Magoebaskloof in Limpopo province, also known as ‘the land of the silver mist’, is the kind of place I can go back to again and again and again – even if it’s just to make sure that it’s actually as beautiful as I thought it was when I saw it the first time.
Have a picnic or braai at the Debegeni Falls
With its shady picnic spots and braai (barbecue) facilities, the Debegeni Falls are perfect for a family outing. Crystal-clear water cascades down, forming several rock pools along the way, some of which visitors are allowed to swim in.
The falls are easily accessible from the Woodbush Forest Station, just off the R71 between Tzaneen and Haenertsburg.
Go on a road trip
The Magoebaskloof Pass (R71) and George’s Valley Road (R528), both connecting Tzaneen and the village of Haenertsburg, make for scenic drives.
According to Magoebaskloof Tourism, Magoebaskloof Pass runs from the Highveld down the escarpment to the subtropical Lowveld, dropping about 600m over a distance of just 6km. And it is as spectacular as it sounds: expect meandering roads, mountains, forests, dams and tea plantations as far as the eye can see.
Why not include both in a road trip? If you are staying in Haenertsburg, for instance, you could drive to Tzaneen via the R71 and take the R528 on the way back.
Enjoy a hike or a mountain-bike ride
The Magoebaskloof area is a popular mountain-biking destination. The Magoebaskloof Tourism Association, in conjunction with various establishments, has developed five mountain-biking trails of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty.
If you feel more comfortable on your feet than on two wheels, however, you could choose from several hiking trails.
Take a stroll through Haenertsburg (don’t forget to stop at the bookstore and cemetery)
Rissik Street in Haenertsburg reminds one of Pilgrim’s Rest in Mpumalanga – also a former gold-mining town – with its trading-post buildings made of corrugated iron. Along this street you’ll find several eateries, curio shops, a museum and the Memory Hold-the-Door second-hand bookstore.
Although the bookshop caters for all readers, its focus is on rare and collectible books and it has a big Africana collection.
You’ll find everything from history, philosophy, and travel and adventure to poetry (I was ecstatic when I came across four of Rod McKuen’s poetry anthologies), children’s books and biographies.
It’s not often that you arrive in a town and the first thing residents ask you is whether you’ve been to the cemetery. But that’s exactly what happens in Haenertsburg.
The views from this well-kept cemetery, which lies on a hill on the edge of the village, are astounding.
If there’s one thing Haenertsburg residents can do, it’s organise festivals. They hold at least five festivals each year, most of them centred on the beauty of the area, such as the Spring Festival; or on local produce and amazing food, such as the Berry Festival.