Hiking in and around Joburg – Gauteng's best hiking trails

08 Mar 2024

Joburg is amongst the world’s most treed cities, and within city limits, there is no shortage of scenic green spaces to take a stroll. We're also fortunate to be surrounded by the magnificent Magaliesberg mountains. Stretching 120km from Pretoria to Rustenburg, it's one of the oldest ranges on the planet. Gauteng's biomes are grassland and savanna, and the province is richly biodiverse. Outside of the city and into the surrounding countryside you'll find private nature reserves crisscrossed by hiking trails that promise plenty of interesting fauna and flora and wonderful views, all within easy day-tripping distance. 

For more on exploring the province, read our ultimate guide to what to see and do in Gauteng.

Over the years we've made it our mission to get out and hike Gauteng, and we always have our eyes and ears open for new trails to try out. Here's our comprehensive, tried-and-tested guide to some of the best hiking trails in Gauteng.

Permit-holder-only hiking areas

In this hiking guide, we have focused on trails that do not require a permit to visit. Several impressive hikes in the Magaliesberg area can only be accessed by members of the Mountain Club of South Africa (MCSA), who have applied for the relevant permits. In some cases, it may be possible to apply for a permit as a non-member or as a guest of a member. Hikes that can be accessed with such permits include Castle Gorge, Cedarberg Kloof, Dome Pools, Grootkloof, Mhlabatini, Lower Tonquani, Upper Tonquani, and Ysterhout Kloof. For more on joining the MCSA's Johannesburg section for access to properties owned and maintained by the club, visit


A 13km drive east of Cullinan in the scenic Muningi Gorge, Adventure Zone Cullinan offers high-octane ziplining and abseiling activities, and also has three interesting hiking routes that plot their way up and down through the wooded gorge. There are three hikes to tackle: a 2km, 4.5km, and 8km, each of which involves some moderate scrambling up and down over boulders as you make your way along the riverbed. The 8km route should take around three to four hours to complete, with some moderate uphills as you climb up a pass in the gorge before looping back around the top. For post-hike refreshments, there's a small deck overlooking the dam at the top of the gorge serving drinks and snacks.

All activities, including hiking, should be booked online in advance at; open Mon – Sat from 08:00 – 17:00, Sun from 08:00 – 15:00; 103 Oak Avenue, Cullinan.


In 2020, the Adventure Zone company was invited by the Voortrekker Monument and Museum to develop new attractions in the reserve that would broaden the monument's appeal and make better use of the expansive nature reserve that surrounds it. The new hiking trails offer a choice of 3km, 5km or 8km routes. The trails scale the hill on which the Voortrekker Monument stands, before tracing a winding path through the grasslands below and heading up again to the steeper slope on the adjacent hill, up to the Schanskop Fort. Here, you'll find some of the best views of Pretoria and may even spot small game roaming the grasslands alongside you.

The hike should be booked in advance by phone so the team can know to expect you; call +27 72 274 8259 to arrange your visit. You can pay the hiking fees (R80 p.p.) when you arrive. Open Mon – Sat from 08:00 – 17:00, Sun from 08:00 – 15:00; Voortrekker Monument, Eeufees Road, Groenkloof, Pretoria

Pretoria views from Schanskop Fort on a hike at the Voortrekker Monument. Photo: Supplied.
Pretoria views from Schanskop Fort on a hike at the Voortrekker Monument. Photo: Supplied.


Just half an hour's drive from Sandton Central, this expansive lodge in the middle of a 160-ha conservancy in the Cradle of Humankind is popular with mountain bikers, trail runners, and open-water swimmers. Head to the activities centre next to the car park to pick up maps and pay for activities. For mountain bikers, trail runners, and hikers looking for a gentle walk, there are over 30km of trails, crisscrossing the game reserve spread over three well-marked routes. For hikers, the best route is the easygoing 10km route which traces a path around the Cradle Moon Dam. There is abundant game including zebras, giraffes, and springbok. The dam is also a short walk from the Cradle Moon reception, and it's a popular destination for open-water swimmers – albeit very cold in winter! Swimmers can follow the buoys to plot a 1km swimming route around the circumference of the dam. No pets or music, and no food, drinks, cooler boxes, or alcohol are allowed to be brought onto the premises. But not to worry; there are two restaurants on-site.

