Just up the road from Johannesburg and Pretoria, the Magaliesberg Mountain Range stretches across two of our provinces – Gauteng and the North West. It’s a beautiful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life where you can enjoy plenty of adventures and make unique and unusual memories.

Did you know?

The fairy elephant's foot, a succulent with vivid pink flowers and leaves, is endemic to the Magaliesberg Mountains.  

These mountains formed more than two billion years ago, making them nearly 100 times older than Mount Everest, but don’t let their age fool you – walking through their valleys, hiking up their cliffs and cooling off by their waterfalls will keep you young at heart.

It all begins near the Bronkhorstspruit Dam in the east and then extends 120km to Rustenburg in the west. This 2300 million-year-old mountain range supports a variety of different habitats from grasslands and bushveld savannah to inaccessible forested kloofs with over 130 tree species and an astounding variety of flowers, ferns, grasses and fungi. In 1977 this area was officially named a protected natural environment.

The mountains were once home to roaming elephants, rhinos, buffaloes, giraffes, large cats and a variety of antelope, but today it's the smaller species that are likely to be seen. Porcupines, bushbabies and mongoose roam the forest, along with Vervet monkeys, Duikers, Genets, baboons and Klipspringers. Leopards also stalk these lands, but their shyness and ability to camouflage means they're seldom seen during the day.

If you’re a bird watcher the mountains also have something for you. Over 300 somethings as there’s over 300 bird species that call the area home, including the nesting Cape Vultures and Verreaux's eagles, as well as Jackal Buzzards, falcons and swifts. During winter flowering red aloes attract dazzling sunbirds, while the summer warmth lures migrating storks. You'll also be able to tick off Starlings, Robins, Cuckoos, Barbets, owls and many other bird species.

Magaliesberg is a wonderful retreat for humans too, with deep gullies and clear waterfalls creating the perfect conditions for climbers and hikers. Many trails ranging from gentle walks to hardcore hikes allow for leisurely exploration, while mountain biking, horse riding, abseiling and even white-water rafting call to the more adventurous.

Rich in geology, biodiversity and human heritage, there are plans to have the Magaliesberg declared a UNESCO biosphere, as this will ensure the preservation of this ancient natural treasure for future generations.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Magalies Meander
Tel: +27 (0)83 259 0444
Email: info@magaliesmeander.co.za

The Mountain Club of South Africa
Johannesburg Section
Tel: +27 (0)11 807 1310 (8am-10am weekdays)
Email: admin@jhb.mcsa.org.za

How to get here

The Magaliesberg Mountains can be reached via the N14/R512 from Johannesburg/Krugersdorp, and via the N4/N14 from Pretoria.

Best time to visit

The Magaliesberg Mountains are a year-round destination. As with all mountainous environs, visitors should be aware of sudden changes in the weather, possible rockslides and uneven terrain.

Around the area

Adventure sport operators, fruit farms, Hartbeespoort Dam, restaurants, farm stalls, curio shops, art galleries, golf courses, wellness spas and a mampoer (local fruit brandy) distillery at Groot Marico.

Tours to do

A canopy tour across the Ysterhoutkloof is a popular activity. Harties aerial cableway will give you a bird's-eye view of the mountains and Hartbeestpoort dam.

Get around

You’ll need a car or motorcycle to explore the area. Roads leading to the Magaliesberg are in good condition and are clearly signposted. Sedan cars are advised not to take shortcuts using unmarked gravel roads or to attempt to cross Breed’s Nek pass.

What will it cost

Various nature resorts and tour operators provide access to the Magaliesberg mountains. Enquire with the individual operator for prices. Mountain climbing permits are available from the Mountain Club of South Africa.

Length of stay

From half a day to a week.

What to pack

If you plan to hike or walk in the Magaliesberg Mountains wear suitable shoes, a hat, carry a warm weatherproof jacket and sufficient water. Sun protection, insect repellent and a mobile phone are advisable.

Where to stay

There are self-catering lodges and campsites within the Magaliesberg Mountain Reserve, and numerous B&Bs, guesthouses, cottages and five-star country hotels in the general Magaliesberg area.

What to eat

There are countless places to eat in the Magaliesberg, from fast food outlets to fine dining restaurants.

Best buys

Local fruit, vegetables, and nuts grown in season. Local crafts, art, and curios.

Related articles