Bronberg Conservancy is located on the South East side of Pretoria in the Gauteng Province, covering an area of over 300ha, the conservancy includes unique ecological zones that provide a home to a diverse range of fauna and flora and is marked by its outstanding landscapes including rocky hill slopes, quartzite ridges as well as grassland areas.
Its unique ecological and physical features make it worthy of protection from conventional urban development and other inappropriate uses.
History of the Bronberg
The Bronberg extension of the Magaliesburg Mountain range is likely to have been occupied by early hominids similar to those found in the Sterkfontein Caves, in the “Cradle of Humankind”.
Ndebele people settled in the Bronberg area around 1800. The warrior chief Mzilikaze led a later Ndebele invasion in 1827, after escaping the wrath of the Zulu King Shaka. Shaka’s successor, Dingane, later attacked Mzilikaze in 1832, and his Zulu impi may have marched past the Bronberg Conservancy on their way to attack Mzilikazi’s royal residence at Kungwini (Wonderboom).
The Bronberg played its part in the Anglo-Boer War. After the capture of Pretoria by the British forces on 5 June 1900, General Botha’s remaining forces spread themselves out along the area of the Donkerhoek Pass, to the north-east of the Conservancy. The British forces under Lieutenant-General Ian Hamilton congregated along the Bronberg range with infantry and cavalry. On the 11 June 1900 they marched north to attack Botha’s forces at Diamond Hill, where the British suffered heavy losses from the Boers before finally capturing the hill.
In the Conservancy can be seen various stone gun-butts etc from the time of the Anglo-Boer war, while a few kilometres away at Diamond Hill lay the graves of the British soldiers who were killed there a short while later.
One of the many Bronberg Stone tools found
The oldest ones found in the area may date back as far as 2 million years to the so-called Olduwan culture of the Early Stone Age. Somewhat later stone tools have also been found in the Bronberg Conservancy, which are possibly around 100,000 years old from the Early to Middle Stone Age.
Middle Stone Age tool found in the Conservancy: later on, in the Iron Age and beyond, stone walled huts were built. People of the Middle and Late Iron Age favoured hilltops rather than valleys for their settlements, and many remains of walls and huts are found on the hillside slopes of the Bronberg Conservancy. These remains probably date from 1600AD onwards.
Spotted Jonker Butterfly (Byblia ilythia)
The Conservancy has a Rich Biodiversity
The plants, animals, birds, insects in the Conservancy have been partially catalogued, but new species are continually being found.
A variety of species of game have been reintroduced, that was previously found in the area. These include blue wildebeest, bushbuck impala, kudu, red hartebeest, springbok, waterbuck and zebra.
Smaller mammals such as the black-backed jackal, duiker and rock dassie (hyrax) have been resident in the Conservancy all along. The game numbers have to be actively managed to avoid overgrazing.