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Friends of Melville Koppies


1.  Not quite the news

What the world looks like’

“What does the world really look like?” asked a mole one day. “My world is pitch-black and damp.”

“Green!” cried a locust from the tall grass. “The world is green as grass.”

“The world is covered with water. It’s very wide, it rocks and it rolls. It’s always wet and salty,” said the whale.

“Sand, the world is covered with dry sand,” said the desert tapping beetle [Toktokkie].

“Oh no,” said a little coal. “It’s red and hot and its flames can burn you badly.”

“The world is cold!” cried the polar bear. “And full of ice.”

“It’s a scary place,” said the scaly anteater. “That’s why I roll myself into a ball and hide my head.”

“Towering mountains, cliffs and rocks, that’s what the world looks like,” said the klipspringer.

“The world is yellow and white, pinkish-red and kind of round and I fit into it perfectly,” cheeped a chick, still in its egg.

A lark was announcing the new day from high up in the sky. She clapped her wings and piped a tune that soared across the veld. “You’re right, all of you,” she called, “but there’s more to the world. It has a vast, wide roof and the roof is blue. Heavenly blue. At night the moon drifts below it among stars and clouds, and by day the big yellow sun glides across its face from east to west. Oh, the world is wide – and wide and free. And what’s more, early in the morning, just before daybreak, the world is filled with music.”

*   *   *   *   *

The above is a free adaptation by Linda Rode of an anonymous verse titled ‘The World’ published in 1927 in Fun and thought for Little Folk: Home University Bookshelf series.  The story is one of the delightful folk tales from around the world, retold by Linda Rode, in ‘In the never-ever wood’, a birthday present “to Viv from Granny and Grandpa”.

Special anniversary party:  April 1st. …  Hiking to Gogo’s 60th Birthday Party

Mist swirled through the forest. Gnarled tree trunks loomed like weird creatures in the spooky half-light. Palesa was NOT afraid. She knew that there were no jackals in Melville Koppies’ forests. She was on her way to her Gogo’s 60th Birthday Party, dressed snugly in her red hoodie.

Suddenly she stopped. Strange snuffling sounds! Three Little Pigs were in a huddle in a clearing.

“The wolf blew down my house of straw,” cried the first Little Pig.

“The wolf blew down my house of sticks” wailed the second Little Pig.

The wind blew down my house of sticks, stones, mud and straw – but the stonewalling is still intact,” muttered the Third Little Pig.

“It was just a very strong wind,” assured Palesa. “Come and hike with me to Gogo’s Birthday Party.”

Hare came streaking past. “Me too, me too!”

“Me-e-e to-o-o,” drawled Tortoise, plodding on without a pause.

“Birthday bash,” chorused the Three Little Pigs.

The next two to join the hike were a bewildered Hansel and Gretel who had been following the little white quartz pebbles until they suddenly petered out.

As the hikers passed The Heritage Cave on Melville Koppies West, they heard cries for help. Toad, Mongoose and Hedgehog were trapped by a fallen rock!

“Sesame seeds!” shouted Palesa, who knew the secret code to move the rock.

The three rescued friends tagged onto the tail end of the strange straggle of hikers. As they followed the trail to Gogo’s 60th Birthday Party they came across many unusual sights. Smashed Guinea Fowl dumpty eggs on the rocky ridge – the work of Pied Crows maybe? On Melville Koppies East, an exciting detour through an opening in a huge root-wrapped rock which lead out into the magical Land of Narnia on the other side. Mufasa roaring on his special rock overlooking the panorama to the north. Indigenous Milky Rope creepers that Jack could have climbed up to the highest height, instead of his wonky beanstalk. A large bird bath for Toad to show off his aquatic skills.  Grass as high as an elephant’s eye. Birds darting in all directions as they feasted on flying termites. Or performing musical duets while playing hide-and-seek in the thick foliage, interrupted now and then by the cackling of Green Wood-hoopoes searching for insects. And, wafting over the grasslands, the fragrant aroma of burning Impepho, which conjured up the mysteries of the ancestors.

At last they reached the Lecture Hut where the Birthday Party was being held. Clever Tortoise was already there as he knew all the short cuts. But where was Gogo?

Whoooo-whooo. There was Gogo, drifting majestically in on the Magic Carpet which she kept moored under the pylons on Melville Koppies East. The Magic Carpet was laden with goodies to eat. Bloubos berries, Wild Medlar fruits, Wild apricots, honeycomb oozing its sticky amber syrup, gourds of frothing Sorghum beer, tasty sorghum cakes, toasted termites, fried stinkbugs and –– Gogo’s speciality –– 60 medicinal cannabis-infused cookies, each with its own candle. (Palesa had tweeted Gogo about the growing number of guests so there was plenty to eat.) With all the excitement of meeting and greeting and eating, the party got a bit boisterous but everyone nonetheless behaved very well.

Gogo had a wonderful 60th Birthday Party and thanked all present for attending, including hyped–up Hare. Hare, in his haste, had taken a much longer route than the others, and arrived only as the party was ending. Gogo flew off on her Magic Carpet to the applause of the motley assembly of birthday guests. Palesa and her new pals became firm friends and can often be seen strolling in the Ever-ever Wonderland of Melville Koppies.

Melville Koppies 60th AGM

This event will not have the same magic or cuisine of Gogo’s birthday bash, but there may well be some odd characters around. Please do join us for the special 60th AGM to be held on a Saturday afternoon in August – date and guest speaker to be announced soon.

