Zwakala & Minas Neighbourhood Market – Haenertsburg

A few months back my husband spotted a snippet about the Minas Neighbourhood Market in the Getaway magazine.  As usual, we were inspired by Getaway and I didn’t take long to make our booking.

We made a long weekend of it, leaving Heidelberg on Friday morning, and getting to the little town of Haenertsburg early afternoon. It is a very little town indeed! Our first stop was the Iron Crown where we had Guinness and amazing burgers, the staff here are so friendly and instantly welcome you.

We headed over to Zwakala River Retreat, where we had booked to stay in The Cob House for the weekend.  This is on the same spot as Minas Cafe. No electricity, no phone signal, solar lights and the water is heated by a donkey boiler.  It was fantastic! The Cob House has two double bedrooms, one ensuite and one with separate shower room. The kitchen and living area is cosy, and very simply and tastefully decorated.  It was too cold to make use of the veranda and braai area with fire pit though! Just a short walk down from the cottage is the river, which you can hear from the veranda. We spent the evening watching fire TV, eating strawberries dipped in chilli chocolate (thank you Tracy) and planning who would be doing what and how on the small holding we plan on living on!

You could easily spend a week here, there is just so much to do in the area. After quite a lazy start on Saturday, we made our way over to Debengeni Falls, another spot you could spend the day hiking and swimming. By the amount of picnic tables there, it must get very busy in the summer. We moved on to the Sunland Baobab, apparently the largest baobab having a circumference of 47 metres and has a pub inside.  Now this baobab is huge and gorgeous, but don’t be fooled into thinking you are going to have a drink at the bar inside, like we were.  We arrived to pay our admission fee to look at the tree, and you then have a choice of quarts of beer or soft drinks purchased out the fridge in the house alongside it.  That was slightly disappointing!

So we ambled back home, via the Pot & Plow, a pub with much more atmosphere that serves the most delicious pizzas! Back at Zwakala we lit our fire and cosied ourselves up for the evening. Watered ourselves with Old Brown Sherry, Guinness, beer, red wine, port and whisky, snacked on Tracy’s famous chicken liver pate with provitas. After hours of poker with matchsticks, we learnt that whilst our friend Russell & Tracy are awesome, they are natural born cheats! It doesn’t feel appropriate (or kind) to post pictures of ourselves from that evening!

Sunday was another very lazy start before strolling up to the Neighborhood Market at around noon. The band, Black South Easter was already in full swing, craft beer was being poured and there was a mouth watering selection of locally produced food and goods. Pulled pork, pizzas, burgers, cheese and chorizo platters, cakes, brownies, curry, the list just goes on. There were also some local craft stalls, wooden bowls, furniture, recycled glass jewellery, handmade soaps etc.

We found ourselves a spot under the trees, played more poker whilst we ate and drank, and ate and drank, and ate and drank some more, put the world to rights and enjoyed the atmosphere. It was a fantastic day and we plan on returning for the November market and some more fishing and exploring. The contrast of Summer and Winter in the area is something I would love to see.

Monday morning Erik caught a trout, but unfortunately they were being sneaky for the rest of the morning. Yet another reason we have to return!

If you are looking for something to do for a long weekend – then we can highly recommend this.  There is a so much to do in the area: Magoebaskloof Canopy Tours, cheesemaking and milking tours at Wegraakbosch Organic Farm, trout fishing, hiking trails, mountain biking trails, birding and of course, if you get your timing right, Minas Neighbourhood Market.


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