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Why you should visit The Wilds Nature Reserve in Johannesburg

July 1, 2024 No Comments

Johannesburg, a sprawling metropolis, might not be the first place that comes to mind for a nature escape. But nestled amidst the urban energy lies a hidden gem – The Wilds Nature Reserve. This 16-hectare sanctuary offers a surprising dose of tranquillity, indigenous flora, and sweeping city views.

Here are some reasons why you should plan your visit to The Wilds Nature Reserve:

1. It’s free to visit

In a city as expensive as Johannesburg, finding a well maintained, free place to visit is rare. I was surprised that there was no entry fee and yet, I never saw any trash, never mind even a leaf out of place. 

For free 99, The Wilds is a welcome respite from a costly city. As you enter, you’re greeted by lush greenery and the sound of birdsong. The reserve boasts well-maintained walking trails that wind through indigenous gardens and rocky outcrops (koppies) characteristic of the Highveld landscape.

Note that you do have to sign in and provide your phone number to enter The Wilds Nature Reserve.

2. Its a low effort, maximum reward destination

After parking the car, we walked for around 2 minutes before finding the first waterfall! It was no effort at all. Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply seeking a leisurely stroll, The Wilds caters to all paces. The trails offer varying degrees of difficulty, with some leading to scenic viewpoints. Pack a picnic basket and find a spot on the sprawling Giraffe Lawn for a relaxing lunch break if you want a leisurely stroll. Alternatively, make your way uphill to Jock’s view if you want to increase your heart rate and see a stunning view showcasing the Johannesburg skyline.

Please note that this site is not wheelchair friendly.

3. It has some of the best views of the city

Johannesburg’s bustling cityscape can be glimpsed at various points throughout The Wilds Nature Reserve, but for the most impressive vistas, head to the western side. Here, you’ll find scenic overlooks with names like Jock’s View and the Giraffe Lawn, offering panoramic views of the city skyline set against the vast South African sky. With a little more effort, make your way to the sundial which is the highest point and- in my onion- has the best views and the quirkiest art piece!

4. Explore Art and Animals

Keep an eye out for interesting features scattered throughout The Wilds Nature Reserve.. Besides its breathtaking cityscapes, see how many quirky animal sculptures you can spot… you’ll need to look up at some points to spot them all. Take a moment to appreciate the restored Owl Forest or take a peek at the disused greenhouses, remnants of a bygone era. The Wilds is a haven for birdlife, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. Keep your eyes peeled for a variety of feathered friends flitting through the trees. While large mammals are absent, the reserve still provides a vital habitat for smaller creatures, adding to the biodiversity of the area.

Important information: 

  • The Wilds Nature Reserve is open every day from sunrise to sunset, with free entry for all visitors.  The reserve is easily accessible by car and offers ample parking.
  • Wear proper footwear if you plan to walk uphill. The terrain is uneven and rocky. 
  • Bring your own water and food as there is no on-site restaurant. 
  • There are restrooms near the parking lot.
The parking lot



Whether you’re a local resident or a tourist, The Wilds Nature Reserve is a Johannesburg must-do. It’s the perfect escape from the city’s hustle and bustle, offering a chance to reconnect with nature and appreciate the beauty of indigenous flora. So lace up your walking shoes, pack a picnic, and head to The Wilds for a dose of serenity amidst the urban jungle.


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Have you visited The Wilds Nature Reserve before? Or have I inspired you to visit? Let me know in the comments below!


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