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For birders and the not so fit hiker ...
Nature trails

Many people think of Foothold merely as an access route to the top of the Magaliesberg.  What a waste of our special piece of land. 


A few members have always been interested in exploring the lower reaches of our property but only over the last couple of years has a quartet of inter-linked nature trails been developed.  These have much to offer those interested in rambling around enjoying the trees, flowers, birds and occasional animals but more often their tracks.  Some trees on the main path to Millennium Koppies are identified, many more, including some on the lower trail (red trail) have been given numbered tags but still require full labels.


Bird-watching is an increasingly popular enthusiasm world-wide and Foothold, despite the lack of natural water or dams, provides plenty of interest to such enthusiasts, whether beginners or veterans.  The permanent drip into the grindstone at Hikers Haven attracts a great variety of birds and happy hours can be spent sitting comfortably, watching the passing feathered parade.  The first Foothold bird list, noted 47 species – the current count and if we cheat and include the tame ostrich at Aasvoelkrans, is 180!  Check out the list.


The large number of bulbuls and white eyes coming to drink and bathe at the grindstone aroused speculation as to whether these were a small, local population with a cleanliness feeling or birds coming from far and wide.  Members of a ringing team from the Witwatersrand Bird Club have been keeping records at Foothold for the past three years and from the small numbers of ringed birds seen, it is obvious that the latter is the case.  One of the most interesting incidents at Foothold was the recapture of a willow-warbler almost exactly a year after first ringing it there – in the meantime, this tiny bird, a summer migrant, had flown to Europe and back!


For the bird trail, head a little south and over the stile on the western fence.  Follow the red markers in trees through some typical African bushveld.  This takes you along the side of a deep donga and passed the ruins of the old farmhouse.  Various paths lead off to the east back to Hikers Haven, making the trail very short.  Carry on passed the old farmhouse back into thick bushveld watching and listening for a large variety of birds.  This trail takes you to the path which leads up to Millenium Koppie and beyond but if you have had a long enough stroll, wander back down the path back to Hikers Haven.

Millenium Koppie.  Take either the bird path, or the preferred route to the top, leaving Hikers Haven in a northerly direction, passing through the gate which must always be left closed.  Pass the 0.5km mark and at the 1km sign stop to admire the view over the patchwork of fields to the hills in the horizon.  Look towards the escarpment and if you are lucky enough, watch the Cape Vultures soaring in the thermals returning to their nesting grounds along the rock face.  Check out the Footloose and Ladder Gullies before taking the red ribbon route to the east through African bushveld.  Listen for the various bird calls, feel the texture of some leaves or wonder at the wild flowers, or the moss and toadstools growing around the foot of various trees.  This route offers the slow hiker, the birder, the stroller or not so fit person, a good hike but nothing strenuous.