The Joburg City Park You Must Visit in 2022

by | Jan 7, 2022 | Johannesburg, Johannesburg Day Trips, Parks/Nature Reserves | 22 comments

I last blogged about the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve, a huge Joburg City Park on the south side of the city, more than 11 years ago. I don’t normally like to blog about the same place twice but I think it’s time for a Klipriviersberg refresher. It’s a truly remarkable outdoor space and I suspect a significant percentage of Joburgers are unaware of this “Jewel of the South”, as the locals call it.

Cabbage trees growing at the top of a ridge in Klipriviersberg
Cabbage trees growing atop a ridge in Klipriviersberg.
A Klipriviersberg cross section, courtesy of @thethinking_hand.

Although Klipriviersberg falls under the jurisdiction of Joburg City Parks, a “park” is not the best way to describe this place. Klipriviersberg is a very large nature reserve (700 hectares in extent — don’t ask me what that means but I can assure you it’s big), with enough hiking trails to occupy the better part of a day. (See this trail map.) Klipriviersberg has diverse, indigenous plant life and serious wildlife (if you’re lucky enough to spot it): zebras, wildebeests, blesbok, dassies, and more than 200 species of birds. Klipriviersberg has widely varying terrain. It’s only 10 kilometers from downtown Joburg (a 20-minute drive from my house in Brixton) and five kilometers from Soweto.

Thorsten in Klipriviersberg
Thorsten hiking through an insanely green Klipriviersberg.

The reserve is extremely well maintained and admission is free. Basically, Klipriviersberg is a hiking- and nature-lover’s paradise in the middle of the city. I can’t believe I haven’t taken better advantage of it over the past decade, but I plan to change that in 2022.

Flower in Klipriviersberg
A flower I liked.

Visiting the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve

Thorsten and I have gone hiking in Klipriviersberg twice over the past several months. (The only other time I went was that first time way back in 2010 — I have no idea why it took me so long to return.) Here are some tips I’ve picked up during my two recent visits:

1) Klipriviersberg has two entrances: one in Kibler Park (the main entrance) and one in Mondeor. I’m not sure what the Mondeor entrance is like, but the Kibler Park entrance has a relatively small parking lot that fills up quickly on weekends. There is plenty of parking on the road outside the park though.

2) Speaking of crowds, Klipriviersberg gets very busy on weekends. You can get there early to beat the rush (the park is open from sunrise to sunset, 365 days a year), but don’t be put off if you arrive and find lots of cars. The reserve is so big that the crowds don’t really matter once you’re inside. Thanks to its proximity to Soweto, Klipriviersberg seems to be really well used by the community and the clientele is super diverse.

Thorsten in Klipriviersberg
We hardly saw another soul when we visited this past Wednesday, but we got there really early and it was a weekday during Joburg’s quietest month of the year.

3) No pets, bicycles, or alcohol are allowed in Klipriviersberg. It’s more of a hiking/walking place than a picnicking place.

4) We wound up hiking about nine kilometers during both our visits, although we easily could have walked more or less as there are many trails of varying lengths. The trails are well marked and maintained. There’s a lot of climbing and descending on most of the trails so I recommend sturdy hiking shoes. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen.

Tree in Klipriviersberg
A tree I liked.

5) If you’re into birding, bring binoculars. We saw some really colorful birds, including several red bishops and white-fronted bee-eaters.

6) There are many great overlooks in Klipriviersberg, including a really nice view of the Joburg skyline. (We didn’t get to that overlook this time so I don’t have a photo.)

Overlook in Klipriviersberg
One of many beautiful overlooks in the reserve, relatively close to the Kibler Park entrance..
Sketch of the Klipriviersberg overlook
Thorsten’s sketch of the overlook.

7) There’s a nice little café at the Kibler Park gate, serving drinks, snacks, and toasted sandwiches with chips — highly recommended for a post-hike mini brunch.

8) Definitely take a look at the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve Association website before you go. This non-profit works closely with Joburg City Parks to maintain the reserve and the website is really informative.