No need to book in advance to enjoy Cradle Moon's cycling, running, hiking, and swimming activities. There is an entrance (conservation) fee, plus an additional fee depending on the activities you want to do. Pay for all activities at the activities centre on arrival (show proof of payment to exit afterwards). Find opening hours herePlot 59, Beyers Naude Drive, Muldersdrift.
Cradle Moon Lakeside Game Lodge
Wildlife is abundant at Cradle Moon Lakeside Game Lodge. Photo: Supplied.


Bordering Hartbeespoort Dam, about a 30-minute drive from Pretoria, this hilly hiking reserve which hugs the rocky​ foothills of the Magaliesberg mountains has an array of trails to suit all ages and fitness levels. Families will enjoy the 5km or 7km Kiepersol trail while a more difficult hike can be had on the 12.5km Ktatu trail. All trails are pet-friendly except the Wild Dog and multi-day Brown Hyena trails.

The trails are open strictly by prior appointment only. Hikers and trail runners must book and pay for their visit in advance by emailing or calling +27 82 777 9326; closed Mon. Find opening hours hereR513 Yellow board no. 78E, Farm Schietfontein Portion 19, Schietfontein, De Wildt
Beautiful Magaliesberg landscapes await. Photo: Supplied.
Beautiful Magaliesberg landscapes await. Photo: Supplied.


This wilderness hiking venue falls under the purview of the Mountain Club of South Africa (MCSA) but is open to non-members with valid permits, and is well worth visiting. The Dome Pools property is home to some of the deepest rock pools in the Magaliesberg, making it especially fantastic for the summer months – or winter if ice baths are your thing. The hike to the pools and back is approximately 8km with some fairly steep ascents and descents along the way. The path is unmarked, so this hike is only recommended if you're comfortable following the route on the map provided.

Non-MCSA members may visit the Dome Pools, but a limited number of permits are issued per day to limit the number of people accessing the property for conservation reasons. Permits can be obtained from (note that office hours are Mon – Fri from 08:00 – 10:00). Mon – Sun from 07:00 – 19:00; Wilkinson Avenue, Lonrho Drive, Mooinooi.

Dome Pools
Dome Pools is a perfect spot for summer swimming. Photo: Supplied.


Not to be confused with the network of safari reserves in KwaZulu-Natal, Ezemvelo Nature Reserve near Bronkhorstspruit, east of Pretoria, offers mountain biking, hiking, game drives, fishing, and bird watching. There is an abundance of interesting game to watch out for including zebras, wildebeest, and red hartebeest, as well as fantastic birdlife. There are three different hiking trails to choose from which traverse a tree-lined river valley overlooked by rocky outcrops. The short Ochna trail (5km) treads a path through grasslands and up a small koppie; the Protea trail (14.6km) covers much grassland and a small, steep, rocky hill; while the 21km Burkea trail is a tough walk through grassland and over hills to the far side of the reserve and takes approximately five hours to complete. There is a shop on the reserve that stocks the basics. The reserve is open for hiking, mountain biking, and self-drive excursions. There are no specific routes for cyclists, but they can make use of any of the jeep tracks around the reserve.

The reserve is open daily for day visitors from 07:00–17:00. To book email Visit for more information; entrance on R493, Elandsfontein.
A river runs through it. Hiking at the beautiful Ezemvelo Nature Reserve. Photo: Supplied.
A river runs through it. Hiking at the beautiful Ezemvelo Nature Reserve. Photo: Supplied.


Bordering the suburb of Faerie Glen in the east of Pretoria, Faerie Glen Nature Reserve is a pristine respite from its built-up surrounds. With impressive wildlife (look out for larger game like impala and zebra, and smaller mammals including mongooses, hares, and porcupines) and scenic views out over the city, this reserve makes for excellent urban hiking. Once a private farm, the land has been managed by the City Council of Pretoria since 1973 as a public open space, though it only gained reservation status in 2014. The valley comprises two vegetation types: Gold Reef Mountain bushveld and Marikana thornveld. There are three trails to choose from, which ascend in difficulty. The 2.3 km Hadeda trail is great for beginner hikers, while the Acacia trail is 3.2 km and the Kiepersol trail (rated most challenging) is 4.2 km.

