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South Africa

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Haenertsburg, Capricorn Region, Limpopo

Haenertsburg is a tiny and very pretty South African town in the beautiful verdant and mountainous
Magoebaskloof area of the Limpopo Province, on the R71 route to Tzaneen.

With a population of less than 500, it is the ‘Capital of the Land of the Silver Mist’ and the romantic descriptions don’t stop there…

The town was founded in the late 1800’s by gold prospectors who ended up leaving en masse when the area proved to have far less gold than thought and rich seams of the precious metal were discovered on the Witwatersrand under what is now Johannesburg.  The plantations around the town saved it from becoming a ghost town and what is left today is a quaint almost ‘living museum’ to the architecture of that period – one that has been lovingly maintained by local residents as they have built new shops and homes and restored old ones. The town is very ‘English’ despite typically Afrikaans street names, and the elevated town and environs is called ‘The Mountain’.  It is surrounded by some of the most beautiful countryside in the Limpopo, including the beautiful forested Magoebaskloof Pass between Haenertsburg and Tzaneen.

Haenertsburg’s official website explains that everyone is ‘asleep or contemplating the meaning of life in a forest’. Nature and The Past is everywhere, it’s clean, tiny, neat and everything is pretty. There’s a bookshop, cake and coffee, art, a very English pub, forests, fynbos and grasslands, but perhaps the best impression comes from an article by Leilani Basson: “The mountain people of Haenertsburg are different… ‘We have picnics in the graveyard at full moon, a dog as our mayor, a time capsule in one of the parks and Scottish royalty running the local pub…We have artists, writers, authors and many other interesting people here.’”

That’s not all though – this article from which the above quotation has been taken was written for a 4X4 and motoring rag called Leisure Wheels. The heavily forested and mountainous area around Haenertsburg offers many outdoor activities from fly-fishing trails to some great hiking trails, to MTB and horse trails…and 4X4 trails of course. When you get there, go to the Pennefather ‘shopping complex’ (look for the Windmill) or head for the pub, find someone who isn’t sleeping.

Getting there: Haenertsburg lies on the R71 near Tzaneen. From JHB it is about a 4 hour drive. Take the N1 north, exiting onto the R71 for Tzaneen.


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