Another of Pretoria’s established and leafy suburbs, Muckleneuk is surrounded by university campuses and picturesque parks. The suburb is close to Pretoria CBD, the Loftus Versfeld rugby stadium and many of the city’s attractions. Also nearby are three hospitals.
Muckleneuk was laid out in the late 1880s and named after a pioneer Scotsman’s home estate. It’s said that the word is a Scottish colloquialism for a large nook. Fine examples of Victorian architecture are still present in the suburb, some designed by Herbert Baker who went on to design the magnificent Union Buildings. A number of these stately homes are occupied by embassies.
This hilly, character-rich suburb is popular with academics, young professionals and embassy staff.
South Africa’s largest open distance education university UNISA has a campus in Muckleneuk, a prominent landmark along Pretoria’s skyline.
Top 8 reasons to visit Muckleneuk
1. Spread a blanket under the trees beside the stream to enjoy a picnic at Magnolia Dell, a gorgeous park lined with magnolia and willow trees. The park is the venue for an occasional night market, a Saturday craft market and Art in the Park on Sundays. Check out the Love Bridge.
2. Birding enthusiasts will enjoy the well-placed hide under willow trees at the Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary in the adjoining New Muckleneuk suburb. The hide overlooks a dam with large numbers of wading birds and hordes of heron and egret nesting in the trees above.
3. Freedom Park is a magnificent memorial dedicated to South Africa’s heritage, culture and history. It’s a place of reflection and the chosen site perfectly complements this. Almost 700m in length, the Wall of Names is sure to stop you in your tracks. The wall has the names inscribed of South Africans lost to conflicts over the centuries.
4. Visit Pretoria’s German-designed forts erected shortly before the start of the South African War that began in 1899. Both Schanskop and Klapperkop forts are fully restored, however, Fort Wonderboompoort lies in ruins and is regarded by many as the most interesting of the three.
5. Spend a day at the Fountains Valley Resort, popular with hikers, mountain bikers, picnickers and families. The resort has a large swimming pool and braai (barbeque) facilities. Walk along the Apies River to view the spectacular waterfall that appears after the summer rains.
6. Golfers can opt to play a round of 9 or 18 holes at the exclusive Waterkloof Golf Club. The club has a recognised fine dining restaurant to enjoy a meal after the round.
7. Join a tour of the Loftus Versfeld Stadium to experience the site of major rugby and soccer matches and music shows, and where parts of Clint Eastwood’s movie, Invictus, was shot. The stadium is the home of the Blue Bulls rugby team, be sure to wear blue on match days.
8. Travel into the country to stop in at the interesting mining village of Cullinan and on to the Windy Brow Game Farm to attempt one of the many hiking trails on the farm. Expect up close encounters with giraffe, zebra and various antelope. Trail distances range from 3km to 15km.
The nearest airport is OR Tambo International Airport, 46km from Muckleneuk. Catch the Gautrain, a fast train service that travels between the OR Tambo Airport and the Herbert Baker station, less than 2km from the suburb. Chartered flights can be taken from Wonderboom (15km) and Grand Central in Midrand (28km). Car rental agencies are located at the airport and throughout Pretoria city or book a vehicle online. Metered taxi companies are based in and around Muckleneuk. If you have the Uber app, order a ride via your mobile phone.
Did you know?
Magnolia Dell has a plinth sans statue. The plinth was originally part of a statue labelled Peter Pan but the statue was stolen. A replacement statue was provided but that too was illegally removed, thus the reason for the empty statue base.
The Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary is named after Austin Roberts who produced the book titled ‘Roberts Bird Guide’ and is the go-to field guide for birding, in print for over 60 years. The Roberts Multimedia Birds of SA App is available from the Google Play store.