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Pretoria’s top nature reserves

Pretoria has a large number of nature reserves, many of them unique. Without leaving the city boundary you can see some of the big five, a 1000 year old tree, a meteorite crater and so much more.

Text and pictures by Charl Steenkamp

Groenkloof Nature Reserve

Main article: Groenkloof Nature Reserve

Groenkloof Nature Reserve is said to be the first proclaimed game sanctuary in Africa (1895). It offers a large variety of activities for nature lovers just 5 km from the city centre. The mountain bike trail is a favourite among local cyclists and has a total length of 20 km. Although situated in an urban environment the reserve also offers hikers a surprisingly natural atmosphere. There are various trails to choose from that differ in difficulty.

Size: 600 ha
Game: More than 20 mammal species including, giraffe, kudu, impala, zebra, blue wildebeest and sable.
Birds: More than a 100 species recorded.
Opening hours: Summer (September – April) 05:30 – 19:00; Winter (May – August) 07:00 – 18:00. Entrance to the nature reserve will only be allowed until 1 hour before closing time
Address:  Christina de Wit Avenue, Groenkloof, Pretoria, 0027
Contact: 012 440 8316
Email: groenkloofnaturereserve@tshwane.gov.za
Website: Official page at City of Tshwane – Groenkloof Nature Reserve 

Rietvlei Nature Reserve

Main article: Rietvlei Nature Reserve

The Rietvlei Nature Reserve is only 18km from the centre of Pretoria and offers activities such as hiking trails, horse riding trails, birding and game viewing tours as well as angling. The reserve is also equipped with overnight and Lapa facilities. The reserve is mainly responsible for the conservation of the Rietvlei Dam catchment and the accumulation and distribution of drinking water. It consists of open grassland with undulating hills of central variation of Bankenveld.

Size: 3800 ha
Game: More than 20 large mammals including, white rhino, hippo, cheetah, leopard and buffalo.
Birds: More than 270 species recorded.
Opening hoursSummer (September to March) 05:30 – 17:00 (You may remain inside until 19:00 when the gates close). Winter (April to August) 06:00 – 16:00 (You may remain inside until 18:00 when the gates close).
Coordinates ‘S25 52 973 E028 15 789
Contact: 012 358 1811/2, 012 811 9901 or 072 047 3590
Email: rietvlein@tshwane.gov.za
Website: Official page at City of Tshwane – Rietvlei Nature Reserve

Klapperkop Nature Reserve

Main article: Klapperkop Nature Reserve

Klapperkop offers panoramic views of Pretoria towards all directions. It is perfect for an afternoon drive and has also become popular with cyclist and runners. Zebra, blue wildebeest and other game species have been reintroduced to this area and it has a rich bird life. The beautifully restored Fort Klapperkop can be found here and is now a museum.

Opening hours: Summer (September – April): 06:30 – 19:00; Winter (May – August): 07:00 – 17:00
Address: Johan Rissik Avenue, off R21, Pretoria.
Contact Number: Tel: 012 440 8316 / 012 341 0591
Website: Official page at City of Tshwane – Klapperkop Nature Reserve

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Tswaing Nature Reserve

Main Article: Tswaing Nature Reserve and Impact Crater

Pretoria boasts with one of the youngest and best preserved meteorite craters in the world at Tswaing. Formed about 220 000 years ago when a large stony meteorite crashed into the earth’s crust, this nature reserves has a 7km trail around the 200m deep impact crater, an environmental education centre, a community arts centre as well as a cultural centre.

Size: 2000 ha
Game: Include zebra, otters, genets and brown hyenas.
Birds: More than 240 species recorded.
Opening hours: Daily 07:30 to 16:00.
Address: Plot 149 JR, Soutpan, along the old Onderstepoort Road.
Contact Number: 012 790 2302
Website: Official page at City of Tshwane – Tshwaing Nature Reserve

Voortrekker Monument Nature Reserve

Main article: The Voortrekker Monument Nature Reserve

The 341 hectares area around the Voortrekker Monument was declared a Nature Reserve 1992. The reserve offers beautiful views of Pretoria with a variety of fauna and flora present. There are many outdoor activities such as hiking, birding, cycling and horse riding.

Size: 341 ha
Game: Include zebra, black wildebeest, red hartbeest and busbuck.
Opening hours: 1 September – 30 April: 08:00 – 18:00; 1 May – 31 August: 08:00 – 17:00
Address: Eeufees Road, Groenkloof, Pretoria.
Contact Number: 012 326 6770 / 325 7885 / 325 0477
Email: marketing@vtm.org.za
Website: voortrekkermon.org.za

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Wonderboom Nature Reserve

Main article: The Wonderboom Nature Reserve

Situated in the north of Pretoria and part of the Magaliesberg Mountain Range, the reserve offers scenic views from the top of the hill. It’s famous must-see attraction is the “Wonderboom” a specimen of Ficus salicifolia, a 1000 year old wild fig tree that grows in the reserve. There are hiking trails leading to the ruins of the Wonderboom Fort.

Size: 200 ha
Game: Include zebra, impala and rock hyrax
Birds: More than 200 species occur.
Opening hours: Summer (September – April) 07h00 – 18h00; Winter (May – August) 07h00 – 18h00. (Entrance to nature reserve will only be allowed until 1 hour before closing time).
Coordinates: ‘S25 41 202 E028 11 384
Contact Number: (012) 440 8316 / 341 5204
Website: Official page at City of Tshwane – Wonderboom Nature Reserve


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