Things To Do in HeidelbergSuikerbosrand hiking trail
Where? Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, near Heidelberg, Gauteng
When? Daylight hours.
How? Call +27 (0)11 439-6300
How much? Price on request
Start: information centre, Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, near Heidelberg
Duration: self-created hikes from a network of 66 km worth of hiking trails
Fitness: easy to difficult
Our tip: if you're doing the overnight hike, make sure you get your permits in advance from the nature reserve; day hikers can get their permits from the information centre
Suikerbosrand's major feature is access to the Suikerbosrand Mountain Range, making the hiking terrain fairly hilly and thus taxing.
Two day trails, the Cheetah interpretive trail, which is just over 4 km and great for beginners, or the Bokmakiere trail, with two options of either 10 km or 17 km, are available for those hikers with less time on their hands.
Remember to take enough water with you on any of the hikes. Water is scarce in the reserve and needs to be used sparingly when you overnight at any of the huts.
Overnight hikers have six overnight huts to choose from, or use. The idea is to design your own route from the trails available. Be aware that to reach an initial overnight hike is a minimum of 5 km from the office, so factor this into a Friday evening start.
Despite being so close to both Pretoria and Johannesburg, you can design up to six consecutive days worth of hiking, if you criss cross the reserve, using all its overnight huts. And the sounds of wild game (eland, zebra, black wildebeest, red hartebeest and brown hyena were reintroduced in the reserve) in the reserve at night, easily allow one to feel transported into another province deep in the bushveld.
All of the huts have beds, mattresses, hot showers and chemical loos. All of them are in secluded areas. Bring along a portable gas stove and pots.