South Africa’s largest city may not be as well-known for its natural beauty as Cape Town, but it still offers enough to offer hikers. Johannesburg specializes in nature trails that carry you past free-roaming game species, as well as Highveld hikes through steep grassland, rather than coastline paths and gorge climbs. Some of the best hiking places are green lungs right in the city (allowing you to mix nature and culture in one day), while others need a driving journey to surrounding hotspots like Hartbeestpoort Dam and the Magaliesberg Mountains.
Hiking in Johannesburg is, without a doubt, a terrific sport to do with friends, family, children, partners, or even strangers! However, choosing the greatest hikes in Johannesburg is a difficult challenge, so if you’re wondering where to hike in Johannesburg, you’ve come to the correct place.
In this article, Mrpocu.com has put together a great list of top hikes in Johannesburg for anyone looking to have a great hiking experience.
Best Hikes In Johannesburg
Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve
Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve is Johannesburg’s largest nature reserve. It has a historical context as well. Artifacts from the Stone Age have been discovered here, showing that the reserve was once a hunting ground. The reserve’s other villages date back to the 1400s.
There are various hiking trails that lead into the neighboring hills, each with a distinct level of difficulty. The Dassie Trail (green), which runs partly along the river from the Mondeor entrance, and the Sunbird Trail (red), which takes you to the Lookout point along the route, are two of them. There is additional fauna on the reserve. During our hikes there, we noticed a few zebras, wildebeest, springboks, dassies, and yellow mongooses.
Melville Koppies Nature Reserve (Central)
Melville Koppies is a Johannesburg nature reserve and city heritage site. Everyone is welcome in the East and West sectors, and dogs are welcome as well. Because of its archeological monuments and distinctive indigenous vegetation, the Central part is kept locked except on Sunday mornings (between 08:00 and 11:30 a.m.), when open days are currently held. However, dogs are not permitted.
The reserve serves as a reminder of what life was like in the city before gold was discovered in 1886, and its geology dates back three billion years. Early Stone Age man stayed here roughly 500 000 years ago, according to stone tools discovered here. There’s also a furnace from the Iron Age. The surrounding scenery is continuously changing, and the city views from the many vantage points at the top are breathtaking.
Cradle Moon Lakeside Game Lodge
This is one of Johannesburg’s most beautiful treks. Hiking trails wind their way around a gorgeous lake, culminating in a photo-worthy “waterfall.” We completed the 10-kilometer trail. Except for one very tight trail along the edge of a hill where one could easily slip and go down, it is mostly straightforward. You can unwind in the gardens or on the artificial beach after your hike, or take a leisurely boat trip. On the trail, you can come across some wildlife. Impalas, springboks, and wildebeest were among the animals we observed. There are also bike trails in this area.
This tranquil reserve is located on the fringes of Edenvale in the East Rand. The terrain is mostly flat. There are six hiking trails to choose from. The longest one is 4 kilometers long. Trails for mountain riding are also accessible. On your hike, you’ll pass by natural springs, dams, grassland, and hills in the reserve. Antelopes and jackals are among the species that call it home. If you have older individuals with you, they can sit on the waterside benches instead of hiking.
Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens
The Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens, one of South Africa’s ten National Botanical Gardens, is a beautiful spot to reconnect with nature. And, in my opinion, if you’re seeking for hiking routes in Johannesburg with waterfalls, this is the most gorgeous.
The gardens, which cover about 300 hectares, are home to approximately 600 plant species, 220 bird species, and a few small mammals. A breeding pair of Verreaux’s Eagles can be found nesting near the waterfall. There are various walking pathways that wound their way through the gardens, as well as a 3.5-kilometer hike. It will take you from the base of the waterfall to the top of the cascade and around the reserve. However, be aware that there are some severe ascents.
Kings Kloof Trails
Kings Kloof is adjacent to Cradlestone Mall and is located on the Laurentia Farm in the Krugersdorp / Muldersdrift area. It’s a beautiful region with trails for hiking, mountain biking, and trail running. The well-marked routes range in length from 6 to 27 kilometers and difficulty from simple to difficult. The lengthier treks gain elevation via ascending rocky outcrops, from where you can enjoy spectacular vistas. Trails can also be joined, and most of them have “Escape paths” marked in purple.
Kloofendal Nature Reserve
Kloofendal Nature Reserve is a historic landmark and a 110-hectare municipal reserve in Roodepoort, on the West Rand. The first payable gold on the Witwatersrand was discovered and extracted in a reef that is now a national monument and part of the Reserve. A stamp mill, which was used to crush gold-bearing rock, can be found near the entrance. A natural history museum provides support for guided nature walks on a variety of topics.
The reserve features a dam, a bird hide, and a network of roughly 15 kilometers of trails that are separated by the various terrain and can be hiked alone. According to our phones, the longest trail was 4.8 kilometers long. It was challenging at times, but the sights and workout were well worth the effort. Kloofendal is one of the best hikes in Johannesburg.
Hennops Hiking Trail
Hennops Trails is 30 kilometers from Fourways on the R511 highway, heading towards Hartbeesport Dam. These routes are among of Gauteng’s most attractive and well-kept hiking trails. There are three paths to choose from: a 2km stroll, a 6km Zebra route, and an 11.3km Krokodilberg trek.
All paths begin with a suspension bridge or a wonderful old-fashioned cable vehicle that works on a pulley system spanning the Hennops River. Doesn’t that sound like a good time? All of the routes have gorgeous vegetation and animals, and you might see zebra, blesbok, kudu, and gigantic tree-like aloes if you’re lucky.
