Melville Koppies Nature Reserve
Melville Koppies is a Nature Reserve and a Johannesburg City Heritage Site. It is the last conserved remnant of Johannesburg's ridges as they were before the discovery of gold in 1886. Its geology goes back three billion years. Stone tools show that Early Stone Age man camped here as long as 500 000 years ago. There is a Late Stone Age living floor. Within the last 1 000 years Iron Age immigrants arrived, and remains of their kraal walls can be found on the northern slopes. In 1963 an iron-smelting furnace was excavated and can be seen today.
The vegetation of the Koppies is entirely indigenous and is a remarkable example of the richness of highveld grasses, flowers, and trees so close to a city centre. These ridges have looked like this for hundreds of years.
Things you need to know...
Melville Koppies CENTRAL is always locked and has CONTROLLED ACCESS ONLY for people on organised tours and hikes. Please refer to calendar/map for details of scheduled tours and hikes. Other tours may be booked on 011 482 4797. People may not walk around this section on their own at any time.
Melville Koppies EAST is open daily for walks and socialised dogs are welcome.
Melville Koppies WEST is open daily but it is advisable to walk only on scheduled walks. Do not take valuables onto EAST or WEST as these are public open spaces.
Please refer to the calendar/map for details of organised tours.
If you plan to come to open days with a large group (more than 15) please let us know so that we have additional guides on duty. For a special guided tour on any other day, please call or email us.
Socialized dogs on leads are welcome on Melville Koppies West and East, but not allowed on Melville Koppies Central, a proclaimed Heritage Site.
Because of the sensitive nature of the environment we have no electricity, braai, or picnic facilities, no tea shop, and certainly no manicured lawns. There are taps and septic tank toilets on Melville Koppies Central.
Not permitted are: mountain bikes and other vehicles, radios, sound systems, generators, corporate functions, camping, or other activities unfriendly to the environment and the tranquility.
The hikes on Melville Koppies West on Saturdays are strenuous. You need to be reasonably fit, and they are not suitable for young children. A hat and something to drink are essential.
created by Norman Baines. Updated by Barbara Shaw.