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Melville Koppies Nature Reserve - Johannesburg

melville koppies johannesburgMelville Koppies is a Nature Reserve and a Johannesburg City Heritage Site. It is the last conserved remnant of Johannesburg's ridges as they were before the discovery of gold in 1886. Its geology goes back three billion years. Stone tools show that Early Stone Age man camped here as long as 500 000 years ago. There is a Late Stone Age living floor. Within the last 1 000 years Iron Age immigrants arrived, and remains of their kraal walls can be found on the northern slopes. In 1963 an iron-smelting furnace was excavated and can be seen today.

Melville Koppies is made up of three sections: the first is 60 hectares of nature reserve, open to the public only every Sunday. There is a further open section to the west of this, known as the Westdene Ridge, which is an area of 100 hectares, and another 10 hectare section, known as the Louw Geldenhuys viewsite. In its totality, Melville Koppies lies just 5 kilometres from the city centre, adjacent to Melville, and seemingly linked by a narrow strip of land of the Jan Van Riebeeck Park Nature Reserve with Johannesburg Botanical Garden, creating a rather long 'green corridor' in the heart of Jo'burg's northern suburbs.

On Melville Koppies you will find over 200 different types of birds, a range of small mammals such as mongooses, civets, hares, hedgehogs, shrews and various lizards, chameleons and tortoises. And in the indigenous grasses and vegetation a number of snakes, including the rinkhals. Some of the oldest rock on earth, known as greenstone, lies on this hill, even if it is overlaid with granite.

The vegetation of the Koppies is entirely indigenous and is a remarkable example of the richness of highveld grasses, flowers, and trees so close to a city centre. These ridges have looked like this for hundreds of years.



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