Suikerbosrand a great place to ride. Keep a look out for wildlife including zebra, black wildebeest, red hartebeest mountain reedbuck, common duiker, steenbok, grey duiker, baboon, oribi, blesbok, springbok and kudu.
- The Reserve gets its name from the Transvaal suikerbos or sugarbush that is found in abundance here.
- The geology of the region consists of two systems, the Ventersdorp and the Witwatersrand. The Ventersdorp system consists of igneous rock, called basalt, which formed millions of years ago from molten rock. The Witwatersrand system is mainly sedimentary sandstone deposited in horizontal layers.
- The Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve is also an archeological site, with stone circles scattering the hills that are believed to have been built by early farming communities during the last 500 years, an epoch known as the Iron Age.
Admission: Admission is R22 per person to enter the reserve and R11 per vehicle.
Visiting hours: Gates are open from 7am to 6pm
Directions: From Johannesburg, take the N3 highway towards Heidelberg. Take the R550/Alberton Road off-ramp and turn right, across the highway. Turn left to the reserve.
Photos from: Wiki