Known as the ‘land of the silver mist’ by historians and locals, Magoebaskloof is a beautiful mountainous area in the Limpopo Province. Set at the north Eastern tip of the Drakensberg mountain range, with mountains, valleys and a belt of mist creating lush forests. This green oasis is a strikingly different landscape against the rough Limpopo bushveld.
The Magoebaskloof forest is packed with fungi, ferns and age-old trees, with crystal clear streams flowing through the rock pools. This lush forest is a haven for nature lovers, especially those who love long hikes, birding and adventurous mountain biking. Picnic sites are also available for the less adventurous – check out the picnic sites at Dap Naude Dam and Debengeni Falls.
The unique climate of the area has proved useful for not only forestry plantations, but also raspberries, blueberries and avocados. A few ornamental gardens have even sprung up, hosting plants like the Japanese maples and flowering cherry trees – usually better suited to the colder climate.
Right at the centre of Magoebaskloof lies the small village of Haenertsburg. Which features a few restaurants, galleries and shops, along with accommodation.
All of this contributes to the appeal of Magoebaskloof. Making it an ideal weekend getaway for its neighbouring provinces.
A Weekend Guide to Magoebaskloof
Where to stay in Magoebaskloof
The original Magoebaskloof Hotel was built in 1937 and has remained a popular accommodation choice in the area. Both standard and self-catering rooms are available (from R 1,099 pp/n). View their website for more information.
If luxury is what you’re after, then check out Glenshiel Hotel. Offering a four-star all-inclusive getaway with 4-course dinners, breakfast, an a-la-carte lunch and pub menu and High Tea on weekends. Rates from R1,200 pp/n (all inclusive). Visit their website for more information.
For a boutique experience, Bramasole Luxury Guest House offers both standard and self-catering rooms (from R1,300 pp/n including breakfast). The property features a medium-sized lake, a lake house and adjacent forests with hiking trails.
For a more charming cottage vibe, Blueberry Heights rents out their 50-year-old cottage to guests. This is the ultimate cosy self-catering cottage, complete with fireplace and lake views. The cottage books out fast, so book in advance.
What to do in Magoebaskloof
The lush forest offers several different hiking trails, ranging from day hikes through to multi-day hikes. If hiking through the forest doesn’t appeal to you, then perhaps flying through them will. The Magoebaskloof Canopy Tour takes you ziplining through the forest, passing waterfalls, over rivers and along mountainsides. The cost is R660 per person, enquire on their website for more information.
Go birding with one of the best local birding guides, David Letsoala and Paul Nkhumane, at Kurisa Moyo Nature Lodge. Birding walks wander through the forest, looking for the elusive Narina Trogan, usually taking about two hours. Enquire on their website for more information.
Magoebaskloof isn’t only about the outdoors and adventure. Zwakala Brewery, overlooking the Wolkberg Mountains, makes some exceptional craft beers. Sip on their finest brews while snacking on gourmet burgers and tapas.
For some typical pub grub, there’s The Iron Crown Pub & Bistro. An old-time favourite among the locals and frequent travellers, this character-filled pub serves up hearty fare like homemade pies and burgers. Pot & Plow is another typical English pub which is also known for its good pizza.
Dairy lovers need to visit Wegraakbosch Dairy Farm, an organic cheese farm. The farm produces traditional Mutchli, Tilziter, Emmenthaler, Harvati, Feta and cream cheeses. If you’re interested in learning about how the cheese is made, arrive at 10am for the daily farm tour. Visit their website for more information.
Pop into Blueberry Heights Farm for some blueberry picking (only from December to February). If it’s not the season then just head there for a meal at their restaurant, The Mountain Café. Enjoy fresh produce and interesting flavours while taking in the beautiful surroundings. Tip: The blueberry cheesecake is delicious!
DID YOU KNOW that Blueberry Heights is also currently South Africa’s only organic gold kiwi producer?
Other good restaurants to visit include Village Kitchen, Lekwar Restaurant and Minki’s Coffee Shop & Deli.
Events and festivals in Magoebaskloof
Magoebaskloof comes alive in late August and September. This is when the flowers come out – azaleas, apples trees and cherry trees! This is also when the Magoebaskloof/Haenertsburg Spring Festival happens – usually the over the Heritage Day weekend.
Early February sees the Berry Festival in Haenertsburg and Blueberry Heights Farm. The Haenertsburg Food, Wine and Beer Festival happens towards the end of April (27-28 April 2019). For mountain bikers, the Magoeba Trek Mountain Bike Stage Race will be taking place in August this year (23, 24 and 25 August 2019).
Smaller arty and wellness festivals and events happen throughout the year.
When traveling from Gauteng, take the N1 north towards Polokwane exiting onto the R71 towards Tzaneen. Before getting to Magoebaskloof you will pass the Village of Haenertsburg, about 60km from Polokwane. It’s about a four-hour drive from Johannesburg. It’s en-route to the Phalaborwa Gate into the Kruger National Park, making a good stop over destination before or after your Kruger trip.
Magoebaskloof is a great weekend getaway destination for people residing in Gauteng as well as other areas of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. There’s so much to do both inside and outside, making it ideal for both summer and winter holidays.