Hiking guide to Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve, Pretoria

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If you are searching for a hike not too far from Pretoria or Johannesburg, want forest vibes with a lot of shade, and want to keep your buck in your wallet, the Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve in Moreleta Park, Pretoria is a brilliant choice. This little gem is nestled in the heart of the city, offering a green oasis spanning over 100 hectares, and best of all, it will not cost you anything to hike there. Hint, Moreleta Kloof is also a great hike for beginners and families.   

We were wary of going to Moreleta Kloof simply because it is a free hike and we prefer avoiding crowds. Still, we have been to this beautiful nature reserve in Pretoria twice and have never encountered big crowds. There is nothing worse than arriving at a free hiking destination hoping to enjoy some time in nature, only to run into large groups, constantly shouting over each other or listening to music while hiking. We did not experience this at Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve. Granted, we arrived relatively early.

A pathway leads deeper into a wooded area in the Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve
Footpath into the woods

Established in the 1980s, Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve was designated to conserve the diverse plant and animal species that call this area home. The Moreleta Spruit flows through the reserve, sustaining a thriving ecosystem within the heart of Gauteng province. A committed volunteer team, Friends of Moreleta Kloof, have worked tirelessly to maintain the trails and restore indigenous vegetation.

Starting your hike at Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve

Once you enter the reserve, you can park your car and head to the information area. We have hiked here twice and the first time we were so eager that we accidentally started the hike from the trail end. I saw people finishing their hike and figured that must be the start of the trail, so we missed the info area with a map of the routes and just winged it.

Trail options at Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve

A map showing the trail options in the Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve

Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve offers a variety of trail options, making it an ideal destination for beginners or those seeking a relaxed hiking experience in Pretoria. The 1.48km Rademeyer Trail is perfect for families with young children looking to stretch their legs, while the Duiker Route, a short 2.7km trail near the restaurant, offers another option. Combining the Suikerbos and Duiker trails in a figure-eight loop offers a total distance of around 5km for a more extensive workout. Refer to the map below for a visual guide to the available hiking routes at Moreleta Kloof.

Birding and wildlife in the Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve

The Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve boasts over 200 bird species, and the varied topography contributes to this. Take your binoculars to spot prolific species like pied barbets, brown-throated martins and African stonechats. The Flufftail Bird Hide provides an ideal viewpoint, but the trail passes the back of the hide, and not all groups walk silently. On one occasion, I sat and photographed a range of seedeaters on the grass, but a loud group quickly chased them.

It is one of the hiking trails around Pretoria, where you can see wildlife during your hike. The reserve is home to various smaller game species. Widlife you can look out for at Morelete Kloof inclue ostrich, bushbuck, duiker, springbok, zebra, springbok and blesbok. During two visits, we have managed to see everything but the duiker.

Sign reminding hikers not to go off track and stick to the main trails
Sign reminding hikers to stick to the main trails in the Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve

Nearby residents are fortunate to have this slice of wilderness in their backyard. If I lived in the neighbourhood, I would hike there often.  Spend a morning or afternoon in Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve immersed within this tranquil setting – you will leave refreshed!

Know before you go:

Entry: Free

Booking: No

Surroundings: Shade, forest, stream

Parking: Safe parking with a guard at the entrance

Food/Drinks: Rademeyers Restaurant, open from Wednesday to Sunday

Ablutions: Yes

Trail markings: Well marked.

Gear: Rocky sections, but normal takkies will suffice for this hike.

Pets allowed: No

Gate times:  Monday to Sunday – 06:00 to 18:00 (last entry at 17:00, gate closure at 18:00)

Info: https://moreletakloof.co.za/

A stream running through the Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve
A stream through the Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve

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