Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve – Johannesburg

by Kojo Pocu
Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve

The Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve is rich in history and home to a wide variety of animals and plants. Along with zebra, red hartebeest, porcupines, black wildebeest, otters, blesbok, springbok, duiker, and 170 bird species, the reserve is home to 650 kinds of unique flora and trees. Jo’burgers have a variety of places to choose from to take a weekend getaway. However, there aren’t as many places left to discover for a Saturday morning stroll or an afternoon biology lesson with the kids. Imagine being able to enter a 680-acre wildlife reserve just a 15-kilometre drive from Sandton. Of course, you can in the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve, sometimes known as the “jewel of the South” (Klipriviersberg Conservancy). Additionally, admission is free.

The N1 appears to be the primary entry road, with exits on Impala Drive, Peggy Vera Road, and Frandaph Drive in the Kibler Park neighbourhood. The area is accessible every day, and 5.8 to 9 km long guided walks are offered on the second and fourth Sundays of each month. Check out the additional Saturday birding and flower walks that are listed on their schedule of events.

The Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve Association, an 800-member interest group that collaborates closely with Johannesburg City Parks in managing the reserve, has a well-written history of the region on its website. Stone age artefacts from 250 000 years ago indicate that people hunted in the region during that time but did not establish until the iron period when settlement evidence dates to around the year 1500.

On the koppies, a sizable pastoral Tswana community of about 19 villages was built, as shown by the ruins of the original stone walls that encircled their kraals and rose to a height of about 1.5 meters. Their sheep and cattle were protected by the inner walls, and it appears that sorghum was the preferred crop.

Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve

The Voortrekkers seem to have been the next occupants after this Tswana community was wiped out by King Mzilikazi in the early 1800s; Sarel Marais established a fruit farm in 1850 to the south of the reserve. The original farmstead was completely destroyed by fire, but the remnants and the nearby family cemetery can still be seen.

The Vierfontein Dam, which is located at the reserve’s northernmost gate at Mondeor, was built in the late 1880s with the intention of supplying water to all of Johannesburg. It is still possible to see enormous chunks of quartzite that were mined at Mondeor. The Anglo-Boer conflict, however, forced a halt to construction, and the new administration decided that more digging was not economically feasible. The Vaal river was chosen as a replacement water source.

You will definitely be rewarded for your efforts whether you visit the Klipriviersberg reserve to look for signs of its extensive past, to see the archaeological sites, the abundance of fauna and flora, or to take a guided tour.

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