- 13 Jan 2017
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Your Whacky Guide to Magaliesburg
Magaliesburg is a small town with little more than a defunct train station and some down-at-heel shops. But the surrounding area, presided over by the rolling hills of the Magaliesberg mountain range, is dotted with guesthouses, biker bars and the occasional five-star resort.
Less than an hour's drive from Jo'burg, it makes for an easy day outing or weekend getaway. Once you escape the long strip of auto-repair joints, shopping malls and malfunctioning traffic lights of the West Rand, Magaliesburg's hilly two-lane roads are mercifully quiet. The area's points of interest are spread out, but a 15-kilometre meander from guesthouse to shop to restaurant, winding through the hills, is a lovely way to spend a lazy day.
Here are six whacky things to do in Magaliesburg:
1. Make candles
Magaliesburg Candles, housed in a cavernous warehouse next to the tracks at Magaliesburg Station, is a great place to buy ready-made candles or dip your own in vats of hot, coloured wax. Susan, the shop's manager, creates elaborate flower-shaped candles using a secret method she invented herself.
Koster Road, Magaliesburg | 079 426 1872
2. Drink beer
The White Dog Tap Room, part of the playfully named Mogallywood Brewery, is the antithesis of a highbrow craft beer gastropub. The bar is unpretentious and cheerful, and the homemade beer is served in rainbow-coloured tasting glasses. The pizzas are rather mediocre, but the view from the patio makes up for it.
Corner R24 and R98, Magaliesburg | 082 330 0646
3. Explore a gold mine
The old Kromdraai Gold Mine is Magaliesburg's quirkiest tourist attraction. Artist Gavin Whatley painstakingly restored this 19th-century goldmine on his farm and hosts spooky tours of the mine. Gavin has also created a tiny but well-curated museum detailing the history of South Africa's gold-mining industry.
Ibis Ridge Farm, R540, Kromdraai | 082 259 2162
4. Eat ice cream
Magaliesburg is an unlikely place for an Italian ice cream factory. But La Venezia Ice Cream, founded in Europe in the 1880s, has been supplying ice cream to the South African hospitality industry for decades from its base outside of town. The factory has a small retail shop selling one-, two-, and five-litre containers of ice cream, as well as delectable chocolate-covered ice cream bon-bons.
Rustenburg Road, Magaliesburg | 014 577 1471
5. Have lunch and browse antiques
Melon Rouge Eatery & Art is just what you'd expect of a place whose name combines fruit and French cabaret. At cushion-strewn tables scattered under the trees, Melon Rouge's kitchen serves its famous meat pies and hearty English breakfast. Inside is a fascinating antique shop with an array of old typewriters, suitcases, and fabulous wedding gowns.
Bekker Schools Road, Magaliesburg | 079-680-6050
6. Hang out with ponies
Stone Hill is a collection of self-catering cottages and a maze of walking trails crisscrossing the veld. The cottages are beautifully designed and pet-friendly. The farm boasts a foursome of friendly ponies that accompany guests on their walks and wander from cottage to cottage begging for apples and carrots.
R24, Steenkoppies | 082 447 6893