Gauteng Tourist AttractionsEzemvelo Nature Reserve
Where? Ezemvelo Nature Reserve, R25, Bronkhorspruit, 1020, Gauteng
How? Call +27 (0)13 680-1399
Ezemvelo is one of those reserves about which few people know, and those who do, wish to keep it that way.
Close to Pretoria the reserve offers quiet, an experience of nature, a river in which to swim, great hikes, spectacular cliffs and rock formations, ancient San rock paintings, wonderful views out over the Wilge River, wild game, over 300 different birds, and picnic areas for families.
The reserve's draw card is the connection with nature it offers, so close to Pretoria. Animals include antelope, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, aardwolf, brown hyena and leopard, allowing visitors out of their cars (one often comes upon herds of zebra or antelope whilst cycling or hiking).
The 5 000 hectare reserve includes some of the last unspoilt grasslands and savannah in the country. Nights are wonderfully still with only bats and night-jars for company, and the camp site is regarded amongst visitors as a highlight of any visit (tip: camping can get really busy during holidays, and the chalets are at best 'rustic').
Self-guided hikes include trails between 4 km and 23 km, MTB trails (strenuous because of the deep sand; do the Penduka Trail- short and difficult but the views are fantastic) and horseback safaris and fishing are also available.
Bouldering is particularly popular at Ezemvelo, with over 50 bouldering spots all within walking distance. Contact the Top Out team who have played a big role in developing the bouldering in the reserve for route guides or tours.
The reserve is a gift from the Oppenheimers to the Maharishi Institute, a place of study that provides consciousness-based education to thousands of students.
Be aware: you will need a car with a high ground clearance, or a robust sedan, and the last stretch before you enter the reserve is gravel road. Baboons live in the reserve and it is unwise to leave any food out.
Ezemvelo is on Vlakfontein Road near Bronkhorstspruit. It forms part of the Diamond Route Ė a huge national project that links the conservation properties of the Oppenheimer family and De Beers.