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IIt’s so close to Joburg you can see the city skyline from some vantage points. But you’re still in the wild—with over 200 species of birds, big game animals and predators, the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve is a botanically rich destination for eco-tourists, hikers and school children.
Named after the indigenous sugarcane and later the Transvaal suikerbos (or sugarbush, the Protea caffra), found on the sandstone ridges, the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve is made up of different biomes, including Bankenveld grassland, fynbos ridges, gorges and acacia woodland.
WWith over 11 500 hectares, there are a number of winding hiking trails to choose from. Day visitors can hike the 17km or 10km Bokmakierie Trail or opt for the 4km Cheetah Trail. For hikers wishing to tackle longer routes, there are four overnight huts. Cyclists and motorists can choose to take the 60km tourist route.
While en route, you might spot zebra, black wildebeest, red hartebeest and mountain reedbuck. If you’re there at the right time, you might even see the brown hyena. Nature enthusiasts will notice white stinkwood, the Highveld cabbage tree, ouhout and sweet thorn.
IIt’s super important that you don’t litter. Not only is it bad for the natural environment, it’s also bad for the animals. In the last few years, antelope in particular have died from eating the gel packets that cyclists drop while riding through the reserve.