Hennops Hiking Trail & 5 interesting things to see there

Hennops Hiking Trail

Travelling is what I missed the most during the extended lockdown period. Yes, I know that it is a first-world problem, but I can’t help it - I’m a dromomaniac. Dromomania is a term used to describe a desire for frequent traveling or wanderlust. So until travel resumed, I had to find other outlets to satiate my need to explore.

Fortunately, our nature reserves opened up so we started hiking. I spoke to friends who hike and looked at expert lists of places to hike in Gauteng, our province. Many of them are in the Pretoria region including Hennops Hiking Trails which came highly recommended.

Hennops Hiking Trail

Hennops River

The Hennops Hiking Trail is situated in the Hennops River Valley around 50 minutes from Johannesburg, and 20 minutes from Centurion. It is an expansive nature reserve with hiking, mountain biking and off-roading trails, as well as a historical background. The Hennops river flows through a valley, flanked by mountain ranges on the northern and southern sides.

Hikers can enjoy diverse landscapes, including river views, natural bushveld, and mountainous terrain. The area is also rich in wildlife and birdlife, offering a great opportunity for nature enthusiasts. Along the trails, hikers can encounter historical sites such as old mines, as well as evidence of the area's rich cultural past, including ancient Ndebele kraals and artifacts. The trail area is equipped with basic amenities like picnic spots, rest areas, and sometimes braai (barbecue) facilities.

The trail system includes multiple routes of varying lengths and difficulty levels, catering to both novice hikers and more experienced adventurers. The most common trails are the Krokodilberg trail, Zebra trail, and Dassie trail, with distances ranging from about 2.5 km to 10 km. They start by crossing a meandering river using either a suspension bridge or a cable car – which is more like a manually-operated pulley swing – then veer off into the surrounding hills. A third option – a stepping stone bridge has been added too.

Hennops Hiking Trails

"Cable car"

Once we’d paid our entrance fees at the Hadeda Camp, we were given a map. We went on a combination of the Zebra Trail (5 km) and the River Trail (1.5 km). We crossed the river via the swinging suspension bridge and walked alongside the gushing river for a while. Then our route took us upwards into the hills. The route was well-marked with colour-coded painted feet to guide us along the way.

Hennops Hiking Trails

Lookout point

We walked through tall, green forests and over rocky plateaus as we climbed towards a lookout point from where we could see the Hartbeespoort Dam, the Magaliesberg Mountains and the huge empty towers of the now obsolete Pelindaba nuclear power station. We saw the Oude Muragie ruins along the way, then proceeded downhill back towards the base.

Hennops Hiking Trails

View from the trail

Due to its proximity to major cities and its natural beauty, the trail can become quite crowded, especially on weekends and public holidays. Early arrival is advised to avoid the crowds. When we visited, although the parking lot was quite full and we saw a lot of people at the entrance, there weren’t many people on our trail. The website lists the trail as easy to average but our legs definitely had a great workout.

Hennops Hiking Trails

Zebra trail

The reserve is home to wildlife including zebras, impalas, wildebeest, impalas and kudus. We saw some zebras, monkeys and zonkeys (zebra/donkey hybrids). The zonkeys had zebra legs and dark donkey-like torsos. It was great to see some wildlife after so long.

Hennops Hiking Trails

Zonkey

Here are 5 interesting historical things to see at Hennops Hiking Trail

Please note that some of them can only be seen on specific trails.

1. Pruimpie se Gat (Pruimpie’s cave)

According to legend, Pruimpie was an orphan who was left behind when Mzilikazi fled while escaping Shaka Zulu’s impis, around 1837. Later on, he was fond of asking his neighbours for chewing tobacco (called pruimpie -hence the name). Pruimpie lived in this cave.

2. Harde Kraal

Traces of a settlement including a stone-packed kraal where cattle were kept can be seen here. It is believed to be from the Mzilikazi era.

3. Hospital Cave

This cave was used as a field hospital during the Anglo Boer war.

4. Oude Muragie

Hennops Hiking Trails

Oude Muragie

Ruins of old stone houses which were built and lived in by mine workers around the 1930's.

5. Kalkoond

This “oven” on the Krokodilberg trail was used to produce quicklime until the early 1900's. Timber and limestone were packed in the chimney and burnt, the remains were crushed and cleaned then used as cement. The old dolomite mine workings can also be seen here.

Hennops Hiking Trail Entrance Fees

Entrance fees are currently R100 for adults and R50 for schoolchildren. (2023)

Pensioners and students get a discounted rate of R60 on weekdays, excluding public holidays. Pensioners will need to show their pensioners card or ID if they are over 60 and students will need to provide a valid student card.

Accommodation at Hennops Hiking Trail

There is limited accommodation at Hennops, This includes the Garden Cottage which sleeps 2 people and The Bungalow & Rondawel which can be found on the riverbank near the main farm yard.  The Bungalow sleeps up to 12 people in two rooms on bunkbeds and the Rondawel sleeps 2 people on 2 single beds.

Need to know:

  • The shorter trails are suitable for children.
  • Pets are not allowed.
  • As with any hiking trail, it is important to come prepared. Wear comfortable hiking shoes and use sunscreen. See other hiking essentials.
  • Take sufficient water and snacks along with you as you will not be able fill water or buy anything along the way.
  • On weekends, there are trailers selling drinks and snacks near the suspension bridge.
  • Visitors get access to the swimming pool and picnic / braai area although they may be closed during the lockdown period.

For more information visit Hennops Hiking Trail.

See the best hiking trails in Gauteng.

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.” John Muir, Mountaineer.

Hennops Hiking Trail

8 comments on “Hennops Hiking Trail & 5 interesting things to see there”

  1. My Wife and me went on sunday for a hike on the Crocodile River Trail
    The Staff is very friendly and helpful, we enjoyed our activities, be sure to arrive early,for it gets busy and laud later
    Well done

  2. Good day this seems like a very nice trail to bring school children to. we will be visiting the Hennops trail shortly.
    Thank you very much

  3. It is such a pity that this country of ours doesn't cater for the disabled. I was able to see all the wonderful sites in Canada and the States.

  4. Excellent article with so much detail about the place. Thank you ! Although I've been there many times in the past I've learnt so much about the place from your article. Looking forward to another visit there shortly.

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