Wonderboom Nature Reserve, Pretoria

  • Ashleigh 
fort wonderboomport

Pretoria isn’t a place I’ve explored much. But I do want to spend more time there, so I intend to go there more often. Wonderboom Nature Reserve was my first destination in Pretoria. I’ve driven through, and I’ve been there for work or to visit government offices. But I’ve never gone exploring. My friend Bayo and I are were looking for a unique place to film a video. We were planning to work on a project together. That project never took off, but it made me realise that there is so much to see and do in Pretoria, and that I needed to dedicate more time to exploring it! He suggested this nature reserve, and after (what felt like) a long hike, we found this medieval-looking fort. In my post, I’ll be sharing with you how you can prepare for a trip to the nature reserve, and some things you can look out for.

https://youtu.be/kCG4To76Uk8

Getting there

Wonderboom Nature Reserve is about a 50 minute drive from Johannesburg. The entrance is opposite the Wonderboom Junction Shopping Centre, so if you find the GPS a bit confusing, perhaps drive to the shopping centre and someone can point it out to you. It costs R37 for adults, however you can visit this website for up-to-date pricing. Entrance into the nature reserve is only allowed until 5pm.

Be prepared

You are going to be doing a lot of hiking, so remember your water, hiking shoes and cap. As mentioned, there’s a shopping centre right across the road from the entrance, so you can get any snacks there. We were quite unfortunate to get caught in the rain on the way down, so you can imagine how slippery the rocks were! But even in the dry season, you need shoes that have a good grip, because you can still slip and fall! Which brings me to the next point. Try and do the hike with a friend. Imagine if I’d sprained my ankle when I fell and there was no-one to help me?

Attractions

wonderboom nature reserve, big fig tree

You’ve watched the video by now, so you know that there’s an amazing fort to explore. But the reserve actually gets its name from a huge fig tree that you will see before the hike. The tree is called Wonderboom, and that’s where the reserve gets its name from. They say the tree is over 1000 years old. You will receive a map at the entrance, and so the tree will be your starting point. Then you will decide which path your hike will take, depending on the attractions you want to see. There is a waterfall on one of the hiking trails. But by the time we had finished filming the video, we just wanted to get back to our cars! We were so tired. I’ll look out for it when I go hiking there again, and update this post.

aerial view of the fort
Image: Adebayo Okeowo

And then, there’s the fort. The fort is one of four ports that were built around Pretoria. They were built to protect against British invaders during the Anglo-Boer war. The views from the fort are incredible, which is expected of a fort I suppose! No matter how tired you get during the hike, press on! It’s well worth the hike.

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