The magnificent Magaliesberg is the perfect place for the 30-year-old Margaret Roberts Herbal Centre, where the focus is on herbs. Apart from the impressive herb gardens, there’s a nursery, apothecary, potager garden, chapel, lecture hall, fairy gallery, shop and tea garden – enough to keep you occupied for an entire morning or afternoon.

Did you know?

In 1993 a rose was named after Margaret Roberts in recognition of her contribution to South Africa’s plant industry.

You’ll know you’ve arrived at the Margaret Roberts Herbal Centre the minute you smell fresh lavender wafting up the slopes of the mighty Magaliesberg.

Margaret Roberts, South Africa’s doyenne of all things herbal, chose to set up her herbal centre in these tranquil and ancient mountains about 30 years ago with the aim of sharing with the public her vast knowledge of herbs, medicinal foods, natural insecticides and generating wellness.

The great garden, which is proudly organic, dominates the centre, and has been carefully planted with a vast selection of herbs for use in cooking, for aroma, and for healing and medicine.

Apart from the garden – open to the public on a Wednesday 8.30am to 4pm and the first Saturday of the month – there is plenty to see and do: there’s a wonderful herb nursery, tea garden, potager garden, shop, lecture hall and fairy gallery, all of which are open on public days. There’s also a dedicated manufacturing studio where garden produce is transformed into a range of bath products, potpourri, oils, creams and gourmet delights.

And be sure to pop into the recently added apothecary, where you can learn about the history of potpourri making, and distilling and extracting herbal properties for cosmetic use.

There’s also a lovely angel exhibition and a non-denominational chapel, complete with stained-glass windows. The centre also has a replica of the Chartres Cathedral labyrinth, where travellers can pause for reflection.

If that’s not enough to relax you, spend some time de-stressing in the sand garden by raking your own sand patterns, or take a peek at the miniature fairy castle, a little girl’s delight!

And who could leave here without shopping for something scented and lovely? There’s plenty to choose from (scented bath oil to lavender shortbread), and you’ll get some great gift ideas for the whole family, including books on how to make your own herbal preparations.

End your visit to this herbal haven with a cup of steaming tea accompanied by a flower salad, or perhaps a geranium scone…

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Margaret Roberts Herbal Centre
Tel: +27 (0)12 504 2121 or +27 (0)71 161 6441 (mornings only)
Email: margaretroberts@lantic.net

How to get here

The herbal centre is in the Hartbeespoort Dam/De Wildt area en route to Brits in the Magaliesberg, off the R513 near Zilkaatsnek. See the listed Margaret Roberts Herbal Centre website for detailed directions.

Best time to visit

Due to a busy schedule of lectures and demonstrations, the centre is only open to the public on Wednesdays from 8.30am to 5pm, and on the first Saturday of the month, by prior telephonic arrangement. Call ahead to check.

Around the area

Hartbeespoort Dam; the Elephant Sanctuary; Bushbabies Monkey Sanctuary; the Anne van Dyk Cheetah Sanctuary; curio stalls; restaurants; Harties cableway.

Tours to do

Get in touch with your ancestors by taking a guided tour at Maropeng, where life began; or get a bird's-eye view of the surrounds on a balloon safari over the nearby Cradle of Humankind, or take the Harties aerial cableway to the plateau.

Get around

Self-drive is your best bet – you can then stop off where you please and linger over a long lunch if the mood takes you.

Length of stay

A few days or a weekend would do justice to a voyage of discovery around the Magaliesberg.

Where to stay

The Magaliesberg area is a tourist attraction in its own right, so there are plenty of B&Bs and lodges available for overnight stays.

What to eat

There are as many super restaurants along the Magalies Meander as there are accommodation establishments – take your pick!

What's happening

Follow the Magalies Meander arts and crafts route to discover a variety of art galleries, arts and craft centres and unique boutiques.

Best buys

Gourmet goodies, scented oils, soaps and creams, and lovely herbs.