Fresh mountain air, hikes, adventure and more – just an hour or two out of the city.
Mountain Park Sanctuary
Approx. 2 hrs. from Rivonia
Does your family like hiking, swimming and fresh mountain air? Then you’ll fall in love with Mountain Park Sanctuary’s gorges, rock pools and trails. Walk for 15 minutes or hike for 8 hours – or lie by the pool and enjoy a delectable meal at the restaurant.
But remember to book, as numbers allowed into the park are restricted. Also take note of the gate hours. The park opens at 8am. Get there early in summer as it often gets too hot for hiking mid-day. You can take your own food; just remember to pack a light picnic as your car will have to remain in the car park. You really don’t want to be lugging heavy cool-boxes around. You won’t get lost on the trails as you’ll be given a hiking map when you get there.
An outing like this is ideal for the holiday season. What bliss to escape all the hi-tech paraphernalia and spend outdoor quality time with the family.
Approx. 1 hr. from Rivonia
The kids will love this adventure! Take a fun ride up Africa’s longest mono-cableway and look down on one of the oldest and most scenic mountain ranges in the world; the Magaliesburg. The cable cars accommodate 6 people (plus the stroller for your little one); thus, the whole family can enjoy the excitement together.
Remember to take your sunscreen, your hats, your binoculars, your camera, your jackets and comfortable walking shoes. Regrettably you can’t take any food or drink in the cable car – but all is not lost – you can order a picnic basket from the banqueting manager of the restaurant at the top of the mountain. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once on top, there are lots of activities to keep the kids busy. Take a stroll along the Dassie Loop (1km long) walkway. Placards detail points of interest along the path and don’t forget to look out for little mountain creatures and talkative birds. Should mom and dad need a little downtime, there’s the Kidszone for the children which offers with a jungle gym, slides and some swings. If you haven’t ordered a picnic there is self-service restaurant where you can grab a meal for the family.
The views of the dam and the magnificent vistas are phenomenal. Don’t miss this treat!
The Cradle of Humankind (in Maropeng) & the Sterkfontein Caves
Approx. 1 hour from Rivonia
This day trip will take your kids back in time – some millions of years – when the pre-cursors of humankind roamed the earth. They’ll meet Mrs Ples, a 2.1-million-year-old Australopithecus skull, and “Little Foot”, an almost complete Australopithecus skeleton that is more than 3 million years old. They’ll explore caves, go for an underground boat ride and learn about the history of earth’s creation. (Please note, the caves are sometimes closed to the public – best to call them beforehand to check).
The Learner Centre is interactive and informative and will be a favourite with the whole family. You’ll learn that our ancestors mastered fire over 1 million years ago and that, 2 million years ago, our forefathers used tools made of stone.
Please take note: wear comfortable shoes when going into the caves. Leave handbags and other luggage behind as there are several tight spots to negotiate. If you are claustrophobic, best not to go underground. There are a lot of stairs and visitors with asthma or chest problems may find the exertion quite stressful.
Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens
Approx. 30 mins from Rivonia
This must be the best place in Joburg to unwind.
Take a picnic. There are porters happy to help with trolleys for larger groups with lots of stuff (tables, chairs etc). This makes a family re-union or birthday party special and easy. Find a cosy spot under the trees, spread your blanket, unfold your camping chairs and tables and relax.
For the active bunch – the children will love the 5km hike next to the waterfall (the views are magnificent), the sprawling lawns to play on, the black eagles, the butterflies and the chameleons, For those flora and fauna fanatics the botanical gardens house specially selected varieties.
Don’t forget the bird hide by the dam (if the kids are fledgling birders) and the jungle gym for the small ones. A hot day? There is a kiosk with ice cream and cold drinks. Then there’s a child friendly restaurant where you can enjoy a wonderful breakfast, lunch or tea under huge white stinkwood trees or on the wooden deck. The restaurant offers an à la carte menu, light lunches and tea. In addition, a buffet lunch is offered from 12h00 on Sundays in the large dining room adjoining a large wooden deck.
Please don’t miss this gem when next you visit Johannesburg!