What Is Groenkloof Nature Reserve?

Marjorie McAtee

The Groenkloof Nature Reserve can be found in Pretoria, South Africa. President Paul Kruger is credited with establishing Groenkloof Nature Reserve as the first African wildlife sanctuary on 25 February 1895. It is home to a number of native species, including oribis, blue wildebeests, impalas, and ostriches. Guests at the Groenkloof Nature Reserve can enjoy hiking, wildlife viewing, biking, horseback riding, and camping. Outdoor cooking is possible for those who bring their own fuel, but the park also features a restaurant for those who prefer to be served a meal.

Groenkloof Nature Reserve is located in South Africa.
Groenkloof Nature Reserve is located in South Africa.

The tract of land now protected as Groenkloof Nature Reserve is located about 3 miles (5 kilometers) from downtown Pretoria, South Africa. It's also near Fountains Valley Resort, another popular South African nature park. Since 1994, officials of the City of Tishwane have administered Africa's oldest wildlife sanctuary.

Giraffes were reintroduced into the Groenkloof Nature Reserve in 2002.
Giraffes were reintroduced into the Groenkloof Nature Reserve in 2002.

Most people believe that President Kruger established the park to protect many native African species from hunters in the late 19th century. The oribi, a type of antelope, have been able to thrive there. Other native species have been reintroduced into the area over the years. Ostriches, impalas, blue wildebeests, and kudus were reintroduced to the lands of the Groenkloof Nature Reserve in 1999. Red hartebeests and giraffes were reintroduced to the area in 2002, and in 2003, sable antelope populations were boosted.

The first people known to have settled in the area of the Groenkloof Nature Reserve were Zulu people following the military commander Mzilikazi in the 1820s. These people established settlements nearby. In 1910, 15 years after President Kruger designated this area as the first official wildlife preserve on the entire continent of Africa, plantations were constructed on some parts of the land. These plantations were intended to produce wood for paper. The City of Pretoria took over the administration of the Groenkloof Nature Reserve in 1950, though the park is now the responsibility of the City of Tishwane.

The park offers plenty of hiking and wildlife-viewing facilities. Hiking trails for all skill levels are available, and hikes can range from two to four hours in length. Overnight hiking trips are also permissible, and group camping facilities can accommodate up to sixty persons. Motorbike, four-wheel-drive, horse, and automobile trails are available for those who wish to tour the park by means of one of these conveyances.

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