Melville Koppies, Johannesburg
Melville Koppies Nature Reserve, known locally as Melville Koppies, isn't just a pretty green space really close to one of the trendiest suburbs, and the city centre, of Johannesburg, it is also a World Heritage Site and of major historical significance, given that people have lived here since the Stone Age, and the ridges are estimated to be 2.9 billion years old.
Melville Koppies, a declared national monument, is made up of three sections: the first is 60 hectares of nature reserve, open to the public only every Sunday. There is a further open section to the west of this, known as the Westdene Ridge, which is an area of 100 hectares, and another 10 hectare section, known as the Louw Geldenhuys viewsite. In its totality, Melville Koppies lies just 5 kilometres from the city centre, adjacent to Melville, and seemingly linked by a narrow strip of land of the Jan Van Riebeeck Park Nature Reserve with Johannesburg Botanical Garden, creating a rather long 'green corridor' in the heart of Jo'burg's northern suburbs.
As its name suggests, Melville Koppies is predominantly a ridge. In fact it is the last of what remains of Johannesburg's ridges to be conserved as it was before the discovery of gold in the late 1880s. The koppies became a nature reserve in 1959 and with the discovery of an Iron Age furnace, it became a national monument too.
On Melville Koppies you will find over 200 different types of birds, a range of small mammals such as mongooses, civets, hares, hedgehogs, shrews and various lizards, chameleons and tortoises. And in the indigenous grasses and vegetation a number of snakes, including the rinkhals. Some of the oldest rock on earth, known as greenstone, lies on this hill, even if it is overlaid with granite.
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Set on the western shores of the picturesque Emmarentia Dam, Johannesburg Botanic Garden is one of the city’s parks - a green space in the middle of Jo'burgs northern suburbs about 6 kilometres from the city centre - with over 30 000 trees, a large rose garden, the site of over 4 500 varieties, and a ... more information