Sable Ranch is situated just off the R96 close to Hekpoort in the Magaliesburg mountain region. Being only 70km away from Johannesburg, this trail is an easy escape for the entire family to enjoy a day out in nature. It is open on weekends and public holidays.
Beauty: 3/5 (Never ending mountain views in typical Magalies Scrubland)
Difficulty: 3-5/10 (Easy walk but steep in places; different trails are available for all fitness levels)
Technical rating: Standard trail walking with some loose terrain underfoot and the odd steep slope.
We arrived around 9am on a blustery winter’s morning. A very friendly Marilie greeted us on arrival at an impressive homestead built entirely from the rocks found on the farmland. No trail maps are available yet, but Marilie will explain trails in detail and the trails are extremely well marked so there’s no fear of getting lost. We opted to do the 8km hike, but there is also a 12km trail available.
The first part of the trail is a beautiful stone paved road which then becomes a wide scraped trail of loose rock and sand. The trail begins with a steady uphill, around 2.5km, which gives the calves a great workout. The rocks are pretty loose and slippery throughout the trail and one needs to keep an eye on your steps to avoid slipping and falling.
The trail evens out once you reach the plateau. Here we were able to view the game feeding points and we were enthralled by the amount of game we were able to watch and photograph in close proximity – so beautiful and special! There are hides you can watch from, but we found them unnecessary as the game was obviously used to being observed.
We were fortunate to see Peglerae Aloes, which are indigenous to the Magalies area, in full bloom.
The picnic area is a beautiful shady spot with fresh, running mountain water to refill bottles, as well as a braai and seating area. After stopping to rest we took the Dam trail and then hiked the Sable Road – a hefty incline almost had me 4×4’ing up the hill. The trail then wanders back down to the starting point.
Sable Ranch is brand new, opened in April 2018, and is still in the process of constructing public ablutions, but Marilie is very happy to share private ablutions when necessary. The ranch is easy to find, and no specialised vehicles are necessary as you navigate tarred roads all the way until a safe and secure open parking area is reached.
This trail is highly recommended for a family with children. It is an easy hike, although steep in parts, only low-level fitness is required. The children will love getting up close to the ample game that abounds. Trail runners will definitely benefit from the steep climbs.
There are several species of game to view including Sable, Blesbok, Wildebeest, Springbok, Impala, as well as dassies, duikers, baboons and bush pigs. 150 types of birds are said to be found in the area, as well as 650 different plant species. A lovely setting for a family outing.
Cost: R70pp for adults and R30pp for children under 18
Tel: 079 896 7374
GPS Co-Ordinates: 25°54’55.5″S 27°36’48.7″E