Groups of more than 20 people must book in advance. Otherwise, entrance fees can be paid at reception on arrival. Dogs on leashes are allowed with a valid permit (obtained by completing the application form at the cashier.). Mon – Sun from 06:00 – 18:00; January Masilela Drive, Faerie Glen, Pretoria.

Birdlife at the Faerie Glen Nature Reserve. Photo: Dirk Maartens Human.
Birdlife at the Faerie Glen Nature Reserve. Photo: Dirk Maartens Human.


Hennops Hiking Trail is a 45-minute drive north of Joburg, but more than worth the journey. Choose from three circular hiking routes: the short 2km Dassie trail, the 5km Zebra route, or the more challenging 10km Krokodilberg route (four to five hours for experienced hikers). All trails begin by crossing the Hennops River either by a suspension bridge or via a fun, old-fashioned 'cable car' that works by a pulley system. The trails then meander through the surrounding hills with good views of the nearby Magaliesberg mountains.

There is no need to book in advance to visit Hennops Hiking Trail. Note the last entrance to the trails is at 13:00. No pets or baby strollers allowed. Mon – Fri from 07:00 – 13:00, Sat and Sun from 06:00 – 13:00; entrance off the R511 (10km south of the R105 junction).
The Hennops River. Photo: Supplied.
The Hennops River. Photo: Supplied.


A 40-minute drive from Joburg, and a few kilometres outside of Krugersdorp, lies Kings Kloof Trails, a picturesque farm with a range of trails meandering across the hills. The trails gently wind around the hills before swooping down to follow a river through a wooded valley towards a waterfall at the foot of the kloof. There are six well-marked and maintained trails to choose from. The most popular is the 7km Yellow route which should take you around 75 minutes to complete. Note that these trails are designed with trail running in mind, so they feature a lot of loops that you might find quite annoying. Unless you are on a mission to clock up your steps you might want to consider 'chicken running' some of the more boring loops.

No prior booking is required although it can get busy, so arrive as early as you can. Kids Grade R and under enter for free. Water and energy drinks/snacks are allowed on trails but no other food or beverage is allowed – these are available from the restaurant and take-away section. No private picnics allowed (picnic spots can be pre-arranged and baskets paid for upfront). No pets allowed. Sat, Sun and public holidays from 06:00 – 15:00; entrance along the N14 (extension of Hendrik Potgieter, Muldersdrift).

The waterfall at Kings Kloof. Photo: Supplied.
The waterfall at Kings Kloof. Photo: Supplied.


Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve is an extensive reserve that covers more than 600 ha and is a popular city escape in south Joburg. Blesbok, zebra, and other game roam the hillsides of the ‘rock river mountain’ and there are various signposted hiking trails ranging from 3km to 9km. The circular 8km Dassie trail starts at the Silent Pools entrance and winds its way to the top of the hill, or take the slightly shorter and flatter Bloubos trail that follows the river. Neighbouring the reserve is Thaba Trails (101 Kliprivier Drive, Mulbarton), a dedicated mountain biking area that opens on weekends with a 6km, 15km or 30km biking trail to choose from.

This is a public nature reserve and no prior booking is required and there's no entrance fee. Arrive as early as you can. No pets or bicycles allowed. There is a braai and picnic area at the reserve's entrance (but you'll need your own braai set-up). Mon – Sun from sunrise to sunset; entrance directly opposite 129 Peggy Vera Road, Kibler Park.


A nature reserve and heritage site, Melville Koppies boast archaeological remains of Stone Age and Iron Age settlements and great views over the City Centre skyline. The best way to visit is on one of the Sunday morning guided hikes (90 minutes and longer), which alternate between a 4km guided walk and a more challenging 10km hike and take in the area’s unique fauna and geology.

Email  or call +27 79 532 0083 to book your place on a guided hike (R100 p.p). Or enjoy a 5km self-hike (R50 p.p; R50 for under 18s); pay on the day at the reception hut. No pets, braais, picnicking or bikes allowed. Secure, free parking can be found opposite the Koppies' entrance at Marks Park Sports Club in Judith Road, Emmarentia. Melville Koppies Central opens on Sun mornings for walkers and hikers, entrance is strictly from 08:00 sharp and you must have left the reserve by 11:30 (the gates will be locked); corner Judith and Orange Roads, Emmarentia.
The spectacular Melville Koppies. Photo: Mark Straw.
The spectacular Melville Koppies. Photo: Mark Straw.


