Heidelberg, Southern Gauteng

The town of Heidelberg, of the same name as the town in Germany, lies just off the N3 highway roughly 50 kilometres outside of Johannesburg at the foot of the Suikerbosrand.

What began as a trading store built on a farm out here called Langlaagte, is today a rather big town probably best known for its association with the popular Woodstock Music Festival. Another reason Jo'burgers head out to Heidelberg is to visit the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve - a fair size nature reserve named after the sugar bush or Protea Caffra. It lies within an hour's drive of the city and its major feature is the Suikerbos Mountain Range that serves as the backdrop to a network of backpacking hiking trails and a 60 kilometre tourist route you can do by car. Get an early start if you're planning on a summer hike at Suikerbosrand as it can get pretty warm during the day.

Heidelberg has a fairly interesting history. It was briefly the capital of the ZuidAfrikaansche Republiek (South African Republic), which was an independent Boer-ruled country during the second half of the 19th century and occupied the area later known as Transvaal. It was annexed by the UK during the Second Boer War but some of the initiall homesteads and buildings still stand. The Heidelberg Transport Museum is housed in the old sandstone railway station, and the Dutch Reformed church is a provincial heritage site.

And if you really want to find a reason to visit: the Heidelberg cemetery is home to the grave of Count Heinrich von Zeppelin, the uncle of the inventor of the airship.

Travellers' Reviews

1 Review from SA-Venues.com travellers. All reviews are verified.

Verified reviewexcellent

Most Joburger's don't think of heading out to Heidelberg for a Sunday. However, this pretty little town offers a huge amount for the active visitor and passer-by. The bird-watching is incredible with the protected wetland area of Marievale just north of it. Whilst the Suikerbos is the obvious attraction for hikers and mountain bikers, the Valpre water farm and other surrounding farms and venues on the surrounding rivers are also incredibly beautiful. The town itself has a great history with many preserved buildings and friendly people. It also houses Africa's largest cigarette factory (British American Tobacco), an Eskort butchery, Karan Beef feedlot and Gauteng's strategic fuel depot at Jameson Park. All amongst the picturesque Suikerbos hills and hiking trails. All 45 minutes from central Johannesburg. A real country gem a stone's throw from the hussle and hassle of Joburg.

Bevan Jones (Johannesburg)

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