Review: Kicking back with the Knysna loeries in Magoebaskloof

When you’ve spotted around 20 Knysna loeries (turacos) within an hour of arrival – you know you’re onto something good. This is Bramasole in Magoebaskloof.

I know terms like “serenity” and “tranquility” tend to get bandied around by travel PRs with free abandon, but Bramasole exudes an all encompassing sense of calm. Perhaps it’s the small lake the property overlooks where anglers can partake in a bit of catch-and-release fly fishing, or the dense Tolkeinesque indigenous forest right on your doorstep from which you can occasionally hear the haunting call of samango monkeys in the distance. Or perhaps it’s simply because the guesthouse doesn’t accommodate kids under the age of 14.

The décor of the guesthouse is slightly eccentric, but never cluttered – and designed by the owner who just happens to be an architect, it is clearly the result of years of work and dedication. According to the in-room information, the site of the guesthouse was originally shed for breeding rabbits and later housed horses and what it rather mysteriously refers to as the “alleged magic mushroom incident”, before the land was purchased and Bramasole was created.

We stayed in the Paris “honeymoon” suite which I’d highly recommend for those who enjoy a bit of space to move around in and excellent self-catering facilities. Complete with Jacuzzi bath, fireplace and a large balcony, it ticked all the boxes. Hearty breakfasts are included in the rate – as is an ample supply of firewood, which was greatly appreciated during the chilly August winter nights.

There is an excellent hiking trail that begins just outside the guesthouse’s entrance that takes you on a circular route that travels deep into the forest past enormous yellow woods and along moss-covered pathways. You’re unlikely to encounter another soul – and it’s easy enough to tackle in about an hour without any real fitness required.

Magoesbaskloof is my favourite part of Limpopo – and this is no small part due quirky collection of attractions and characters. About 10-minutes’ drive away from the guesthouse towards the Cheerio gardens, we spotted signs for Zwakala Brewery and decided to check it out. We couldn’t believe our eyes when we stumbled upon a full-blown celebration of ‘International Beer Day’ in the middle of nowhere – complete with DJs, life-sized jenga, homemade burgers and tapas and fantastic locally-brewed Zwakala craft beer and gin. I highly recommend a stopover at the tasting room when you’re in the area.

Another must-visit is Wegraakbosch Farm’s roadside stall, which is set up just outside Picasso’s Restaurant on weekends and public holidays. The Swiss-style cheese is great, but even better is the Mozambique-style chourico. Cheese-making tours are available at the dairy by appointment.

Finally – pop into the tiny town of Haernetsburg and visit Minki’s for pancakes and a cappuccino and explore the shops in search of antiques and second-hand books. And don’t forget to pop into Foodzone for a loaf of freshly-baked raisin-spiked yellow bread on the way out!