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History, fauna and flora ...
This ‘island’ is on the doorsteps of Johannesburg and is where one can relax and take in the breathtaking view of the Magaliesberg range.
The Johannesburg Hiking Club is fortunate to have as a member, one of Melville Koppies’ team of environmentalists; ecologist, Ivan Ginsberg, who often conducts interesting and educational visits to the Koppies – keep an eye out on the programme.
The Koppies cover an area of 170 hectares of which the central nature reserve is 67 hectares.
The geology is extremely complex but with the passage of time the following rock types remain: Quartzite which forms the rocky ridges that run from east to west along the reserve. Shale, a sedimentary rock.
The southern slope (quartzite) of the ridge is cooler, more acidic and infertile than the northern slopes and therefore mainly a mixture of grasses, sedges and ferns can be found. On the other hand the northern slope (scree) is warmer and the soil is a mixture of decomposed quartzite, shale and granite and a woodland has established itself.
A variety of insects, arachnids, reptiles and mammals habitat the Koppies whilst the abundance of birdlife is unrivalled anywhere else so near to the city centre.
From an historical point of view, the Koppies lie near the Cradle of Humankind, Sterkfontein/Kromdraai, which is now a world heritage site. The iron age furnace dates back to about 1400AD.
Melville Koppies is truly worthwhile visiting. It is open to the public on the first and third Sundays in the afternoon (14h00 – 17h00 in winter; 15h00 – 18h00 in summer) and the second Sunday in the morning (09h00 – 12h00), so take time to discover what’s on our doorsteps – you won’t be sorry.
As a matter of interest the continental divide lies just to the south of the Koppies and rain falling to the south of the Brixton Tower flows into the Atlantic ocean whilst rain falling to the north flows into the Indian Ocean.