Here are plans for day trips in Gauteng this holiday

Henry

If you and your family are going to drive Jan Tuisbly’s buggy right here in good old Gauteng this holiday, there are still some lovely places to explore in and around the city of Jakaranda.

The whole team at RNews put their heads together for trips to keep the young team busy during the time. Here are some of our favorite places to take your kids for quality time during the holidays:

  1. Go for a walk or cycle at Wolwespruit

Wolwespruit is a mountain bike park in Erasmuskloof just next to the Kloof Hospital in the east of Pretoria. This is one of our favorite places in the city of Jakaranda, because you can go for a walk, cycle or jog, and what’s more, you can bring the whole family, even your four-legged friends are also welcome.

There are enough routes to test you, from beginner level to the more experienced adventurers who need an extra challenge. After all the excess energy has been properly disposed of, everyone can recharge and stretch out at one of the restaurants on site. Younger children can trample the lawns around the play area with their smaller bikes while mum and dad relax on soft bean bags under an umbrella. There is a lovely playground for the children, and numerous water bowls are provided for dogs who have also gone for a walk.

Visit Wolwespruit.co.za for more information.

  1. Let’s go play paddle tennis

In September, RNews had the opportunity to play a game of padel tennis on the Wingate Park country club’s courts, and we all immediately fell in love with the game. We would like to take quite a few family members this December to play the combination of tennis and squash, how easy it is to master this game.

You can book your next padel tennis match on the Playtomic app. For more information visit Proactivepadel.com.

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  1. Pay a visit to the zoo

But isn’t the zoo a trampling? We have a secret with a visit to the Pretoria National Zoo and I’d like to share it here: make sure you check in early in the morning, as soon as the gates open, and if you can do it after a day of heavy rain, so much the better. The city is dead quiet in the morning and so is the zoo. The animals are more curious and like to come and get to know each other better.

Pack a picnic basket with snacks for later in the morning when hunger magically starts to complain. If your budget allows, hire a golf cart to visit the big cats higher up in the zoo – it’s all part of the adventure.

We haven’t visited the Johannesburg Zoo recently, but there are many tastemakers on social media who recommend it. Maybe you could visit there and let us know what your experience was?

People often have questions about the animals that are in cages, but I can assure you, your support to our zoos helps in the conservation and research of our biodiversity. Feel free to support them, they do good work and if you can’t visit a nature reserve or wildlife park soon, it’s a great way to get to know wild animals from all over the world.

Visit Pretoriazoo.org or www.jhbcityparksandzoo.com for more information.

  1. A day at the museum

We and our families have been making a trip to the Natural History Museum in Paul Kruger Street, Pretoria every December for the last two years. There are different exhibition halls and last year the children were crazy about the prehistoric animals and local birds. We ourselves were fascinated with the stones, minerals and precious metals that can be found in South Africa. There are also displays of amphibians, fish, reptiles, mammals and other skeletons. The original Afrikaans names also adorn nameplates at the exhibitions together with the English and Sesotho names.

Researchers and scientists also give talks at this museum throughout the year, and so we have already gained access to the archives of the museum, as well as seen a special exhibition of insects and butterflies. Follow the museum on Instagram for more information on this.

Remember there is secure parking behind the museum in Minnaarstraat.

Just make a plan to visit all the Ditsong museums. In Pretoria this includes the Cultural History Museum in Visagie Street, the Willem Prinsloo Museum in Silverton, the Kruger Museum in WF Nkomo Street, the Pionier Museum in Silverton, the Sammy Marks Museum on the old Bronkhorstspruit Road in Donkerhoek, and the Tswaing Crater into Onderstepoortweg. Johannesburg is also home to the Military Museum.

Visit Ditsong.org.za for more information on all the museums, their visiting times and ticket prices.

  1. Come for a walk on Hedianga farm

If you have active children and dogs, and see a chance to drive a little further, you can definitely go for a walk on Hedianga farm in Olympus. Entrance costs R55 for adults, R35 for children and students and children under 12 can walk for free. The entrance fee is valid for a week and there is a lovely 5 km route that you can take on. The people looking for more chance can also go for a 10 km or 15 km walk.

