The 650 hectare Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve, located 11km south of downtown Johannesburg, is an oasis of calm just a short drive from the hustle and bustle of the city. Among the largest nature reserves in the Johannesburg metropolitan area, Klipriviersberg (meaning “stone river mountain”) was proclaimed a reserve in 1984 to preserve the area’s rich biodiversity and many archaeological sites.
The reserve is home to more than 600 plant species and 150 bird species. Zebra, red hartebeest, black wildebeest, blesbok, kudu, duiker, springbok and mountain reedbuck roam freely in the reserve.
Unique iron age artefacts have been discovered in the reserve suggesting that humans hunted in the area tens of thousands of years ago. Nineteen stone-walled settlements dating from about 1500AD have also been identified, along with 90 sites that suggest there was once a large pastoral settlement in the area. Excavations have revealed signs of agrarian production, the rearing of cattle and goats, and hunting, while the remains of a village provide evidence of an early Botswana community that lived on the koppies (hills) in the area. Other interesting archaeological sites include the ruins of a house built in 1850 by Voortrekker pioneer Sarel Marais.
Visitors to Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve can explore the grasslands and koppies by following the network of six hiking trails. There are also guided hikes through the reserve that take place every second and fourth Sunday of the month. These start at 08h00 during the warmer months (September to April) and 09h00 in the cooler months (May to August). Horse trails can also be arranged.