Hiking at Taroko Trail Park, Modderfontein

Hiking at Taroko Trail Park, Modderfontein post thumbnail image

If you live in Johannesburg and looking for the perfect destination for a quick hike without travelling too far, look no further than Taroko Trail Park at the Modderfontein Nature Reserve. The park is not too far from the east where I stay, and it is great for hikers looking to walk in and around Johannesburg. 

Trails are well-marked and easy to navigate

The trails are great for beginner hikers because they are flat and relatively easy to navigate. Taroko Trail Park at the Modderfontein Nature Reserve has two options for hikers – a shorter 5km trail and an option measuring 11km. The 5km route has a water crossing shortly after the start. You don’t need to remove your shoes unless it rains a lot. There is no need to wear proper hiking shoes as you won’t run into any challenging terrain. However, the trails can be extra muddy after a bit of rain, so do not wear your favourite white pair of sneakers, and ensure you have the proper grip.

Hikers enjoying the trails at Taroko Trail Park at Modderfontein Nature Reserve.
Hikers enjoying the trails at Taroko Trail Park at Modderfontein Nature Reserve.

While you hike, you will pass through woody sections allowing you to catch some shade. Remember a wide-brimmed hat as much of the trails is also out in the open with no shade. There is also plenty of water along the way, but signage everywhere states that the water is unsafe for human consumption, swimming, fishing or any water sport. 

The Modderfontein Nature Reserve came into existence in 1988 and is approximately 275 hectares in size. The varied habitat means that you will be able to spot a variety of birdlife. The area includes grassland, forest-like spots, and riverine vegetation next to little streams. The bird tally in Modderfontein Nature Reserve is just under 300 species. African fish eagles, long-crested eagles, jackal buzzards, crimson-breasted shrike and European bee-eaters visit the park. Other species that call the park home include small antelope such as steenbok, reedbuck, and duiker and other wildlife such as black-backed jackal, Cape clawless otter, and four species of mongoose.

If you hike the longer route, you will pass some historic sites, including old buildings. Modderfontein was initially established in 1894, and with the advent of underground mining; there was a great need for dynamite, which led to the establishment of the Modderfontein Dynamite Factory. It would be interesting to learn what they used the structures for. 

There are some historic sites to see along the 11km trail.

Where do you need to go when you arrive at Taroko Trail Park? After parking, pay your fee at the kiosk at the main building and receive an armband for the day. When we went for our hike, the cost was R35 per person. This also allows you free entry to the Fourways Farmers Market should you want to grab something to eat and drink after your hike. As far as I know, the market is only open on weekends and public holidays. You can find more information about Fourways Farmers Market on their Facebook page.

The park is relatively safe for solo hiking, though one should ideally never hike alone. Read our article about hiking safety, especially if you consider doing it alone or in small groups.

Info about Taroko Trail Park

Hiking cost: R35 per person (correct at the end of 2022)

Trails well marked: Yes

Food and drink: Yes

Braai/picnic area: Yes

Other activities: Birding, catch and release fishing, picnicking, and cycling on separate trails.

Toilets: Yes

Safe parking: Yes

Pet friendly: No

Waterfall near the end of the trails at Taroko Trail Park at the Modderfontein Nature Reserve
The beautiful waterfall near the end of the trails at Taroko Trail Park at the Modderfontein Nature Reserve.

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