Modderfontein Reserve: Nature on your doorstep

Modderfontein Reserve
Published: 30 October 2020
Last edited: 30 October 2020
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Gauteng is South Africa’s smallest and most transformed province, situated in the threatened Grassland Biome. Gauteng maintains pockets of grassland forming crucial ecological corridors for wildlife, and Modderfontein Reserve is a stepping stone in this network. The vision for the reserve is to provide an urban open space that is socially, economically, and ecologically sustainable, accessible, and a place for people to connect with nature and embrace the importance of urban green spaces.


The reserve hosts school and scout groups, and its six walking trails, cycling routes, picnic area, and bird hides are very popular. The successful operation of the reserve is a result of strong partnerships that allow for all of these activities to run concurrently. The Endangered Wildlife Trust assists landowners to rehabilitate disturbed and transformed areas, and monitor progress as per an Environmental Management Plan, adapting management interventions as needed to restore the reserve’s ecological functioning.


East and South Africa
Scale of implementation
Grassland ecosystems
Green spaces (parks, gardens, urban forests)
Temperate grassland, savanna, shrubland
Urban ecosystem and build environment
Urban wetlands
Cities and infrastructure
Connectivity / transboundary conservation
Ecosystem services
Erosion prevention
Habitat fragmentation and degradation
Invasive alien species
Land management
Local actors
Outreach & communications
Poaching and environmental crime
Protected area governance
Protected area management planning
Science and research
Species management
Terrestrial spatial planning
Urban planning
Urban and Disaster Risk Management
Resilience and disaster risk management
Loss of Biodiversity
Shift of seasons
Conflicting uses / cumulative impacts
Ecosystem loss
Invasive species
Pollution (incl. eutrophication and litter)
Sustainable development goals
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 9: Invasive alien species prevented and controlled
Target 14: Ecosystem services
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 17: Biodiversity strategies and action plans
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge
Business engagement approach
Direct engagement with a company


Modderfontein, 1609, Johannesburg, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa


Within the Modderfontein Reserve, there are several habitat types, including open water bodies, wetlands, rocky outcrops, stands of exotic trees, and a variety of different grasslands. The reserve is also relatively high in the catchment area of the Modderfontein Spruit, providing connectivity to other urban open spaces. The reserve’s long list of recorded bird species can be attributed both to the availability of diverse habitats within the boundaries of the reserve, and the connection to those outside of them.


The reserve provides a critical green pocket in Gauteng that delivers ecosystem services in the forms of carbon sequestration and provision of oxygen, flood attenuation and social services through activities like Parkrun, picnicking, walking trails and mountain biking. The reserve also has heritage significance and sentimental value to the local community and is useful as an environmental education hub.

Contributed by

Emily Taylor Endangered Wildlife Trust