Silkaatsnek Nature Reserve

The Malaria-free Silkaatsnek Nature Reserve offers you the opportunity to experience the bushveld at only 45 minutes from Johannesburg and Pretoria in the Hartbeespoort Dam area.



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The Malaria-free Silkaatsnek Nature Reserve offers you the opportunity to experience the bushveld at only 45 minutes from Johannesburg and Pretoria in the Hartbeespoort Dam area. It is the perfect location for both day and overnight visitors, including overseas airline crew. We have become a popular stopover for international tourists, who wish to spend some relaxing days not far from OR Tambo Johannesburg Airport!

This privately owned 300 ha rough bushveld lies on the northern slopes of the Magaliesberg Mountain Range, which is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Silkaatsnek is named after King Mzilikazi (also referred to as Moselekatse or Zilikaats), one of the most impressive leaders Southern Africa has ever known. Nearly 200 years ago he ruled over this area with an iron fist. Nowadays Silkaatsnek offers Game Drives, Horseback Safaris, Bush Walks and Hiking Trails that give you the chance to meet some of Africa’s magnificent wildlife up close and personal. Silkaatsnek is home to giraffe, zebra, kudu, nyala, red hartebeest and many more buck and a great variety of colourful birds and butterflies.

National and international Conservation, Ecology and Wildlife students are welcome to do their internship or practical training at Silkaatsnek. There is also the opportunity for regular volunteers from all over the world who wish to get some hands-on experience with for example bush clearing, removal of invasive plant species, animal counts, fence patrolling, creating fire breaks or fighting and preventing erosion.

We at Silkaatsnek Nature Reserve are looking forward to welcoming you for some true European hospitality in the African bushveld, whether it’s for a few hours, days or even weeks! About the Area:
We are situated in the Hartbeespoort Dam area, which uses the slogan ‘’Close to the City, Out of this World’’ for many reasons. There is no other place in South Africa where you can find such a variety of top quality activities, accommodations and restaurants.

At only 45 minutes from Johannesburg and Pretoria, Hartbeespoort (or Harties) is the true Adventure Capital of the North West with the Harties Cableway, Ziplining, Quadbiking, Boat Cruises (including the unique AirBoat Afrika!), Hot Air Ballooning, Monkey Sanctuary, the world-famous Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre, Arts & Craft Markets, Snake Park and many more. After a fun (and adrenaline?) filled day, there is a wide range of venues to choose from for a few drinks and something to eat. Whether you like top class fine dining, the always popular Burger & Chips or anything in between, Harties is the place to be!
Hartbeespoort is also the home of Tourism Friendly, a company that is Putting the Smile Back into Tourism. Be on the lookout for their Smiley Face logo, because at the Tourism Friendly establishments you are guaranteed to experience true hospitality!
Visit for more information.

Silkaatsnek is a proud member of the Hartbeespoort Tourism Association (Harties Tourism). It is an association of members of the tourism industry working together to ensure quality and service for visitors to Hartbeespoort. It also serves as the tourism industry voice and interacts with government and other tourism associations on behalf of its members’ interests.

The Magaliesberg Biosphere:
Silkaatsnek Nature Reserve lies on the foothills of the oldest visible mountains in the world; the Magaliesberg. This mountain range is approximately 100 km long between Pretoria in the east and Rustenburg in the west. It has such an incredibly rich biodiversity because it lies at the interface of the Highveld Grassland and the Savannah Bushveld, which are two of South Africa’s largest biomes. The Magaliesberg area draws plant and animal species from both and remnants of even a third biome, the Afrotemperate Forest, add another dimension.

Because of all the different habitats in the Magaliesberg, no less than 443 bird species have been recorded, which is 46% of all birds in southern Africa. One of the most impressive birds is the endangered Cape Vulture () that nests in colonies on the cliffs on the southern side of the mountain range. The sight of wheeling flocks of vultures is one of the grand spectacles of the Magaliesberg.

There are also 18 indigenous fish, 17 frogs, 19 lizards, 30 snakes, 111 mammals and 121 species of indigenous trees and shrubs in the area.
You will be able to find a wide variety of beautiful flowers as well, but two of them are even endemic to the Magaliesberg. The Fairy Elephant’s Feet (Frithia pulchra) is a tiny succulent that grows only in the quartzite pebbles of the upper slopes. Another endemic is Turk’s Cap (Aloe peglerae), a small aloe that has evolved a leaf structure that protects its winter flower from drought, heat and fire. Recent research shows that it is pollinated by birds more than by insects.
Ancestors of humanity have evolved in the area from the earliest beginnings before hominids spread and prospered on other continents. Stone implements, and rock engravings tell of ancient peoples who once hunted and gathered in these mountains’ tens of thousands of years ago.

Maropeng – Cradle of Humankind is less than an hour’s drive from Silkaatsnek Nature Reserve and well worth a visit. Recently the area made it into the international news again because of the findings of National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Professor Lee Berger and his team. They have discovered Home naledi, a previously unknown hominin species, at the Rising Star Cave.
In the early 19th century the prosperity of Batswana society in the Magaliesberg was shattered by invasions. First by the BaPedi and then by the Ndebele under the formidable leadership of Mzilikazi. For a decade he conquered and ruled the people all the way from the Vaal to the Limpopo rivers. Robert Moffat, a famous missionary, visited Mzilikazi’s kingdom and became the leader’s close friend and ally and through his good offices came early explorers and naturalists from Europe.

