Escape the capital city blues and head out and about in nature with these hiking trails near Pretoria.
1. Tswaing Crater
Tswaing Crater is one of the most adventurous things to do in Pretoria. This fairly easy trail, 40 kilometres north of Pretoria, is one of my favourite day walks because of its fascinating geology, history and natural beauty. The 7,2-kilometre route skirts the rim of the crater, believed to have been formed when an asteroid collided with Earth some 200 000 years ago, then descends to the salt lake at its centre. There are picnic and braai facilities. Mosquitos can be a nightmare, so wear repellent. Cell 083-505-2271, www.gauteng.net.
Also read: 5 easy hiking trails in Cape Town
2. Oubaas Trail, Jan Smuts House
This easy, 2,3-kilometre walk winds through one of Gauteng’s few remaining dolomite grasslands. Designed and laid out by the Friends of the General Smuts Foundation, the trail leads to a memorial on the top of Smuts Koppie. Guided birdwatching tours are available on request and there’s a museum and a refreshment kiosk. Traffic can be horrendous when the market is held (second and last Saturdays of each month and all Saturdays in November and December). Costs R10 a child and R20 an adult. Tel 012-667-1176, www.smutshouse.co.za.
3. Wonderboom Nature Reserve
There are a number of loops in this reserve in Pretoria North, named after its magnificent 1 000-year-old fig tree, which is a national monument. Although it’s in a semi-urban setting, there’s a surprising variety of highveld and bushveld birds. The reserve also has a rich cultural heritage, dating from pre-Iron Age. Much of this can be explored on the main 2,5 kilometre trail leading to a fort, built just before the outbreak of the Anglo Boer War. Costs from R15 a child to R37 for an adult. Tel 012-440-8316 or 012-341-5204, www.tshwane.gov.za.
4. Faerie Glen Nature Reserve
Although right in the centre of Pretoria East, this reserve is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and perfect for a family outing. The main trail, the four-kilometre Kiepersol Route, winds up a hill, providing beautiful views over the leafy suburbs, which are particularly impressive when the jacarandas bloom in October and November. The birdlife is magnificent and there are numerous picnic spots and a bird-viewing deck along the route. From R16 for adults. Tel 012-358-1510, www.tshwane.gov.za.
5. Somabula Nature Reserve
This small reserve, also near Cullinan, has a network of roads and tracks for hikers and mountain bikers. While there’s no marked trail, you can make your own fairly easy route of about eight kilometres that offers great game viewing and a pleasant lunch spot overlooking a dam. There’s camping and chalets, but for a treat book into one of four restored ox wagons at The Outspan. Just 40 minutes from Pretoria.
. Cell 082-550-1892, www.somabula.co.za.
6. Rietvlei Nature Reserve
This reserve offers a 7km circular hiking trail that takes approximately 3-4 hours to complete. The trail is located in the southern suburbs of Pretoria and offers scenic views of the surrounding area. Rietvlei Nature Reserve is also home to a number of game as well as a mating cheetah pair. There is also an overnight hike, starting on Friday afternoon and ending on Sunday which includes two overnight huts with beds. Hikes start at R50.
7. Hennops Hiking Trail
Hennops Hiking Trails is situated just 45 minutes outside Pretoria and Johannesburg and within the beautiful Magaliesburg. They offer three trails that start from Hadeda Camp. They range from ‘easy’ to ‘difficult’ and take you over a suspension bridge as you walk along the Hennops River.
Rates: R100 per adult | R50 per schoolchild
Operating times: 7:00 – 13:00
Location: R511, Pretoria, 0001
Follow us on social media for more travel news, inspiration, and guides. You can also tag us to be featured.
Also Read: The 20 Best Restaurants in Pretoria East