Do you ever look at those pictures of happy Capetonians doing “outside” things, like
climbing Lion’s Head or trail running among the vines of a wine farm, and you think,
“Hmmm, that could be me, I should step outside of my comfort zone”?
But then, you make real world calculations, and you realise that doing those “outside things” would take up a lot of time and driving – considering Gauteng’s alternative is the Magalieberg mountains.
But, everybody who tells you that you need to get out of your comfort zone is lying to you.
When you’re comfortable among the concrete towers of the city and fear the health benefits of fresh air, you really don’t need to forage outside the familiar to feel a bit closer to nature.
Among the city parks waiting to be explored sits Kloofendal Nature Reserve. It’s where you realise the outside lifestyle you’ve been dreaming about is really accessible.
And, best of all, it’s free.
A few minutes from Clearwater Mall, Kloofendal is an unsung jewel for the outdoorsman.
The 150ha park is a behemoth stretch of wild within urban confines – with some interesting historical roots, thanks to the Struben mine on site. This mining history can be explored throughout the park – there’s even an old stamp mill on display – and there’s a lot of information on the area’s ecological history.
The park also houses clean restrooms, but you should take your own toilet paper, just in case.
The availability of amenities makes the park so much the more attractive – the rolling hillsides of Kloofendal are great spots for picnics with decent amounts of shade. A number of animals roam the area. If you’re lucky, you might see some duiker, mountain reedbuck, mongoose, hedgehogs or black-backed jackal.
But the real reason you should visit are the exciting trail running/hiking trails.
THE STRUBEN TRAIL
The trail is only 790m long, but gives you the opportunity to visit two important Kloofendal sites, namely the bird hide and the gates of the Struben mine. It’s a great
way to end a busy day at the office, especially if you take some time to sit quietly at the bird hide.
At 1.8km long, this trail is a perfect start for budding fitness enthusiasts – with relative steepness.
The route is great before a picnic and challenging enough not to be boring. Kids should also be able to complete the route.
THE ROCKY RIDGE
At 3.8km, this is the longest trail in Kloofendal – and quite challenging. There’s some pretty impressive mountainous scenery.
Hiking boots and thick socks are recommended, but you don’t have to spend money on new shoes. Just remember to stop every few minutes to snap a picture to upload
on social media, or drink some water from your water sack, or just to admire the surroundings.