Melville Koppies and Johannesburg skyline

Melville Koppies Nature Reserve

Johannesburg, South Africa

Friends of Melville Koppies:              Phone: +27 11 482 4797                      Email:


Melville Koppies for Educators

School enrichment tours at Melville Koppies

School tours to Melville Koppies Nature Reserve and Joburg Heritage site

This 50ha classroom without walls offers learners a hands-on and enriching learning experience. Experienced volunteer guides lead the tours which are adapted to teachers' requirements and the age of the learners, from pre-primary to grade 12. Teachers who bring school groups to the Koppies get a complimentary CD of their choice. CDs are R50 each.


Appropriate tour at Melville Koppies

Social sciences

Layers of history have been uncovered at Melville Koppies. These include Early, Middle and Late Stone Age and Iron Age (an original 500 year-old furnace). Evidence of modern history is visible - from Mzilikazi, trekkers, gold, Anglo-Boer War, the Geldenhuys family - up to the present (CD Archaeology and History of MK).

The history of landmarks seen from the top ridges' panoramic views is also fascinating (CD Landmarks seen from MK).

Life Sciences

  • Geological formations (CD Geology of MK) include 3 billion-year old quartzite ridges, shale valleys and gabbro intrusions in the Westdene Spruit. Ripple marks of the ancient Witwatersrand inland sea are visible.
  • Over 500 species of indigenous plants. Special tours on the CAPS grade 10 ecology syllabus enrich learners' understanding of concepts learnt in the classroom (CDs Ecology of MK, Fauna of MK, Flowers of MK, Trees and shrubs of MK, The Westdene Spruit).
  • Special tours for matrics on human evolution are enriched practically with replicas of human, chimp and three Australopithecine skulls.
  • Riverine development, soils, contours (model of the reserve is on site) etc.

Environmental education

Management of the reserve includes conservation, education, research, field work, sustainable recreation, publicity, fund raising and tourism (CD Environmental Management of MK).

Life orientation

Physical development and mental health are improved by hiking on trails over rocky ridges while experiencing unspoilt nature. This could promote a life-long healthy life style. Encourage a spirit of volunteerism.

Art education

The Koppies provide an opportunity to draw/paint/photograph sweeping panoramas, south to the built horizon of the CBD and north to the misty Magaliesberg range - or of detailed studies of flora or intricate rock formations.

Enquiries and booking: Wendy Carstens (BA Hons Hist., B.Ed. HED (PG))

011 482 4797 or

R35 per learner with a minimum charge of R500 for the group. Funds are used for maintenance of MK.

'The Melville Koppies Nature Reserve is a perfect place to give students the opportunity to experience a section of the Grade 10 curriculum "in real life". The value of the geological trail at Melville Koppies cannot be exaggerated. Students have the opportunity to see the various rock types they have spent the term studying. The tectonic forces that resulted in the formation of the Melville Koppies and the development of rocks due to the large inland sea in the Witwatersrand basin come alive as students view the tilted quartzite ridges that alternate with softer, more easily eroded shale. The river on the property provides a perfect revision lesson on river erosion and the artefacts on display at the lecture hut help them to see the important links between geology and archaeology. The Melville Koppies Nature Reserve should become an extension of every Johannesburg-based Geography classroom! Its educational value is tremendous.'

Joanne Brett, Geography Teacher, Kingsmead College

Parkview pre-primary School

Eleanor Huggett, Principal

Not many city dwellers can boast that they have one of the largest (if not the largest) nature reserves in the world right on their doorsteps.

Every year we at Parkview Pre-Primary School are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to experience the marvels of Melville Koppies.

At the lecture hut our children are treated to an educational talk/story, with relevant and fascinating objects and pictures, about life as it was for the first human inhabitants of the Koppies. This is followed by a nature walk with many stops for explanations about the fauna and flora. The views are spectacular and the geographic position of the Koppies gives the children a clear perspective of where they are in relation to the other Johannesburg features. We stop to allow the children to assimilate the views, provide facts about the buildings and other places of interest that are in clear view. But for us, as important as the traditional educational advantages, are the less perceivable aspects such as the joy the children experience from being in a totally natural environment which engenders a feeling of contentment. Even the most active child is awed by his environment and is calmed by the sense of quiet and space. The Melville Koppies covers every educational need, perceptual, factual, physical, social and emotional. It's a piece of heaven in the middle of Johannesburg.