The urban jungles running trails are highly underrated when compared to our beautiful coastlines. Many people often have the misconception of Johannesburg when it comes to the trail running. There are so many amazing places in and around this beautiful city.
As we all know COVID reached our beautiful shores and had a devastating effect on our country we so dearly love. Prior to COVID I trained primarily on the road however once the country was able to safely move around I made a conscious effort to connect with nature through running trails. Weekends were set out for discovering new adventures, finding some pretty epic wildlife reserves, landscapes and amazing local people along the way.
Here are my top 5 favorite running trails in and around Johannesburg:
1) Cradle Moon Lakeside Game Lodge
This venue is a 10/10 and a must see for all trail runners visiting Johannesburg. It is a 40min drive from Sandton, making it a very doable run either on a weekend or after work. This place really does provide that “African bush” experience. The wildlife here is spectacular! On your run don’t be surprised to have a herd of the rare black springbok cross your path or to say hello to a herd of giraffes as you enter the gates. This place really is special and has many routes available from 5km-21km routes which are clearly marked. I always take my own hydration pack with me but they do sell additional refreshments at the reception. The entrance fee is R70 pp (including the conservation fee) or you can get a loyalty card R800 for 20 sessions. This is a definite must see for trail runners wanting to get a feel for the African bush!
2) Delta Park
This park is a real hidden gem in the city of gold! Delta Park was the first venue to ever host Parkrun in South Africa and is an absolute must see! There are many hidden gems in this vibrant park. The park is situated on the Braamfontein Spruit which provides beautiful scenery all year round. There is a local stable nearby so often one gets to see the horses frolicking in the water alongside the pooches cooling off after their run. The atmosphere here is mesmerizing as you completely forget that you are in the middle of a bustling city. The park has a bird sanctuary which is cordoned off to the public but can be viewed in two bird hides. The Parkrun route (5km) is easily accessible but you can complete well over 10km on various routes within the park. The fauna in the park is spectacular and changes all year round. Four legged friends have an absolute blast here. There is no fee to enter the park and I would advise running in the late afternoon on weekdays or mornings on weekends to fully experience what this place has to offer.
3) Taroko Trail Park
This trail run is quite unique, you run around a dam located in the Modderfontein Nature Reserve. This trail offers trail runners in Jozi a completely unique experience. It has the most amazing birdlife literally buzzing around every corner. This is a highly recommended run to those looking for a challenge, the trails are near to the dam and have a soft feel to them when running. This is a fantastic trail to work on those legs but not recommended to run your PB. The trails feel fairly new and the wildlife is still very much present. Don’t be surprised to have a yellow tailed mongoose run in your path or look up and see a huge fish eagle sitting in the tree on the dam. This venue also offers night runs on Wednesdays which are super cool for those wanting to run the trails after a busy day at work. It will cost you R30pp or R800 for a yearly pass to hit the trails. They offer a 5km and 11km route which is great for all levels of fitness!
4) B’Sorah Luxury Tented Camp
This beautiful venue is located just outside of Johannesburg nested in the Magaliesburg in the North West province.It is about an hour drive from Sandton but is really worth it. B’sorah has some epic trails with quite a lot of wildlife as well as Brahman cattle. The main reason I highly recommend this trail is to explore the different terrains. It really is amazing to run up a koppie, savannah and forest all in one trail. This place really is spectacular and for R50 pp is worth every cent.
5) Hazeldean Valley Trails
This trail is located in the east of Pretoria.This trail is on the Hazeldean Farm and is an enjoyable well marked single track route. There are various distances on these trails making it an enjoyable experience and day out for everyone in the family. The farm is home to their Ayrshire cows which can sometimes be seen on the trails. This is a great place to try to hit those PB times. The venue has a fantastic Cowhouse Market which is a great place to meet new people and support local businesses. I love both the vibe and trails at this venue. It is R55 pp or R660 for an annual pass. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Written by: Cailin Whyte, ASICS FrontrunnerZA
For more on her Urban jungle adventures follow her on Instagram Here