2.  Scheduled Sunday group hikes / guided group tours





Guided tour ­–– 3 hours

MK Central

Children over six only. No dogs



Hike –– 3 hours

MK Central, East, West

Children over six only. No dogs


Marks Park Sports Club in Judith Road, Emmarentia. Walk across the pedestrian crossing in Judith Road to the stone reception hut at the main entrance of the Koppies. Pay on the day.


The tour leaves from here at the scheduled time and then the Koppies’ gates are locked.

No need to book unless you bring a large group.

Park, meet and pay in the upper parking area of Marks Park Sports Club in Judith Road, Emmarentia.


The hike leaves from here at 8h30 sharp and then the Koppies’ gates are locked.


No need to book unless you bring a large group.


The guide stops frequently to talk about the flora, fauna, geology, archaeology, history.

The hike leader leads the group on the trails.

 No hiking off on your own.


A reasonable level required for the tour of about 4km which includes some steep rocky slopes.

 A reasonable level of fitness and balance is required for the hike of about 8km which includes some steep rocky slopes.


Proper walking shoes, hat, sun block, water and a snack if needed –– especially for kids.

Proper walking shoes, hat, sun block, water and a snack for the midway stop.


R60 per adult, R40 per child

R60 per adult, R40 per child




Sunday guided tours


All Sunday/special hikes start at 8h30


7th   15h00

21st  8h30




5th     14h00  (Winter starting time)

19th   8h30

1st  May Day Hike (Wednesday)




 2nd   14h00  (Winter starting time)

16th   8h30




 7th   14h00  (Winter starting time)

21st   8h30


28th  (no event)


 4th    14h00  (Winter starting time)

18th  8h30




 1st   (no event)

15th  8h30


22nd  (no event)

24th  Heritage Day Hike  (Tuesday)


 6th  15h00

20th  8h30


27th  (no event)


 3rd    15h00

17th  8h30




 1st    15h00

15th   8h30





Melville Koppies WEST dog walks. Held on the first Saturday morning of every month at 8h00 sharp. Duration +- 1 hour. R30 per person. Park at the end of Arundel Road, Westdene. Contact Tony Lelliott ( to be put on his email database. Emails are sent out to confirm that the walk will take place.



Weekday group bookings. By appointment. Phone 011 482 4797 or email A non-refundable minimum prepayment of R1 000 is required.




3.   FOMK (Friends of Melville Koppies) membership

FOMKs can vote at AGMs. They also have the satisfaction of knowing that they contribute to the preservation of a uniquely precious natural asset in Joburg’s own backyard. Some people are automatically FOMKs—committee members, volunteer guides and hike leaders/helpers, and those who contribute financially. To become a FOMK, the annual contribution is R300 per family, R200 per individual and R100 per pensioner/student. Of course any additional amount is most welcome. If you wish to become a FOMK, make an EFT to our bank account (details below) and send your name, email address and proof of payment to Your name will appear on the updated FOMK list at the next AGM.


4.   Supporting Melville Koppies

a.  MySchoolMyVillageMyPlanet card

Melville Koppies is a beneficiary of the MySchoolMyVillageMyPlanet fundraising programme in the MyPlanet category.  This is an easy way to help fund the conservation of Melville Koppies.  Pick up an application form from any branch of Woolworths or apply online at Our registered name is Friends of Melville Koppies. Once you have a card, present it at any of the participating partner shops listed on the MySchool website. Your card will be swiped and returned to you and a percentage of your payment will be donated to Melville Koppies. It costs you nothing, but every swipe counts for us.

b.  JUNKIE Charity Store, 7A Seventh Street, Melville

Melville Koppies is very fortunate to be supported by JUNKIE Charity Store. The owner, Michelle de Villiers, makes a substantial contribution to the Koppies every month but she needs a ready supply of things to sell. Please drop off your goods at JUNKIE and designate Melville Koppies as the beneficiary. Large items can be collected from your home at no cost ( or 082 923 4189).

c.  FDs / CDs of Melville Koppies

Eleven aspects of Melville Koppies (‘Overview’, ‘Flowers’, ‘Fauna’, ‘Trees & Shrubs’, ‘Archaeology & History’, ‘Geology’,  ‘Environmental Management’, ‘Ecology of Melville Koppies’, ‘Proteas of Melville Koppies’, ‘Joburg from Melville Koppies’ and ‘The Westdene Spruit’) are available on an 8GB flash disk for only R300. Individual aspects are available on CDs at R25 each. FDs and CDs are on sale before the Sunday tours/hikes, or can be bought or ordered from the Melville office: 011 482 4797 and

d.  Gift vouchers

Have you run out of ideas for gifts for those special people who have everything? Give a Melville Koppies gift voucher. Each R60 voucher can be redeemed for a scheduled guided group tour or group hike. Many people intend visiting the Koppies but never get around to it. A voucher will be an encouragement to walk and keep fit in beautiful surroundings. Enquiries Wendy 011 482 4797 or

e.  Help with publicity

Write a comment about your visit to Melville Koppies on Leave a post or ‘like’ on our Facebook page Tell your friends and relatives about our hikes and guided tours.

 f.  Volunteer guide or hike leader

We are always in need of reliable and committed tour guides and hike leaders. Hike leaders need to know the trails of the Koppies in order to lead the group or act as sweepers. Guides need to learn about all aspects of the Koppies. This is a gradual process and one which we will gladly assist with.

g.  Banking details for donations

Private donations make up the shortfall in our finances every month. If you would like to help in this way, our banking details are:





Branch and number

Campus Square 158105

Account name

Melville Koppies Management Committee

Account number

1581 017 421

Our email  address

Please send us your name and email address so we can thank you.


We hope to see you all sometime in Melville Koppies 60th anniversary year as a nature reserve.


Wendy Carstens and the Melville Koppies Management Committee & Guiding-Team


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