Go and reward yourself with a coffee and something to eat at the IC Coffee and Hemels Cafe afterwards.

Please also read Mariska Koortzen’s online travel journal for more information about her visit to Hedianga here.

  1. Climb the walls at Irene City Rock

Okay, by now your kids might want to climb all the walls out of boredom, and you feel like climbing along.

Keep the young team happy and healthy and let them literally climb the walls at the Irene City Rock rock climbing gym. There is a session from 18 December to 11 January available from 10:00 to 12:00, Monday to Thursday, and the costs include all their climbing equipment, an instructor and two hours of climbing fun.

Remember there is also a City Rock in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Visit www.cityrock.co.za for more information or to book.

  1. Visit Buyuk Chamlija Ecocentre in Centurion

The eco center along the R55 road in Zwartkop, Centurion, offers endless space and a delicious food experience at the Turkish restaurant, the Karinja Cafe. Come and enjoy delicious Turkish kebabs and baklavas, and there are also schwarmas, pike and even potjekos on the menu.

Buyuk Chamlije offers a cherry and berry festival from 22 December to 3 January and the center is open daily from 10:00 to 22:00 during the festival. The proceeds from the festival are dedicated to the education of underprivileged students.

The center promises a family-friendly atmosphere with activities such as a corner for children, pony rides, volleyball, basketball and various animals that can be met and fed on site.

Visit Buyukchamlija.co.za for more information or directions to the centre.

  1. Get ready for a tree climbing adventure

There are 11 Acrobranch centers in South Africa that promise a tree climbing adventure for children and adults.

We recently went boarding at the Big Red Barn near Irene. The Big Red Barn is situated in a 20 hectare eucalyptus forest overlooking grassland and the Kaal River. Here you can also go mountain biking and jogging. There are loads of big, open spaces for the kids to explore.

Just book your place at the restaurant in time, because the Big Red Barn can get busy quickly.

For more information about an Acrobranch center near you, visit Acrobranch.co.za

  1. Visit Kimiad Golf Course’s lawns

Kimiad in Moreleta Park boasts a wonderful golf course where you can hit the balls, as far as you can see. Even the young team can get the opportunity to hit a golf ball or two. Afterwards enjoy something to eat or drink at the Rustica restaurant while the children play on the beautiful lawns. Visit Kimiad’s Facebook page for more information.

  1. Irene’s dairy farm

Come visit the cows from Irene’s own dairy farm. Here you can see how cows are milked – this usually takes place from 14:30 to 15:30 – and at the same time you can get to know the calves up close. Come and discover the farm, and remember to bring your bike.

There is a lovely swing in the old trees, climbing frames and an old tractor to play on.

The deli is open daily from 08:00 to 18:00, and the Deck and Barn restaurants offer delicious meals, where you can relax while the young team enjoys the fresh air of this farm.

Visit www.irenefarm.co.za for more information.

More ideas:

Go explore Gauteng’s nature reserves. There are quite a few in and around Pretoria; we think, for example, of the Rietvlei nature reserve and Moreletakloof nature reserve, to name just two. The Dinokeng nature reserve is just a 30-minute drive north of Pretoria and boasts the Big Five. Visit Dinokeng’s website for more information.

The Voortrekker Monument is another delightful excursion for the whole family and offers something for everyone’s taste. Here you can learn everything about the pioneers’ journey to freedom, but there is also a nature reserve to explore on foot or with your bicycle. The young team can get to know the farmyard’s animals more closely and a delicious picnic can be held on the site. Visit the Voortrekker Monument’s website for more information.

Take a day trip to the Hartebeespoort Dam, because there is so much to do and discover. Visit the Ann van Dyk Centre’s cheetahs or take a ride on Hartbeespoort’s cable car up the mountain. You can visit the Elephant Sanctuary, Bush Babies Monkey Sanctuary or Hartbeespoort’s snake and animal park. Other fun family outings that can easily be added to your list are a visit to The Aloe Farm, Pretville or Jasmyn’s markets, and a visit to Van Gaalen’s cheese farm.