The vision for the Modderfontein Reserve is to create, within an urban setting, a natural open space which is socially, economically and ecologically sustainable.

GMPUA’s intention is to find a balance between ecosystem functions with active and passive recreational and educational uses, whilst recognising the heritage value of the Reserve.

A Tread Lightly Principle
Applies to the Reserve:

  • Travel and recreate with minimum impact;
  • Respect the environment and the rights of others;
  • Educate yourself, plan and prepare before you go;
  • Allow for future use of the outdoors, leave it better than you found it and Discover the rewards of responsible recreation.

Current Status:

The Reserve has been formally zoned as private open space. This allows for the Reserve to be accessible to the public in a controlled and secure fashion. There are several reasons why formalising the area as a privately owned reserve is the preferred option.

Uncontrolled public access comes with inherent risks. An open space without a formal management and maintenance structure lends itself to abuse and could degenerate into a potentially unsafe area.

Proper management ensures the protection of indigenous flora and fauna; prevents pollution, reduces the impact of alien vegetation and ensures that the space is safe for recreation and educational initiatives.

With the management and conservation initiatives put in place by GMPUA, the Reserve is being continually improved to restore it to its natural state, and maintain it. It is imperative that the Reserve be able to operate as a self-sustaining entity in time.

Under the guidance of the Reserve Manger, Fournier Venter and Emily Taylor from EWT, great progress has been made on several fronts, including the systematic removal of alien vegetation. This is an ongoing process (it is now a legal requirement to remove certain invasive alien species), as is the planting of indigenous trees around the Reserve.

Various fauna and flora studies are being conducted to record animal and plant species in the Reserve and a monitoring system is being implemented to allow the EWT team to record changes at fixed points throughout the area over time. Mammals on the site include small buck such as steenbok, as well as black-backed-jackals. A bat survey has already been completed and studies are ongoing. Fish eagles and long-crested eagles are among the bird life in the Reserve.


Modderfontein village was established in 1894 to meet the needs of the growing gold mining industry. With the advent of underground mining, there was a need to manufacture and sell dynamite.

This resulted in, what is colloquially referred to as, the Modderfontein Dynamite Factory being built as it was far enough away from the mining hub to allay people´s fears around the manufacture of explosives.

The original factory was built by Germans, and immigrants were recruited from all over Europe. This gave rise to villages which sprung up around the factory. The residents of these areas took to naming the small villages after their countries of origin, such as Dutch Village and Italian village.

Various heritage buildings have been retained in Modderfontein, these include The Modderfontein Dynamite Company Museum (constructed in 1895 this was originally the residence of first chief engineer, it has served as a museum since 1987), Franz Hoenig Haus (first factory manager´s house, constructed in 1896), the Casino (established for recreational requirements in 1897) and 33 High Street (the assistant factory manager´s house constructed in 1897).In 2000, the landowner, AECI had identified the need for a formalised Reserve that could fit in with and compliment the future development of Modderfontein. AECI tasked its property subsidiary, Heartland Properties with formalising the area taking into consideration the proposed future development of the area and to ensuring the future sustainability and safeguarding of the Reserve.

Extensive Specialist Studies to identify conservation areas and public participation commenced and the Reserve was subsequently formally subdivided and zoned for Private Open Space. The Modderfontein Conservation society played an important role in the process and was actively involved in commissioning studies and assisting with access to the area prior to the formalisation of the reserve.

In 2011, AECI established the Greater Modderfontein Property Umbrella Association and tasked it with managing and administering the Modderfontein Reserve as well as all the other common properties in Modderfontein. AECI, the developer, the conservation society and the Modderfontein property owners are the Members of the association. Funding for the Reserve and other common property is via the Reserve access fees and levies that are collected from the members.

The vision and masterplan for the Reserve was also then finalised for the Reserve and these documents sets out the blueprint for the future development for the Reserve.

Contact Us:
+27 79 519 1589

Operational Hours:
07:00 – 17:00 (Summer & Winter)

Modderfontein Reserve
Arden Road (off Ardeer Road)

Conservation Fee:
R30 per adult,
 R15 per child.

© 2020 Modderfontein Reserve.