TOP-5 SPRINGY THINGS FOR KIDS
‘Magoebaskloof is a perfect weekend getaway,’ says Caitlin Blaser Mapitsa, a recent transplant to Haenertsburg who loves grasslands. When not lecturing on evaluation or doing research on land management, she’s trying to keep her children curious and compassionate. ‘If you have kids to entertain, a small trip with activities and lunch at a restaurant can put a big dent in your pocket. Luckily, in this area, there are so many fun things to do with kids for free!’
These Top-5 favourites were ‘crowdsourced’ from her own children, aged 5, 7, and 10:
Find a waterfall! Debengeni Falls are the best-known waterfalls in the area, but there are so many other ‘wild and free’ alternatives. Nothing mesmerizes children like flowing water, and it’s easy for a whole day to pass when they are tossing stones into the pools, squelching through mud on the banks, wading in the shallows and drinking straight from the crystal-clear water. There’s a lovely waterfall you can drive right up to if you turn left onto an unmarked road just before Kuhestan Organic Farm on the J Road off the R71. Another favourite can be accessed by hiking up past the tallest tree in the Woodbush Forest (J road), about half an hour further along the Magoebaskloof hiking trail.
Hike through the grasslands. Some of the hiking trails around Magoebaskloof are challenging for kids. They can be slippery, have steep drop-offs, or are not well-marked. The trail through the Haenertsburg Grasslands on the outskirts of the town, however, is the perfect kid-friendly hike. It has enough magnificent viewpoints that young hikers can see how big the world is, but is short enough that your kids have the time to wander off after each beetle and butterfly. From the cemetery to the forest and stream crossing, the trail has plenty of variety, and can be completed with kids of any age and level of fitness.
Play at the ‘airplane park’. Even though the climbing structure is small, the airplane behind the Haenertsburg Hall on the High Street is always a hit! Children can tap into their creative side while they let off some energy and it’s also a great place to meet hikers who are setting out on the Louis Changuion Trail.
Have a picnic at Long Tom Monument. This monument, signposted on the Cheerio Road off the R71, has a historical plaque commemorating the cannonball crater left by a Long Tom Siege Gun used in the Anglo Boer war. From the viewing platform you can get a 360 degree view of the mountains, Iron Crown Peak and Haenertsburg village. Your kids can be out and about but still experience a piece of local history. Pack a bird book and some binoculars as well as a soccer ball, and your kids will have a great afternoon hangout.
Head for Open Water. Magoebaskloof has so many incredible spots for Spring where your kids can splash, swim and paddle. If you have a trout rod and a permit, you could even teach your kids the art of fly-fishing. They can explore the wetlands near the Waterfall Hut at Dap Naude Dam or play along the shallows at the Ebenezer Dam.
NEW ZIPLINE FOR KIDS
The Magoebaskloof Farmstall is a favourite place for kids to romp around while their parents have a delicious thin-crust pizza and cappuccino and now there is a fabulous new attraction. Kids can enjoy a short zipline from a platform 3 metres off the ground and 60m long. It’s fun, safe and just long enough for kids to have an adrenaline rush. R50 for 3 zips or R100 for an unlimited ticket.