Vaal Marina Meander
Just an hour’s drive south of Johannesburg is an adventure playground for Gautengers looking for an action-packed day trip, a romantic weekend away or just a day in the country.
In the Sedibeng District, the Vaal Dam and its source, the Vaal River, provide endless entertainment for sportsmen and women, and have long been used for sailing, power boating, waterskiing, canoeing, rafting, fishing and dinner cruising.
SITUATED an hour’s drive from Johannesburg, near the town of Heidelberg, lies one of the most idyllic games reserves in Gauteng, the 11 595-hectare Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve. The flora and fauna in the reserve are extensive which makes it a popular spot for hiking, cycling and picnicking. The 200 different species of South African birds that have made the reserve their home has made Suikerbosrand a firm favourite with birdwatchers too, earmarking this area as a prime birdwatching spot on the Gauteng map. The Reserve gets its name from the Transvaal suikerbos or sugarbush that is found in abundance here.
This reserve boasts a representative sample of the fauna and flora of the rocky Highveld grassland biome. With 134 km2 (52 sq mi) of unspoiled natural environment and a mountain range characterised by meandering twists and turns of hiking trails, the reserve offers an unbelievably refreshing break from the bustling city life. Here, the altitude varies between 1,545 and 1,917 m (5,069 and 6,289 ft) above sea level. Hiking for beginners and seasoned hikers!
Gates are open from 7am to 6pm.
From Johannesburg, take the N3 highway towards Heidelberg. Take the R550/Alberton Road off-ramp and turn right, across the highway. Turn left to the reserve.
Why not continue on to the picturesque village of Vaal Marina, the most southern part of the Gauteng province.
Vaal Marina is a small hamlet on the banks of the Vaal Dam in the extreme south of the Gauteng province just of the R54. The area covers around 30km2 and has 5 suburbs, namely, Aloe Fjord, Val La Mer, Vaal Mariana town and Mamello.
The area was proclaimed in the mid 80s as a holiday township but has grown to include some of the surrounding area. The town falls within the Midvaal Municipality. It has a vibrant tourism community with a local tourism office situated in the main street. You can follow the signs from Johannesburg along the Vaal Marina Meander.
Over more than 2000 million years ago when the earth was still empty and raw, a meteorite as big as Table Mountain hit the earth at the speed of approximately 150 000 km per hour. The point of impact was around the area between Potchefstroom, Parys and Vredefort. (It has sedimental layers which formed with the previous erosion, 700 million years ago.) This area is therefore referred to as the Vredefort Dome.
Dr J.J. Mayer published an 7 page booklet on the Dome which is available at the Suikerbos Holiday Resort.
The Dome is so unique that it has been already declared World Heritage site. The Dome is also very famous because of its natural beauty and the existence of valleys with thick bushes and mountains with a huge variety of trees and plants. The height of the area varies between 1380 and 1650 metres above sea level. The Vaal River also makes its way through this area for approximately 30 kilometres.
There is a huge variety plants, trees, birds and animal life in various game reserves. There are also 15 other different holiday resorts, hiking routes and a 4×4 trails.
For more information about Suikerbos and the Dome, please contact us on (018) 294 3867