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The small river hamlet of Magaliesburg is a retreat to where Gauteng’s high-flying capitalists escape. Less than an hour’s drive west of Johannesburg, Magaliesburg lies in a green valley situated in the north-western region of the Gauteng Province.
The town has retained much of its character and old school charm, attracting vacationers, adventure seekers and nature lovers.
Magaliesburg’s climate ranges between 17° and 27° year round with summer rainfalls.
Nearby is the ancient and dramatic Magaliesberg mountain range, unbroken for roughly 125km in a dog-leg-shaped area known as the Transvaal Basin.
Said to be the birthplace of mankind, the Magaliesberg region was proclaimed a World Heritage Site in 1999 and the nearby Cradle of Humankind recently announced the startling discovery of a new human relative, Homo Naledi.
The unspoilt wilderness along with an abundance of outdoor activities, historic marvels and majestic scenery is what makes a visit to this town so appealing. Staying in the town, even for a brief period, will leave you with a sense of inner peace.
Things to do
The historic Blaauwbank Gold Mine and Museum is a treat to visit. It’s the oldest gold mine in Gauteng and here you get to crush ore and pan for gold. You may even get to take the gold home…
The rugged gorges cut into the Magaliesberg Mountains are utopia for serious rock climbers.
For panoramic views of the Magaliesburg valley and the surrounding Magaliesberg Mountains, try a hot air ballooning experience operated by Flying Pictures. Choose the early morning champagne flight to watch a glorious African sunrise.
A visit to the Cradle of Humankind cannot be missed. It is South Africa’s best known world heritage site where hominid fossils, significant in the path of evolution, have been discovered. Two of the best known sites here are Maropeng and Sterkfontein Caves.
Travel to the City of Gold, Johannesburg, and a leisurely 1 hour drive to visit the major attractions of this bustling city: Sandton City is Africa’s largest shopping mall, Monte Casino is a stylish casino and entertainment centre and Gold Reef City offers various rides, museums, gumboot dancing displays and a trip down a mine shaft.
The Cog & Sprocket Mountain Bike Club has three testing mountain bike trails snaking through the area’s green valleys, bushveld, lush forests and mountainside.
Saddle Creek Ranch offers stimulating horse rides into the bush. The ranch has horses to suit both learner and advanced riders.
The Magaliesburg Station Market is held most Saturdays, enquire with your host. The market sells fresh goods, artwork, gifts, books, crystals, etc. Fun activities for the kids. Unusual purchases include goat’s milk soap!
Expect to find fascinating rock formations on the Mountain Sanctuary Park hiking trail.
The creators of the Magaliesberg Canopy Tours zip lining course have put together 10 adrenalin-pumping slides ranging from 30m-140m above the canopy, all blending in perfectly with the mountainous surroundings.
A day trip to Hartbeespoort Dam is highly recommended. Only 50km from Magaliesburg, the area offers watersports, boat cruises, a snake & animal park, African crafts at the Chameleon Village, an aerial cableway and the Bush Babies Monkey Sanctuary. Several restaurants and beer gardens positioned around the dam.
The impressive Hartbeespoort Aquarium has a vast amount of freshwater and tropical fish. Live crocodile, pelican and penguin shows are conducted on the weekends.
A number of other eco-friendly activities are available in the Magaliesburg area such as fly- and trout-fishing, abseiling, river rafting and archery. Ask your host for more information.
Where to Eat
The family-oriented Trading Post Coffee Shop & Deli in the town has a relaxing outdoor area and the owners pride themselves in producing food from their gardens or sourced locally. Tasty light meals and good kiddies menu. Try the homemade ginger beer.
Located in an attractive garden setting under shady trees, Melon Rouge Eatery is decorated with interesting art and antique pieces to hold your attention while waiting for the freshly prepared, scrumptious light meals available on the menu.
Bright, friendly atmosphere with a small outdoor area, Le Classique Restaurant has a menu consisting of toasted sandwiches, pizzas and grilled meat dishes. Order a side dish of mielie pap (a South African version of polenta).
Enjoy a sunset cruise or 3-course buffet lunch aboard the Prime Time operated by the Harties Boat Company on the Hartbeespoort Dam.
The easy going Route 24 Pub & Grill restaurant offers excellent value meals served indoors to watch sporting events on the big screen or outside on the verandah. A few vegetarian dishes on the menu.
The fantasy-themed Goblins Cove restaurant is designed to look like a fairy’s cottage deep in an enchanted forest. Whimsical, however, the restaurant has a surprisingly sophisticated menu. Fun venue for the kids.
Bundu Coyote Bar in Hartbeespoort gets really lively when the beers and Jägermeisters flow.
Sit around a boma at Mango’s Sports Bar & Restaurant outside Hartbeespoort and be thoroughly entertained by the resident rock bands.
The Saloon Route 66 pub has a pleasant outdoor area with live entertainment.
Sports Barcode is a late night venue with live music acts and big screen TVs broadcasting major sports events.
Where to Stay
Magaliesburg has a wealth of accommodation ranging from luxury country lodges and spas to well-appointed guest houses and comfortable self-catering cottages. Most conveniences are included and Magaliesburg is an easy drive from the two main cities, Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Air The nearest international airport to Magaliesburg is OR Tambo Airport, 98km away. Lanseria Airport is 57km from Magaliesburg region but this airport serves only domestic and privately chartered flights.
Car Rental Johannesburg and Pretoria have many car rental agencies to hire a vehicle, however, you could book a rental online.
Taxis Shuttle Service Magaliesburg offers shuttle services from Magaliesburg to the major cities and airports.
Did you know?
The winding and picturesque road via Magaliesburg, Hartbeespoort Dam and Hekpoort is extremely popular with motor bikers who travel this road every Sunday. Known as the Breakfast Run, most restaurants along the route specifically cater to the event.
The town of Magaliesburg, the Magalies River and the Magaliesberg Mountains were all named after Mohale Mohale, a chief of the Po tribe who occupied this area in the mid-1800s.
The rare and endangered Cape Vulture is found in the Magaliesberg Mountains, their breeding sites easily identified by the white droppings covering the sheer cliff faces.