#HikeSA, Week 5: Sunset at Northcliff Eco Park

Clients of mine recently got engaged and wanted to do a sunset engagement photoshoot at the top of Northcliff Ridge in Johannesburg. I had never been there before so I was beyond excited to check it out. My emails constantly get inundated with invites from my friends at the Joburg Photowalkers. It's a favourite place for them to take pictures of sunrise over Johannesburg. Its very seldom that I am up at sunrise when I am home bound, and having visited there this past weekend, I am kicking myself that I haven't attended at least one of them before. Its beautiful up here!

You won’t find this place in many tour books, but it does offer you a spectacular 360 view of Johannesburg.

Cars filled most of Lucky avenue so we had to all park far down the road. I asked my clients if it was always this busy, and they mentioned it is usually alot quiter so I assumed something special was happening up there. We entered the Eco Park through a lockable gate with a water tower to my left and was greeted by soft orange and pink hues that filled the sky. Couples dotted the rocks, arms around each other in awe of the panoramic views of Johannesburg.

As assumed, a grand proposal was taking place, a Muslim women stood there with flowers in her one hand, and her prince charming's hand in the other. He was kneeling before her as family members held up hand made boards with "will you marry me" printed on them 1807m above sea level. This was the second highest point in Johannesburg, and where better to have a proposal than here. Further down the path, a casual wedding session was also taking place.

The 360 degree views are spectacular! A perfect date night? Yes! Imagine sitting on the edge of the cliff with your legs dangling over Hillbrow, Sandton City, Cresta Shopping Center, the Honeydew water tower, The Northgate Dome with views of the Magaliesburg mountains, your loved one beside you with a glass of wine in your hands.

And its not just geared for the love birds! Hiking enthusiasts can park their cars at the bottom of the ridge and embark on the strenuous hike to the top, or rock climbers can enjoy the climb down. The SACIN website provides an overview of some of the hiking and rock climbing routes as well as the difficulty levels that you can do here.

The area is remarkably unspoilt considering the amount of human impact. The ridge offers three distinct landscapes (grassland on the plateau, cliff face vegetation and protea grassland on the slope below). The sedimentary rocks are ancient and are mostly hard white quartzite. There are twelve species of indigenous flowers on the ridge, and at least 64 bird species have been found here.

Interesting facts

#1 Northcliff Hill is also known as Aasvoëlkop (Vulture Ridge) as the cliffs here were

predominantly inhabited by these birds of prey before the area surrounding the hill was


#2 The hill is believed to have been populated by humans for over 250,000 years. Although

archaeological sites have been found here, they were never preserved by the National Council.

#3 The area to the east of the water tower has always been a nature reserve known as Chudleigh

View, though recent maps no longer indicate it as such.

A Kzara Visual Concepts Travel Blog: www.kzaravisual.com