I am embarrassed to say that I have lived in Melville for 3 and a half years and I only managed to get around to visiting the Melville Koppies Nature Reserve this past Sunday. Melville Koppies is a Nature Reserve and Johannesburg City Heritage Site.
Everyone met at the Marks Park parking lot and took a quick walk up the the entrance gates to the Koppies. Once they closed the gates, which are kept locked at all times, I immediately forgot that I was in this huge city. I couldn’t believe that I had been living so close to this Nature Reserve for years!
The guided walk was administered by Wendy Carstens, the Chairperson, PR, Treasurer and guide from the Melville Koppies Committee. We were joined by a few others members of the committee. The walk was not strenuous at all, there were a couple of steep steps to take, but it was doable.
Wendy took us right up to the top of the Koppie where we enjoy 360 degree views of Johannesburg. In the distance we heard the members of the Pentecostal or Charismatic churches worshipping, drumming and singing. About 30 groups use the Koppies, and there are probably more than 400 worshippers, clad in traditional white, and green or blue robes, on the Melville Koppies West every Sunday afternoon.
Before we got to the top, we stopped at the spot where Professor R J Mason found the Melville Koppies iron smelting furnaces in the 1960’s. The Stone Age camps were revealed in the same excavation, in 1963, which uncovered the 100 year old furnace.
Wendy also told us about the story where a gentleman stole the original wooden Melville Koppies Nature Reserve sign to give as a gift to a couple on their wedding day. The gift was meant to be a bread board. But the man was so wracked with guilt that he eventually, after some years, returned it to its original place.
We continued on the walk and made our way to the top to enjoy the views.
When we got to the bottom of the Koppie we made our way through a green forest that had a beautiful little stream. There was also an unused road through the forest, which made for great photos.
Hikes or guided tours are arranged for every Sunday on Melville Koppies Central. These alternate between morning and afternoons.
Cost: R50 per adult and R20 per child.
No booking required.
Check their website for their calendar.