Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve

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Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve
Suikerbosrand Gorge.jpg
Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve gorge
LocationSouth Africa
Nearest cityHeidelberg, Gauteng
Coordinates26°30′S 28°15′E / 26.500°S 28.250°E / -26.500; 28.250
Area11,595 ha (28,650 acres)
Established27 March 1974
Operated byGauteng Department of Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Land Affairs
WebsiteGauteng Tourism Authority

Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve is a protected area in the Suikerbosrand Range, South Africa.[1] It is one of Gauteng’s most frequented ecotourism destinations. Set just a short distance from Johannesburg, an hour's drive from Johannesburg International Airport and near the historical town of Heidelberg, this reserve boasts a representative sample of the fauna and flora of the rocky Highveld grassland biome. With 134 km2 (52 sq mi) of unspoiled natural environment and a mountain range characterised by meandering twists and turns of hiking trails, the reserve offers an unbelievably refreshing break from the bustling city life. Here, the altitude varies between 1,545 and 1,917 m (5,069 and 6,289 ft) above sea level.

The Suikerbosrand ridge was originally named after a sweet reed (probably sweet sorghum) found growing here by the party of general Hendrik Potgieter on 5 June 1836.[2] Later the ridge and consequently the reserve's name became associated with the characteristic Transvaal-sugar bush (Protea caffra), a dominant vegetation type within the area's limits.[3]

Management[edit]

Recent land acquisitions at the beginning of the twenty-first century[4] have seen the reserve almost double in its size. A huge challenge for the reserve's management is to include the newly acquired lands in the reserve without disturbing the balance within the original area. The Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve is managed by the Gauteng province's Department of Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Land Affairs, South Africa.

Wildlife[edit]

Over 200 bird species have been identified in the reserve. The reserve is also a habitat for a large range of mammal species including:[5]

Cycling and mountain biking[edit]

A valley in Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve
A herd of common eland at Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve

The reserve is popular amongst mountain bikers and road cyclists for its quiet roads and trails, scenery, steep climbs, and fast twisting descents.[citation needed]

Hiking[edit]

The reserve includes a Visitors' Centre and the Diepkloof Farm Museum. The reserve can be explored on foot using several of the day and overnight hiking trails.

Holiday resort[edit]

A holiday resort[6] for day visitors (apparently day visitors are no longer allowed in at Kareekloof) and overnight campers is situated within the nature reserve. (It was previously known as Kareekloof)

Accommodation is in the form of chalets, caravan (some with 240 V power) and tent sites.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Gazetted Name: Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve" (PDF).
  2. ^ du Plessis, E.J. (1973). Suid-Afrikaanse berg- en riviername. Tafelberg-uitgewers, Cape Town. p. 181. ISBN 0-624-00273-X.
  3. ^ Raper, P.E. (2004). South African Place Names. Jonathan Ball, Jhb & Cape Town. p. 358. ISBN 1-86842-190-2.
  4. ^ "Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve - conservation action". BirdLife South Africa. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  5. ^ Coral Birss & Neville Green (September 2007). "Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve and Extension Ecological management Plan" (PDF). Gauteng Department of Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Land Affairs. p. 56. Retrieved 25 November 2008.
  6. ^ "Protea Hotels & Inns - Protea Hotel Suikerbosrand". Archived from the original on 26 June 2007.

External links[edit]

Media related to Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve at Wikimedia Commons