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Windy Brow Trails

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4km from Cullinan

-25.6813, 28.5027

4km

+27 86 152 2262 www.footprint.co.za/windybrow.htm

Easy to moderate difficulty; Suitable for children.

About

There are few other trails that allow walkers to enjoy an unspoilt nature experience so close to a major city. The Green Flag-accredited hiking trails on the Windy Brow game farm are a delight and, since they are short and predominantly undulating with no steep hills, they are ideal for families and inexperienced hikers.

The farm is part of the bigger farming unit of Elandsfontein, where the famous Cullinan diamond was discovered, located just before the Cullinan mine, about 35 kilometres from Pretoria.

The trail, which starts just past the chalets and communal picnic area, is designed in the format of a clover leaf system of three interlinked loops that have a common starting point. The clearly marked loops cover various habitat zones, so a great variety of game and bird species can be seen, and the different zones through which the paths run each have a specific environmental education emphasis.

The 3,5-kilometre Archaeological Route, which features Iron Age settlements and abundant birdlife, starts off by climbing a gentle hill and then traverses some rocky stretches before, after about a kilometre, branching right to a beautiful viewpoint overlooking the plain below. The trail then leads down to the Iron Age site next to the river, from where there is a gradual ascent back to the start.

The 3,2-kilometre Geological Route starts off over the same quartzite koppie,  but turns to the left (instead of going downhill to the river), from where you overlook the Premier Diamond Mine and the second “Big Hole” in South Africa. Various game species associated with the savannah landscape, such as wildebeest, can be seen along this section of the trail. The main road between Pretoria and Cullinan has a somewhat negative effect but, as the main emphasis along this stretch of the trail is on the mining industry, this does not detract too much from the experience. The trail then runs along a flat gradient among the trees and patches of aloes back to the starting point.

Third, there is the 5,9-kilometre Ecology Route, which starts off along the foot of the koppie and transects the large grassland plain on which most of the mammal species, including giraffe, zebra, gemsbok, blesbok, impala, kudu, red hartebeest, waterbuck, mountain reedbuck, duiker, klipspringer and  black-backed jackal roam. A highlight of the trail is a dam with a bird hide about 10 minutes from the start, where a variety of bushveld and highveld bird species can be spotted at very close range.

The trails are marked from both sides, so you can walk clockwise or anti-clockwise, thus ensuring different vistas. Booking is essential and a FAGASA-accredited guide is available if required. The reserve also offers a wide range of activities, including mountain-biking, team-building and game-viewing.

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