You haven't experienced Johannesburg until you have seen it from the top of Melville Koppies.
As you walk up towards the top of the koppies surrounded by the City, you slowly rise above the area, able to enjoy picking out famous landmarks.
Visitors learn about the flora and geology, while still risking slipping on a steep rocky slope or twisting an ankle on the paths, especially if you’re distracted by the stunning views and endless skies ... but it's a great day in class if you're taking a guided tour.
The koppies are divided into three separate areas: east, west and central.
The east and west koppies are open to the public, but you can never really be sure if it’s safe to wander there or not. So guided tours by the Melville Koppies Nature Reserve allows you entrance to the central koppie. This is only opened for official walks in order to safeguard this nature reserves landscape and the Iron Age relics that forms part of its history.
On the western slopes and grass-covered plains, you’ll see church groups gather in circles on Sundays to sing and give praise, with some saying it’s their preferred place of worship because there they find that they are closer to God.
This Johannesburg City Heritage Site is the last conserved relic of Johannesburg's ridges still as they were before the discovery of gold back in 1886.
The geology of Melville Koppies goes back 3 billion years, and stone tools show that Early Stone Age man camped there 500 000 years ago.
It contains nine different biomes and a wealth of birdlife.
Although the land belongs to Joburg City Parks, it’s the Melville Koppies Management Committee that pays for three full-time workers in order to preserve the sites.
There are also volunteers who do things like weeding, site maintenance and running the tours. One of them is a metalworker who regularly repairs the fences.
But more volunteers are needed to lead the hikes and to train as guides to conduct the tours.
If you’d like to get to know Melville Koppies better, the Melville Koppies Nature Reserve offers guided group tours through Melville Koppies Central, Park at Marks Park, Judith Road, Emmarentia.
The walks will cost you R50, which goes towards the R19 000 a month needed to maintain the koppies and pay for security guides. For more information, visit their website.
This article first appeared on 702 : Melville Koppies - A city with a view