Tucked away on the northern outskirts of Johannesburg, a mere 28 kilometres from the city centre, lies a hidden gem known as the Lonehill Nature Reserve. This little piece of conserved nature stands in stark contrast to the surrounding concrete jungle, offering a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
At the heart of the reserve stands a lone koppie, a rocky outcrop of large boulders that serves as a reminder of what this part of the world looked like before development. Despite its seemingly barren appearance, the reserve is teeming with wildlife. A walk around the area may bring you into contact with the local dassies (of which there are quite a few) and porcupines (who only come out at night).
If you make the climb to the top of the koppie, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of Johannesburg and its surroundings. You may also spot a variety of bird species, including the black-collared barbet, crested barbet, red-headed finch, African paradise flycatcher, black-headed heron, and willow warbler.
One of the most significant features of the Lonehill Nature Reserve is its conservation of three Stone Age furnaces. Built around 1600, these furnaces were excavated in the 1960s and then covered to protect them. The site is an important Stone Age site, and near the furnace site, another excavation uncovered a site where pottery was made. Sadly, both sites have been closed off due to a lack of funding for their development.
The discovery of these important historical sites did, however, put an end to the government’s mining of granite rock around the base of the koppie. If you keep your eyes peeled, you’ll notice a massive mound of square granite blocks that was left behind.
Popular Activities and Attractions at Lonehill Nature Reserve
In addition to hiking and enjoying the natural beauty of the Lonehill Nature Reserve, there are several other activities and attractions that visitors can enjoy during their stay.
One popular attraction is the nearby Monte Casino, which is located just a few kilometres from the reserve. This Italian-themed casino complex features a wide range of entertainment options, including a casino floor, theatres, restaurants, and shops. Visitors can take in a show, try their luck at the casino, or simply enjoy a meal at one of the many dining options.
For those looking for outdoor adventure, the Croc City Crocodile & Reptile Park is another nearby attraction that is well worth a visit. Located just a few kilometres from the reserve, this park features a variety of crocodile and reptile species, as well as guided tours and interactive experiences. Visitors can hold a baby crocodile, feed the animals, or take a guided tour of the park.
Another popular attraction near Lonehill Nature Reserve is the Fourways Farmers Market, which is located just a short drive from the reserve. This bustling market features a wide range of local produce, crafts, and artisanal goods, as well as live music and a range of food and drink options. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely afternoon browsing the stalls and sampling local delicacies.
For those interested in history and culture, the nearby Cradle of Humankind is a must-see attraction. Located approximately 30 kilometres from the reserve, this UNESCO World Heritage site features a series of caves that contain some of the world’s oldest hominid fossils. Visitors can take guided tours of the caves, learn about the history of human evolution, and explore the interactive exhibits at the visitors’ centre.
The Lonehill Nature Reserve and its surrounding area offer a wide range of activities and attractions that are sure to delight visitors of all ages and interests. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure, cultural experiences, or simply a peaceful escape from the city, this area has something for everyone.
Browns of Beverly Hills
Lonehill Nature Reserve is not only a beautiful place to explore but is also conveniently located near a plethora of tourist attractions, activities and places of interest. One of these is the famous Browns of Beverly Hills, located in Fourways, Johannesburg, and only a short drive away from the reserve.
For those looking to indulge in fine dining, Browns of Beverly Hills is an excellent choice. This elegant restaurant has been a favourite among locals for almost three decades, serving up a variety of delicious dishes with an extensive wine list to match. The restaurant is situated in beautiful private gardens, and guests can choose to dine indoors or on the outdoor patio with pretty views of the landscaped greenery.
The menu at Browns of Beverly Hills is varied, offering starters such as venison carpaccio, duck and black cherry spring rolls, smoked salmon terrine, and snails in a garlic or blue cheese sauce. Mains include the Greek halloumi tart, whole prawns, Cape seafood curry, tender Falklands calamari, fillet of Scottish salmon, oven-roasted duck, braised lamb shank, steaks, and fish of the day. For dessert, guests can indulge in cheesecake, crème brulée, and chocolate torte with berry compote.
The wine list at Browns of Beverly Hills is impressive and boasts one of the finest collections of wine in the country. With wines from top South African vineyards, wine pros, as well as those who are just after a good quaffing wine over dinner, will appreciate the selection.
