Here’s the crazy thing about Magoebaskloof – there’s too much to do. You’re not going to think so at first, but there’s simply no way to cover it all in a few days. It’s doubtful you can take it all in with a month of exploring.
So, you should hardly take this (and the subsequent Magoebaskloof posts) as any sort of definitive guide to the area. It’s just a starting point.
Finding Magoesbaskloof accommodation
Haenertsburg and the Magoebaskloof pass are crawling with accommodation options. A simple search will review more options than you thought possible, so it’s a good idea to know what you’re after before you begin.
We were after a self-catering option with solid Wi-Fi and a braai with a view. And, to be fair, I wanted accommodation on the budget-end of holiday spectrum.
I found it – and I found it rather quickly at that. If you’re searching on Booking.com (or even AirBNB), you’ll find our spot: Magoebaskloof ME. The locals know it as Warriors, though, so if you’re organising groceries (yes, an option) or want a pick up for your hike (also something you can organise), be sure to call it out by its local moniker.
Our double-storey cottage nestled into the mountainside offered everything we were looking for – and a bit more to boot.
On arrival at Warriors, the air was thick with mist, and we were halfway through a load-shedding cycle, but we were still awed by the view and the comfort of our surrounds.
Just a note if you plan to book the cottage at Magoebaskloof ME, the stairs to the bedroom are steep. They mention it on their listing, so it wasn’t a surprise. But steep means steep (sort of like everything in Magoebaskloof). They’re not fit for the drunk or extreme vertigo sufferers – both of which I could find myself on the verge of at any time.
But this is the view from the deck of our cottage. It’s not possible for a picture to show the depth and density of the greenery spilling over into every free corner.
No matter where you stay in Magoebaskloof, you’re going to find natural splendour.
But if you’re less of a self-catering type and more into the hotel side of travel, we stopped in at the Magoebaskloof Hotel, and would definitely give that a go in the future. The views are sensational, and a couple of hiking trails start on foot from the hotel.
But, I was won over to Warriors from the moment we descended this driveway to our cottage. Fog and all, it’s a sight you just don’t want to miss. (Not to mention the restaurants on the property – and braai facilities at the cottage.)
Braai in the Magoebaskloof mountains
When we head out to the country, it’s rare that we don’t braai. Even as a vegan. Sometimes it’s butternut, sometimes it’s veg sausages or patties.
The important thing is the fire. So, when we stopped in at the bottle store in Haenertsburg and saw this amazing product, it was definitely something I wanted to try.
These little boxes are filled with charcoal and newspaper. All you need to do is light where it says and the whole thing goes to work for you.
Not only does it work, but it’s super easy to transport, and a local guy is making them to make a bit of cash.
I think we should have grabbed a few, so we could give them as Christmas gifts.
But, if a braai is more about the meat for you (not everyone does it the vegan way), and you’re not interested in messing around with braai boxes and cleaning up (or you landed in accommodation without a braai), you can head to the Boma at Warriors.
It’s only open on weekends, though you might want to give them a call before driving over. Expect prawns and burgers – essentially not vegan food. But, the idea of enjoying a central boma fire is definitely appealing – and a lovely way to enjoy an evening.
Head into Haenertsburg
Haenertsburg is the village in Magoebaskloof – and though it’s possible to eat, drink, sleep and enjoy nature without stepping foot into Haenertsburg… why would you?
On the way in, you might want to stop off at Lekwar Restaurant – and enjoy a bit of a view at this restaurant and sports bar. It was certainly my plan. But, they weren’t open when we stopped – and I’m hoping that doesn’t mean they’re a lockdown casualty. If you’ve got details, let me know.
In the centre of town, you’ll spot The Eatery. If you’re trying to figure out where to park, it’s anywhere near here.
Inside this deli and restaurant, you can pick up lovely little goodies for your braai – or gifts to take home. They’re not big on the vegan products, but omnivores will be quite happy with the selection available.
And, in case you’re wondering how I managed to eat vegan while in Magoebaskloof, you should know that I ate well, ate local and finding vegan wasn’t tough at all. In fact, there’s enough vegan food available, that you should expect an entire post about it next week.
In the meantime, you should know that most restaurants in Haenertsburg are open – and delighted to welcome visitors again.
If empty tables at independently-owned restaurants make you want to cry a little, you should plan to arrive in Haenertsburg hungry. The patio at The Eatery on Rissik is certainly inviting – and it’s just one of several spots in town and along the mountain.
Stock up on books and sweets
As you walk through the village, you’ll notice a couple of stores near the end of Rissik Street. Indeed, they’ll draw you in as their exteriors are so inviting.
You can find an assortment of gifts inside. The Never Despair Trading Post, for example, offers a variety of sweets, imported Dutch foods and antiques.
It sounds strange, but it also makes perfect sense. Why dedicate an entire store to one type of product if you don’t need all that space?
Anything you pick up at these shops can be paid for at the bookshop – the last commercial building on this side of Rissik. My guess is that someone will come to explain that, just as we experienced. But, now you know, just in case.
The bookshop itself is not to be missed. It’s an awesome collection of local books, independent publications, classics and more.
Whether you’re a fan of books or not, you should plan to spend some time browsing; it’s that good.
I found a stack of National Geographic magazines dating back to the 1970s. While rooting through, I stumbled on an issue featuring stories and photos from both East and West Berlin in 1983. There was no leaving that behind – along with one on Estonia from 1980 and an issue about the Lake Erie Isles from 1978.
I needed those issues (and a few others besides). But, if you just plan to browse and skim, feel free to grab a book and grab a seat in front of the fire.
Normally I feel uneasy when patrons treat bookstores like libraries. But, here, I actually think it’s encouraged, rather than simply tolerated. Otherwise, why light the fire and mention it on the way in?
Immerse yourself in local living
The Iron Crown appears to be one of those rare spots where locals and tourists tend to gather together. And it’s not to be missed.
You’ll find the local lager, Zwakala, on tap. If you’re in the area over the weekend, you can visit the brewery itself.
If, like us, you miss out on the brewery, you can content yourself by tasting the award-winning beer at the pub. Pair it with a snack – they’ve even got veg-friendly options to enjoy.
And, if you want to get out into nature like the locals do, give Sandi Leigh a call. She organises hikes throughout Magoebaskloof – and knows the ins and outs of the forest, ahem jungle.
We met her on one of our hikes (you’d better believe I’ll cover those too). More than guided walks, you’ll learn a lot more about local living. How can you beat that?