TAKE A HIKE
This fun trail has suspension bridges and even a cableway.
Cross a suspension bridge and ride a cableway at Hennops Trails in Gauteng.
HENNOPS TRAILS, PELINDABA The Hennops River flows through the heart of Gauteng. It winds through suburbs and smallholdings and cuts across three golf courses before it reaches the foothills of the Magaliesberg. If you trace the course of the Hennops on a map, it’s almost as if the river changes its mind when it reaches the mountains. Not up to the task of carving through, it swerves away and joins up with the Crocodile River on its way to the sea. Hennops Trails is right on the bend where the river swerves away. There are various hiking, mountainbiking and 4x4 trails, plus a picnic site with braai facilities, an ablution block and two swimming pools. You can buy snacks and drinks at the kiosk in the reception area before you head towards the river. If it’s early and you’re not properly awake yet, order a cup of coffee at the coffee stall. You’ll walk through riverine forest to the river where there’s a cableway. I know you’re curious but carry on – we’ll get to the cable car later. There’s a fork in the road: go left to do the Dassie Trail (2,5 km) or right for the Zebra (5 km) and Krokodilberg (10 km) trails. I don’t have too much time, so I opt for the Dassie Trail. The first kilometre is under the forest canopy, along the banks of the Hennops River. The murmur of the water drowns out the sound of traffic on the nearby R511. Walk past the low-water bridge, which leads to the picnic site, and follow the river. Soon you’ll climb up a low, rocky hill with a nice view at the top. Look for the ladder on the western side of the hill and climb down to Hospital Cave, which was used as a field hospital by Boer soldiers during the Anglo-Boer War. Follow the signs down to the suspension bridge over the river. If you’re nervous about crossing, don’t be – the bridge is sturdy and has been in use since 1932. On the other side of the bridge, the path climbs into grassland in the foothills of the Magaliesberg – look for jackals, warthogs and kudu. There are two stands of trees here, about 400 m
HANG OUT (above). The suspension bridge across the Hennops River might feel wobbly, but hikers have used it to cross the river for almost a century.