Did you know?
The ancient Magaliesberg mountains north of Johannesburg contain 3-million-year-old hominid fossils. .
Johannesburg might be something of an urban jungle, but it also has some wonderful natural attractions, adding much to the fascinating nature of this city.
The land on which Johannesburg is built was once grassland, but is now the biggest urban forest in the world. Many of these trees are to be found in the more than 600 parks and open spaces around the city.
The Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden in Kloofendal conserves a piece of the original grassland as well as succulents and ferns. It has over 120 bird species, including the only pair of nesting black eagles in Johannesburg.
The Johannesburg Botanical Gardens in Emmarentia is famed for its Rose Garden and numerous waterfowl found in the reed beds of Emmarentia Dam (a great spot for an impromptu picnic). Another worthwhile spot is Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve on the way to Heidelberg: this reserve covers over 13 000 hectares and has excellent hiking trails as well as an abundant antelope and bird population.
Just as close to the city centre are the Melville Koppies, hills where an Iron Age village and smelting works are to be found. This natural area has never been developed and is much beloved by a loyal group of Melville Koppie Friends.
Heading out of town, it's a good idea to make your way to the Sterkfontein Valley and the Cradle of Humankind - one of the world's most significant palaeontological sites. Take a trip underground and visit the exquisite Wonder Cave and while you're in the area enjoy a trip to the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve to see the big cats.
The Magaliesberg Mountains and the watersport haven of Hartbeespoort Dam are also accessible from Johannesburg in little under an hour's drive.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Johannesburg Tourism Association
Tel: +27 (0)11 214 0700