Rietfontein, Pretoria

One of the north-eastern suburbs of Pretoria, Rietfontein lies just a few kilometres outside of the centre of Pretoria between Waverley and Wonderboom South, the Magaliesberg Mountains a constant dim summons to escape the city on the horizon.

Staying in Rietfontein is indeed one of the best places to be if it is city escapes you are after. The Wonderboom Nature Reserve, a 200 hectare park famous throughout the world for its wild fig, known as the Wonderboom (miracle tree), lies on the kopje that divides north and south Pretoria. All that remains of the original miracle tree that began growing here more than 1000 years ago is a 5.5 metre diameter trunk - the tree is a shadow of its former self due to a combination of a fire and recent parasite infestation.

But the reserve is worth a visit to see the daughter trees that have rooted themselves, and the selection of antelope, monkeys, dassies and birds.

The Roodeplaat Nature Reserve too is within an easy distance of Rietfontein and worth a visit for its abundance of fish, bird and wildlife. Over 170 species of birds have been recorded here and the southern side of the dam is more or less an accepted bird lover’s domain with two hides to prove it. The northern stretches are given over to leisure water activities such as canoeing, and you can hope to see zebra, kudu, waterbuck, impala, wildebeest and even jackals.

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