Although I have travelled extensively in South Africa, Magoebaskloof has been one of the areas that I have not explored until recently, the result being a very pleasant surprise. I only had two days and I can assure you that the area has much more to offer than what one can explore and experience in two days. Magoebaskloof is just over 300km from Pretoria and most of the way one can travel on the N1 with just the last 60km’s on the R71 from Polokwane to Tzaneen.
Due to the tropical climate with temperatures of between 18 – 19 degrees Celsius and mild winters, this area produce approximately 40% of the national avocado crop, 80% of citrus production,40% of mango production, 10% of tomatoes plus significant litchi, macadamia nut & banana production.
The area offers a variety of scenic drives, alongside dams, over bridges, some mountain passes, an avenue of Blue Gum trees and magnificent indigenous forest areas. Also a haven to the adventure sports enthusiast with access to Magoebas Canopy Tour over the Groot Letaba River Gorge, quad biking, tubing, kloofing which includes bum sliding, rock hopping, hiking, abseiling and waterfall jumping – definitely not for the feint hearted!) They also have a climbing wall as well as other facilitated team building activities. Contact Magoebaskloof Canopy Tour or Magoebaskloof Adventures on 015 276 5096 or 083 866 1546, www.thabametsi.com for more information.
Silver Mist Arabian Horse and trout farm is ideal for guided horse riding through the mountains, along the river and through avocado orchards, kiwi vineyards and pine plantations. Contact them on 073 247 9086 for more information. They also offer quad biking.
Tzaneen dam is popular for water sports, birding and fishing enthusiasts. & Ebenezer dam, offering boating and sunset cruises
Be sure to include Cheerio Gardens, Haenertsburg in you travel plans. The best time to go is during the Spring Festival in September / October, although then you will also have to accept quite a crowd. These gardens were developed by Box Thompson, after this portion of land was given to her by her father during the Second World War. She spent 50 years turning the gardens into the pleasure you experience there today and it is still owned by the same family today. The flowering Japanese cherry trees, azaleas, crab apples and other flowering scrubs provide a vibrant and spectacular picture during late September / early October. There is a coffee shop as well as a Chapel & venue that can be used for weddings or other functions at the gardens. Contacts details are: 083 355 0835, email@example.com.Unfortunately we did not have time to visit Sequoia Gardens with 6 hectare of open gardens, accommodation, guided tours and plants for sale.
The quaint village of Haenertsburg, also known as the capital of the Land of the Silver Mist offer a multitude of small shops & restaurants and a laid back atmosphere. We enjoyed a cuppa at Picasso’s, access by way of the wooden bridge to this timber construction with good views and a colourful menu, including local trout delicacies. At Picasso’s their motto is: “To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently Is an art” (La Rochefoucauld)….”Let us show you how”….( Picasso’s). Contact details are 082 418 3706, 072 447 4760, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.picassoshaenertsburg.co.za They are open Tuesday – Sunday, with extended hours and open on Mondays during the Spring Festival. If you were wondering, La Rochefoucauld was a famous French writer and poet during the 17th century.
Another option is The Red Plate on Rissik Street, 083 305 2851. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner under the shade of the Elm on the wooden deck or inside.
Glenshiel Hotel, on the R71 outside Haenertsburg is a small country hotel with4-star 15 luxury rooms and 3 suites, all with log fire places. Conference facilities are available for up to 30 guests, an onsite restaurant and tea garden, open to non-staying guests, as well as the Tumble Inn Ladies Bar. Glenshiel is perfectly located to use as a base to explore the area. 015 276 4335/ 6 / 7, www.glenshiel.co.za.
The “New Agatha’ is the area up on the plateau where the well-known Coach House Hotel is situated. The Coach House and its sister hotel, Magoebaskloof Hotel, both properties are now part of the Orion group of hotels. The Coach House is also home to the renowned Nougat Company with a wide range of products. Coach House: 015 306 8000, email@example.com; www.coachhouse.co.za . Magoebaskloof Hotel with magnificent views over the valley can be contacted on 015 276 5400.
Other than the beautiful natural environment, one of the highlights was Kings Walden Garden Manor. This is a beautiful property with boundless views and quiet nooks to enjoy the peace and quiet in the expansive & romantic gardens. Situated on the Old Coach Road , Agatha, approximately 15 kilometres from Tzaneen. Contact details: Steven & Sophie Jacobs, 015 307 3262, www.kingswalden.co.za They have 6 rooms and offer breakfast and dinner, also to non staying guests but you have to book in advance. The menu changes daily with Steven making use of the best fresh produce from the area. Steven describes the cuisine as “playful contemporary with a Mediterranean influence”. I am looking forward to spending some quality time at Kings Walden in the near future.
Other accommodation options in Tzaneen includes
- Hill Top Country Lodge, 015 307 5460
- Fairview River Lodge and The Village at Fairview, 015 307 2679, www.fairviewlodge.co.za
- Hotel @ Tzaneen, 087 150 5305, firstname.lastname@example.org; www.hoteltzaneen.co.za
Magoebaskloof and surrounding area has many more attractions and other places / activities recommended to include in your itinerary are:
- Debengeni Waterfalls, 22 kilometres from Glenshiel Hotel
- Wegraakbosch Organic Farm, 015 276 1811, 082 853 8754 for cheese making tours, cheese platters &forest walks. On weekends they also have a farm stall below Picasso’s Restaurant
- Sapekoe Tea Plantation
- Modjadji Cycad Reserve
- Sunland Boabab Tree
Photos courtesy of Christel le Roux.