Apart from Browns of Beverly Hills, there are also many other activities and attractions in the area, including the Montecasino bird park, which is only a short drive away. Visitors can marvel at a variety of bird species, walk through aviaries, and watch bird shows. Another popular attraction is the Lion and Safari Park, where visitors can interact with lions and other big cats or go on a safari tour to see the park’s resident animals up close.
For those interested in history, the Cradle of Humankind, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is also located nearby. This significant site is home to many caves and fossils that have contributed greatly to the study of human evolution. Visitors can explore the caves and learn about the fascinating history of our species.
Lonehill Nature Reserve is an excellent starting point for exploring the many tourist attractions, activities, and places of interest in and around Johannesburg. Whether you are after a fine dining experience, animal encounters, or historical sites, there is something for everyone in this beautiful part of South Africa.
The Steamworks Gastropub
For visitors to Lonehill Nature Reserve who enjoy gastropubs and craft beers, The Steamworks Gastropub is a must-visit. This gastropub has been described as a steampunk establishment with quirky decor, eclectic furniture, and a menu full of delicious food and drinks.
The Steamworks is the brainchild of childhood friends Martin Jakoby and Thomas Hughes, who have also started other successful gastropubs in the Johannesburg area, such as The Loft in Melville, The Attic in Parkhurst, and The Office in Greenside. With their passion for craft beers, irresistible food, and good service, they have brought a unique dining experience to the area.
The menu at The Steamworks Gastropub is casual and varied, with some of the favorite items being pork and black bean spring rolls with Korean slaw and a soy dressing, mussels in cider and crème fraiche, a salmon fishcake with a soft poached egg, free-range rump steak with a Béarnaise sauce, poached kabeljou in spiced coconut milk, and a lightly crumbed porcini ravioli with baby spinach and salsa verde. Vegetarian options, salads, pizzas, and a gourmet burger are also available. On weekends, there is a small kids’ menu available too.
In addition to the food, The Steamworks Gastropub boasts a selection of ten local and imported beers on tap, including Aces Bare Naked Blonde, Celis White, Brewhogs Original Red Lager, Lindemands Kriek, Mad Giant Punk Hop American Pale Ale, Soweto Gold Apple Ale, and Gogo’s Ginger Beer. Visitors can even participate in beer tastings and sample four of the on-tap beers before deciding on their preferred beverage to enjoy with friends.
Located in Lone Hill, The Steamworks Gastropub is a great spot for both locals and tourists to enjoy a unique dining experience in Gauteng.
Lonehill Nature Reserve is surrounded by some of the best eateries in Johannesburg, and Mythos is no exception. Mythos, with its delicious Greek cuisine and vibrant atmosphere, is the third restaurant of its kind to open in Johannesburg, and has quickly become a popular dining spot among tourists and locals alike. The restaurant boasts a crisp, white interior that is typically Greek, creating a relaxed, island-like vibe that will transport you to your favourite Mediterranean holiday.
If you are looking for a place to enjoy the warmer weather, Mythos offers a beautiful decked-out patio for al fresco dining. The double-volume seating inside the restaurant is also designed to provide ample space for everyone, so you can sit back, relax and enjoy a fantastic meal.
Mythos takes pride in its mezze dishes, and for a good reason – they are delicious! From dolmades and phyllo pastry filled with feta and herbs to falafel and spanakopita, Mythos’s mezze dishes will leave your taste buds wanting more. The restaurant also serves succulent seafood, tender meat dishes, and perfectly prepared mezze plates that will satisfy any craving.
If you are looking for something truly special, try the Astako Makaronda, a fresh lobster served on a bed of spaghetti and tomato sauce. Another crowd-pleaser is the Garida Linguine, marinated prawns served with wine, garlic, and chilli. The restaurant also offers a variety of desserts that will satisfy any sweet tooth, including decadent chocolate cake and baklava served with ice-cream.
Mythos is a fantastic spot to enjoy a delicious meal with family and friends in a relaxed and vibrant atmosphere. The restaurant’s menu and exceptional service make it a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Lonehill Nature Reserve.
Lonehill Nature Reserve is fenced and locked, but it is open to the public on weekends. Visitors can hike to the top of the koppie and enjoy a picnic while taking in the stunning views. The reserve is a great place for a family outing or a peaceful escape from the city, offering a glimpse into the natural beauty of this part of South Africa.