Over the past few months, many students flooded the once-forgotten hiking trails in the surroundings of Pretoria. The familiar feeling of freedom and space became something that many students longed for since the start of COVID-19 and the strict lockdown regulations. Overall, hiking trails have always attracted a moderate amount of attention among students, but the numbers have recently increased drastically. Furthermore, with gyms still closed, the vastness of the hiking environment offers an easy and affordable alternative to exercise. Not only does the fresh air increase oxygen flow to the body, which helps balance serotonin levels in the brain, but it also assists in making one happy. Many people also report that their sensory stimulation increases as their awareness of the immediate environment around them improves.

PDBY dug into the top 10 hiking trails in Pretoria and what you can expect from each one.

Hedianga Farm is situated in the Olympus area and students pay R25.00 for a ticket that is valid for 7 days – definitely a cost-effective option for those with tight budgets.

Moreleta Nature Reserve unfortunately does not allow pets, but has some incredible wildlife, from tortoises to zebra, to see on your trail and access is without cost.

Hazeldean Valley trails are situated in Pretoria-East and open 7 days a week from 06:30 to 18:30 pm.

 Wolwespruit mountain biking park, located in Erasmuskloof, and the Big Red Barn, located in Olifantsfontein, originally famous for their cycling trails, also offer impressive walking routes at a flat rate of R30.00.

 Tierpoort adventure farm offers diverse terrains, with hilly ridges and river crossing, and the admission price for the whole day is R30.00. Keep in mind that no cash is accepted – only card and snapscan.

 Buffelsdrift Trail Park has both mountain biking (MTB) and trail running, with tickets for adults ranging from R60.00 for MTB, and R30.00 for trail running. A yearly membership can also be purchased, starting from R300.00 annually.

Faerie Glen, Groenkloof, and Hennops hiking trail are also still familiar on the radar. They offer a variety of hiking terrains, and varying distances – ranging from 2.5km to 10km.

It is important to remember to have a card or snapscan ready as the COVID-19 regulations require different methods of payment. Additionally, make sure to read the regulations of each location and adhere to them. As students rediscover the power of walking in the midst of mother nature to escape the lockdown fever, COVID-19 has certainly taught the world how to explore the areas around them and enjoy the benefits of exercising outdoors.

Photos: Cassandra Eardley

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