A peaceful mountain getaway
Mountain Sanctuary Park, North West
Hiking, biking and walking are 3 pursuits perfectly suited to the expansive Magaliesberg mountains. Add pristine mountain pools, endemic animals, ancient rock formations and leafy overhead canopies, and you begin to get an idea why Mountain Sanctuary Park is considered a perennial favourite.
Magaliesberg landscape in the Mountain Sanctuary Park.
© Andre van Rooyen/Flickr
Did you know?
The Magaliesberg mountains are estimated to be 100 times older than Mount Everest.
The Mountain Sanctuary Park is a privately owned nature reserve tucked away amid the peace and quiet of the ancient Magaliesberg mountains.
Magnificent rock formations millions of years old have given rise to pristine rock pools flanked by indigenous vegetation, creating an Eden that’s conducive to shrugging off the grime of city life.
The rocky terrain is pure mountain-bike heaven, with routes suited to all abilities. Barnardsvlei Road suits novices, while the physically demanding Breedt's Neck Mountain Pass will test the mettle of experts. A demanding 12km trail also forms part of the annual Magalies Monster bike race.
Hiking is also a favourite pastime, with trails that range from 15 minutes to 8 hours traversing more than 1 000 hectares of countryside.
After a hard day’s hiking and biking, flop into the swimming pool set in a deck overlooking a picturesque valley. Then, when you’re cool and relaxed, throw some traditional South African boerewors (spiced sausage) on the braai (barbeque), as the locals do.
Relaxing with a book under a shady tree is the best way to absorb the peace and tranquillity that has become the hallmark of the Mountain Sanctuary Park. If you’re very quiet, you might be lucky enough to spot endemic fauna such as klipspringers, monkeys, jackals, warthogs and an amazing array of birds and butterflies.
Come for the day – but be warned, it’s addictive, so rather set aside a weekend if you can.
For those with a head for heights, a number of abseiling sites are available, but guides and gear are required. Traditional rock climbing may also be enjoyed at designated points in the sanctuary.
One happy visitor summed up the Mountain Sanctuary Park experience this way: 'If you can't relax here, you need medical attention!'
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
How to get here
From Johannesburg: Take the R512 (past Lanseria). At the Broederstroom T-junction turn left. After Pecanwood turn right at the Sun City/Brits turn-off. At the T-junction turn right towards Brits/Sun City. At the 4-way stop (Engen on right) turn left towards Sun City. Follow this road for about 38km past Majakaneng, Mooinooi and Buffelspoort. After Buffelspoort turn left at the 3-way stop. After about 10km turn left towards Maanhaarrand. Follow the Mountain Sanctuary Park signs. The road is tarred up to the final 2.5km.
Around the area
Start exploring the park at Perderwater Groot or Fountain Pools where the rock formations are stunning. Walking in the mountains and taking a dip in cooling streams or rock pools is great fun.
Tours to do
Discover your origins at the nearby Cradle of Humankind where limestone caves reveal the fossilised remains of ancient hominids.
Once you've parked your vehicle, you won't need it again until you leave. Walking, riding and hiking are your means of getting around while you're here.
What will it cost
A once-off R20 entrance levy per vehicle. Log cabins – R400 per adult per night; chalets – R350 per adult per night; campsites – R80 a night for adults; and day visits – R50 per adult. Various seasonal specials are on offer, so check the listed website before you book.
Length of stay
At least 2 nights to enjoy the serenity of the park and the nocturnal call of the wild. But if time is limited, a day visit is still well worthwhile.
What to pack
A light backpack, sunhat, good walking shoes, sun protection, water bottle and camera.
Where to stay
Three-star accommodation includes self-catering chalets and log cabins, some of which are on stilts overlooking the valley. Braai facilities and indoor fireplaces are included.
Spacious campsites are also provided for tents and caravans.
The annual Magalies Monster mountain-bike race is held in May each year.
The Hartbeespoort Dam Route is home to numerous roadside traders who sell a variety of goods including pottery, jewellery, crystals, sculptures and other craft items.