Modderfontein Reserve is a peaceful, privately managed 275-ha reserve, crisscrossed by relatively flat hiking and cycling trails that are well-maintained. There are specially designed mountain biking routes ranging from 10km to 40km (as well as a kiddies' and pump track) and non-technical hiking trails of varying distances that skirt around the reserve’s wetland areas. All hiking and cycling trails are open daily and the Fourways Farmers Market takes place here over the weekends (there's an additional entrance fee for the market of R10 p.p).

There is no need to book although the reserve may close to extra visitors if it gets too full, so we recommend getting there early. The entrance fee varies depending on the activity you want to do. You can also picnic at Dam 3 (it has braai facilities but limited capacity) for an additional fee. Fishing is allowed at Dam 3 but a daily permit must be bought (strictly catch and release). Strictly no pets allowed in the reserve, but socialised, leashed dogs are allowed at the market. Mon – Sun, 06:00 – 18:00; entrance on Arden Rd (off Ardeer Road) in Modderfontein, or at Taroko Trail Park, Norfolk Lane, Klipfontein.
Modderfontein Nature Reserve. Photo: Heather Mason for Johannesburg In Your Pocket.
Modderfontein Nature Reserve. Photo: Heather Mason for Johannesburg In Your Pocket.


Mountain Sanctuary Park is wonderful for a day hike or an overnight stay. You don't have to work too hard before arriving at the pristine, cascading rock pools, and if you hike no further these can easily keep you occupied for the day. This private nature reserve is unique in that there's no set path, so it's a choose-your-own-adventure kind of hike with 1,000 ha of veld to explore using a map provided at reception. Good news for semi-experienced hikers or those who do well with orienteering, but guided hikes are offered (approx 3 – 4.5 hours) if you'd prefer. The property has beautiful rock formations and a wide variety of animals and birds indigenous to the Magaliesberg, as well as sites for rock climbing and abseiling (own gear is required).

Day visitors can pay for their passes at the reception of Mountain Sanctuary Park. Note there is also a vehicle entrance fee of R100. To book a guided hike, contact +27 82 707 5538; Mon – Sun from 08:00 – 17:30; find directions here.

A dip in the crystal clear pools at Mountain Sanctuary Park. Photo: Johannesburg In Your Pocket.
A dip in the crystal clear pools at Mountain Sanctuary Park. Photo: Johannesburg In Your Pocket.


One of our favourite Gauteng hikers, the seasoned Tanya Pembroke, says Ndofaya Trail in Soweto was one of the best walking/cultural experiences she's had. Explore the golden dunes of the Main Reef mines in this moderate, family-friendly guided hike. The 6.5km route starts in Meadowlands, Soweto, winding down to the Fleurhof Dam and up into the old gold mine dumps, covering a portion of Roodepoort before you make your way back to a local shebeen for a bite to eat.

Masike Lebele and his team lead this educational group hike that costs R200 p.p. Call +27 82 717 4816 to reserve your spot. Weekend hikes start at 07:00, with sundowners at 16:30. Follow them on Facebook for regular updates; 44B Ordendaal Road, Johannesburg. 

Masike Lebele's guided hike shows a different side to Soweto. Photo: Supplied.


Rustig Hiking Trails is a historic family farm that sits right below the craggy foothills of the Magaliesberg. It's popular with day visitors who come to hike the Rustig trails which climb their way up the crags to offer spectacular views across northern Gauteng. There's a choice of easier trails ranging from 3km to 5km, and a more challenging full-day 13km trail which will take you right up to the top of the mountain. The trails pass through various terrain taking in grasslands, cave entrances, and rocky outcrops with rewarding views down into the valley below. 

Advanced booking is required to ensure a safe number of hikers on the trails. You must book your hike beforehand online via the Rustig website. No pets allowed. Cashless venue. Closed Mon, open Tue – Thu from 07:30 – 16:30, Fri from 08:00 – 17:00, Sat from 07:00 – 17:00, Sun from 07:00 – 16:00. Portian 91, Plaas Hartebeesfontein, Hekpoort.


