Hiking through a destination is, undoubtedly, one of the best ways to experience it in a personal, intimate way. Hiking allows you to slow your pace, feel the vegetation, hear the calls of wild birds and smell the sweet air of nature. Hiking may range from easy walking trails to far more challenging marked trails that require skill and a fair amount of fitness.
Regardless of where you choose to hike in South Africa, it is essential to protect yourself and your family against the harmful rays of the sun. This is applicable even in overcast or cool conditions. Apply a high-factor sunscreen regularly, and wear loose cotton clothing that covers the head, neck, arms and legs. Opt for good quality sunglasses. A broad-brimmed hat is also recommended
Here are some of the finest and most popular trails for Hiking In and Around Pretoria…
The Tswaing Crater is just Pretoria Accommodation (40 kilometres to the north) and is believed to have been created by an asteroid weighing around 300 000 tonnes, which plummeted to earth. The hiking trail is fairly easy and takes walkers along the outskirts of the massive crater, and then down to the scenic lake in its bowl. The entire trail is about 7.5 kilometres long and takes between two and three hours to complete. The reserve and surrounds are home to a number of incredible indigenous tree species, as well as the birds that have made this their home.
Braai facilities and ablutions are available. Hikers are advised to take plenty of water, apply sunscreen regularly, and use plenty of insect repellent for the mosquitoes.
The Oubaas Trail
This is part of the Smuts House Museum and is one of the very few dolomite grasslands that still exist in South Africa. It is an easy trail, spanning only 2.3 kilometres, but one that is immensely rewarding for young and old alike. It takers walkers up to Smuts Koppie, where there is a memorial to this iconic South African family.
This trail is great for birding enthusiasts, who are reminded to bring their binoculars. There is also a special beetle found in this area, known as the Ichnestoma stobbiai, as well as some small buck species and hares.
Situated in Pretoria North, this reserve has a number of different trails from which to choose. The shortest is only half a kilometre long and is easy to master, while the longest trail takes visitors around the mountain and through dense vegetation. The views are magnificent. Be sure to visit the tree after which the reserve is named, which is a wild willowleaf dated at 1 000 years old. There are various antelope species, as well as zebra and an abundance of birds to be found at Wonderboom.
Somabula is a small reserve that offers hiking, mountain biking and horse riding trails as part of their impressive experience. These trails are not formally marked, but there are about eight kilometres of navigable routes for those wanting to explore the surrounds. A number of wild game species can be spotted en route; including many different antelopes, giraffe and zebra. After a rewarding trail, enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking the spectacular dam.