These mountains and the surrounding area also possess a rich biodiversity and the bird life is ridiculous - nearly half of all southern Africa's bird species live here. And you're not far from civilisation either. River Place is only 20 minutes from Fourways in Jo'burg. And it's on a newly renovated road, too, which is rather excellent. Plus there is not one but two restaurants. Al Fiume, which literally means 'at the river' in Italian, is on a shaded wooden deck on the banks of the Hennops. The Serendipity Country Café is new, it also offers al fresco wining and dining plus a cocktail bar and large Nomadik tent with wooden and tiled deck areas.
River Place has 16 standard rooms with twin beds and an en-suite bathroom with both bath and shower facilities. The baths aren't huge though so if you're over 6ft don't expect to stretch out. You'll also have a private patio - although the river views are from the restaurants. If you want more luxury opt for one of the stone clad suites. These have longer, king size beds and an adjoining lounge area. There's also a honeymoon suite which has been decorated rather romantically, all in soft hues.
The valley of the Hennops River is popular for hiking, fishing, camping and picnicking.
The Hennops hiking trail are well marked and the scenery beautiful. They're well maintained but you'll still be better off in hiking shoes. Good signs, a suspension bridge and a cable car. Plus interesting historical sites including an old field hospital used in the Anglo Boer war and an underground cave. Legend has it that an orphan called Pruimpie lived here in the 1800s. There's lots of interesting flora and fauna and many different kinds of insects too. And you may come across both zebra and zonkies - and who can resist these crazy hybrids?! Also, the mountain bike tracks and the hiking trails are separate, which is a win win. You don't have to worry about bikers not seeing you and bikers can speed along as quickly as they want. There's ample parking but take cash to pay the trail fees as there are no credit card facilities.
The lodge can take you hiking too. Duckers, divers, raptors, and other winged wonders fly about in abundance. There are also fish eagles, goliath herons, plovers, kingfishers, dikkops, swallows, honey suckers, crested barbets and owls. And that's just, err, 9? Seriously, there are loads more species here.
And don't forget, you're virtually on the doorstep of both Johannesburg and Pretoria. The former is about a 40 minute drive away.
Plus there's the mountains. The waterfalls and streams make it great for hikers and climbers who want to explore the forested kloofs. Think water, ferns, flowers, grasses and fungi. The Magaliesberg region is also recognised as the birthplace of mankind, visitors from all over the world head to Maropeng, the visitor centre at The Cradle of Humankind. And here excavations continue to uncover ancient skeletons, like Little Foot. This guy's a nearly complete four million year-old Australopithecus fossil. Impressive.
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"Better than we could have imagined."
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"We have had a wonderful trip to Namibia"
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