The Village of Magaliesburg lies just below the Southern Range of the Magaliesburg Mountains. The roads and rivers take similar paths, breaking through the steep ridges of the mountains in a few places, only to traverse much of the land along the valleys on either side of the two mountain ridges.
The Magaliesburg mountain range is a microcosm of the magnificence of nature and the turbulent history of South Africa. Its present tranquility belies the drama of its geological formation. More than two billion years ago huge seismic forces cracked the bed of an inland sea and titled it skyward.
Molten magma pumped into fissures and burned deep kloofs in the rock. Over millions of years the jagged peaks of the titled seabed were scoured by a continental ice sheet, then buried in swamp, smothered under desert sands and finally capped with volcanic lava. Sixty million years ago the covering began to weather away and the mountains re-emerged to become the cliffs, the gentle slopes, the secretive kloofs and tumbling streams we know today.
The geology of the range created different habitats that support a variety of wildlife that is exceptional both in its abundance and in its diversity of species. Grassland of the highveld reaches the mountains on the south and give way to woodland in the deep rich soils of the lower slopes.
The warm, north facing slopes of the ancient seabed harbour the plants and animals of the dry bushveld while the sheer cliff edges provide safe, inaccessible roots for Cape Vultures, Black eagles and baboons. The shaded kloofs, watered by clear perennial streams, maintain a gentle microclimate for varieties of ferns and flowers and a retreat for the weary leopard. Unique endemic plants have evolved in this benign environment such as the Fairy Elephant Foot, a succulent with vivid pink flowers and leaves that precisely match the re-crystallized stones at the edges of kloofs.
Another endemic is Pegler’s Aloe that has shaped itself to withstand the wind and fire of the summit.
The ability to “meander in the Magaliesburg” to enjoy its beauty and understand the romance of its turbulent history, is a great privilege. Its protection has been a continuous battle by dedicated conservationists and landowners. No matter what one’s focus of interest or enjoyment may be, the Magaliesburg is a national treasure where all South Africans can find their roots.