The Magaliesberg is on the back stoeps of both Pretoria Accommodation and Johannesburg. The mountain range, once known as the Kashan Mountains, is said to be 100 times older even than Everest. It extends from Rustenburg in the west, to the Bronkhorstspruit Dam just east of Pretoria – a montage of deep gullies, impressive kloofs, clear mountain streams, pools and waterfalls, well wooded slopes, rocky outcrops and a series of sheer quartzite cliffs.
A weekend’s break in the Magaliesberg takes little more than a phone call and a bag on the back seat. But we’ve made it easier for you by designing 4 day trips in the Magaliesberg that include a little of this and a little of that (something for everyone, in other words). You can either choose one day trip and do it as is (we’ve tried to keep each day in a particular geographical area), or you can mix and match attractions until you have the perfect day for your friends and family…
1. DAY TRIP ONE:
The whoosh of gas as it keeps the air balloon aloft, the crisp morning air, mist over the Magaliesberg, the hint of sunrise (if you start early), and the excitement of spotting wildlife from above make this a heady experience. Take flight above the Cradle of Humankind or the Magaliesberg, whilst sipping on champagne and drifting tree top height above the world; the African landscape below.
Not far from the Rhino and Lion Park, where the hot air balloon takes off, is Wonder Cave – in the heart of the Cradle of Humankind Heritage Site at Kromdraai Conservancy. Visit this 10 million year old wonder and follow 87 steps down to an eccentric elevator, abseil into a hollow rock cavity to explore further, or study the stalactites and stalagmites of sleeping stone. Fascinating for all ages.
Head to Muldersdrift, just 15 km away en route home, and make a stop at Gilroy’s Brewery where natural hand-crafted beer is the topic of conversation. Enjoy a humorous take on the myths, legends and secrets of beer, and the chance to taste Gilroy lager, light ale, ruby ale and strong ale in the process.
2. DAY TRIP TWO:
Meet at offices in Hekpoort and wind your way up the foothills of the Magaliesberg, through woodland and montane scrub, up a short pass to the top of the Magaliesberg. Explore quartzite formations, old battle fortifications and the beauty of the Magaliesberg. The 12 km trail is a relaxed hike.
Goblin’s Cove, on the R96 in Hekpoort, is a treat, and open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Set on the banks of a small lake in a natural forest, this fantasy world does more than delight, it also provides a selection of meals that cater for both meat eaters and vegetarians. Leave space for dessert.
Leave enough time for a visit to Equi-Talk – an experience of the power of horses and their effect on human communication and well-being. In the herd, horses have a social hierarchy very similar to humans and are specialists in the field of non-verbal communication. They are social by nature and their place in the herd is based on earned trust and respect, much like us. A horse whispering experience is also on offer.
3. DAY TRIP THREE:
De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre
Now known as the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre Renowned, this haven for wildlife has a very successful king cheetah breeding programme. It lies in the foothills of the Magaliesberg on the side closest to Hartebeespoort Dam and Pretoria north. A wonderful space to learn more about cheetah, wild dog and other endangered animals.
On the R560 in Hartbeespoort experience organic strawberry picking between 10am and 4pm every Saturday, Sunday and public holiday during the strawberry season (late September to early December). Take advantage!
On the Altyd Mooi citrus farm, just 300 metres from the Damdoryn 4 way stop, find this rather impressive bistro that serves up gourmet dishes. Expect dishes like duck and fig samoosa starter, a main of springbok loin on honey-roasted pumpkin, and finish with kumquat ice-cream atop brandy pudding. Not sure it comes better than this…
Find a guest house in the Magaliesberg.
4. DAY TRIP FOUR:
Two-and-a-half hours of swinging through the trees amongst eleven platforms built against the cliffs and rock faces of the kloof next to Sparkling Waters Hotel. Much like a ‘foefie’ slide expect to zigzag down the kloof, stopping to admire the view at each platform.
Not far from Sparkling Waters Hotel, this sanctuary is worth a visit for ‘time out’ in amongst the mountains. Head to the west pools, roughly 15 minutes’ walk from the camp site, or simply soak in the camp’s swimming pool with heavenly views out over the valley.
Treat yourselves (you won’t be disappointed) to Michael Holenstein’s French continental , five course menu – designed daily according to the availability of fresh produce, and served in the conservatory with glass doors that lead to a pond and trees. The restaurant is regularly voted one of the top 100 restaurants.