Exploring the Magaliesburg Mountains

It has always been a wish of mine to fly along the top of the Magaliesburg mountain range in a helicopter.

On a scale of molehill to Everest, the Magaliesburg range is a speed hump in the road, but it’s significant to me.

It is the closest mountain range to my hometown, and it creates a natural barrier between the crispy cold winters on the Highveld (where I live) and the more temperate conditions of the North West and Limpopo provinces. The mountain forms a breath-taking backdrop to a beautiful dam called Hartebeespoort dam.

For years my family and I have travelled across to the other side of the mountain for our winter camping trips – the temperatures are sometimes 10 degrees (Celsius) higher even though the region is less than two hours from home. We have spent many happy times boating on the dam and holidaying on its banks.

From various places around my hometown I can see portions of the range in the distance and I find the views magnetic. On a clear day the crags are visible and as the mountain lies to the west of us, we occasionally glimpse the hint of distant, mountainous sunsets. My heart longs for the ocean; but part of my soul belongs with that mountain.

In our travels we have criss-crossed the mountain and the warm planes that lie beyond it. I have always wondered about the geography of the region. The range snakes across three provinces which are rich in platinum, gold and diamonds. There is an abundance of nature reserves, game farms, game reserves and wildlife sanctuaries. The area is rich with cultural heritage and is a hub of outdoor activity. My family and I have visited dozens of places on either side of the mountain and I have often wondered; “How does it all fit together?”

Hence the appearance of the item on my bucket list: fly along the top of the Magaliesburg mountain.

(Looking at a map just isn’t the same.)

Today my hubby helped me accomplish this dream, to a certain degree, by taking me up the cable way to the top of the mountain.

He’s not off the hook completely though. For one of my birthdays (maybe my 50th) I would still like to take a helicopter flight along the range.

From the top of the mountain we could fully appreciate the size and the shape of Harties dam (the local nickname for it) and we spotted a few landmarks to help me put everything in its geographical place. Looking from one side of the range to the other, we pinpointed the location of our hometown, the cities in the area, and the situation of several of our favourite camping places.

It was a truly wonderful experience for me.

This is a photo from the parking area looking up to the cable car landing station at the top of the mountain.

This is the view over the northern part of Hartebeespoort dam, looking towards Pretoria. It’s late Winter in South Africa. That means it’s the dry season for this region. The horizon is murky because of all the dust and smog.

This is the view over the middle of the dam looking towards Johannesburg and the West Rand where I live.

One of the many cable cars that safely transport hundreds of people to the top of the mountain. 

One of the original wheels from the early days of the cable-way is now a decor piece on the recently refurbished building.

One bucket list item has been moved down to the bottom of the list for now.

If I peg it before I get the chance to fly along the top of the Magaliesburg Mountain it’s okay… today I saw so much beauty from the one peak that we visited that I can spend the next few years appreciably looking at the mountain and remembering the pattern of the plains that surround it.

I know where I fit in.

I absorbed the lay of the land through my eyes and now it is imprinted on my soul.


What do you think?

Written by Toni Bug


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