Klipriviersberg is such a great hiking alternative for city dwellers who don’t feel like hauling themselves all the way to the Magaliesberg or beyond. I also love that Klipriviersberg is public space (most of the popular hiking spots on the outskirts of Joburg are privately owned) and free. Please go enjoy it in 2022.

Heather in Klipriviersberg
Photo: Thorsten Deckler

22 Comments

  1. Peggy Laws

    It is one of my favourite places as well. So hard to believe that one is so close to the City Centre.

    Reply
    • 2summers

      I know, it’s so lovely.

      Reply
  2. tracyclairesmithhotmailcom

    I lived just around the corner. Can I put a link to your blog post on my facebook page? Is that allowed?

    Reply
    • 2summers

      Hi Tracy, yes please do!

      Reply
  3. catji

    Excellent! :>

    Reply
  4. Jozi.Rediscovered

    Nice one. It is beautiful there but I’ve been put off due to the crowds on weekends, not my jam, as you know 🙂 Maybe I should try an early morning weekday instead in 2022.

    Reply
    • 2summers

      I hear you. When we went on a Saturday morning earlier this year, I actually wanted to turn around and go home when I saw all the cars outside. But we went in, and once we were inside I really didn’t feel like it was very crowded. (Not sure what your experience was.) Anyway, I think going on weekdays is probably a sure-fire way to avoid crowds. We were there from 7-10 am on Wednesday and probably saw about 10-15 other people the whole time.

      Reply
      • Jozi.Rediscovered

        The times I’ve been there it was so busy on the trails (but I’ve only been twice, both during lockdown so maybe it’s calmed down a bit). Definitely trying a weekday rather 🙂

        Reply
        • 2summers

          Yeah if you are free on a weekday that seems like the way to go. I actually think it’s really cool that so many people are using it — when I went all those years ago in 2010 I remember it being totally empty on a Sunday.

          Reply
          • Jozi.Rediscovered

            Oh wow. Yes it is good that people are using it.

  5. Margaret Urban

    From about the mid ’90s to mid 2000s I was a Saturday regular there. There were organised hikes with guides on different topics – history, geology, birds, plants etc etc. Depending on the topic we were 5 to about 30 folks. KNRA was a very active organisation – besides the guides and talks they had anti-poaching and anti plant gathering activities. Most of the active KNRA people were about 10 years either side of me so they would now be in 60s and 70s … There was an effort to get younger folks involved but not sure about the success or not…

    I was last there about 3 years ago with two others – we pretty much had the place to ourselves; saw several zebra. Sadly the south views had changed from only having a few single homes / farms to quite a few cluster etc developments … There are also two areas/edges of the park which were sold for housing developments – on a map you can see the cutaways in the SE and SW.

    I’ve always entered from the north at Frandaph Drive / Silent Pool. Unless things have changed there is no formal parking; one parks on the banks and the residential street.

    It’s definitely on my list for a revisit. 🙂

    Reply
    • 2summers

      Ahhh, that’s sad about the development! There is certainly a lot of it all around the park.

      Reply
    • 2summers

      Yeah, we’ve had soooooo much rain this summer so everything is fluorescent 💚

      Reply
      • AutumnAshbough

        We’re just starting to green up in SoCal after our rains.

        Reply
      • catji

        🙂 Fluorescence can be enhanced after late afternoon thundershowers.

        Reply
        • 2summers

          Yes, and actually we’d had thunderstorms early in the morning before we went!

          Reply
  6. Hitekani Mbatsana

    Lovely. Must definitely give it a visit when I’m next in Joburg. It’s been on my list for the longest time.

    Reply
    • 2summers

      Oh yes, you’d love it! Right up your alley.

      Reply
  7. Lani

    Lucky ducky! This sounds right up my alley. I love/miss hiking and nature, xo

    Reply
    • 2summers

      Yeah, we’re really lucky to have so many nice parks here. Are there any good parks in/around Thai cities where people can hike? I feel like I remember a post you wrote about a school hiking/camping trip.

      Reply
      • Lani

        That was at a national park. Good memory. Actually, it’s not really a walking/hiking culture and parks are usually like one to a city, quite dismal. Sigh.

        Reply

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