Five Covid-conscious day trips for Gautengers to enjoy this Easter weekend

Whether you fancy a quad biking adventure or want to stop and smell the roses, these outings will please the whole family

01 April 2021 - 12:13
The towering sculptures at the Anton Smit Sculpture Park in Bronkhortspruit make for great Instagram fodder.
The towering sculptures at the Anton Smit Sculpture Park in Bronkhortspruit make for great Instagram fodder.
Image: Supplied

With plenty of destinations that will please the whole family – all within close proximity to Johannesburg – Gautengers are spoilt for choice when it comes to Covid-conscious day trips to take over the Easter weekend.

Here are five of the best:

1. ANTON SMIT SCULPTURE PARK AND GALLERY

For an outing with a touch of creativity, the Anton Smit Sculpture Park in Aqua Vista, Bronkhortspruit is the place to visit. Opened in 2003 by local artist Smit, the three hectare sculpture garden is an hour’s drive from Johannesburg.

Set against natural stone formations with views of the Bronkhorstspruit Dam, visitors can wonder around the park at leisure, admiring Smit’s collection of towering sculptures.

The Art Café on the premises will be open over the Easter weekend and hungry guests can enjoy breakfast and lunch buffets starting from R120 per person. It’s advisable to make a booking in advance.

• Entrance to the Anton Smit Sculpture Park is free. The Art Café, art gallery and sculpture garden will be open from 9am to 4pm throughout the Easter weekend. To make a booking at the Art Café, contact 082-880-8805. Visit antonsmit.co.za

2. BIG RED BARN

A 40-minute drive from Johannesburg, the Big Red Barn in Irene, Pretoria, comes as close to an outdoor venue that caters to the whole family as you are likely to find.

Children and adults can enjoy acrobranch adventures between the lush canopy of trees or delicious treats from the kitchens of the Clay Cafe or Barn restaurant with its name-inspiring firetruck-red roof.

New activities include electric go karts and bumper balls and the trails on the property, open seven days a week, are popular among runners and walkers.

• On Saturday the iconic Irene market will be open from 8am to 2.30pm for its Easter edition and will be selling crafts, food, craft beer and wine. Tractor rides through the beautiful Sunlawns farm forest are available throughout the weekend (except Saturday) between 10am and 2pm-3pm and cost R40 per person. The running and walking trails are R30 per person; well-socialised dogs on a leash are welcome. Acrobranch activities start from R140, electric go carts cost R150 per person and bumper balls cost R80 per person. To book acrobranch activities, contact bookings@acrobranch.co.za. To book the go carts or bumper balls, contact ninokarts@gmail.com. Visit thebigredbarn.co.za

3. BLACK HORSE BREWERY

An hour’s drive from Johannesburg, the Black Horse Brewery is a popular haunt for day trippers making their way to Magaliesburg.

Enticing visitors with artisanal brews made in the on-site craft brewery, Black Horse was established long before craft beer became a thing, back in 1994. They have since added a gin distillery and tasting room to their offering.  

Enjoy the views of the property and marvel at the black horses roaming on the lush lawns. Meals can be enjoyed under the shade of large trees or on verdant green lawns on the edge of the Magalies River. On-site shops selling beautiful handmade products are open on Saturdays and Sundays.

• Entrance to Black Horse is free. The restaurant will be open throughout the weekend from 8am. Due to its popularity, it’s advisable to make a reservation. For cheer, join Black Horse on Monday between 10am and 4pm for their annual Easter market with live music, arts and crafts, wine, gin — and, of course, beer. Contact 082-453-5295 or visit blackhorse.co.za to make a booking

4. ADVENTURE ZONE AT THE VOORTREKKER MONUMENT 

The newly launched Adventure Zone at the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria offers a host of activities for adventure seekers, including hiking trails, quad bike trails, archery sessions, fire-making lessons and drumming circles.

Hikes cost R80 per person and hikers can choose between an easy 3.5km or a more challenging 5.6km that winds to the top of Fort Schanskop with great views over the jacaranda city. A longer 8km trail will open soon.

Visitors on quad bikes in the Adventure Zone at the Voortrekker Monument.
Visitors on quad bikes in the Adventure Zone at the Voortrekker Monument.
Image: Supplied

A one-hour archery session costs R250 per person and can be booked for groups of six to 20 people. The activity has an age restriction of 10 years and older.

They’re running a hike and archery combo Easter special at R180 per person.

There is also a quad safari trail Easter special at R450 per person for a 90-minute quad biking session. Participants must be 16 or older.

Learn to channel your inner Bear Grylls with an hour-long fire-making session at R200 per person or discover your inner rhythm with a one-hour djembe drumming session for R250 per person (both activities for ages 8 and older).

As proof that you completed your adventure – be it quad biking, hiking or archery  – each participant will receive a certificate to confirm they went on an “extreme adventure and became a full-blown adventure junky”, just in case you need the bragging rights.

• Bookings are essential and can be made online. Contact 082-416-4895 or visit adventurezone.co.za. Note: A R15 heritage fee is charged per car. It is payable at the gate.

Visitors take a tour at Ludwig’s Roses.
Visitors take a tour at Ludwig’s Roses.
Image: Supplied

5. LUDWIG’S ROSES

Ludwig’s Roses is a perfect reminder to stop and smell the roses – a whole lot of them, each as lovely as the next.

On their website, they boast they grow the largest selection of rose varieties available anywhere in the world.

With smaller branches in Pretoria East and Irene, it’s the original farm in Kloppersbos established in 1971 that makes for a fun day trip.

Their Rose Kitchen serves delicious rose-inspired food and drinks made using the cordials, syrups and rose ingredients they sell on-site while a children’s play area will keep the little ones busy.

Look out for the indoor exhibition market that will be running over the Easter weekend in the Rose Shed. Entrance is free. They will also be offering their iconic tractor rides through the rose fields free of charge.

• Ludwig’s Roses is open seven days a week from 8.30am to 5pm and can be found on Wallmansthal Road just off the N1 towards Polokwane. Visit ludwigsroses.co.za