Johannesburg is famed as one of the leafiest cities in the world, and tourists always rave about how intricately the urban jungle and the great outdoors are intertwined in this part of the country.
Of course, this also makes Jozi a haven for trail runners, and there are plenty of awesome outdoor running spots strewn all over the city.
Here are five trails you might want to take for a test run the next time you’re in the City of Gold.
Located just 35 minutes outside of Johannesburg, the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve feels like it must be much further away from the city skyscrapers than it actually is. Two main circular trails are available to runners: the Cheetah Trail is 4km long, whilst the Bokmakierie Trail stretches roughly 11.8km. Both are made up of rather challenging terrain, and amateur runners should heed this warning before getting their boots on.
A moderately difficult trail, the Wildlife Loop that meanders through the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve is approximately 12.6km long. A number of different routes provide variation and a chance to visit again – and you’ll want to make a second trip: with 150 types of bird species and other wildlife galore, this trail is a feast for the eye and the body.
3. Thaba Trails
Thaba Trails is a runner’s haven located in the middle of the city – 450 hectares of haven, to be precise. Choose between a 5-kilometre, 10-kilometre, and 20-kilometre trail (mostly single track), all containing loads of technical and climbing sections for thrill-seekers. Remember to keep an eye out for an abundance of wildlife, including black wildebeest, jackal and zebra, among many others.
4. Zoo Lake
Zoo Lake is extremely popular among walkers, picnickers and joggers alike, and you probably won’t be the only trail runner in search of serotonin. Ideal for a quick late-afternoon run, Zoo Lake’s trail is flat and just under a kilometre long, making this trail the one to go for when you’re in a hurry, but absolutely need your feel-good fix.
Get in touch with your roots at the Cradle of Humankind. The routes in this part of Gauteng draw cyclists, walkers and runners, and you absolutely won’t regret dropping by for your fill of Mother Nature. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’ll be easy to see why once you’ve dropped by.