Kgaswane Mountain Nature Reserve, North West
Did you know?
The Magaliesberg mountains in which the Kgaswane Mountain Reserve is situated are 100 times older than Everest.
Just an hour and a half from either Johannesburg or Pretoria is the Kgaswane Mountain Reserve.
It used to be called the Rustenburg Nature Reserve, and is found just south of that town. Over the years it has become a sought-after hiking destination – set as it is in the beautiful and ancient Magaliesberg mountains.
Apart from its considerable scenic charm and size (over 5 000 hectares), the reserve practically guarantees sightings of charismatic and endangered sable antelopes with their curved scimitar horns and their proud mien.
And there can hardly be a more appropriate place to make their acquaintance, since this species was first described to science in this region, among the Magaliesberg mountains, by hunter Captain William Cornwallis Harris in 1838.
Sable continue to thrive here, but the reserve is home to more than a dozen other kinds of mammals. You may also see kudu, grey duiker, bushbuck, waterbuck, mountain reedbuck, red hartebeest, springbok, impala, oribi and klipspringer, along with zebra.
Predators include jackal, caracal and the seldom-seen leopard.
You’re in the mountain grassland biome, but you’ll also find an enormous wetland here (also called a vlei), which forms part of the headwaters of the Hex River.
At Kgaswane Mountain Reserve you get the chance to enjoy animals and nature without a vehicle, if you’d prefer.
You can bring your own mountain bike, while there are also two-night hiking trails taking you to decent little hikers’ huts. For day hikers, there is a 5km trail through the most scenic sections of the park, and a 2km trail popular with birders.
Birdwatching offers the chance to see around 320 species, including spectacular specimens like Cape vultures (there is a colony on the property), and Verreaux’s and martial eagles.
Chances are also good you’ll see paradise flycatchers.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Kgaswane Mountain Reserve
Tel: +27 (0)14 533 2050
Fax: +27 (0)14 533 0397
How to get here
From Pretoria, take the N4 west to Rustenburg. Once there, take the Beyers Naude road south for 2km, which later becomes Helen Joseph road. Carry on for 5km until you reach the gate.
From Johannesburg, head for Hartebeespoort to the north, then follow the signs to Rustenberg. Once there, take the Beyers Naude road south for 2km, which later becomes Helen Joseph road. Carry on for 5km until you reach the gate.
Best time to visit
Midwinter (June, July) can be bitterly cold at night if you're camping, but the aloes will be flowering as compensation. Generally, though, the summer months of September through April are lovely.
Around the area
If you're interested in golf or a casino, Sun City is only 60km away, as is the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, which has the Big 5 as well as special mammals like wild dogs.
You could drive around in a car, but it's far more pleasant to hike or mountain-bike (take your own).
What will it cost
Entrance fees: R30 for adults, R15 for children (2-12 years); R10 per car, R40 per minivan; R5 per bicycle; R15 per cyclist.
Camping: R40 per adult per night, R20 per child per night (2-12 years).
Hiking: R120 per person + entry (min. 6 persons, max. 12 persons).
Cottage: R500.00 per night (minimum 5 people), R100 per additional person, R50 per child (maximum 14 people).
Normal entrance fees apply on top of fees for camping, hiking or accommodation.
Length of stay
Although this makes a lovely day trip, it is a large and beautiful reserve. An overnight stay is ideal.
Where to stay
Apart from the hikers’ huts (which are pretty basic), you could also stay in a self-catering cottage if you come as a group. This requires a minimum of 5 people (or if fewer, you will need to pay the same price as for 5).