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  • Lisa Martus


Updated: May 27, 2023

You know that beautiful screensaver you have? ... The one where the sun is setting in a blaze of colour reflecting the sky in the rippling water. Stop daydreaming .... this is real-time summertime in Limpopo! Waterwheel Country Retreat is tucked into the curve of the Groot Letaba River with special spots for swimming, fly-fishing or picnics in a breathtaking setting. Take off your shoes… step into the cool, clear water and let your tingling toes send a message to your brain that it’s time to relax.

This magnificent 15-hectare property, Onverwacht, just one kilometre from Magoebaskloof Adventures on the George’s Valley Road (R528) was bought in November 2007 specifically for its river-frontage but as Manager Ian Tucker says that it was only after his father-in-law, Pieter Wesseloo had slashed back the grass, the shrubs and some trees that they discovered its real unspoiled beauty… ‘a majestic breakaway beyond your imagination.’ Surrounded by towering mountains, guests and day visitors can meander on pathways along the gushing river to a beautiful waterfall tucked into rocky walls accessed by a small barge.

The spectacular scenery at this unique mountain hideaway will take your breath away and it is a perfect place for families looking for a place to spend the day. There is a play park for kids, cycling routes, a boma for a relaxed braai and a trout dam if you want to try your luck. If you are a couple looking for a quiet picnic spot, take the nature trail through the riverine forest towards the waterfall and set yourself up near small streams - some have beautiful mossy rocks and ferns and others are tucked into colourful lichen-covered boulders on a wild flower carpet.

This Eco Retreat uses hydro-electricity generated by the huge water wheel set up on the furrow next to the river and offers solar powered accommodation (no loadshedding) in two 6-sleeper self-catering units and a house sleeping up to 12. Each venue has a fireplace for misty days and a built-in braai on the enclosed verandah but are also perfectly placed for visitors who want to explore the Magoebaskloof area, as the farm is just a 10 km drive from Haenertsburg and is within walking distance of the exciting adventure sports on offer at Magoebaskloof Canopy Tour. However, the accommodation was originally developed to support the Galasiërs Trust which was established by Waterwheel owner, Rob Wesseloo with the intention of ‘thanking those people who care for others.’ Having seen how Carers give so much of themselves to look after children, the elderly and unwell, Rob wanted to ‘spoil, encourage, empower and support those who contribute unselfishly towards the less fortunate in our communities.’ He asked, ‘why not give charity workers an opportunity to relax and rejuvenate in a place like The Waterwheel Country Retreat?’

It is with this nurturing spirit that the Waterwheel Country Retreat keeps its focus on both the environment and people, so it is no surprise that they are also pet-friendly. If you are a cycad-lover, you will find the Cycad Specialists on site with 1000 plants of various species in tunnels. They are members of the South African Cycad Association and are authorised to trade in Cycads.( There are lots of reasons to visit Waterwheel Country Retreat, so if you are in the area with family and friends, plan in a day of sunshine, swimming and splendour.

If you would like to spend some relaxing time on the Letaba River, swimming, cycling, fishing or braaing, the day-visitor fee for the Waterwheel Country Resort is R50.00 per person & kids under 12 are free. If you want to enjoy the raft ride to the waterfall, it is R250.00 for up to 5 people. Bicycles are also available for hire.

Call Rolene on 081 048 4841 or Ian on 074 024 6519. (


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