Step out of your comfort zone and explore the best of South Africa’s Highveld with these micro adventures this summer.
Gauteng is not just a bustling hub of industry and commerce; it’s also home to some hidden outdoor gems for adventure seekers. While not everyone has the luxury of weeks to embark on grand expeditions, micro-adventures offer an opportunity to escape the daily grind and explore the wild beauty surrounding Gauteng. Read on for a taste of what the Highveld has to offer.
Micro Adventure: Go Underground And Descend Into History
Located just an hour’s drive away from both Johannesburg and Pretoria, the Sterkfontein Caves have earned global recognition for their remarkable fossil discoveries and have become a sought-after attraction for visitors. Following a comprehensive renovation in 2005, the Sterkfontein Caves site has undergone a significant transformation, now boasting a high-end restaurant and state-of-the-art conference facilities. This not only enhances the visitor experience but also provides convenient access to the caves through modern walkways and a well-maintained boardwalk that passes by the excavation site, where internationally acclaimed fossils have been unearthed. A tour through these limestone caves is an encounter with history way beyond that boring high school classroom. Take a day and tour the Humankind World Heritage Site near Krugersdorp, it will leave you enlightened.
Micro Adventure: Fly Fishing The Vaal River
About two billion years ago, a rock the size of Table Mountain smashed into earth in a scene even Hollywood would struggle to recreate. The scars lie in Parys, an hour north of Joburg. The Vredefort Dome is the largest visible star wound in the world (call it an “astrobleme” if you want to sound professional). The blow rearranged the earth’s surface in a ripple effect, a little like dropping a pebble into a bowl of water. It’s a complex mix of geology and physics that’s kept scientists busy for years. The incident didn’t wipe anything out, but with the help of a billion or so years of erosion and deposition, created a gnarled piece of adventure-sport earth. Most adventures revolve around the Vaal River, which runs through the dome. The Vaal’s riffles invite fly-fishing for the wily yellowfish catfish, and carp. Learn more here and get in touch with the guys at Mavungana Flyfishing for more info on fly patterns and guiding.
Micro Adventure: Tandem Paraglide In The Magaliesberg
The Magaliesberg mountain range offers ideal conditions for tandem paragliding. One of the most popular launch sites is located near the town of Hartbeespoort Dam, which is easily accessible from Johannesburg and Pretoria. Tandem paragliding involves flying with a certified and experienced paragliding instructor. This means you don’t need any prior paragliding experience or training, making it accessible to adventurers of all skill levels. The instructor (click here to find the best) will handle all aspects of the flight, ensuring your safety and providing guidance throughout the experience.
Micro Adventure: Trail Run (Hike or Bike) Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve
Nestled in the southern part of Gauteng, Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve is a micro-adventure haven for hikers and mountain bikers. With over 70 kilometres of well-maintained trails, you can explore grassy plateaus, dense forests, and gushing waterfalls. The diverse landscapes cater to all skill levels, and the reserve’s rich wildlife, including zebras, wildebeests, and antelopes, enhances the experience. For an added thrill, consider overnight camping under the starry Highveld sky.
Micro Adventure: Rock Climbing In Magaliesberg
Just an hour’s drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria, this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve offers a myriad of outdoor activities. If you’re a hiker, you can explore its lush forests, striking rock formations, and ancient caves (learn more here). Rock climbing enthusiasts can test their skills on the quartzite cliffs. Learn more about getting into rock climbing, here.
Micro Adventure: Test Your Off-Road Driving Skills
De Wildt 4×4 Game Park, located approximately 60 kilometres northwest of Pretoria, is a popular off-road trail destination in Gauteng, South Africa. It caters to hardcore 4×4 drivers and less experienced adventurers with its diverse trail options divided into different difficulty levels. From beginner-friendly trails with graded dirt roads and shallow water crossings to hardcore trails with steep inclines, deep mud holes, and rock crawls, De Wildt offers something for everyone. The park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including antelope, zebra, and giraffes, adding an extra layer of adventure to your off-road experience. Essential facilities such as ablution blocks, picnic areas, and braai facilities are available at the park, making it a great place for a day trip or even a weekend camping adventure.