Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve
|Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve|
Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve gorge
|Nearest city||Heidelberg, Gauteng|
|Area||11,595 km2 (4,477 sq mi)|
|Governing body||Gauteng Department of Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Land Affairs|
Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve is a protected area in the Suikerbosrand Range, South Africa. It is one of Gauteng’s premier 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 sugar cane (probably sorghum) found growing here by the party of general Hendrik Potgieter on 5 June 1836. 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.
Recent land acquisitions have seen the reserve almost double in it 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.
Over 200 bird species have been identified in the reserve. For the game enthusiast, the reserve also offers a large range of mammal species including:
Cycling and mountainbiking
The reserve is popular amongst mountain bikers and road cyclists for its quiet roads and trails, beautiful scenery, brutally steep climbs, and fast twisting descents.
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. The overnight hiking trails are especially recommended.
A holiday resort 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)
- Large outdoor pool
- Shallow children's pool
- Indoor heated pool
- 2 water slides
- du Plessis, E.J. (1973). Suid-Afrikaanse berg- en riviername. Tafelberg-uitgewers, Cape Town. p. 181. ISBN 0-624-00273-X.
- Raper, P.E. (2004). South African Place Names. Jonathan Ball, Jhb & Cape Town. p. 358. ISBN 1-86842-190-2.
- 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 2008-11-25.
Media related to Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve at Wikimedia Commons