Nine great day hikes you can do in Gauteng during lockdown level 3
Travel ban got you down? The great lockdown loophole is that you are allowed to hike. Here are some easy-to-reach, great-outdoors options for cooped-up Joburgers
1. MODDERFONTEIN NATURE RESERVE
This 275ha reserve on the outskirts of Edenvale offers hikers a 8.3km hiking trail or shorter walks around the reserve. Cyclists can enjoy a 10km, 18km, 32km or 42km mountain-biking route. It's open daily from 6am to 6pm, but picnic areas remain closed. No bookings required.
• R30 pp, R15 per child. See modderfonteinreserve.co.za
2. SABLE RANCH
Situated just off the R96 close to Hekpoort in the Magaliesberg mountain region, it has two trails, 8km and 12km, which are open seven days a week. The trail lengths are shortened as a precaution on Sundays, when hunting is allowed on a neighbouring property.
You need to book before you go and a maximum of 50 hikers per day are allowed. People who arrive in one car are allowed to hike together, and groups are staggered
at the start to ensure distancing on the trail.
• R70 per adult; R30 per child. Hikers who want to stay on for a braai afterwards can use the facilities for an extra R30. See sable-ranch.co.za.
3. EZEMVELO NATURE RESERVE
Near Bronkhorstspruit, the reserve also offers self-drive excursions and mountain biking. There are three hiking trails: the Ochna (4km), Protea (14.6km) and Burkea (21km).
Hikers need permits, which are issued under the following limits: one permit per vehicle (maximum five people); you will be allowed to hike with the people you travelled with. A maximum of 50 permits are issued per day. Booking is essential and payment must be made up front, in full. No on-the-day permits will be issued.
The reserve is open on weekends, 8am to 5pm. The shop is closed so be sure to bring food and water with you.
• R75 pp. See ezemvelo.co.za
4. WINDY BROW NATURE RESERVE
Just outside Cullinan, this is a 30-minute drive from Pretoria and an hour's drive from Joburg.
The three trail options of 3.3km, 4.5km, and 5km cover various habitat zones and are open to the public on weekends and public holidays.
A maximum of 50 hikers per day are allowed and bookings need to be made in advance.
• R85 pp, R50 for kids under 10. See windybrowadventures.co.za
5. DE WILDT ADVENTURE TRAILS
The trails border Hartbeespoort Dam in the foothills of the Magaliesberg mountains. Day visitors have a choice between the 4.6km Kiepersol trail or the Groenklip (between 12.5km and 15km).
The Kiepersol trail is pet-friendly and can be done Wednesdays to Sundays. Registration opens at 7am and the last registration is at 3pm. Children under 10 receive a medal after completing the trail.
The Groenklip trail can only be done on Saturdays and Sundays and registration is strictly at 7am.
Visitors are not allowed to hike in groups and advance booking and payment are required. A maximum of 50 hikers per day will be allowed. There are facilities to pre-order food and coffee as takeaways.
• Groenklip, R120 pp, includes a guide to take you up to the top of the Magaliesberg. Kiepersol is R60 pp, R30 for kids under 11, and R15 for children under 2. Find De Wildt Adventure Trails' on Facebook: @DeWildtTrails
6. RUSTIG FARM
This family-run farm close to Hekpoort is on the southern slope of the Magaliesberg and falls just inside the Gauteng border. It's a 45-minute drive from both Joburg and Pretoria.
The farm has five hiking trails: 3km, 5km, 9km, 13km and 18km. The latter is an overnight hike that very few people do as a day hike (except trail runners).
The trails are open from 8am to 5pm, Tuesdays to Saturdays, and from 8am to 4pm on Sundays and public holidays. The number of hikers allowed to enter each day is controlled and bookings need to be made in advance. Visitors can enjoy takeaway refreshments from the on-site bar and restaurant.
• R65 pp for the 3km and 5km trails (R30 for kids under 12); R75 pp for the three longer trails (no kids under 13). See rustig.co.za
7. CRADLE MOON LAKESIDE GAME LODGE
This lodge in Muldersdrift is on the 1,500ha Cradle Moon Conservancy in the Cradle of Humankind and also has over 50km of mountain biking and running trails. The pink route hiking trail is 5km and the green is 9km.
The trails are open 8am to 5pm on weekdays and 7am to 5pm on weekends. No bookings are required. The restaurant at the lodge sells burgers and pizzas for takeaways.
• R50 pp for hikers and cyclists. Bike hire is available at R200 per bike. See cradlemoon.co.za
8. MAGALIES MOUNTAIN LODGE
This lodge in Kameeldrift West near Hartbeespoort has a 1.6km trail open daily, 8am to 5pm, which winds up the side of a mountain.
On weekends, hikers can pre-order a takeaway of a burger, chips and a milkshake to enjoy after completing the hike. Bookings must be made and paid for in advance.
• R60 pp for the hike and R125 for the hike and a takeaway burger, chips and drink. See magaliesmountainlodge.co.za
9. HENNOPS HIKING TRAILS
Just off the R511 en route to Hartbeesport, about 45 minutes from Joburg, you'll find these trails, which meander along the Hennops River before veering away into the surrounding mountains.
There are four trails to choose from, open daily: the 1.5km River trail, 2.5km Dassie trail, 5km Zebra trail and 10km Krokodilberg trail. Each requires either a river crossing via two suspension bridges or a cable car.
The picnic sites are currently closed.
Over weekends you can start hiking from 7am and must start before 2pm. The trails close at 5pm. During the week you can start from 8am and must start before 1pm, and the trails close at 5pm. No booking required.
• R80 pp, R40 per child. Preschool children enter for free. See hennopstrails.co.za