Words & Pictures by Grant Spolander
We’re sitting around a garden table, munching on home-made cake and listening to trail manager Attie Spangenberg run us through the details of the Dinokeng Junxion 4×4 Trail. I’m furiously scribbling on a notepad, trying to keep up with Attie’s obvious love of the route and subsequent flow of information. My hand is gliding across the page when Attie says something that causes me to stop and stare at him in disbelief. He claims that the Dinokeng Game Reserve (DGR) is the only freeroaming Big 5 reserve in Gauteng. I rummage through my memory bank, determined to find a game reserve that will prove Attie wrong. Surely this can’t be true?
There have to be other Big 5 reserves in Gauteng, right? Wrong. Situated just 35km north of Pretoria, the DGR was a government-sponsored plan to create a Big 5 reserve within Gauteng – close to the urban sprawl. They started the project in the year 2000, asking neighbouring landowners to voluntarily remove their boundary fences to create a 20 000 hectare reserve. The hope was that the game reserve would be ready for tourists travelling to the 2010 World Cup football. Unfortunately, the project took a little longer than expected and the DGR opened its gates only in 2011. But, despite its delayed launch date, the reserve is now up and running and ready for us locals to enjoy. Interestingly, not many folk seem to know about the park and its many offerings.