"The mountains whisper for me to wander; my soul hikes to the call.
I escape into the great outdoors; where freedom’s soul forever roars." Angie Weiland-Crosby
We began hiking during Lockdown Level 3 as a way to release the pent-up frustration of being cooped up indoors for months, during Lockdown Level 4 and 5. It’s now become an integral part of our lives and we try to hike almost every weekend, always looking for new landscapes to conquer.
13 km away from the quaint town of Cullinan, you will find Muningi Gorge, a stunning natural gorge offering a myriad of adventure opportunities which can be booked through Adventure Zone. On arrival, a safari vehicle will transfer you from the parking lot to the reception area, where you sign indemnity forms and proceed with your activities.
There are 3 hiking trails here: 2 km, 4.5 km and 8 km, which all begin by crossing the riverbed. We did the latter and it was one of the most challenging hikes in Gauteng we’ve done so far, although the beautiful scenery was sufficiently rewarding.
We walked through the gorge for a while crisscrossing the river over the rocks before climbing up a steep pass where we had to clamber up rocks and hoist ourselves over boulders. It was daunting at first, but we did it and left feeling exhilarated that we’d conquered a new level of hiking. The second half was much easier as we made our way back to the base. The whole trail took us just under 3 hours.
After our hike, we relaxed at the restaurant deck overlooking the dam, which serves drinks and snacks, then left on a game drive. Game drives take place on a nearby farm, where you can do a quad safari too. We saw various species of plains game in the scenic bushveld including zebras, kudus, impalas, wildebeest, blesboks and ostrich.
If you prefer more adrenalin-pumping adventures then the ziplining is a must-do. Also known as Gorgeglide Cullinan, there are four zip lines totalling 1.5 km which cross Muningi Gorge, at heights of up to 80 meters and speeds of up to 90km/h.
Adventure Zone Cullinan also offers abseiling, clay pigeon shooting, target and tag archery, fire-making, drumming and Amazing Race experiences.
Did you know that the Voortrekker Monument is surrounded by a 340 ha nature reserve which you can hike in? I only discovered this recently. The monument board recently invited Adventure Zone to develop new attractions there which would broaden the monument’s appeal and take better advantage of the surrounding nature reserve. We did hiking and archery but quad-biking, fire-making, drumming and Amazing Race experiences are some of the other available options.
There are three hiking trails which offer a choice of 3km, 5km or 8km routes, although the longest one is only available as a guided hike on certain days. There are motivational quotes in the bushes at the beginning of the trail.
We did the 5 km trail which begins on the hill where the Voortrekker Monument stands then descends to the grasslands below before heading up again to Fort Schanskop from where there are panoramic views of Pretoria. We missed one of the trail markers and lost the trail for a while then caught it again at the fort but we didn't mind as we enjoyed the longer workout.
The reserve is home to zebras, wildebeest, various antelopes and other small mammals, although we just saw dassies.
The archery was not as easy as it looked but it turned out to be great fun, especially for my teenagers. The staff were friendly and patient and I have no doubt that with sufficient practice, they’d be able to turn us into experts.
Both Adventure Zone venues are great for family/friend outings as well as corporate team-building events and school excursions surrounded by nature.
Things you must do in South Africa
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