Hotels in and around the Magaliesberg suburb
The Magaliesberg area or, more specifically, the mountain range, is steeped in historical and cultural history. In fact, the fossilised remnants of ancient man and his implements have earned this area the potential title of the original Cradle of Humankind. This mountain range is one of the world’s oldest and extends from Pretoria to Rustenburg (approximately 120km).
The natural beauty of these mountains is enhanced by their gullied quartzite cliff faces, awesome waterfalls and stunning scenery. These provide ample hiking opportunities for the more energetic of tourists and comfortable walkways for the less inclined.
Apart from the natural and historical value of this region, the Magaliesberg Mountains are only about an hour’s drive from Johannesburg. This city is South Africa’s commercial and economic capital and also boasts the impressive OR Tambo International Airport.
The Magaliesberg area was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999 for its historical and anthropological value. Its many caves and rock faces are etched with ancient graffiti; records of the societies that occupied these crevices and gorges millennia ago. In fact, some remains, such as those found in the Sterkfontein Caves, are dated as far back as 2.3 million years (“Mrs Ples”) and 4 million years (an unexcavated being).
As the ages progressed, the people occupying Magaliesberg left remnants behind that attested to the advancing tools and methods used in their everyday lives. These ones lived off the rich supply of the mountains and rivers as hunter-gatherers.
Various other peoples and cultures migrated south from all over the African continent. These ones caused the structure of the Magaliesberg locals to change somewhat, as they either conquered or integrated themselves into the local societies.
When the Dutch, French and English began to arrive in Africa, they took delight in this region for its natural resources, but also for its significant history. Unfortunately, when the farmers (mainly from Dutch and French descent) began to arrive from the coastal regions and the Western Cape in the 1800’s, they killed many of the local people in an effort to gain dominion over the optimally arable land.
A few decades later, gold was discovered in the area now known as Gauteng. This lured people from all over the world in search of riches.
It is significant to note that, despite the bloodshed, land battles and influx of gold diggers, Magaliesberg never lost its breath-taking natural beauty. It is for this that the region is known primarily today and it is this that South Africa endeavours to maintain with utmost responsibility.
The Magaliesberg Mountain Range is situated just one hour from Johannesburg when travelling by car. Johannesburg enjoys the facility of an international airport, the OR Tambo. This is only 24 kilometres from the city centre, which takes about 40 minutes by car, depending on traffic. This airport is the main access point from which travellers from all over the world depart to explore other areas of South Africa and its surrounds.
Driving in and around the Magaliesberg Mountains is an undertaking best suited to a 4-wheel drive vehicle. Other vehicles are sufficient, although some of the trails may need to be avoided. It is vital that you consult with the local tour operators or park personnel to find out which roads will be best for your vehicle.
As one of South Africa’s most beautiful and impressive mountain ranges, the Magaliesberg is ideal for walking, hiking, cycling and off-road driving. The trails range from those suited to young ones and families that require less intense climbing, right up to those ideal for the avid sportsman. When embarking on any hike or walk, ensure that you have sufficient water, sunscreen and a means of contacting somebody that can assist you in the case of an emergency. Should you prefer to explore these gorgeous mountains on horseback, contact Saddle Creek Ranch in Hekpoort.
The Magaliesberg’s rock faces and ravines present the ideal opportunity for adrenalin-addicts to indulge in some of the most breath-taking activities and landscapes. Abseiling, rock climbing, kloofing and river rafting activities are hosted (in part or in whole) by adventure companies like GoVertical and Blaauwbank Historic Gold Mine and are guaranteed to leave visitors with impressive memories of this natural wonder. Some places offer one-day excursions as well as multi-day ones, which are ideal for the more energetic and / or for team building exercises.
There are few better ways to experience the Magaliesberg Mountain Range than from the top. Hot air balloon tours are conducted by various companies, including Flying Pictures. Each tour package is unique and sure to satisfy the needs of each traveller.
Canopy tours are conducted in the Ysterhout Kloof. These allow visitors to slide from one tree top to the next on a secure safety harness. The uninterrupted view of the dense vegetation below and the surrounds from this perspective is awe-inspiring. Each slide is different in terms of speed and distance, and tours are conducted by experienced and trained guides.
Summer in South Africa occurs between December and March, and winter between June and August. Due to the mountainous region of the Magaliesberg, the winter temperatures can be considerably colder than lower lying places, especially during the evenings. Summer experiences more rain, which occurs in the form of afternoon thunderstorms. The rest of the year is fairly dry, and the humidity low. Summer highs average in at about 25 degrees Celsius, while winter days reach about 16 degrees Celsius. Winter nights are coldest, sometimes dropping below freezing.
The Magaliesberg Mountain Range is a malaria-free area, unlike many of the game farms and rural areas surrounding it.
UV damage caused by sun exposure is a danger worldwide. However, these UV rays are considered to be more intense in this mountainous area. It is, therefore, essential that visitors wear a high-factor sunscreen (of at least 20 SPF) as well as a broad-rimmed sunhat, sunglasses that wrap around the sides of the face and light, cotton clothing that protects exposed skin (while still allowing it to breathe).
Many walkers and hikers experience the bites of local insects. While most of these are just itchy and uncomfortable, there are some bites that may be more dangerous, particularly tick- and spider bites. Ensure that you have an insect repellent sprayed on your skin and clothing, and wear clothing that covers the legs and ankles.
The Magaliesberg has many stunning trails for walking, hiking or cycling. However, these can become dangerous if you become dehydrated, exhausted, or experience sudden changes in weather. Ensure that you have enough water, are fit enough for the trail you are undertaking and have access to help (mobile phone, flares, etc…).
Do not touch or approach any wild animal, and be aware of snakes when you are walking, even if it is around your campsite or hotel.
When visiting the local towns and tourist attractions, be sure not to carry large amounts of money or photographic / video equipment with you. Do not accept help from strangers (particularly at ATM’s). If you are travelling in a group, do not stray from the main body of people. Never pick up hitchhikers.