Rietvlei Nature Reserve Guided TrailEnquire Now
15km from Centurion
+27 12 358 1811 goo.gl/0GggBV
Easy trail; Suitable for children
Rietvlei Nature Reserve, just 20 kilometres from the Pretoria city centre, consists of rolling hills and plains abounding with game. Hikers usually see blesbok, black wildebeest, springbok and zebra and the reserve is home to white rhino and Cape buffalo. More than 270 bird species have been recorded and the wetlands and dams provide excellent opportunities for twitchers to see birds that are unique to this part of the country.
The guided trail, which starts at the main entrance gate, follows a circular route on& a very well-maintained path through the grassland in the direction of the Rietvlei dam. The dam wall was built by hand in 1934 (in the days of the Great Depression, when work was scarce) and early in the hike you pass one of the areas from where the soil used in its construction was excavated. Two well-preserved old graves of unknown labourers from this period lie next to the path.
After crossing the tarred game-viewing road, the trail goes up the ridge through clusters of huge acacias and other indigenous trees to the top, from where there is a magnificent view of the open grasslands on Rietvlei and far to the north over the city of Pretoria. This is a great vantage point from which to enjoy game on the plains below, so take your binoculars and check out the blue ghwarrie trees, which have been grazed into mushroom-like formations by eland.
A feature of the reserve is the summer-flowering plants, but if you study the grasslands you’ll find plenty of interest all year round. The history of the area is also preserved in the old graves of Elardus Erasmus (and his family), a pioneer of the area and after whom a number of suburban neighbourhoods of Pretoria have been named.
There’s a rest stop at the beautiful, fenced-off picnic site on the Marais Dam - where there’s a large bird hide from which you can view a large variety of water birds – then you continue on the path through the valley (or take a shortcut back to the start if time is running short). En route, you’ll pass a “restaurant” for jackals and brown hyenas (where the reserve management put out carcasses) and the trail also passes close to the spot where rhinos are fed in winter.
The Green Flag accredited trail usually takes four to five hours and, since it is guided, the distance walked can be tailored to the fitness and interests of the group. It is extremely good value (R50) and must be booked in advance.