As with so many of the things I get up to in Pretoria, there’s usually a trail of conversations, suggestions and sometimes even advertising and marketing flyers, leading me to try something out. Just like the Kimiad Walking Trail at the Kimiad Golf Course and Driving Range.
I had seen a flyer for the weekend market at my yoga studio, Yoga Harmony, and had also seen Insta posts of my friends walking in the area. My beautician, Gail, had also recommended the Kimiad Walking Trail as a nice, safe and easy morning route.
We didn’t want to wake up Gail so early to join us, but a Sunday or two ago my mom and I, continuing our outdoor walking adventures from the Buddhist Retreat Centre, decided to start off the day there.
It took us a while to find our way though, so here are some recommendations for navigating this particular walking trail, if you also decide to check it out sometime.
5 Tips for Visiting the Kimiad Walking Trail in Pretoria
1. Go to the kiosk first
Granted, the Kimiad Walking Trail probably isn’t that difficult to find on your own, but when we arrived there was some kind of running event going on, which added a bit of confusion.
In fact, when we first arrived we totally bypassed the kiosk and went straight through the purple blow-up running archway on our own, on the recommendation of someone who had finished the race. We started walking for a while, saw some tractors and a sign with yellow and white painted feet on it, but decided to turn around.
It just looked like a walk around the golf course, which didn’t seem right.
It took us having to go back and ask more people, including the running event organisers (who didn’t know anything about the walking trail), to find our way to the kiosk. Here, we needed to sign in and pay R20, which we easily could have avoided, to be honest.
It also took a few more questions, and a lot of pointing towards the space beyond a white Range Rover in the parking lot, to find our way to the top entrance of the route. This, unsurprisingly, starts at the Kimiad Walking Trail sign, with a big boot print on it, currently obscured by a clump of healthy aloe plants.
2. Trust the signs
When we eventually found the Kimiad Walking Trail route, we lost it again after walking for a bit, and got frustrated all over again. It didn’t seem possible that a simple 6km walking route around a golf course could be so difficult to navigate.
After a bit of venting, we eventually found our way to another sign with white and yellow feet, past another wide open vehicle entrance (weirdly, without a friendly guard and a boom gate). That was, after some more deliberation about where the car wash sign on the dirt road was actually pointing to, and dodging some red and white tape that was presumably marking out the day’s running event trail.
Luckily, we did get a map, and although not to scale by any means, we eventually managed to find out where we were, and that we could do an extra loop on the yellow trail, while the white trail just circles around the golf course.
Once we had found our way, I had to laugh, because it felt like such a ridiculous South African experience. So much frustration, swearing, and things that don’t make sense. But after trying, for a while, you eventually find your way, and figure out that someone, somewhere, (hopefully) did know what was going on, but there was (and continues to be) just a lot of miscommunication and confusion along the way.
3. Appreciate the Scenery
Once we’d (kind of) figured out our way around, we could finally just walk and appreciate the surroundings. I take it for granted now, but Pretoria really is beautiful at this time of year with all the rain. So it’s important for me to appreciate all the green, and colourful wild purple flowers (which are everywhere), before it all turns into dusty, dry, shitness in winter.
Judging from how many times I stopped to take a picture with my phone, the Kimiad Walking Trail is surprisingly scenic too. It even gave me a whole new appreciation for the suburb of Moreleta Park.
I used to visit the area quite a lot when I was younger, when my aunt lived on Jacques Street, but I haven’t explored the area in years. And definitely not since they built Parkview centre, which I didn’t realise backs right onto the border of the Kimiad Golf Course.
(A realisation which connected a whole lot of suburbs in my brain map of Pretoria, like a puzzle).
While negotiating the yellow trail, I also took the time to appreciate the brick-built suburbs of Pretoria East, the balconies with their Weber braais on the border of the Kimiad Walking Trail, and the enormous amount of security that surrounds us (even if one of the border gates was, ineffectively, leaning at an angle).
3. Take in the Fauna and Flora
As someone who appreciates plants, there were local Proteas on the rocky side of the yellow trail, and a beautiful tall willow tree along the white trail over the spruit, where we were given a huge fright by some lurking hadedas. Who, of course, squawked off when we passed them on the opposite side of the fence.
There were also a lot of weeds, like Lantana, which nobody likes, apparently, and some purple morning glories, which I think I weirdly developed some kind of affinity for after searching high and low for them in Standard 2 for our primary school class weed project.
4. Know When to Stand Still
On the trail there is also, unexpectedly, some game, even though we didn’t manage to stay still enough to the see the group of blesbok, and their babies, up close.
5. Stay for a beer, or a meal
When we eventually completed the mapped out white and yellow trail, we finally returned to the place with the tractors, and the tree-lined walkway where we started. At 6km, it was also pretty decent walk. Which will be much easier to find one try number two.
As a huge fan of the coffee at 23 on Hazelwood, we decided to go around the corner to its sister restaurant, 23 on Rubinstein, for a flat white afterwards. However, there is more than one large, open air restaurant around the golf course, including Rustica Restaurant, which has a large playground and more than a handful of beers on tap to choose from.
Next time, I’ll definitely be having a half pint of one of them.
Have you walked the Kimiad Walking Trail in Moreleta Park, Pretoria? If you have, what did you think? Are there any other hidden suburban walks that you like to do in suburban Pretoria? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.