After spending a month on holiday in the bush and at the beach, it wasn’t long before we were craving nature since coming back home to Johannesburg (JHB). Fortunately, there are always some amazing spots for a family-friendly hike near JHB, so we found a way to get our fix.
We are always looking for new places to go, even though we do tend to stick with what we know – the Drakensberg and Mountain Sanctuary Park. It was an impromptu night-before kind of arrangement, so we wanted something that wouldn’t take longer than a few hours. The Cheetah Trail in the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve was the perfect solution.
The Cheetah Trail At Suikerbosrand
The Cheetah Trail at Suikerbosrand is a family-friendly hike near JHB that was suitable for our crew; inclusive of 9-year-old Finn and my pensioner mom. There is a massive car park close to the start of the trail, clean toilets in the main building, and clear signage to help you get on your way. The staff on-site are also super-helpful and friendly.
We went the wrong way around the Cheetah Trail – it’s basically a loop that starts and ends in the same place. It didn’t seem to matter and everyone was very accommodating in letting us pass. The trail goes up into the mountainous area with incredible sweeping views over the valleys and beyond. It really is spectacular.
There are a few benches on both the uphill and downhill climbs and a magnificent rocky base near the top, which served as the perfect spot for loads of family selfies!
Incidentally, the Cheetah Trail is named after the cheetah that used to roam freely in the area. When you look at the vast expanses of land stretching out before you, you can understand why they would have loved that terrain.
What You Need To Know About The Cheetah Trail
- 3,7km in distance (although it is advertised in places as 4km and even 4,5km. My husband’s tracker said a clean 3,7km)
- It took us about 2 hours in total, with loads of breaks to take photos and eat nectarines
- Uphill climbs involved, which were a great workout
- Easy trail that the whole family can do if you take your time and rest for the smaller humans
- BEAUTIFUL scenery, fauna, and flora
All The Other Hike Details…
What Are The Suikerbosrand Open Hours?
The gates for the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve open at 6:00 am and close at 3:00 pm. However, day visitors who are already in the reserve when the gates close may stay and hike, cycle, drive or chill until 6:00 pm when the reserve closes.
There are overnight facilities that adhere to different regulations. That’s one for the future – an overnight night in Suikerbosrand. The overnight huts are currently closed due to COVID-19, but it looks like it would be amazing!
What Is The Suikerbosrand Entry Fee?
The cost for entry at the Suikerbosrand gates at the time of writing this (10 January 2021) was:
- Adult = R40
- Child = R30
- Pensioner = R30
Each person needs to complete a form at the gate to ensure you are complying with COVID-19 protocol. Your temperature is taken, sanitiser is provided. All the usual stuff.
There is also a cost per vehicle to enter the reserve:
- Car entry = R30 per car
- R40 entry or a Combi
- A minibus seating 15 to 30 pays R50
- A bus entry is R75 for a bus seating over 30
Every time we go on hikes, visit nature reserves and pay our small entry fee to have access to nature, we are supporting our national treasures. These incredible expanses of South Africa are there for us to enjoy, and enjoy them we must!
There is nothing that matches the heightened vibration that being in nature delivers. Food for the soul! If you’re in need of a nature fix, head out on the N3 and visit the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve for a family-friendly hike near JHB.