Mzilikazi was himself evicted from the Magaliesberg region by Dutch trekkers seeking new lands away from the British-ruled Cape. Conflict between Dutch (the Boers) and British eventually escalated into war and fortifications in the Magaliesberg are reminders of violent engagements during the Transvaal War of 1880 – 1881, the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 and the 1914 Rebellion.
In June 2015 the Magaliesberg has been declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, in which stakeholders voluntarily pursue three goals:
1) the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems and cultures
2) the development of a sustainable economy
3) the exchange of information, research and education
It is not just another bureaucratic layer, but a ‘’tool’’ to motivate people and nature living in harmony together.

Blesbuck – Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi
Blue Wildebeest – Connochaetes taurinus
Common Duiker – Sylvicapra grimmia
Eland – Taurotragus oryx
Giraffe – Giraffa
Impala – Aepyceros melampus
Kudu – Tragelaphus strepsiceros
Mongoose (Banded / Slender) – Mungos mungo / Galerella sanguinea
Nyala – Tragelaphus angasii
Ostrich – Struthio camelus
Red Hartebeest – Alcelaphus buselaphus
Vervet Monkey – Chlorocebus pygerythrus
Waterbuck – Kobus ellipsiprymnus
Warthog – Phacochoerus africanus
Zebra – Equus quagga

Bush Walks & Hikes:
Bush Walks are a fantastic way to explore nature on foot, which allows you to look at the smaller things as well. Silkaatsnek has a variety of habitats and on a Bush Walk you get to see the differences in vegetation, insects and birds and naturally we will try to show as many of our large game as possible as well.
We also offer a Hike up the mountain for the slightly more adventurous. The stunning views will be worth all the effort! Our Magaliesberg Biosphere Hike takes you either through the Silkaatsnek Nature Reserve or through one of the beautiful kloofs and then up the mountain to the Harties Cableway. There you can enjoy true South African hospitality while having something to eat and drink with views over the Hartbeespoort Dam and surroundings. Did you know you can even get a massage on top of the mountain? Your muscles deserve to be spoiled after the Hike! After this relaxing time, a safe and professional cable car will take you down the mountain again.

Info & Cost:
1.5 hour Bush Walk: R195 per person / R150 per child between 6-12 years old
Self-guided Magaliesberg Biosphere Hike: R75 per person (please note that there won’t be game viewing on this trail) This trail starts from our Accommodation entrance and takes you through one of the beautiful kloofs in the Magaliesberg all the way to the top, where you can enjoy stunning views over the Hartbeespoort Dam and surrounding areas. This circular well-marked trail is 4km long with an elevation gain of 350m.
We now also offer exclusive guided Full Moon Walks followed by a Bring & Braai @ R125 per adult / R75 per child between 6-12 years old.

Game Drives:
Game Drives are popular with people of all ages. It is the most relaxed way to see Silkaatsnek and its wildlife and it gives you some great photo opportunities.
Our guides have spent a lot of time in the Nature Reserve and will take you on a guaranteed memorable drive.
Times subject to availability of a guide.

Info & Cost:
• 1 hour Game Drive: R200 per person / R150 per child between 6-12 years old / under 6 years old for free with paying adult
• 1.5 hour Sundowner Drive: R250 per person / R200 per child between 6-12 years old / under 6 years old for free with paying adult
• SPECIAL: A 1 hour Game Drive followed by a 1 hour Full Body Massage @ R1350.- per couple

Horse Back Safaris:
A Horseback Safari is the purest way to experience nature. The smell and the sounds of a horse will make the wildlife forget the people riding it, so that you can meet our giraffe, zebra, kudu, blue wildebeest and all others up close and personal. Our calm, properly trained and happy and healthy horses have become famous all over the Magaliesberg Biosphere area and we always find the perfect horse-human match for both beginners and experienced riders. Your guide is passionate about the Silkaatsnek Nature Reserve and its wildlife, so don’t be afraid to ask any questions while you are enjoying your trail!
Silkaatsnek is the only place in Hartbeespoort and surroundings where you can view wildlife on horseback in a real Nature Reserve. All levels of horse riding experience are welcome, and we only work with small groups of riders to guarantee the best possible personal and safe experience!

Info & Cost:
• 1 hour Horse Safari: R295 per person / R250 per child between 6-12 years old, available 7 days a week at 12:30 and 14:00
• 1.5 hour Horse Safari: R375 per person / R300 per child between 6-12 years old, available 7 days a week at 07:30, 10:00 and 16:00
• 2 hour Horse Safari: R450 per person / R350 per child between 6-12 years old, available on request.
Kindly advise if you are a beginner or experienced rider when making the booking, so that we can find the perfect horse match for you!
• Additional picnic basket: R275 per person (filled with delicious freshly homemade snacks and a bottle of sparkling wine (alcohol or non-alcoholic)
• SPECIAL: A 1.5 hour Horseback Safari followed by a 1 hour Full Body Massage @ R1500.- per couple

Bordering the Silkaatsnek Nature Reserve, nestled at the start of a kloof in the Magaliesberg Mountains, you find our ‘’Kudu House’’ and” Hartebeest House”. These are both self-catering houses with a characteristic thatched roof that comfortably accommodate up to 6 people in 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.
The swimming pool is only a few meters away, just like a Lapa at a great viewing point and the start of a Hiking Trail to the top of the Magaliesberg.
Book your stay with us and allow this to become your home away from home!

Summer rates:
• Sunday – Thursday at R1500.- per night unit price
• Friday – Saturday and Public Holidays at R1800.- per night unit price
• We require a minimum stay of 2 nights.
Long stay discounts apply, contact us for more information.

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