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Lonehill Nature Reserve

Very close to Monte Casino, is a little haven called built around a koppie.

The Lonehill Koppie stands out as a lone koppie on the northern border of the city's suburbs, some 28 kilometres north of the city centre, and is a reminder of what Johannesburg used to look like before it was settled: rocky veld with small streams trickling through it, dotted with shrubs, small trees and knee-high grasses.

A popular walk about 200 metres north of the koppie is a small dam called Lonehill Loch.

A short walk up will bring you to the top of the koppie.
The Koppie is largely made up of large boulders, very old rocks, with trees and indigenous shrubs now almost obscuring the rocks except for the very top boulders.

Surrounded by development, it is a bit of nature in the concrete jungle.

The area is fenced and locked, but unlocked on the weekends, allowing hikers and picnickers to climb to the top, or just lay out a picnic blanket in its surrounding grassy area.

It is an extremely significant site - it has three Stone Age furnaces in the veld below the Koppie. These were excavated in the 1960s by Professor Revil Mason, formerly head of archaeology at Wits University.

The furnaces were covered again by Mason, partly to protect them but partly also because there was no funding to develop the site, which would need a protective structure built around them.

Mason estimates that the furnaces date to around 1600, the same period as the Melville Koppies furnace. Bits of slag have been found near the site of the furnaces, on large flat rocks with indentations in them, obviously used for grinding.

Near the furnace site is another area where pottery was manufactured, fenced like the furnace area.

The granite rock around the base of the Koppie was being quarried by the government, but Notten called a halt to the quarrying. A huge mound of square granite blocks can still be seen at the base of the Koppie.

How to find Lonehill nature Reserve:

Follow the R511/ William Nicol Drive until Mulbarton Road in the suburb of Beverly. At the circle keep right going into Lonehill Bouleverd. Turn right into Crestwood and follow the road a little way. Lonehill should be on the left.

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