Limpopo’s Wedding Capital
Words Bridget Hilton-Barber
Haenertsburg village in the heart of the Magoebaskloof mountains has fast become the wedding capital of Limpopo. There were over sixty weddings held here last year, and there are set to be even more this year. From mountaintops to water’s edge, couples are saying I do, I do, I do almost every weekend here.
So just what is it that makes Haenertsburg and Magoebaskloof such a popular wedding destination?
“It’s a combination of the romantic spirit of our Mountain, the friendliness of our people and the variety of accommodation and services”, says Denise Tooley who runs the popular Mina’s Art Café and Farm Venue, a country farmhouse venue which has hosted many a wedding and offers tailor made ceremonies for wannabe brides and grooms. “We’ve done traditional white weddings, completely alternative weddings, even wedding al fresco set deep in our forest alongside the river”, says Denise.
One of the area’s leading wedding venues is Cheerio Gardens, famed for its spring spectacle when the azalea and cherry trees burst into a riot of Impressionistic colours. “Obviously our most sought after time is spring”, says Sarah-Leigh Hillary who manages Cheerio Gardens, “but all year round we offer a beautiful garden setting that was started in the 1940s.”
A series of dams form the centre of Cheerio Gardens. Apart from the giant African tree ferns dotting the banks, the garden is delightfully old-world English, featuring pin oaks, elms and crab apple trees, as well as hydrangeas, fox gloves, irises and camellias. Cheerio Gardens also has a chapel and a series of charming cottages for guests.
The newly opened Eden’s Gate, which is halfway down the Magoebaskloof, is also set to be the backdrop for romance and celebration. Eden’s Gate is a gorgeous stone building overlooking a trout dam and is designed so that you can hear the flow of water underneath the wooden deck. Eden’s Gate has a natural wedding chapel in the middle of an Afromontane forest, and the venue can accommodate up to 200 people. It’s being run by well known local Horst Dombruck, a highly experienced caterer and hotelier.
Mare’s Kop Country Wedding Venue is another fabulous place to tie the knot. This is a rustic rock and stone venue, with a chapel, and has wide sweeping views of the mountains and bushveld beyond. And one of the grande dames of the area, Glenshiel Boutique Hotel, is now under new management, and continuing the wedding tradition with its gracious hospitality, fine fare and soft mountain views.
The village of Haenertsburg offers a variety of wedding services ranging from catering and tent hire to cakes and flowers. There is a charming Anglican church in the village itself, as well as a Catholic church with lovely views. Local coffee shop Minki’s does bespoke wedding cakes and seriously indulgent high teas. During the village’s food, wine and beer festival at the end of April, there will be a wedding expo showcasing the area’s best venues, honeymoon spots and romantic possibilities.