The Cheerio Gardens in Limpopo's Magoebaskloof have delighted visitors for over 50 years. These public gardens are famous for their spring spectacle when hundreds of azaleas and cherry trees blossom in a riot of colour, a highlight of the annual Spring Fair held in the nearby village of Haenertsburg.

Did you know?

Magoebaskloof is home to the tallest blue gum tree in the country, measuring over 90m.

The Cheerio Gardens are set in a quiet valley in the blue-green mountains of Magoebaskloof. From Haenertsburg, the quaint hamlet that is the heart of Magoebaskloof, it's a scenic drive, ridden with picnic spots and lookout points, to these historic public gardens.

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.

Cheerio Gardens is famous for its spring spectacle, when the azaleas and cherry trees blossom, and the camellias, hydrangea, irises and foxgloves begin to flower. It's a delight of impressionistic pinks and purples, mauves and scarlets; and the highlight of the annual Haenertsburg Spring Fair.

The pioneering Sheila ‘Box’ Thompson, whose parents had settled in Magoebaskloof some years previous, started the gardens in 1946. She was a dedicated gardener and collector of plants, seeds and cuttings, and began her garden with a handful of flora and great determination.

In the 1950s, 'Box' Thompson was sent six flowering cherry trees by the Emperor of Japan's physician who had visited her gardens previously and declared it one of the most beautiful he had ever seen. Today there are hundreds of flowering cherry trees, and Cheerio Gardens continues to delight and amaze visitors with its floral poetry.

Enjoy a gentle wander around the gardens, or a quiet lunch at the tea garden overlooking a dam. There is a small retail nursery at the gardens if you're keen on a souvenir plant to take home.

Magoebaskloof is one of Limpopo's most scenic areas, with its panoramic mountain views, thick indigenous forests and many rivers and waterfalls. From hiking and rambling to trout fishing and rock climbing, Magoebaskloof offers diverse adventures and genuine village hospitality.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Cheerio Gardens
Tel: +27 (0)83 355 0835
Email: sarah@brandcafe.co.za

Iron Crown Pub
Tel: +27 (0)15 276 4755

Wegraakbosch Organic Cheese Dairy
Tel: +27 (0)15 276 1811
Email: cheese@haenertsburg.co.za

How to get here

From Polokwane take the R71 to Haenertsburg. Continue past the village for approximately 4km then turn right onto a dirt road signposted Cheerio Halt. Continue along this road for a further 4km until you reach the entrance to Cheerio Gardens.

Best time to visit

Spring is the best time to visit Cheerio Gardens as this is when all the flowers and trees burst into blossom.

Around the area

Magoebaskloof is famed for its scenic beauty and natural attractions. There are wonderful hikes in the surrounding Wolkberg Wilderness area. Birding in the area is excellent and adventure sport enthusiasts will find plenty to do, from rock climbing and abseiling to white water rafting and canoeing.

Tours to do

Take a tour of an organic cheese factory and enjoy a classic Ploughman's Platter lunch at the Wegraakbosch Organic Cheese Dairy.

What will it cost

Entrance to Cheerio Gardens is free.

Length of stay

Set aside no more than a morning or afternoon to visit Cheerio Gardens.

What to pack

Always bring a hat and plenty of sunscreen. And don't forget your camera: the colours are simply breathtaking!

Where to stay

Cheerio Gardens have several cosy self-catering cottages for rent, a great place from which to explore the area.

What to eat

Light lunches, tea, coffee and cakes are available at the Cheerio Gardens tea garden. For a pizza or filling pub lunch, head for the Iron Crown in Haenertsburg, a convivial spot much loved by locals.

Best buys

A souvenir plant from the Cheerio Gardens nursery.