Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve Hot
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Situated just off the N3 highway and within easy driving distance from Johannesburg, Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve is the ideal getaway for hiking, mountain biking, birding and photography.

The reserve was proclaimed in 1974 to protect the Bakenveld false-grassveld and Highveld grasslands and comprises 13 500 ha with efforts being underway by the Gauteng Provincial Government to enlarge this area.

The rolling Suikerbosrand mountain range that fluctuates in height from 1500m to 1900m’s with deep forested ravines and scattered water-bodies provide excellent habitat for some of the larger ungulates including Eland, Burchelles Zebra, Black Wildebeest and Kudu.

Birdlife is plentiful with over 200 species having been recorded and with over 743 plant species it is well worth taking one of the many hiking trails or following the excellent circular road through the reserve to explore this rich diversity. 


Best Time to Photograph
Given the undulating and diverse terrain of the reserve it is worth photographing throughout the day and throughout the seasons with early morning and afternoon being obvious favorites. Spring brings numerous flower species into blossom and this is when it best to hike along the numerous trails.
Type of Photography
  • Birds
  • Flowers
  • Landscapes
  • Game
Best Time of Year
  • Summer
  • Spring
Photographic Tips
The reserve has an excellent and well laid out circular drive of approximately 60km’s and this enables one to use the vehicle as a photographic platform. However, the best landscape and flower photography is undertaken on foot. Birding is also well worthwhile in the picnic sites and around the dams where birds are more used to human presence.
Recommended Gear
Given that this reserve is best covered on foot, a comfortable backpack with a range of zoom lenses is the most practical. In spring and summer a macro lens with light yet sturdy tripod and cable release is advisable. Bird photography is best done by vehicle with telephoto lenses and a window mount.


Site Highlights
Driving along the self guided circular route with the information pamphlet providing good information about the reserve.


Season and Weather
The Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve has a typical highveld climate with approximately 700m of rain falling per annum and this mainly during the summer months. Frost occurs regularly at night during winter months
Other Activities
  • Bird Watching
  • Hiking
  • Game Viewing
  • Flowers


Closest Town
Getting There
Head south from Johannesburg on the N3 highway and take the R550 off-ramp. Turn right and after approximately six kilometers turn left to the reserve entrance. The reserve is well signposted
Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve


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Peter Chadwick
Author: Peter ChadwickWebsite: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
As a dedicated conservationist, Peter Chadwick has 30 years strategic and operational conservation experience in terrestrial and marine protected area management. He has worked within all of the major biomes in southern Africa as well as having provided expert conservation advice at a global level. His conservation and wildlife photography is a natural extension to his conservation work where he has numerous opportunities to capture photographs that showcase the beauty and complexity of the outdoors. Peter’s photography is internationally recognized, with this work appearing globally in a wide range of print and electronic media.