Spread across the lower slopes of the foothills of the Magaliesberg, Sable Ranch is a large game farm that also offers 4x4 trails. The full 12km hike is occasionally closed in hunting season (if it is closed you will only manage a 6km loop). The trail starts by meandering through farmland (look out for the albino wildebeest) before making a steep incline up a winding, rocky path quickly revealing sweeping views. At the top, there is a small dam (dubbed 'Camp's Bay') with a rope swing if you fancy a dip in summer. This is one of the few hiking trails that allows you to bring dogs (they must be on a lead) and there are braai facilities, plus a tuckshop on site.

There is no need to book in advance. It is worth calling ahead to check if hunting will be taking place on the day you plan to visit. R70 for adults, R30 for children. Hiking is cash only. Mon – Sun from 07:00 – 17:00; Sable Ranch, on the R96 just before Hekpoort.

Views on the Sable Ranch hiking trail. Photo: Supplied.
Views on the Sable Ranch hiking trail. Photo: Supplied.


On the southern border of Gauteng, Suikerbosrand is a vast, 19,000-ha nature reserve that's also an important area of archaeological research with the remnants of an ancient, pre-colonial Tswana city discovered in the area in 2018. Named after the sugarbush (suikerbos), the reserve hosts meandering hiking trails that snake over the Suikerbosrand mountain range as well as a 60km tarred self-drive/cycling route that traverses the rolling hills, taking in several dams and bird hides. Day hikers can choose from the 11.5km Bokmakiere trail, the easy 3.7km Cheetah trail, or the visually impaired/wheelchair-accessible 700m Toktokkie trail. The reserve is also popular for its overnight and multiple-day hiking trails which make use of remote hikers' cottages scattered throughout the reserve.

Overnight trails should be tackled in a group (maximum 10 hikers) and will need to be arranged in advance with the reserve. No cash accepted. R45 p.p entrance fee (R35 for pensioners and kids between three and 11), additional R35 per car (increases depending on size of vehicle). Mon – Sun from 07:00 – 16:00. Heidelberg Road, R550 off the N3, Nigel.


One of Joburg’s most beautiful and well-maintained parks, head to Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden for a wide variety of unusual flora, excellent birdwatching (look out for the pair of Verreaux’s eagles), a waterfall and other natural delights. There are various easy walking routes which wind their way through the gardens, the longest of which is a 3.5km nature trail that takes you to the top of the Witpoortjie waterfall.

The Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden is managed by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). There is no need to book in advance to visit the gardens but there is an entrance fee. No cash accepted. No pets allowed. Mon – Sun, 08:00 – 17:00. End of Malcolm Road, Poortview, Roodepoort.
The waterfall at Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden. Photo: Mark Straw.
The waterfall at Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden. Photo: Mark Straw.

If you are a keen hiker and want to know more about hiking Gauteng, read our #MyJoburg interview with hiking enthusiast Tanya Pembroke.


Unfortunately, hikers may be targeted by criminals which means safety considerations need to extend beyond basics such as ensuring you have adequate water, sun protection, and a first aid kit on hand when setting out. The idea is not to deter avid hikers or those looking to explore the outdoors from enjoying South Africa’s hiking trails; it’s simply important to be aware, remain vigilant, and take basic precautions. Here are some things to consider.

Do not hike alone

As with any kind of exploring, you are better off doing so in a group. Group hikes not only offer safety in numbers but it’s also useful to have someone to turn to should an emergency arise. Do not venture too far ahead of the group and do not leave any members of the group behind. Some groups may find it useful to have two-way radios to keep in touch or whistles to raise alarm in case of emergency.

Share information

When planning a hike, share information about where you are going as well as when you plan on being back with someone you can trust to check in on you should the need arise. Let them know who they can contact in case of an emergency and share up-to-date locations as and when you’re able to.

Plan in advance

Make sure you familiarise yourself with the route and potential obstacles before setting out. Ensure you have the equipment and gear you may need along the way and share emergency contact details with all the members in your party. Don't underestimate how much water you may need, either. 

Find out more

When in doubt, contact the office or organisation that oversees the hiking trail you want to tackle to ask about specific risks, tips, and safety precautions.

Subscribe to our free weekly Johannesburg In Your Pocket newsletter for all the latest news and reviews about what's new in Joburg!


Connect via social media
google sign in button
Leave a comment using your email This e-mail address is not valid
Please enter your name*

Please share your location

Enter your message*
Put our app in your pocket
This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here. AGREE