Despite being a huge city, Joburg has her share of handsome indigenous green spaces too. These two reserves are an easy escape from the hustle and bustle but lie less than 30km from the city centre.
Our March issue features 18 picnic spots across the country for making the most of late summer and I stumbled across these city oases during research. Not only can you picnic here, but they both have extensive marked hiking trails that make for a brilliant day out.
1. Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve, Joburg South
Geared for hikers and popular with trail runners, veld and koppies make up the landscape here in the south of Joburg. However, there are shaded tables at the main entrance on Peggy Vera Road and plenty of rocks to sit on along the routes if you’re looking to picnic. My favourite spot is close to the reserve’s main gate – turn right and head towards the first bridge that crosses the Bloubos Spruit and find the bench beside the stream and a small patch of mowed grass.
Bring binoculars – there are springbok, blesbok, black wildebeest and over 150 bird species – and wear good walking shoes. There are 10 hiking trails and along the way you’ll find information boards on the archaeological ruins (the park has the highest concentration of Iron Age sites on the Witwatersrand).
Do it: Free entry, open daily from sunrise to sunset. For hiking info, call 0823301893.
2. Modderfontein Reserve, East Rand
This 275-hectare private reserve is managed by the Endangered Wildlife Trust and it’s a pleasure to picnic at the popular (but not overcrowded) Fish Eagle Dam. There are limited benches and braai sites in the area (the wafts of grilled boerewors will drive meat eaters crazy if you’ve only packed cheese sarmies to eat), but there’s plenty of shade to lay a blanket beneath the bluegum trees and enjoy the serene dam views.
Every Saturday there’s a free five-kilometre Parkrun at 08:00, otherwise, there are a variety of trails within the reserve for meandering along the Modderfontein Spruit and its cascading waters, or over the grassland and hills (a map costs R10). The main hiking trail is 8,3km and there are several shorter walks Cyclists are welcome too – currently, there are four different routes available, all with varying degrees and levels of difficulty and distance (the shortest route being 10km and the longest approximately 40km).
Bring binoculars – fish eagles, various kingfishers and even blue cranes can be seen. Picnics can be planned around bird walks on the first Saturday of the month (R10 per person, call Pat Ayling to book on 0824653683).
Do it: Entry is R30 per person, R15 for kids. Open from 05:30 to 18:30pm in summer, 06:00 to 18:00 in winter. modderfonteinreserve.co.za
Grab our March issue for these and other breath-taking picnic spots in Joburg and the rest of SA.
Find more amazing picnics spots in the March issue of Getaway.
Our March issue features 18 breathtaking picnics spots to make the most of late summer, a budget guide to sailing Mozambique’s iconic islands, three different train journeys in SA and how to get a real taste of Mumbai.