Uitkyk Hiking Trail
In the Joburg area, the Uitkyk Hiking Trail is difficult to beat for serious hikers. It’s 60 miles north of the city, in the Magaliesburg Biosphere, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its incredible biodiversity and old human history. The trail is only 5.2 miles long, but it takes about five hours to finish because to the rugged terrain and steep ascents that cover about 1,440 feet of elevation. Expect jaw-dropping panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains and the Hartbeestpoort Dam along the way. Uitkyk Hiking Trail is one of the popular hikes in Johannesburg.
To hike this trail, you must make a reservation through the Fagala Voet website at least one day in advance. Because the trail is not guarded or patrolled, you must go in groups of 20 or more and sign a mountain register before beginning. Each hiker must bring food, sunscreen, a first-aid kit, and at least three liters of water.
Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve
Consider driving 90 miles southwest of Joburg to Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve for your next hiking expedition if you want to make a full day of it. Although this tranquil wilderness area is only around a two-hour drive from the city, its placement within the Vredefort Dome gives it the impression of being much farther away, both in terms of distance and time. The Dome, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the world’s oldest and largest meteor craters.
Suikerbosrand takes advantage of the region’s hilly environment by offering two well-marked, circular hiking paths that span around 12 miles and take hikers up to 5,250 feet above sea level. As you go, keep an eye out for small wildlife like as monkeys and impala. Mountain biking and swimming are also available, as well as self-catering cabins for those who want to make a weekend of it.
Sable Ranch is situated on a beautiful farm on the outskirts of Magaliesburg, a small community hidden beneath the Magaliesberg mountain range. This is one of Johannesburg’s top hiking paths, and it’s only one hour from the city center.
There are four trails: 5km, 8km, 10km, and 12km, which are available Monday through Sunday and on holidays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. At 14:00, the last hikers will begin.
Adventure Zone Cullinan
Muningi Gorge, a spectacular natural gorge 13 kilometers from the picturesque town of Cullinan, offers a variety of adventure experiences that may be booked through Adventure Zone Cullinan. There are three hiking trails here: 2 kilometers, 4.5 kilometers, and 8 kilometers, all of which begin by crossing the riverbank. Cillinan is arguably one of the best hikes in Johannesburg.
We did the latter, and it was one of the more difficult treks we’ve done in Gauteng so far, however the stunning landscape made it worthwhile. We hiked through the gorge, crisscrossing the river over the rocks, before clambering over rocks and hoisting ourselves over stones to reach the top of a high pass. It was intimidating at first, but we completed it and were ecstatic to have reached a new level of trekking.
Zip lines, abseiling, clay pigeon shooting, target and tag archery, fire-making, drumming, and the Amazing Race are all available at Adventure Zone Cullinan.
Adventure Zone Voortrekker Monument
A 340-hectare nature reserve surrounds the Voortrekker Monument, which is home to zebras and other plains game animals. Adventure Zone has three hiking paths that are 3 kilometers, 5 kilometers, and 8 kilometers long, albeit the longest route is only available on specific days as a guided trek. We hiked the 5-kilometer walk, which starts on the hill where the Voortrekker Monument is located, dips through the grasslands below, and then climbs back up to Fort Schanskop for panoramic views of Pretoria. Archery, quad-biking, fire-making, drumming, and Amazing Race events are all available.
Between Killarney and Houghton, The Wilds is a lovely 16-hectare nature reserve with water features, winding stone walkways, charming seats, and colorful laser-cut wildlife buildings by artist James Delaney. The reserve’s two sides are connected by a pedestrian bridge across Houghton Drive, and the reserve’s highest spots offer spectacular views of Joburg. The wilds is one of the best hikes in Johannesburg for couples.
Around Johannesburg, Africaland is a lesser-known hiking destination. Although it is technically in the North-West Province, you are permitted to drive there due to the current lockdown limitations.
Three hiking paths (3.5km, 6.8km, and 9km) thread their way through the Pelindaba Wilderness’ natural sceneries. Along the trip, you’ll pass by the Magaliesberg mountain range and see the skyline of Sandton in the distance.
Impala, Kudu, Nyala, Eland, and Duiker are all possible sightings if you’re lucky! I’m not in the mood to hike? Rock climbing, abseiling, and mountain riding are all available at Africaland!
Many people (like myself) are enamored by Magaliesberg’s Shelter Rock hiking trail.
It’s one of Johannesburg’s most stunning climbs, taking you past the ruins of an Iron Age village, ancient elephant-made walkways, and panoramic vistas of the Magaliesberg mountains.
On a clear day, you can see all the way to the hills around Sun City, Hartebeestpoort Dam, Sandton, and the West Rand from the top of the 8km trek!
Karee Hiking Trail
Karee is Rustig’s most difficult hike. It’s a 13-kilometer hike for experienced hikers. You’ve been warned that there’s a lot of climbing ahead of you! The views, though, are well worth the effort. Hikers must begin before 9 a.m., and the hike should take 5 to 6 hours to finish.
Witstinkhout Hiking Trail
If you’re looking for a more difficult route, Witsinkhout is the place to go. It’s 5 kilometers long and will take you about three hours to complete. Hikers must begin their journey before 11 a.m.
Olivenhout Hiking Trail
In Gauteng, are you looking for easy hiking trails? Olivenhout is only 3 kilometers long and takes about two hours to complete. Although there is a steep section, your glutes will thank you. Hikers must begin their journey before 12 p.m.