Living in a big city and especially living in Gauteng, we tend to think the only thing we can do on the weekends is going to the malls. Only about 40 minutes drive outside of Johannesburg waits an adventure in nature ready for discovering. It’s called the Hennops Hiking Trail.
Set on the Hennops river on the border between the Gauteng and North-West Provinces on a tranquil family farm, this piece of natural beauty makes for the perfect day outing any time of the year. At only R70 per adult and R40 for school children, it is definitely worth a day out.
There are three different routes to choose from:
Krokodilberg Trail: 10km
On the website it says it can take about 4 to 5 hours to complete this trail. It starts along the same trail as the Dassie Trail so if you want to slip off early (come now don’t do that) you can. We didn’t do this one but the piece we did do was spectacular and the rest looked just as beautiful. If you’re up for a long hike where you can see some wildlife as well, this is the one for you. Make sure you take enough water though.
Zebra Trail: 5km
We started with this one. It takes you away from the Hennops river toward Hartebeespoort Dam’s side. The climb is pretty tough but the view from up top is incredible. You also pass some historic old buildings and can also spot some wildlife – we saw a Zebra. The change in foliage is also very interesting, from steep dolomite mountain climbs to beautiful grasslands. It’s tough but not too bad and a family would enjoy this hike a lot.
Dassie Trail: 2.5km
This might be the shortest trail but it’s probably also the toughest. As I mentioned, it’s the start of the Krokodilberg trail and it has some very steep climbs where you literally scamper up the cliff face, and then go up some more. The route follows the river almost all the way so it is in the shade and with the trees growing over the route, it looks almost like a fairytale forest. The view from up top the Hospitaalgrot (Hospital Cave) lookout is breathtaking. As the water rages along below you realise how much of this country there still is to see and experience. It’s beautiful. Something not to miss on this trail (which you can very easily cause it looks very unimpressive at first glance) is Pruimpie se Gat (Prune’s Hole) which is cave used by an orphan called Pruimpie in 1837 to hide from the Zulus. He ended up living in the cave and if you take the time to go down you’ll understand why it made quite a nice little house for little Pruimpie.
The River Cable Car and Suspension Bridge
Crossing a river has always fascinated me and crossing the river on a suspension bridge is even better! This you can do on the Dassie trail and there are some beautiful caves as well.
The highlight for me definitely was the Cable Car over the river! So much so that I did it twice.
Don’t fool yourself though, just like the hiking trails, the cable car also tests your physical strength. It is a manual cable car with a pully system first pushing from the one side and then pulling to the next when you are halfway. A word of warning you do get wet (so maybe not recommended in the winter) but it is refreshing and so much fun. It’s not difficult at all and anyone can do it. Definitely worth a go if you are a little more adventurous.
Hennops is so close to Johannesburg and Pretoria that is really is perfect for a day trip. What makes it so special is the pristine way it is kept. Nature is allowed to take its course, but the footpaths are still kept nice and clean. On the whole 5km and 2.5km routes I only picked up 3 very small pieces of trash, which is incredible if you think of all the trash laying around in the parks in the city. It’s not an expensive outing at all and it doesn’t have to take you all day but it can also make for a wonderful adventure, especially for families.
If you’re a tourist to South Africa you definitely need to give Hennops a go. You will see so much of this country’s natural beauty. If you’re a city bug like us, then get out of your comfort zone and explore your neighbouring nature spots.
It’s such a privilege to be able to walk on those old old Magaliesbreg mountains, touch the stones that have been there for centuries, and breath the fresh air of Africa. Experience the beauty of this country at Hennops!