Haenertsburg & Magoesbaskloof

Haenertsburg & Magoesbaskloof

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This is arguably Limpopo's gem.  The scenery is stunning, the people are friendly and geared to tourism, there are great pubs and restaurants, and there is a wide variety of things to do.

Haenertsburg is a village in Magoebaskloof (named after King Makgoba) on the edge of the Great Escarpment on the R71 road between Polokwane (Pietersburg) and Tzaneen.

Farming and tourism are the main economic activities on "The Mountain" as it is called by the locals; Haenertsburg is in mountainous terrain. The Iron Crown is a well-known landmark.

Frequent mists and relatively high rainfall have created a lush vegetation with afromontane forest patches occupying the kloofs (gullies) which dot the rolling grasslands and surrounding mountains. Unfortunately, large areas of rare, and botanically very diverse, grassland (Woodbush Granite Grassland) have been planted to timber (primarily timber for pulping). These monoculture plantations extract a great deal of water and the resulting water shortages downstream (in the Kruger National Park and Mozambique) are cause for concern. A local group, FROHG (Friends of the Haenertsburg Grasslands) helps to conserve the indigenous flora and fauna.

The scenic beauty of the Haenertsburg area attracts many tourists. It is a favoured spot for cycling, biking and fishing. Sailing and other watersport take place on nearby Ebenezer Dam. The steepest mountain pass in South Africa, the Magoebaskloof pass, leads one down from the Highveld of the Haenertsburg area to the Lowveld adjoining the Kruger National Park, falling approzimately 600m in altitude in less than 7km travelled.

Haenertsburg is also famous for the annual Spring Fair where various crafts and flower displays are exhibited. July sees the advent of the Holistic Fair which displays the diverse creative talents of the Mountain folk. Every Friday and Saturday morning the Morning Market is run by the Duchess of Atholl. (From Wikipedia)

History

Known as the Capital of the Land of the Silver Mists, this picturesque village lies alongside the R71 between Tzaneen and Polokwane. Haenertsburg is named after Carl Ferdinand Haenert who was born near Erfurt in Germany. He came to South Africa in 1857 to hunt big game and fell in love with South Africa and never returned to Germany.

He initially settled near the historic town of Schoemansdal and was the first coffee grower in the Transvaal. With the discovery of gold at Eersteling, Haenert began prospecting and he crisscrossed the Transvaal in his search for the precious metal. In 1880 he made his discoveries in the Houtboschberg (Wolkberg & Woodbush area), which led to a small gold rush and the proclamations and the founding of the village in 1887.

When the village was surveyed, Haenert was one of the first people to acquire stands and he built a house on the corner of Kerk & Kantoor streets. This was later the site of the old Haenertsburg Hotel, sadly not standing today. In 1887 he was nominated by the Government to the Divisional council for the ward of Houtboschberg and was also appointed as the Postal agent for Haenertsburg. Haenert died in Pietersburg in 1894 and was buried in the old Pietersburg Cemetery where his grave can still be seen.

 

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