20 May 2011 by Kate Turkington

Go hiking in Gauteng

So you thought that Gauteng was just Johannesburg and Soweto? Glitzy malls and teeming townships? Wrong. It’s easy to escape the city buzz and head out on a walking trail.

The Magaliesberg mountains are only an hour and a half away from Jo’burg and you can choose between a gentle meander or a stiff climb up a cliff. On a recent hike my family and I spotted lots of small game including a klipspringer, baboons and vervet monkeys, and saw Cape vultures and black eagles.

A few weeks ago, some friends and I took ourselves off to Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, 13 337 hectares of it, surrounded by the Suikerbos mountains, only an hour’s drive from Jo’burg. It boasts a 66km network of hiking trails, from a 3-hour walk to overnight and multiple-night trails.

My friends and I chose the Bokmakierie Day Trail which took us through grassland, rocky gorges and acacia woodland.  There’s Suikerbos - the sugar bush - everywhere (Protea Caffra for the purists) and we came across kudu, eland, springbuck and a tiny steenbok. (There’s lot more game we didn’t see.)

But our chief target was birds - there are over 200 species here. I ticked two sparring Secretary birds, a White-bellied korhaan, a Sentinal Rock-Thrush and a Zitting cisticola (what a name to be burdened with) and about 40 other species.

So you see, the Cape and Mpumalanga aren’t the only places to offer the Great Outdoors. Go hiking in Gauteng. You won’t be sorry.

Category: Adventure

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